Writing competitions science fiction

Selected by an international jury out of 104 entries from 36 countries, Lavie Tidhar’s story Temporal Spider, Spatial Webs is the winner of this year’s Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction Competition.

The story is about Spider, an intelligent rock drifting through space listening to and absorbing everything – especially music – and looking for a place to nest and lay his children.

“A shower of ice creates a breathtaking vista; as Spider comes crashing into the rock the impact disrupts the sheen of ice and sends it spinning into space like a gigantic, delicate rainbow.”

‘Temporal Spider, Spatial Webs’
by Lavie Tidhar

“This story was chosen because of the quality of writing, the technology idea behind the story and the poetic feel to the text, ” says jury member David Raitt, of ESA’s Technology Transfer and Promotion Office. “The impression is given of a vision of a future which is strange and different.”

Lavie Tidhar, 26 and born in Israel, grew up in a kibbutz. At the age of 15 he moved with his family to South Africa and spent the last years of his schooling between Israel and South Africa. He then spent several years travelling in Africa and worked in Malawi and South Africa before moving to London in 1998.

'Temporal Spider, Spatial Webs' by Lavie TidharTidhar worked in the UK for two years before again setting off on his travels, this time to Russia, Mongolia, China and Borneo. Currently he is studying for a degree at the Richmond American International University in London (RAIUL).

Lavie Tidhar

“I really appreciate winning this competition - it really means a lot to me. Coming exactly a year after I started writing fiction, it seems to indicate that I may be going the right way, ” says Lavie Tidhar.

Lavie writes poetry and has had several stories accepted for publication in various anthologies and magazines. He also writes a regular review column for an online site and reviews short fiction magazines for a bi-monthly magazine.

“It was extremely difficult to select the winner. We had many really good stories, ” says David Raitt. “We plan to select the best and publish the stories in a book later this year.”

“Spider sits at the heart of the rock and waits for his children to find their way out, to eat their way through the rock, and to take wings.”

‘Temporal Spider, Spatial Webs’
by Lavie Tidhar

Runners-up were Rudi Ball, 21, from South Africa for his story Collectibles where a spaceship gets its own innards sucked out by a kind of space garbage collector unit; Gareth Barlow, 24, also from South Africa for his story The Canine Intent which is a piece of wonderful writing about a new laser rock cutter; Wunji Lau, 29, from the USA for his story Form and Function, a very nice idea about living tattoos on the skin; and Andrew Mays, 29, also from the USA for his story Tonight's Episode, a humorous reality-TV-type tale where the audience can decide the fate of a neglected orbital facility.

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