L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39

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Pub Date May 16 2023 | Archive Date Jun 24 2023

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In the world of speculative fiction…

Your favorite authors…

Have selected the best new voices of the year.

24 Award-winning Authors and Illustrators

3 Bonus Short Stories by Kevin J. Anderson • L. Ron Hubbard • S. M. Stirling

Art and Writing Tips by Lazarus Chernik • L. Ron Hubbard • Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith • Jody Lynn Nye

16-page color gallery of artwork • Cover art by Tom Wood

Check out the stories Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card, Nnedi Okorafor, Robert J. Sawyer, Kevin J. Anderson, Jody Lynn Nye and others chose as the best of the best.

Be amazed. Be amused. Be transported … by stories that take you by surprise and take you further and deeper into new worlds and new ideas than you’ve ever gone before….

Twelve captivating tales from the most exciting new voices in science fiction and fantasy accompanied by three from masters of the genre.

A miracle? An omen? Or something else? One day, they arrived in droves—the foxes of the desert, the field, the imagination….—“Kitsune” by Devon Bohm

When a vampire, a dragon and a shape-shifting Chihuahua meet on a beach in Key West, fireworks go off! But that’s just the background. —“Moonlight and Funk” by Marianne Xenos

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., faces one of his funniest and most perplexing cases ever—an enlightened ogre, a salamander with low self-esteem, and a raging fire dragon terrorizing the Unnatural Quarter! —“Fire in the Hole” by Kevin J. Anderson

The Grim Reaper, trapped in an IRS agent’s dying body, must regain his powers before he dies and faces judgment for his original sin. —“Death and the Taxman” by David Hankins

In a metaverse future, a woman who exposes falseness in others must decide what is real to her—the love she lost or the love she may have found. —“Under My Cypresses” by Jason Palmatier

Vic Harden wasn’t lured by glory on a daring mission into the reaches of outer space—he was ordered out there by his editor.—“The Unwilling Hero” by L. Ron Hubbard

Dangerous opportunities present themselves when an alien ship arrives in the solar system seeking repairs. —“White Elephant” by David K. Henrickson

With her spaceship at the wrong end of a pirate’s guns, a former war hero must face down her enemies and demons to save Earth’s last best chance for peace. —“Piracy for Beginners” by J. R. Johnson

Years after the Second Holocaust, the last surviving Jews on earth attempt to rewrite the past. —“A Trickle in History” by Elaine Midcoh

When I said I’d do anything to pay off my debts and get back home to Earth, I didn’t mean survey a derelict spaceship at the edge of the solar system—but here I am. —“The Withering Sky” by Arthur H. Manner

High-powered telescopes bring galactic life to our TVs, and network tuner Hank Enos figures he’s seen everything—until the day an alien boy stares back. —“The Fall of Crodendra M.” by T. J. Knight

Knights, damsels and dragons, curses and fates foretold—the stuff of legends and stories, but unexpectedly perverse.—“Constant Never” by S. M. Stirling

Determined to save his wife, Tumelo takes an unlikely client through South Africa’s ruins to the heart of the Desolation—a journey that will cost or save everything. —“The Children of Desolation” by Spencer Sekulin

When a terrorist smuggles a nuclear weapon into London, a team regresses in time to AD 1093 to assassinate a knight on the battlefield, thereby eliminating the terrorist a millennia before his birth. —“Timelines and Bloodlines” by L. H. Davis

The Grand Exam, a gateway to power for one, likely death for all others—its entrants include ambitious nobles, desperate peasants, and Quiet Gate, an old woman with nothing left to lose. —“The Last History” by Samuel Parr

You will love this collection of the best new voices because, as Locus magazine puts it, “Excellent writing…extremely varied. There’s a lot of hot new talent.”

Get it now.

In the world of speculative fiction…

Your favorite authors…

Have selected the best new voices of the year.

24 Award-winning Authors and Illustrators

3 Bonus Short Stories by Kevin J. Anderson •...

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ISBN 9781619867680
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Featured Reviews

This is one of several volumes of Writers of the Future I’ve read and it’s as great as all the others. Of the 12 stories by the new writers, I loved ten of them. My three favorites were “Death and the Taxman” by David Hankins, “A Trickle in History” by Elaine Midcoh, and “The Children of Desolation” by Spencer Sekulin. “The Unwilling Hero” by L. Ron Hubbard was also excellent. My favorite illustrations were by Sarah Morrison for “Death and the Taxman” and by Kristen Hadaway for “White Elephant”. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who reads the genre. Thank you to Galaxy Press Inc, BooksGoSocial, and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

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Volume 39 in the long running series offers generally high quality short fiction across the fantasy and SF spectrum. The Writers of the Future contest has launched many great careers, so these anthologies are always worth a read. I liked The Kitsune, Moonlight and Funk; The Withering; and The Last History; so a range from SF to fantasy to horror. A Trickle in History was also good, though seemed a bit less mature. Others were enjoyable with only one or two forgettable. The professional entries were less compelling than those of the contestants. Generally well done.

