Fanfiction Contest

March 8, 2013


HILOBROW is pleased to announce our eighth micro-fiction contest. The contest is sponsored by our friends at the used and rare bookseller Pazzo Books.

THE CHALLENGE: Fanfiction, loosely construed, has given us Joyce’s Ulysses, DeLillo’s Ratner’s Star, most of Shakespeare, and the Aeneid; tightly construed, fanfiction has given us the wonders of mpreg, wingfic, and bodyswaps. HiLobrow, which until today has only dabbled in the genre, challenges you to write a fanfiction — drawing upon any canon (fiction, work of art, TV show, movie, etc.) — of no more than 1,000 words. Drabbles and suites of connected stories are permitted — as long as the total word count is no more than 1,000.

NB: Our judges will attempt to bring themselves up to speed on whichever canon it is that you’ve chosen, but because they are not omniscient, your story should NOT rely on any canon knowledge that one can’t get from Wikipedia!

DEADLINE & SUBMISSION INFO: The deadline is midnight (Pacific Time) on Friday, March 29. Email your entry, in the body of an email (not as an attachment), to One entry per person. Your story should be written for the contest; do not submit work that you’ve previously published online or elsewhere.

THE DEAL: We will aim to announce the winning story and two runners-up on Monday, April 15. The winning entry in the contest, and also the two runners-up, will be published here at HILOBROW. HiLobrow’s contributors control the copyright to their work; we only retain the right to use the story on our website, RSS feed, and daily emails. See our Policies Page for more info.

THE JUDGES: Denise Paolucci is a founder of the online journal service Dreamwidth. Flourish Klink has helped run fan sites and conventions in Harry Potter fandom for 10+ years. Matthew Battles is a senior researcher with Harvard’s metaLAB, and author of the 2012 fiction collection The Sovereignties of Invention.

The contest will be orchestrated by HILOBROW’s editor Joshua Glenn, who will ensure that stories will be judged without author names attached. Previous winners, friends of HiLoBrow, family members — all are invited to submit an entry.



All book prizes were donated by this contest’s sponsor, Pazzo Books.

Click on image for larger version.
Click on image for larger version.

FIRST PRIZE: A first trade edition of The Allies’ Fairy Book (1916; includes a selection of traditional fairy tales from the Allied countries participating in World War I) illustrated by Arthur Rackham. ALSO: The first-prize-winning story will be illustrated by Rick Pinchera!

Click on image for larger version.
Click on image for larger version.

FIRST RUNNER-UP PRIZE: An 1879 edition of Charles Kingsley’s fantasy classic The Water-Babies. The book was in part a tract against child labor, as well as a critique of the closed-minded approaches of many scientists of the day in their response to Darwin’s ideas on evolution.

Click on image for larger version.
Click on image for larger version.

SECOND RUNNER-UP PRIZE: A 1932 two-volume Complete Sherlock Holmes in black cloth. A fanfiction writer’s dream.


RSS: Follow contest updates by subscribing to

PAST CONTEST WINNERS! 1. TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN: Charles Pappas’s “The Law” | 2. CATASTROPHE: Timothy Raymond’s “Hem and the Flood” | 3. TELEPATHY: Rachel Ellis Adams’s “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | 4. OIL SPILL: A.E. Smith’s “Sound Thinking” | 5. LITTLE NEMO CAPTION: Joe Lyons’s “Necronomicon” | 6. SPOOKY-KOOKY: Tucker Cummings’s “Well Marbled” | 7. PULP HERO: TG Gibbon’s “The Firefly” | 8. FANFICTION: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

ORIGINAL FICTION from HILOBROW: James Parker’s swearing-animal fable The Ballad of Cocky The Fox, later published in limited-edition paperback by HiLoBooks; plus: a newsletter, The Sniffer, by Patrick Cates, and further stories: “The Cockarillion”) | Karinne Keithley Syers’s hollow-earth adventure Linda, later published in limited-edition paperback; plus: ukulele music, and a “Floating Appendix”) | Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention, published by Red Lemonade | Robert Waldron’s high-school campus roman à clef The School on the Fens | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Flourish Klink’s Star Trek fanfic “Conference Comms” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Charlie Mitchell’s “Sentinels” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | John Holbo’s graphic novel On Beyond Zarathustra (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD by Stephen Burt | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | EPIC WINS: GOTHAMIAD by Chad Parmenter