We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Hummingbird Prize!
‘The Last Neanderthals’ by Cristina Crocker Escribano
Judge Bob Thurber says of this story:
In less than 700 words, ‘The Last Neanderthals’ depicts the precarious situation of an ancestral couple trying to survive tumultuous changes beyond their control. It’s a succinct and pithy glimpse of a people on the brink of extinction. From the title on we know the ultimate outcome of what the story’s narrator suspects though he can’t quite grasp or articulate it. The piece is atmospheric, prickly, tragic and satisfying.
Congratulations to Christina, who wins the $300 prize. Her story will be published in the Winter 2016 issue of Pulp Literature.
Runner up: ‘Dream House’ by Jennica Broom
In Bob’s words:
Dream House is playful, darkly whimsical, and daring good fun that becomes progressively more unnerving as it unveils a serious real-world soreness.
Jennica wins $75, and her story will be published in Issue 9 as well.
We have also chosen two Editors’ picks, stories that stuck with us:
‘Vellum’ by Andrea Lewis
‘Chipping’ by Jono Naito
As with last year’s Editors’ Picks we hope to offer these authors standard story contracts within the next year.
We’re very sorry to keep everyone waiting until 2016 to read these such great stories. In the meantime please enjoy the free e-book on offer from our hard-working contest judge. Bob Thurber’s novella Cinderella She Was Not won the 2006 Meridian Editor’s Fiction Prize, one of Bob’s very long list of credits and awards. We can’t thank Bob enough for his time spent on a tough decision regarding the winning entries; perhaps our readers can thank him with a review or a nod on their social media.
We were extremely impressed with the quality of the stories that came in this year, and it made choosing the winners hard! For those who paid the additional fee for editiorial feeback, your critiques will be arriving by email soon.
We hope your pens and keyboards are hard at work generating stories of equal quality for the Raven Contest, which opens September 1st!
We’ve had some fabulous entries for the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction — so fabulous that we had a hard time culling the stories for our final judge. In the end, we sent a shortlist of 26 gems for Bob Thurber to pick from. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, but in the mean time we want to congratulate these shortlisted authors for transfixing us with their wordcraft:
- Sarah Scott – ‘A Luminous Veil’
- Tim O’Leary – ‘Adolf’s Return’
- Jono Naito – ‘Chipping’
- Laura Carter-Stone – ‘City in the Hills’
- Mike Glyde – ‘Dinner with Geoff’
- Jennica Broom – ‘Dream Home’
- Mason Boyles – ‘Escaping from Handcuffs’
- Fred Waiss – ‘Extra-terrestrial Sex’
- Melanie Whipman – ‘Heartless’
- KT Wagner – ‘Hunted’
- Andrea Lewis – ‘I Mean Everything in my Life up till Now’
- Brittany Ackerman – ‘Into the Hudson’
- Jonathan Naito – ‘Listerine’
- Mark Russell Gelade – ‘Sour Times’
- Grace Ayers Brewer – ‘The Bathroom Floor’
- Michael Donoghue – ‘The Demise of Great Expectations’
- Elizabeth Barton – ‘The Game’
- Cristina Crocker Escribano – ‘The Last Neanderthals’
- Laurie A Jacobs – ‘The Saffron Lover’
- Pedro Ponce – ‘The Scales of Judas Iscariot’
- Kai Kiser – ‘The Stoop’
- Matthew Chabin – ‘Tito Uncanny’
- Jim Geist – ‘Turing Test’
- Peter DeMarco – ‘Vacation’
- Andrea Lewis – ‘Vellum’
- Ace Baker – ‘Wave Runner’
To celebrate the Hummingbird Prize, our kind and generous judge, Bob Thurber, is posting one of his prize-winning novels as a freebie next week, July 13th -17th. Cinderella She Was Not is modern, dark, and insightful. Check it out!
And if you are inspired to get in on the action for a $500 prize, start penning your entry to the Raven Short Story Contest now. We open for entries on August 1st!
Canadian readers will especially recognize the name of our feature author for Issue 7 as a leading name in science fiction: Robert J Sawyer has won the Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, Arthur Ellis, and Aurora awards, and with good reason. His books are intelligent and dynamic, introspective and fast-paced. They are true to the calling of great science fiction, seeing our present sharply through the mirror of the future.