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[Blurb goes here]

First, let us talk about 'Writers (& Illustrators) of the Future,' a quarterly contest, founded some thirty years ago by L. Ron Hubbard. It's open to unpublished writers and illustrators. Once a year the organizers publish a new book featuring the yearly winners in both categories. So, if you choose to read this anthology, you're in for a nice surprise.

With three bonus stories by Kevin J. Anderson, L. Ron Hubbard, and S. M. Stirling and the added art and writing tips by Lazarus Chernik, L. Ron Hubbard, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, this compilation makes for a great read.

The featured stories are both fresh and innovative. As far as anthologies go, this is one I await for —impatiently, I might add— every year. So, let us get to it, shall we?

In 'Kitsune,' a long ago extinct animal comes back in droves. Beautifully written, this story hides an important social commentary, reason enough to immerse yourself in it.

Kevin J. Anderson regales us with a short story featuring his Zombie P.I., Dan Shamble. A fun little story.

'Death and the Taxman' has to be one of my favorites. An IRS employee, cheats Death with unexpected, and fun, I might add, consequences.

'White Elephant', in my opinion, is a most interesting story: an alien prove reaches Earth and starts negotiating with humans. It wants a planet for his masters to colonize 150 years in the future. Humanity, as always, shows their true colors.

'Piracy for Beginners' felt a little flat. A ship is attacked by pirates, the ship's captain has to get rid of the threat: she used to be in the army, so her goal was always at hand's reach.

'The Withering Sky' is an interesting take on humans boarding an alien vessel. Truth be told, it felt...incomplete...? No closure was provided by the author.

'The Fall of Crodendra M.' What would happen if streaming channels could televise real events from all over the universe? A populated planet is about to be wiped out of existence by an asteroid. The tragedy translates to ratings.

'The Children of Desolation,' a heartfelt tale about a man who has to transport a young girl into the wastelands, that is, until he finds out that the girl in question, is a Desolate.

If there's something to be said about this varied collection, is that it showcases real talent.

A must read for writing beginners and an unexpected and welcomed surprise for readers.

Thank you for the advanced copy.

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My childhood consisted mostly of reading SF stories. Loyal Dr Who fan and long-time Trekkie here. Over the years, my preference for novels has been subject to change, - at the moment I'm reading mostly mysteries a la Christie again - but still, always that longing for good SF. So I am the happy owner of all the Year's Best SF anthologies (Dozois), and works by Olaf Stapledon, M.P. Shiel, Wyndham H.G. Wells, and stories from Golden Age SF (anthologies).
They can't be thick enough for me, this anthology contains new (and some older) stories, with beautiful illustrations.

As in any anthology, it is a mix of stories that stir your heart, describe fantastic magical worlds or come with a Battle Royale with a twist. About floating in Neptune clouds, gaming in a metaverse world, or a story in which Jack London features.
Vampires and dragons cannot charm me, so I skipped the story Fire in the Hole about a zombie PI. Otherwise I read everything, and raced through the 400 plus pages.
The illustrations are truly breathtakingly beautiful.
A must read for readers who love SF. Highly recommended! (5 plus stars)
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this review copy. This opinion is my own.

Some of the stories I personally loved the most:
Kitsune: a heartbreakingly surreal story about shapeshifters (canine/human) and where all the foxes come from.
Death and the Taxman - a beautiful and hilarious story about a man who tricks the Grim Reaper. Is somewhat similar to Good Omens in terms of humour.
White Elephant - for me one of the best stories in this volume- about a First Contact with a species (Cenanti) asking Earth for help to repair their seed ship on which they travel. They are a migratory species, and come en masse (2 billion) - on Earth consultations take place on where to leave them. In the end, they sell Venus in exchange for terraforming (Venus) and technology from the creatures. In addition to the wonderful story about the stupidity of the earthlings, as a reader you get another lesson in astrophysics (Venus spinning backwards, gravity, Kuiper & Oort belt, Jupiter, warp drive etc).
The Fall of Codendra - highlights the drawbacks of our evolving individuality. People can watch a whole planet/civilisation blown to bits by an asteroid on huge billboards in the street.
The Children of Desolation - about Tumelo travelling through what was once South Africa to bring a blind girl and her dog to a desolate place where she will surely die. The area is infested with the Desolates (mutant demons in human skin - they are immortal and their blood can cure)

