March 2011 (Issue #13)
The premise for Issue #13 was
One or more characters try to answer an unusually difficult question of great importance to them.
We received 168 contest entries and chose six stories for prizes. Plus we have a guest writer who wrote a very good story for Contest #12 that didn’t quite make the cut. With a little extra work, it turned into a story we’re proud to publish.
We have two repeat winners this issue: Ken Liu and Neil James Hudson. We also have three winners who have never been published in OTP before, and one who has been a guest writer but has never won before.
One of the authors who is new to us had never made a fiction sale before, so special congratulations go to Rona Yohalem.
And it wouldn’t be OTP without cartoons, so we have six of those too.
Note From the Publisher: Our mission statement in four-word catchphrases, each explained in varying degrees of detail.
Cartoons!: Matt Howarth illustrates six episodes from Tarl’s life. They’re all times when Tarl asked himself, “Why Didn’t I Believe People When They Told Me...?”
And now for our stories...
Four hundred fifty-three probes arrived that night.
FIRST PLACE: The Visit, a science fiction story by Ken Liu (three-time first-place winner! Also took first in Issues #2 and #11)
“You are going to hell and there is nothing I can do to stop it,” he said.
SECOND PLACE: Neighbor from Heaven, an urban fantasy story by Edoardo Albert (first-time winner!)
“The cops don’t care, she doesn’t take anything major, and she talks to herself a lot. What a nut job.”
THIRD PLACE: Inside Out, a real-world story by Debra Purdy Kong (first-time winner!)
After I first came here, I thought I could hear someone behind the wall.
HONORABLE MENTION: A Brick Wall, a science fiction story by Neil James Hudson (three-time winner! Took first place in Issue #7 and second in Issue #11)
When she hangs up, her heart beats so rapidly, she’s afraid she’ll collapse. Maybe it’s a mistake.
HONORABLE MENTION: What Do You Want?, a real-world story by Rona Yohalem (first-time winner, first sale to a paying market)
“No one’s died in over eighty years, Paul. What if he’s not the first? What if they can’t find out what happened? What if…?”
HONORABLE MENTION: A Dead Profession, a science fiction story by Frank Dutkiewicz (first-time winner)
“Do you know why I picked your show?” the gunman asked.
GUEST WRITER: Mornings with AJ and Jen, a real-world story by Thomas Cannon
Note: Photo courtesy of BigStockPhoto