Sawyer’s latest book, Red Planet Blues, is unique for its genre crossing, combining traditional pulp genre elements in the futuristic setting of Mars. The novel begins in classic detective fashion, so much so that I can’t help but see fishnet stockings and film noir shadows crossing the set as a hot babe walks in to the only detective agency on Mars to ask a private eye to locate her missing husband…
Before you rush off to buy the book (which I recommend), don’t forget to purchase your issue of Issue 7, to read another cross-genre Sawyer story, ‘Fallen Angel.’ It’s a fantasy story with gothic tones, as a young girl tries to worm out of a deal with the devil. Issues will be mailed out this week! Or come and purchase a copy at our Issue 7 launch party Monday night at the Wolf and Hound pub — we’re set to enjoy ourselves with a beer and a bit of storytelling. What could be a better way to enjoy summer?
I want my blurbs. Those artful, enticing descriptions put a smile of anticipation on my face, speed my reading with a supporting scaffolding of basic information, and reassure me that I haven’t already read this one (or that it’s going to be my great pleasure to read it again.)
I noticed that Stephen King’s Revival (loved it) has all the copyright/acknowledgements at the end of the ebook. That made for a slick clean start. He’s always on the ball with these things. But where is the best place to place eblurbs so that we can see those back cover/inside flap descriptions before we read the book? Summer weather is too pretty for brooding, so I’m lying on the grass, gazing up at the sky and mulling on it.
Join us at the Wolf & Hound on Monday July 6th. You can pick up your hot-off-the-presses copies of Issue 7. Please RSVP to info(at)pulpliterature.com so we can give pub a heads-up for numbers. All three editors are in town, and we look forward to meeting you and raising a glass or three of beer!
Issue 7 Launch Party
Monday 6 July, 7 – 9pm
The Wolf & Hound, 3617 W Broadway
We’re extending the Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction deadline till noon (Pacific time) today, June 16th, as we work to process the entries we’ve received. You’ve still got a few hours to get them in!
The Hummingbird Contest closes on Monday. Do you have your stories in yet?
Our contest judge is Bob Thurber, master of short fiction. To inspire you to inspire him, here are a few paragraphs from ‘Wager’, the first of his stories to be published in Pulp Literature.
I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum. The truly important people are Tony and Phil. You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil. The poor bastard’s a wreck, jittery from lack of sleep, fuelled by too much coffee. He hasn’t bathed, shaved or eaten since Thursday’s late afternoon breakfast, when he was chewing on a slice of rubbery bacon, commenting to Tony, his roommate and life partner, how premium quality, centre-cut bacon really should not be cooked on a paper towel in a microwave.
That’s when the phone rang and Phil answered.
The caller’s voice was flat, cold, nonchalant to the point of sounding breezy. It was a voice right out of a Hitchcock thriller, in that moment right before some woman screams. After a brief, rather one-sided conversation full of ugly and melodramatic references to shattered bones, torn flesh, broken teeth, the caller said, “Imagine how it’s going to feel to have both your eyes scooped out with a soup spoon, you deadbeat faggot.”
We love summer! After all, Pulp was born on a sunny deck on Bowen Island in July of 2013, and our earliest graphics featured books and beer on the beach. While we eagerly await issue 7, we thought we’d celebrate the start of summer by offering back issues of last summer’s offering, Issue 3, on sale for the month of June.
For this month only you can get the Summer 2014 issue, with stories by Governor General Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod, Hummingbird Prize judge Bob Thurber, as well as Laird Long, Deborah Walker, Conor Powers-Smith, Fred Zackel and more. Only $12 for print, and $2.99 for ebooks both here on our website and on Amazon. Crack open a cold one and get a head start on summer reading now!
Pacing is a tricky learning curve for some, like me. Other writers seem to have an intuitive feel for it and know just when to give us that beautifully painted descriptive passage that informs character and even moves the story along. Whenever my co-editors Jen and Sue read their work during our Writing Circles sessions, I’m always gobsmacked at the brilliance of their pacing.
How often we read this criticism of novelists and short fiction writers: “Too much description.” Although sometimes that’s right on, more frequently I find that description is misplaced. One of the ways a master storyteller shows his or her skill is by knowing where a descriptive passage works, and where it must not set one painted toe.
And it’s worth learning where in story structure these places are. For example, during the quiet moments where the character is finding that he or she is not what she was, description adds to the importance of the moment, and of course you want to get out the brush and paints when you’re drawing out a reveal moment (the unopened letter’s in his hand, the stranger’s on her doorstep). GG winner Joan MacLeod nails the placement in her perfect story ‘The Salt Tour’ in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature. Best selling thriller writers like Lee Child are masters at knowing exactly when to use description and figurative language and you can examine a book chapter by chapter to see where he’s placing action, description and figurative language. For a perfect example of description informing plot, conflict, and character, take a look at the moment Harry Potter first enters Hogwarts dining hall.
I think of description like caesura in music. Stop on the wrong bar, it’s a hand in the face. When it’s rightly placed, wow.