Into the unknown: celebrating the past, present and future of science fiction

Into the unknown: celebrating the past, present and future of science fiction

Tuesday 24 March, 12- 1pm
Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool

University of Liverpool students only


We hope to reschedule some events within the Open House programme. Sign up to the mailing list here and we will keep you updated.

Flash fiction writing competition

As part of our celebration of the past, present and future of Science Fiction and Open House 2020, we’re thrilled to announce a Flash Fiction competition! We’re looking for short science fiction stories of up to 500 words in length. We’re defining ‘science fiction’ fairly loosely; any story with a speculative element will be considered. Don’t self-reject! The winner will receive a £100 Blackwell’s gift certificate.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 13 March 2020.

All submissions should be sent to Submissions should be sent in the body of the email – no attachments, please - preceded by the name and contact details of the author, and an optional brief bio (no more than three lines). The subject line of the email should read SUBMISSION: [title].

 The winner will be announced on 24 March during the lunchtime event. Click here to book your ticket.

  1. Entry to the competition is open to all University of Liverpool students (including Continuing Education, University of Liverpool in London and XJTLU)
  2. This competition is not open to University of Liverpool staff
  3. Competition opens on Monday 17 February 2020 and closes at midnight on Friday 13 March 2020.
  4. We can only accept stories which are 500 words or fewer.
  5. Entries can only be accepted online; postal entries or entries sent over email will not be read or considered.
  6. Only one entry per person. 
  7. Entries must be an original piece of fiction and not an account of real events, however, entries can include public figures from present day or history and take place in historical eras or use real-life experiences as a springboard as long as the story is FICTIONAL
  8. Entries cannot be returned.
  9. All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party. The University of Liverpool accepts no responsibility if entrants ignore these Terms and Conditions and entrants agree to indemnify the University of Liverpool against any claim by any third party from any breach of these Terms and Conditions.
  10. Entries must not contain defamatory, obscene, offensive, or any other unsuitable material; the University of Liverpool reserves the right to disqualify entries containing such material. Entries must be suitable to be published or used online by the University of Liverpool for audiences of all ages, including children.
  11. Entrants retain the copyright in their entries but grant to the University of Liverpool a perpetual non-exclusive royalty-free licence to publish, broadcast (across all media) and post the entry online and on any other platforms yet to be envisaged. This licence will be deemed to include all the necessary rights and permissions to enable such use by the University of Liverpool, to fulfil the prizes and to complete the administration of this competition
  12. By submitting a story the entrant agrees that the University of Liverpool may at its sole discretion edit, adapt, abridge or translate the entry for the purposes listed in clause 12 above.
  13. Winning and shortlisted entrants consent for their story to be published online and in print.
  14. Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

- Originality
- Plot
- Characterisation
- Language
- Enjoyment.

15. In the event of any dispute regarding the rules, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the competition, the decision of the judge shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

16. Entries must be written in English and no more than 500 words.

Special Collections and Archives

The University of Liverpool Library holds the largest collection of catalogued science fiction works in Europe, comprising over 35,000 books and 2,500 periodicals. The collections also contain extensive archival material: the papers and manuscripts of some of the most important writers in the genre, including John WyndhamOlaf StapledonJohn BrunnerEric Frank Russell and Brian Aldiss.

Special Collections and Archives is open to members of the University of Liverpool and visitors from external institutions, as well as the public. 

Material can only be viewed by appointment.

Visit the Special Collections and Archives web pages for more details.

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