01/10/2010. Contributed by Gareth D Jones
L.Ron Hubbard Presents Writers Of The Future: The First Twenty-Five Years. pub: Galaxy Press. 270 page illustrated indexed extra large hardback. Price: $44.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59212-848-8.
check out website: www.orionbooks.co.uk
I once sent a story to the ‘Writers Of The Future Competition’, but never heard back. Lots of other authors did though and many of the winners over the past twenty-five years have gone on to become well-known authors. ‘Writers Of The Future – The First 25 Years’ is a celebration of the successes of the competition and the stories behind it. This is a big book, a hardback almost a foot square, full of photos, interviews, quotes and anecdotes. It doesn’t contain any of the stories from the competition, but provides an interesting history with as much detail as you could wish to find out.
Like most reference works, it’s not the kind of book to read cover to cover, but is probably best to flick through and read a section at a time. There are sections about the origin of the competition and the history of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who is treated with almost reverential awe throughout the book. Other chapters focus on the writing workshop that winners attend, the awards ceremony itself and the annual anthology of winning stories.
There is a large section given over to profiles of the judges who have been part of the competition over the past quarter century, including many of the biggest names in the history of SF. I found this section probably the most interesting, not only for the brief potted histories of some very well-known authors whose work I have enjoyed, but also because of the numerous photographs. As usual, in real life people don’t look the way I imagined them.
Another very long section is the section devoted to profiles of the winning authors. Apparently six out of ten winners have gone on to have successful careers in writing. It was fascinating to thumb through the list of winners, looking for names that I recognised. What was also interesting was the number of authors whose names I didn’t recognise but who have still published numerous stories and novels since winning.
All in all, this is an interesting piece of speculative fiction history. ‘Writers Of The Future’ is one of the biggest writing competitions on the planet and there is no denying the influence it has had on many authors. I no longer qualify to enter the competition, but I can still read about it.
Gareth D. Jones
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