Also included are some bits on what an art director does, and how to write a good story.
Highly recommended! 5 (***** plus stars)

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The twelve winners of the 39th Annual Writers of the Future Award are presented in this anthology of outstanding new voices telling stories that range through everything speculatively fictional from space piracy (“Piracy for Beginners”) to time travel (both the heartbreaking “A Trickle in History” and the mixing of Merlin with C4 in “Timelines and Bloodlines”) to dragons on fire over Key West in “Moonlight and Funk”. The wide net cast by this contest bring the gallows humor of “Death and the Taxman”, where the Grim Reaper is bested by an IRS agent and the bureaucratic red tape of “White Elephant” where Venus is sold to refugee aliens into the same volume with an exploration of whether dating an A.I. is real enough for love in “Under My Cypresses”. There’s something for every genre reader among this year’s winners, as well stories from established writers Kevin J. Anderson and S.M. Stirling and two how-to essays for hopeful writers and illustrators.

VERDICT: This collection of winners will satisfy readers of SF, both epic and urban fantasy, as well as the squishy places in between where speculative fiction is mashed into brave new worlds and crazy mixed-up old ones. Recommended for readers who enjoy SFnal short stories and best of the year collections.

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I've read a number of the books in this series, and enjoyed this, which always has a good variety of stories and generally high quality.

Thanks very much for the free copy for review!!

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I love anthologies. They give me a snapshot of authors I might not recognize and samples of their libraries. I have read many of the L Ron Hubbard presents volumes but I chose this one because I recently discovered Brandon Sanderson's books and was searching through the titles in his back library. When an author whose work you admire recommends similar author's works, it's worth my time to read them. And it was definitely worth my time.......
Several of these stories are so good, you'll fall into them and be disappointed when they end. Some are just good, some still working....that's another great thing about anthologies. Your investment in time is different for each and you'll be able to start and finish the story in one sitting. So........try this book, you'll not regret it.

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Writers Of The Future is a neat collection series, and this was my first time encountering it. The volumes contain works by two sets of winners for the year, writers and illustrators, with winners chosen quarterly over the course of a year's submissions. Volume 39 showcases 12 winning writers and illustrators (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place per quarter), plus 2 additional stories by Writers of the Future Contest judges Kevin J. Anderson and S. M. Stirling, an L. Ron Hubbard story, and some essays on writing and art. The rules for entry are a little more complex than this, but basically the contestants must be largely unpublished--the idea is to identify new/developing talent and elevate it to a wider audience. Each winning story is paired with an illustration, and the pair are preceded by blurbs for both the writer and the illustrator; some use the blurbs to talk about the genesis of the story or their path to becoming a writer/illustrator, but I was most charmed by a few who were willing to be open about how many times they had entered before winning (in one case, 25). That kind of thing--how many unsuccessful tries preceded the success--is important for developing writers & contest entrants to see.

I like the stories and had fun reading them. Several read as emerging talent--promising and engaging, but not yet masters of their craft (naturally). A few stories stood out to me as being especially well-crafted or memorable: I really particularly liked White Elephant by David K. Henrikson, I enjoyed the quiet literary magical realism of Kitsune by Devon Bohm, and was effectively spooked and unsettled by the tense horror-in-space story The Withering Sky by Arthur H. Manners. A couple of stories didn't work for me, which is usually the case in an anthology. So: a mix containingsome standout 4 star stories that stuck with me and had me thinking later, several 3-star stories that I enjoyed but wasn't likely to recall details of in a week or two, and one or two that just weren't to my taste would have made this an overall 3-star read for me.


The editors at Writers of the Future know how to wrap an anthology, and they saved the strongest story for last. Easily worth the price of admission all by its lonesome. (It's phenomenal. Like, Hugo-ballot material, I'm not exaggerating.) The Last History, by Samuel Parr, is a stunner. The author says about his story, "It started with a question about two concepts: could you take the brutally long Civil Service Exams of Imperial China and make them a magic battle royale?" That will do for a teaser, and it's not inaccurate, but it's more than that, too--it's got heart and hard questions and nuance and I got choked up at the end. 5 star story, easy. Parr notes in his blurb that this is his first professional sale, which "has helped Sam after a lifetime of low confidence in his writing. He now can’t wait to continue setting the weird worlds in his head onto the page, and he hopes you might read his work again." I hope so too, Sam.

