Contest: Mad Scientist Blog Seeks Military Sci-Fi

The U.S. Army's Mad Scientist Blog has announced a 2019 military short fiction contest. Editors seek new, original, unpublished speculative work no more than 5,000 words in length, about a specified notional battle of the near-future, and exploring themes of technology, operations, and related topics. Deadline is April 1, 2019.

Judges may select some submissions for publication.

The submitted work should involve in some way the following battlefield scenario:
On March 17th, 2030, the country of Donovia, after months of strained relations and covert hostilities, invades neighboring country Otso. Donovia is a wealthy nation that is a near-peer competitor to the United States. Like the United States, Donovia has invested heavily in disruptive technologies such as robotics, [Artificial Intelligence], autonomy, quantum information sciences, bio enhancements and gene editing, space-based weapons and communications, drones, nanotechnology, and directed-energy weapons. The United States is a close ally of Otso and is compelled to intervene due to treaty obligations and historical ties. The United States is about to engage Donovia in its first battle with a near-peer competitor in over 80 years …
A full set of rules and formatting guidelines is here. Editors suggest a number of possible approaches to the story-telling, including but not limited to:
  • Forecasting: Describing the timeline and events leading up to the fictional battle. 
  • Describing: Accounting the battle while it is happening. 
  • Backcasting: Considering the battle after it has ended, as an After-Action Review or lessons-learned analysis.
Editors encourage authors to consider answering or exploring through their stories questions such as:
  • What will forces and soldiers look like in 2030? 
  • What technologies will be prevalent on the battlefield? 
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Through this initiative, the Army shapes future multi-domain (i.e., Land, Air, Sea, Cyber, and Space) operations in its role as a thought leader in the future of warfare. The program consists of an All Partners Access Network (APAN) community of action, a monthly on-line speaker series, conferences with world class experts at the Nation’s premier academic institutions, and […] this blog—envisioning the Deep Future Operational Environment!
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