Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing

The Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing has been established by Asimov's Science Fiction magazine and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts with the support of the School of Mass Communications at the University of South Florida. The award honors the legacy of one of science fiction's most distinguished authors through an award aimed at undergraduate writers.

The $500 award will go to the best unpublished and unsold science fiction or fantasy short story submitted by a full-time undergraduate college student. The winner will be invited to the IAFA annual Conference on the Fantastic in mid-March in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and the winning story will be considered for publication in Asimov's science fiction magazine.

In general, the winner of the Asimov award will be the story that best meets the expectations of Asimov's editors. Those stories typically are "character oriented"; i.e., the characters, rather than the science, provide the main focus for the reader's interest. Serious, thoughtful, yet accessible fiction will have the best chance of success. The editors do enjoy humorous stories, but pun endings have little chance of success, and the editors are not interested in sword & sorcery, elves, trolls, or dragons. They are not interested in explicit sex or violence, either. Generally, bear in mind that all fiction is written to examine or illuminate some aspect of human existence, but that in science fiction the backdrop against which events occur is the size of the universe.


Deadline for entries for this year's contest is December 15, 2000. The contest is open to all full-time undergraduates at accredited colleges and universities. The award is not limited to unpublished authors, but all submissions must be previously unpublished and unsold, and they should be from 1,000 to 10,000 words long. Writers may submit an unlimited number of stories, but each manuscript must include the writer's name, address, phone number, and the name of the university the writer attends.

There is a $10 entry fee, with up to three stories accepted for each fee paid. Checks should be made out to the Asimov Award. There is no limit to the number of submissions from each writer.


Manuscripts should be neatly typed, double-spaced on one side of the sheet of paper, with adequate margins. Mail it flat in a 9" X 12" envelope. Computer print-outs should have the pages separated.

Make sure the cover sheet of the manuscript has on it your name, address, phone number and the university you attend. Your name should not be on the manuscript itself.


The editors reserve the right to double-check your university status. For this year's contest, you must have been a full-time undergraduate during the fall 1999; spring 2000; summer 2000; or fall 2000 semesters (or quarters) of your university.

Story submissions should have been written during your time as a student. However, if you attended college full-time during a qualifying semester and then graduated, went to part-time status or quit entirely for a time, you are still eligible.

Manuscripts cannot be returned, so do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope, and make sure you keep a copy of the story for your files.

The winner will be determined by the editors of Asimov's magazine and the award administrator.


Submissions should be sent to:

Asimov Award
School of Mass Communications
4202 E. Fowler
Tampa, Fla. 33620

If you have any questions, call Awards Administrator Rick Wilber at 813.974.6792.

To contact or to see more information about Rick Wilber, click here.


Interested in a subscription to our print magazine? We have a secure server which will allow you to order a subscription online. There, you can order a subscription by providing us with your name, address and credit card information.

Subscribe Now