Islamicate Science Fiction Short Story Competition

8Apr - by Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad - 48 - In Featured


The Islam and Science Fiction project has been running since 2005, we just entered our second decade. While the depiction of Muslims in Science Fiction and Islamic cultures has improved we still have a lot way to go, as is the case with many other minority groups. To kickstart things in this genre we have decided to start a contest centered around Science Fiction with Muslim characters or Islamic cultures (Islam in the cultural sense and not necessarily in the religious sense). We are pleased to announce the Islamicate Science Fiction short story writing contest. The contest is open from today (April 8, 2016) to the beginning of Ramadan/Ramzan/Ramjan (June 8, 2016). The winner will be announced on the day of Eid – July 6, 2016. If you already have a story then be sure to submit it soon, if not then start typing.


Islamicate refers to the cultural output of predominantly Islamic culture or polity. Thus while the culture has its foundation and inspiration from the religion of Islam, it need not be produced by someone who is Muslim. The term Islamicate is thus similar to the term West as it encompasses a whole range of cultures, ethnicities and schools of thought with shared historical experience. The contest is open to all people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack there of. Thus a person of any religion, nationality, ethnicity race, gender, sexual orientation can submit. A collection of the best stories from the submissions will be released as an epub and available to download for free. Only the top three stories that win the prize will be given the prize money, the others will be published without the money.


We already have the following pool of prize money:

First Prize: $200
Second Prize: $150
Third Prize: $100

Our goal is to extend it to:

First Prize: $500
Second Prize: $300
Third Prize: $200

Thus we need to raise $300+$150+$100=$550. Given the GoFundMe fees, this comes up to $593.45

You can donate to the campaign at this link (GoFundMe Campaign for Islamicate Short Story Competition)

Submission rules:

  • The stories must be either set in a predominantly Muslim culture AND/OR have Muslim protagonist(s).
  • Short stories in almost any variant of Science Fiction (space opera, time-travel, apocalyptic, reimaging classic themes, techno-thrillers, bio-punk, science mystery, alternate history, steampunk, utopian, dystopian etc) is encouraged.
  • No reprints: No simultaneous submissions: No multiple submissions.
  • Submission are limited to one per person.
  • Submission are only accepted in English.
  • Since we are talking about short stories, any story with less than 8,000 words will be accepted.
  • The judges and their immediate family are not eligible to win prizes in the competition.

How to submit: Please submit your short story to with the subject line Short Story Contest

Judges (Alphabetical):

  • Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad: Founder and editor of Islam and Science Fiction, Senior Data Scientist at Groupon.
  • Ahmed Naumaan: Dean of College of Engineering, DeVry University.
  • Noura Al-Nouman: Science Fiction author from the Gulf.
  • Muhammad Handara Hankins: Science Fiction Critic.
  • Rebecca Hankins: Associate Professor, Archivist/Librarian, Texas A&M University.


If you have questions about the contest then you can either leave your questions as comments to this thread or email me at Be sure to spread and the word far and wide, we are looking forward to your submissions!




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48 thoughts on “Islamicate Science Fiction Short Story Competition”

    1. This the first time we are having this competition so there are no previous year’s submissions or winners.

  1. Would you consider starting an email newsletter for this competition, so that we can sign up to be notified of the announced winners? I won’t be writing, but would love to read the results.

    This could be automated with a service like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, or GetResponse – likely for free!

  2. Sounds good! But I wanted to check on one thing: you said that you’ll be releasing a free epub book of the best submissions. Does that mean that you’ll be publishing some of the submissions (beyond the top three) without paying the authors? If so, can you make that clearer in the guidelines?

    1. This is strictly Science Fiction unless you can find a way to mix the two then that would work as well.

    1. Any standard font and spacing (single or double) is fine. The only condition is the limit on the number of words. It will be judged on the merit of the story so the author name will not be taken into account.

    1. There has been a delay, I have posted the reasons and the new date in a new post on this site.

    1. There has been a delay, I have posted the reasons and the new date in a new post on this site.

  3. I submitted a story for this competition, received an email asking for personal details to which I sent. I sent another email inquiring about my submission, to which I have yet to hear back from? I find it odd that I haven’t been notified regarding the decision of my submission and/or if this competition is even valid. Please advise, when you can.

    1. The same thing happened to me. I find it somewhat concerning that we were not notified of our submission after being asked personal details. If someone can confirm that would be great.

  4. The deadline isn’t for ages and ages. You’ll hear something when it’s all been processed, but I reckon asking for your details is encouraging. Good luck! PS. I am not the organiser.

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