Guest Editor Jeanna Mason Stay introduces this year’s fall contest:
I am an unabashed lover of speculative fiction. For my entire reading life, fantasy has drawn me in, with both sweeping, heroic tales and small, quiet ones. For the past couple of years, I worked first as a slush reader and then as a board member for the speculative fiction publisher Deep Magic E-zine (which, to my great sadness, is closing). I love a story that says something meaningful about the human condition—especially if it’s got a bit of magic.
Authors who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are well-represented in fantasy and sci fi literature, but the majority of that representation is written for general, not Church-specific, audiences. Every year when the Lit Blitz comes around, I’m excited to read all of the pieces, but I have a special place in my heart for those that combine the Church and the speculative in fascinating ways.
I still regularly think about Stephen Carter’s eerie, thought-provoking piece “Slippery” (https://lit.mormonartist.net/2014/06/slippery/). Rereading Jonathan Penny’s zombie apocalypse tale, “A Voice Not Crying in the Wilderness,” last year felt particularly poignant in the midst of a pandemic (https://lit.mormonartist.net/2014/11/a-voice-not-crying-in-the-wilderness-by-jonathon-penny/). And Annaliese Lemmon’s “Disability, Death, or Other Circumstances” always catches me by surprise at how both funny and heartbreaking Kafka-esque rabbits can be (https://lit.mormonartist.net/2015/05/disability-death-or-other-circumstance-by-annaliese-lemmon/).
This year’s specialty contest is all about continuing to explore the constellation of doctrine, culture, and quirks that make up the LDS experience through the lenses (or perhaps spaceships) of speculative fiction.
What We’re Looking For:
Stories that draw the fantastical and the Church together in interesting ways—ways that will resonate, entertain, or challenge, ways that are thoughtful, fun, and everything in between.
Like all Mormon Lit Blitz contests, a primary ingredient is that these stories must in some way resonate with who we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The theme for this contest suggests magic or spaceships are required, but any fantasy/sci fi content is welcome. Hagoth and the kraken attack? Sure. The next-door neighbor who ministers by bringing over magical potions along with cookies? Yep.
What We’re NOT Looking For:
- Alternate history, unless it also includes fantasy/sci fi elements. For example, an alternate world where John Taylor is the second prophet of this dispensation isn’t enough, unless it’s because his fellow apostles were eaten by dragons.
- Stories that are hostile, denigrate the gospel, or have a “flying spaghetti monster” feel/theme. However, stories that challenge how we look at the world or ask questions are welcome.
- Stories in restricted intellectual property (e.g., no Disney, no Star Wars, etc.).
- Stories where there is no interplay between the story and LDS topics/themes—for example, a story where the main character just happens to be LDS but that doesn’t affect the plot or character arc at all.
Word Count: Up to 1500 words
Deadline: 10 September 2021, end of day (your time zone is fine)
- $100 first place
- Additional prizes may be added
- Finalists will be published online. After all pieces have been published, first place will be decided by audience vote.
- No use of author name on the document itself.
- Preferably a Word document.
- Spacing and font: preferred Garamond or Times, 12pt, 1.5-inch spacing, but anything reasonably readable will be accepted.
- Include the story title in the filename.
- Send up to three entries to firstname.lastname@example.org, with files attached. Include the author’s contact info in the body of the email BUT NOT in the attached stories.
Feel free to email any questions to email@example.com.
By submitting your work, you grant us non-exclusive rights to publish your story on the web and in the planned Mormon Lit Blitz 2017-2021 anthology. For the anthology, authors will receive a copy, and additional proceeds go to support Mormon literature (including future contests). Previously published stories are acceptable so long as the author retains publication rights. Collaborations are acceptable and count toward all collaborating authors’ three permitted submissions.