As we near the pointy end of 2015 things are heating up at the top of the ladder. This year has a few authors in particular take the award by the scruff on the neck. Lydia Trethewey, who debuted at NiTH way back in June, now holds top spot on the Leaderboard. Lydia has come to be recognised as an author with a broad oeuvre typified by scintillating diction and pointed observations about life in the 21st Century… and beyond.

Chara coughs awkwardly. ‘I had a dream this morning, about the intercept. It was like I was following an inevitable string of events, and yet forming the situation as I went. A half-lucid fabrication. Testing methods of intercept, and in the end I broke protocol and rushed in, just took the package.’

Ere stares out into the crowd.

‘Reality bleeds into the subconscious in strange ways. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Here he comes.’

Tachyonic Antitelephone

Alicia Bruzzone is another one to watch in 2016, already equal second with Debb Bouch, Amber Fernie, and another rising star, Ash Warren. This week, Alicia looks to monopolise the competition with Educating The Locals:

I held out the box, and all four of the boy’s hands were suddenly scrambling inside. “Moon vehicle,” he declared, selecting the car.
His sister picked an ‘interstellar drive,’ otherwise known as a thimble, and we began the game.

Steve Ashton is another one to look out for in 2016, Notching up a handful of wins in recent weeks with tongue in cheek humor, a dry wit, and a keen eye for contemporary culture. This week’s effort was no different.

D is for Dark Matter
Of course dark matters, but not at the expense of light.

E is for Einstein
Famous for his cosmological insights and mighty head of hair. You and me both, Bert.

F is for Falling Star
If they can’t maintain their position in the firmament by their own efforts, I say let ‘em fall.

– Donald Trump’s Encyclopedia of Space.

It wasn’t all old hands taking a crack at this highly specific Sci Fi Award. Jeanette Stampon turned heads with this high concept Intelligent Life on début

It was a far cry from his first position as crew on the Space Tourism Flight. After five years, he had become bored of the daily trips to Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. He had driven more tourists on moon vehicles than he cared to remember. He craved more. He wanted to explore beyond the confines of the Solar System and answer the big questions. He had always wondered about the planet Callidus and the intelligent life responsible for those mysterious signals.

Winner Announcement

We’ve seen everything this year, from acid rain affected bus trips to bald contortionists, prodigious prodigal sons and men with rotting tongues.

Throughout it all our judges have been diligent in their duties. All told, over 50 people volunteered to judge at some point in 2015. Friends, family, and fans of NiTH all willing to jump in and have a go. So thanks to everyone, we couldn’t continue without your help.

Our winner this week should come as no surprise. Their topic is topical, their language languid yet briefly finding a friend in brevity. Congratulations Steve Ashton for his satirical Donald Trump’s Encyclopedia of Space!

Well done Steve and thanks to everyone who participated. Coming up shortly, the short(ish) list for the Hairpin Tarpaulin Award.