The 2023 Short Story Contest is now open!

The wait is over – Spectrum London’s 2023 contest is declared open as of today! A big thank you to all who attended our little launch party in London; what a great way to usher in our yearly staple.

As ever, last year’s winner gets to pick our theme for this year. The 2022 winner and newly minted assistant organiser, Malcolm Barclay, has very thoughtfully selected a versatile and interesting theme that can echo across many genres:


The usual rules (see below, and in the members’ contest portal) apply: anonymous entries, 5k word limit, any speculative genre – just incorporate the theme and you are good to go!

You may now begin brainstorming your stories, and please feel free to use the #2023-story-contest channel on our Discord server to post inspirational images, lament your lack of word count, arrange write-togethers and all that good stuff—but remember, no giving away hints as to which story is yours, or you’ll be disqualified!

and now, the small print:


To submit, you need to be a full Spectrum member (attended and given critique in two or more scheduled critique sessions since joining Spectrum) AND have attended at least one critique meeting in the last calendar year (determined by the contest submission deadline) OR be a member of an active novel track group managed by Spectrum.

We will continue to run critique sessions between now and the contest deadline to help newer members to qualify.

Submission Guidelines

For the full guidelines, please see the contest portal (viewable by members only); but the gist of it is:

  • Anonymised entries, properly formatted.
  • You must address the theme of “Legacy” in some way.
  • No AI/LLM assistance is allowed.
  • The usual list of content warnings will be provided during submissions and in the entries ebook.
  • There is a strict word limit of 5,000 words.
  • By entering you commit to reading all entries, voting, and providing three critiques at the end of the contest.

You have until February 29th to submit your entries through the contest portal in the members area.

The entries will be distributed in PDF and ebook format from March 7th, and voting will open from the 10th of March and run until the 7th of April.


All stories that place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the voting categories will receive vouchers to friends of Spectrum and award winning indie bookshop in Yorkshire, Portal Bookshop! £5 for third place in any category, £10 for second place, and £15 in first place – adding up quite nicely for stories that place high in multiple categories.

And of course, the overall winner will (a) receive a critique from the editors at Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and (b) get to choose next year’s theme!

We can’t wait to read the wonderful stories you’ll come up with. If you have any questions about eligibility, submission guidelines, or any part of the contest process, please hop over on our Discord server and speak to one of the @@admins, or ask a question in the #2023-story-contest channel.

Now get ready… set… write!