I was provided an ARC by BooksGoSocial and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I highly recommend checking out this book and its new writers. Step into new worlds and writing styles in bite size portions.
Then you find a writer you like you can go and find their other books and chew on something bigger.

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L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39

Dean Wesley Smith (Editor)Jody Lynn Nye (Editor), Tom Wood (Illustrator), Dao Vi (Illustrator),
Alexandra Albu (Illustrator), Clarence Bateman (Illustrator), Sarah Morrison (Illustrator), Ximing Luo (Illustrator) Alaya Knowlton (Illustrator), José Sánchez (Illustrator), Kristen Hadaway(Illustrator), Chris Binns (Illustrator), Chris Arias (Illustrator), Helen Yi (Illustrator), April Solomon (Illustrator), Bruce Brenneise (Illustrator), Nick Jizba (Illustrator), L. Ron Hubbard,
Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, S.M. Stirling, Lazarus Chernik, Samuel Parr, Spencer Sekulin, Devon Bohm, Arthur H. Manners, L.H. Davis, David Hankins, David K. Henrickson, J.R. Johnson, Marianne Xenos, Elaine Midcoh, Jason Palmatier, T.J. Knight

Kitsune by Devon Bohm
Mystical look at meaning and how people view their world. From New Mexico, Georgia O’Keefe, and the idea of women's lib, and freedom. The cross cultural look at need and desire, and freedom. A beautiful idea.

Moonlight and funk By Marianne Xenos
True friendship is accepting who you are. The best friend is the one that makes you better, gives you direction and company along the way. Can a dragon, a vampire, and a chihuahua find that best friendship?

Death And the taxman by David Hankins
Started as stories he made up for his daughter at bed time. What a hilarious beginning. I loved the humor and the ideas shown by the characters that create amazing puns, and hilarious episodes.

Under my cypresses by Jason Palmatier
What is reality, what is AI, how will life balance these two opposing structures? This story looks at our perception of reality and brings in the idea of ai and computer generated societal constructs.

Circulate by L. Ron Hubbard
Looking at his writing and legacy.

The unwilling hero L. Ron Hibbard
A pioneering venture into space. What is our responsibility to explorers? Are we obligated to find lost travelers in space? And does the found real-estate of worlds found in this search. It's a Space voyage of philosophical and mathematical imagination.

White Elephant by David k. Henrickson
Given warning of alien contact and possible invasion how would a Space faring earth respond.

Piracy for beginners by J. R. Johnson
An adventure into space, finding out how to use her personal skills to evade space pirates. Her choice was not supported by the company, but it worked that she saved her ship and her crew. An interesting look at rules of corporations and independent actions.

Prioritize to increase your writing by kristine kathryn Rusch
A short personal story of the struggles we all have with obligations and motivations.

Fire in the hole
By Kevin J. Anderson
The story of a young monster who has to face his family and take his own life in hand. A twist on mythological monsters with humor and the gumshoe investigations.

A Trickle in history by Elaine Midcoh
The last of the Jews in Europe are hidden behind false papers and ideology. The propaganda and prejudice affect every part of their lives. This book shows the sad image of a possible history. Time travel has circumstances for change but it erases those things that happen after they change.

The Withering Sky by Arthur H. Manners
One of the darkest stories in this collection. Showing the fractures of human personality and mind. The exploration of an alien artifact has a phenomenal effect on the group.

The fall of Crodendra M T. J. Knight
We are responsible for our existence. That if family calls we are to go. We are to be there. If we do not we find regret. It's a poignant story of regret and goodbye.

What is art direction? By Lazarus Chernik
Personal description of the community and audience of the artist and their direction of illustration to stories and descriptions.

Constant Never by s.m. Stirling
A knight, a dragon and a Maiden. Formula for the epic heroes story with a final magical twist.

The children of desolation by Spencer Skulin
A dark look at the future, our current fears of destruction and apocalyptic results. Based in South Africa this story looks at misconception and propaganda as one side plays the other.
7.Timelines and bloodlines by L. H. Davis
Alternative view of time travel and its ramifications. How it affects personal history and how changes can prevent the worst disaster through violence or discussions.

The last history by Samuel Parr
What do we sacrifice for? The abstract or the concept. What do we sacrifice with our past or our future? This story manifests these concepts.
The art work here is remarkable and very beautifully done, each artist is matched perfectly to the medium of the story, with amazingly detailed and remarkable artist renditions of the story. I wish that the publishing industry was as conscious of the cover art as the director of art this book shows.

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This was a terrific anthology including works from several of my favorite SF writers. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy these works in a single volume.

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