Public vote opens to award a People’s Choice prize among stories that use quantum inspiration to create many worlds and explore human emotions
From just over 400 stories, 10 have emerged as finalists in the international Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition.
Quantum Shorts opened in October 2021 with a call for writers to think deeply about the many possibilities of quantum mechanics. Writers responded by submitting just over 400 stories with intriguing worlds, plots and characters. Each writer used not more than 1,000 words. As an added challenge, they had to also include the constraint phrase “it’s a lot to think about” in their quantum-inspired stories.
The shortlisting judges, including EQUS Associate Investigator Dr Ben McAllister, judged the stories on the basis of their storytelling, creative use of the constraint phrase and connections to quantum physics.
Ben said the shortlisting process was challenging but very enjoyable, because of the quality of the entries. “It was great to see so many different, creative interpretations of quantum effects. Although I must say I’m also glad Schrödinger’s cat continues to inspire. You could almost say it lives to die another day...”
The shortlisted stories took inspiration from various themes in quantum physics, including quantum computing, the many-worlds interpretation and the observer effect, to spin tales about demons, coronaviruses, cats and terrifying quantum games. Some characters grapple with emotions such as loneliness and desperation, while others face life-changing decisions.
For their efforts, authors of the shortlisted stories have won a USD100 shortlist award and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American. They could win even more prizes as the judging panel decide the First Prize and Runner Up. There is also an online public vote to decide the People’s Choice Prize, which is open until 21 March 2022. Read the stories, hear from the authors and vote for your favourite at shorts.quantumlah.org.
EQUS is a scientific partner of Quantum Shorts, which is organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore and supported by media partners Scientific American and Nature. Other scientific partners of the competition include the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM), QuTech and the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.
The ten shortlisted stories are, in alphabetical order:
Thanks to all writers who shared their stories and congratulations to the finalists!