And the winner is…


We received a total of eight submissions to the short story contest, which made for a small slate of high quality candidates. There were no bad stories and every one was entertaining in some way. Every entry was read by all three judges independently. We subsequently met to discuss our assessments and to decide on a winner. (Actually, getting all of us together at the same time for a conference call was the most difficult part of the process.)

In this post, I’ll announce the winners. In the coming days and weeks, I will post the stories along with short interviews with the authors.

Third place goes to “The Avatars Remember Nothing” by Gill Williamson. Gill has generously donated his prize of $100 to Sembrando, one of the charities that we are supporting with the book. As well, he will be receiving any one book by Vernor Vinge from Tor Books.

Second place goes to “Autobiography of an Automatic Mind” by Rev Orion. Rev will be receiving a prize of $200 and a Vernor Vinge book from Tor.

First place goes to “Ritchie Boss: Private Investigator Manager” by Micah Joel. He will be receiving $500, a Vinge book from Tor, and the story will be published as the final chapter in Finding Source Code on the Web for Remix and Reuse.

Congratulations to all! Many thanks to all who entered the contest. Thanks also to Halli and Rosalva who served as judges, Tor Books for donating the books, and the various donors on Indiegogo.

Introducing our Judges

The judges for the contest will be me, Halli Villegas, and Rosalva Gallardo-Valencia. You’ve heard lots about me, so let me introduce the other two judges.

Photo of HalliHalli Villegas is the author of three collections of poetry (Red Promises, In the Silence Absence Makes, and The Human Cannonball), a book of short stories ( The Hairwreath and Other Stories)  and several anthology pieces. She has published on-line erotica under a pen name. Her poetry and prose have appeared in places such as The LRC, Exile, Variety Crossings, Kiss Machine, Pagitica, Variety Crossings: Morphogenesis, The Windsor Review, and Canadian Notes and Queries. Her book of ghost stories The Hairwreath and Other Stories, came out in fall 2010 with Chizine Publications. Most recently she has had stories accepted for Chilling Tales 2, from Edge Publishing to launch in October 2012 and The White Collar Anthology with Black Moss Press to launch in fall of 2011. She is also the publisher of Tightrope Books, which has published over three hundred writers to date.

Photo of RosalvaRosalva Gallardo-Valencia is a PhD Candidate at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine. She is also the co-editor of the book “Finding Source Code on the Web for Remix and Reuse.” She conducts empirical studies on software engineering, specifically on source code search on the Web and Agile methodologies. She has six years of experience developing applications for telecommunication and financial organizations. Rosalva holds a B.S. degree in Informatics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.


I’m very excited to have both Halli and Rosalva on board as judges.

Work paid for by the commons belongs to the commons

Since this contest is being funded by donations from the general public, then the products of this contest should also be accessible to the general public. So, the prize winning entries will be released under a CC-BY-SA license, sometimes called a “copyleft” license. Let me break down this acronym.

  • The CC part indicates Creative Commons. The letters that follow indicate which of the licenses is being used.
  • The BY requires that the work be attributed to the original author.
  • The SA which means that others can share or remix or use the work commercially, provided they make their own work available under the same terms.

Of course, any of these conditions can be waived with permission from the copyright holder, which is how we’re going to publish the story in the edited academic book.

If you’re confused by all of this and you’re an author, look at it this way. It’s similar to selling your story to a magazine, but better because you retain more rights at the end. Like a magazine, we are purchasing the story from you, and you are being paid in prize money. Normally, you would sign over exclusive rights to the magazine and that would be the end of it. Unlike a magazine, we, as the new owners of the work, are releasing it back to the world, including you, to do with as you wish in the future.

Creative Commons is important because so many of the ideas in the world are locked down by copyright laws. But the only way that we can progress is to build new ideas upon old ones. So let’s keep these new ideas from being locked down. If you want to know more, take a look at the presentation on Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. A bit long, but very entertaining.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.