ADC Sci Fi

Announcing the ADC Sci-Fi Writing Competition Winners and Honourable Mentions


The judging panel had a tough task in coming to an agreement about the winning entries and honourable mentions because of the number of original, entertaining, and high-quality submissions.


Congratulations to the following winners and honourable mentions:


Australian Category

  1. Dog by Mark McCallum

  2. Forgetting the Echidna’s Lair by Gregory Long

  3. Traitor by Richard Morris

Honourable Mentions


International Category

  1. The Two Sisters by Ben Plotkin

  2. Psyche by Ian T. Brown

  3. The Crossroads by Michael Mammay

Honourable Mentions


Thank you to everyone who made a submission to the competition. We received 49 entries from across Australia and internationally. The most commonly occurring themes throughout the submissions were:

  1. Cyber warfare: (mis)information attacks; cyber equipment failures; failure of cyber-based intelligence; misuse of social media sources.
  2. AI/Human interface: augmented humans; systems failures; rogue AI machines; corrupted data; medical procedures to integrate humans/AI; far future AI overriding human command structures; AI development towards humanity.
  3. Future combat: overwhelmingly about the vulnerability of all forces (examples from Army, Navy, Air force) to over-reliance on 1&2 above; hijacking of military hardware by AI/ Cybernetics/ Social Media; guerrilla pushback and counter-revolution.
  4. Far future scenarios: earth destroyed /made uninhabitable by unchecked global warming; war over food and resources caused by crop failures etc; post viral economic collapse and consequent war (2 stories close to Coronavirus scenario); political failures to address climate change; sabotage at high levels.
  5. Human failures: traitors; pressure from rogue social groups/ terrorists sabotaging international cooperation; terrorist actions; political ineptitude.


Judging Panel


The Judging Panel for the competition were:


  • Dr Janeen Webb. Janeen is a multiple award-winning author, editor, and critic and academic who has written or edited a dozen books and over a hundred essays and stories. She is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Peter MacNamara SF Achievement Award, the Aurealis Award and four Ditmar Awards. Her most recent book is The Dragon's Child (PS Publishing, UK, 2018). She is currently co-writing an alternate history series, The City of the Sun, with Andrew Enstice: the first book, The Five Star Republic, is due for release from IFWG Publications in 2020. Janeen has taught at various universities, is internationally recognised for her critical work in speculative fiction, and has contributed to most of the standard reference texts in the field. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Newcastle.
  • Dr Cat Sparks. Cat Sparks is a multi-award-winning Australian author, editor and artist. Former fiction editor of Cosmos Magazine, she has also dabbled as an assistant library technician, media monitor, political and archaeological photographer, graphic designer, guest lecturer, festival director, panellist, fiction judge, essayist, creative writing teacher and manager of Agog! Press, which produced ten anthologies of new speculative fiction. Cat has a BA in visual arts (CAI), a postgraduate certificate in editing and publishing (UTS) and a PhD in creative writing (Curtin), the latter concerning the intersection of ecocatastrophe science fiction and contemporary climate fiction. Other career highlights include studying with Margaret Atwood, 73 published short stories, two collections – The Bride Price (2013) and Dark Harvest (2020) and a far-future novel, Lotus Blue (2017), which was funded by an Australia Council emerging writers grant. Her website is:
  • Major-General Mick Ryan. MAJGEN Ryan is the Commander of the Australian Defence College. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the USMC Staff College and School of Advanced Warfare, and he is a passionate advocate of professional education and lifelong learning. He has written a number of short science-fiction stories – AugoStrat Awakenings and a contribution (with Therese Keane) to the upcoming Destination Unknown series (Marine Corps University Press). He can be found on Twitter: @warinthefuture
  • Group Captain Jo Brick. GPCAPT Brick is the Chief of Staff, Australian Defence College. She holds a Master of Laws, and a Master of Military and Defence Studies (Advanced) from the Australian National University. She is also a graduate and former Directing Staff of the Australian Command and Staff Course. She has yet to write a sci-fi story, but is fortunate to be working for a science fiction nerd. She is a Member of the Military Writers Guild, an Associate Editor for The Strategy Bridge, and an Editor for The Central Blue. She can be found on Twitter at @clausewitzrocks.


Thank you to the judges and to everyone that contributed to the competition. We look forward to hosting another writing competition in the future. Stay tuned to The Forge for details!