Fantasy and Science Fiction - Competition
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November/December 2020
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"The Lowest Form of Humor"

Geeky people are the punniest on the planet, so we decided to highlight the best (and worst) of them for our 100th competition. Congratulations to the winners/losers for making our eyes water. Shout-out to Patrick O'Connor and Linda McMullen, whose entries didn't quite make the cut. But they impressed the hell out of us with their lines, "Botanists from Chicago are the bomb" and "[The society of Gilead] contains no balm for the spirit," respectively. Yay! Ouch! Thanks again to John Ordover and Melissa Lee Shaw for their judgeyness.
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
A flat-headed square bugs out at the millennium, seeing a cowardly line king, a spaced-out sphere, and a pointless point. As plain as depths are to him, the other shapes of his plane think he's bent out of shape, and his attempts to reshape their mental plane fall flat.
—Joel Schlosberg
Oakland Gardens, NY
The Terminator by James Cameron
Execute Sarah Connor. Run, Sarah Connor. Run!
—Fernando Buendia
Roscoe, IL
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
January is in a real jamb. Her father is a total doormat, and her guardian (a total knob) is locking her in for a life she can't handle, practically on display in ajar. But a mysterious book opens a keyhole to a world of magic. Now everything hinges on January.
—Ziv Wities,
Givat Shmuel, Israel
"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
A half-name university dropout swipes a bioprinter from a research lab and teams up with a real sweetheart to get out of some bad beef. Holy cow, do they cook up some trouble! Cue juicy revenge and heart-stopping action.
—Vera Brook
Lewisburg, PA
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
Clakkers, analog robots with AI (alchemical intelligence), really put the cog in cognoscenti. Jax's emancipation story moves like clockwork from A to free, geared towards audiences who like characters that just click.
—Barry Negrin
New York, NY
The Twilight Zone (multiple episodes of the TV series)
On Thursday we leave for home: The four of us are dying for a stopover in a quiet town, a nice place to visit. Despite the lateness of the hour, the arrival of the last flight, #33, will be in the nick of time, enough at last, via receding airline.
—Joel Schlosberg
Oakland Gardens, NY





Change the title of your favorite fantasy or science fiction story—from print or screen—to its synonym, then come up with a new plot based on the similar-but-not-quite-the-same title. Make it funny, as we can use a good laugh here in 2020. Here's an example:

Original: The Hunger Games
Synonym: The Munchies Games
Katniss Everdeen is forced to battle in an arena with eleven other competitors, all of whom are high on morphling.


Send entries to Competition Editor, F&SF, 240 West 73rd St. #1201, New York, NY 10023-2794, or email entries to to Be sure to include your contact information. Entries must be received by January 15, 2021. Judges are the editors of F&SF, and their decision is final. All entries become the property of F&SF.

First prize will receive Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir, (courtesy of Subterranean Press). Second prize will receive advance reading copies of three forthcoming books. Any Honorable Mentions will receive one-year subscriptions to F&SF. Results of Competition #101 will appear in the May/June 2021 issue.


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