Have you ever gone treasure hunting? I mean a legitimate journey for actual treasure. While I can’t claim to have been on a deep-sea voyage to find sunken ships with untold riches, I have experienced the same thrill and anticipation of finding something of value. I recently procured fifty dollars in pennies and sifted through them for hours. (Found an Indian Head penny from 1908, I did) I’ve mined for diamonds in Herkimer, NY. And I read past volumes of Writers of the Future.
Now, you might ask, what’s the monetary value of short stories? I would argue the emotional reward in discovering a story that touches the heart or stimulates the mind is worth far more than a $2.00 penny.
Initially I found Volume 25 in my favorite hunting ground―a bookstore. I scanned through the story titles and found: “The Assignment of Runner ETI.” A story about running? I love to run. I brought the book home and, oh yes, it’s about running, but with a sci-fi twist, and a satisfying ending. So, I read on. “After the Final Sunset, Again” sounds interesting. Wait, what, it’s about a phoenix woman? Phoenixes are awesome!
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I’m discovering treasure.
And the best part? Volume 25 is currently available. The treasures within are still there for anyone to find. So after I finished the stories and writing articles (because secretly I wanted to be a writer as well), I went online and ordered two more books.
As time went on, more volumes were published. One a year, in fact. Volume 26 starts with “Living Rooms,” one of my favorites to this day. Volume 27, oh 27, contains “The Unreachable Voices of Ghosts.” That story shines like crystals in the sun. Wow.
As for my favorites, my own personal gems, I offer “Twelve Seconds” by Tina Gower in Volume 29, “Saturn in G Minor” by Stephen Kotowych in Volume 23, and “Rainbows for Other Days” by C. Stuart Hartwick in Volume 30.
I read “Rainbows” to my eleven-year-old son and he liked it, although I wondered if he were too young for some of the more complex themes. A year or so later he asked if I could reread the story about the robot guy who finds the lady in the acid (have a look at the illustration). When I asked why, he said he remembered liking it and wanted to hear it again. So I grabbed Volume 30 and he sat, looking on, full of eager anticipation, ready to find out what happens next. Ready―to discover treasure.
So while I could go on about my favorites and how they made me feel (actual tears from “Saturn in G Minor,” folks), my fondest memory from all the volumes and all the stories is having my son request a second reading. We’d found this treasure together.
And now, having won the Writers of the Future Contest myself (remember when I said I wanted to be a writer?), I send my story off into the world, buried not on an island under sand, but readily available for all who go to a bookstore, shop online, or download to their electronic reader.
Who knows, maybe your son or daughter will ask you to reread the story about the alien boy who plays with balls made of woven sticks, and my story will be your discovered treasure.
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39 featuring “The Fall of Crodendra M.” by T.J. Knight releases May 2023.
T.J. Knight is the pen name for a regular dude who lives in New York (upstate, not city) surrounded by oaks & pines, deer & turkeys, a cat, son, wife, and on holidays, a daughter. He makes soap, bakes too many paleo brownies, reads, runs, and writes. His favorite authors are K.L. Going, Laini Taylor, and John Steakley. While this may seem an eclectic group, he reads more for style than content. And oh, the style!
You can find his flash-length works in Every Day Fiction and Daily Science Fiction. His longer works appear in Future Finalists Publishing’s Starlight series where he served as editor for volume two.