ADC Sci-Fi Writing Competition 2020

Call for Entries

Robert Heinlein: Starship Troopers. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War. Orson Scott Card: Ender’s Game. John Scalzi: Old Man’s War. These seminal works have shown us the value of science fiction in trying to conceive of what war in the future would look like. Sci-fi also allows us to imagine worlds where we can consider security impacts of broader factors such as demographic factors and climate change. Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! considers the consequences of population growth and food shortage. Australian author Dr Cat Sparks, has also written a doctoral thesis on the contribution of science fiction to understanding climate change. Her book, Lotus Blue, considers the challenges of survival in an environmentally ravaged, post-apocalyptic world.


The Australian Defence College recently hosted a Sci-fi and the Future of War conference, with eminent science fiction authors, cyber warfare specialists, futurists, and ethicists discussing these very issues. Inspired by the discussions at that conference, the Australian Defence College is holding a science fiction writing competition and we want you to join in the conversation!



The topic for the competition is “War in the Future” and entries should examine at least one of the following themes:


  • Strategy and diplomacy

  • Politics and war

  • Causes of war

  • Civil-military relations

  • Human-machine interface / teaming

  • Logistics and sustainment

  • The operational environment

  • Recruitment / training

  • Mobilisation



  • Australian author category

  • International author category



  • Stories must be 4000 words or under and written in English. The content must be suitable for a broad audience (no explicit violence or sexual content).

  • Submissions must be provided in Word format, double spaced, Times Roman 12pt font.

  • Submissions must have a cover sheet with name, contact details, and story title. Do not place your name on any other part of the submission.

  • Submissions must be original work that has not been previously published or submitted for publication other than to this competition.


How to submit:

Please upload your final story here via the ADC Science Fiction Writing Competition 2020 ENTRY FORM.



The competition closes at 2359h Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time on 01 March 2020.



The Chair of the Judging Panel – Major-General Mick Ryan (Commander Australian Defence College) will announce the winner of each category by 30 April 2020.



Entries judged 1st, 2nd and 3rd from each category will receive book vouchers (online credit) to the value of:

1st prize = $250
2nd prize = $150
3rd prize = $100


Additionally, prize winning entries from each category and ‘honourable mentions’ will be published on The Forge and in a Sci-Fi and the Future of War Compendium.


Fine print:

  • The competition is open to all military and civilian personnel working in Defence and/or within national security sectors.
  • Authors must be 18 years or older.
  • Authors retain intellectual property of their stories and, by submitting, give ADC permission to publish their work to analogue and digital channels.


We look forward to receiving your entry. Good luck!