Return to Luna: A Short Story Science Fiction Contest by the National Space Society

Press Release From: National Space Society
Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2008


The National Space Society (NSS) and Hadley Rille Books announce the RETURN TO LUNA Short Story Contest.

SCENARIO: You're returning from a hike in the Moon's Apennine Mountains, following the ancient trail of bootprints back to the settlement. For three days your suit has protected you on your journey through the lunar wilderness, a hike unlike any on Earth. You've scaled mountains, traversed craters, repelled down massive boulders. And now you've crested the last hill and the valley spreads out before you. The colony's sprawling complex awaits. You're almost home.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR: Science Fiction stories that show the adventure of lunar settlement. We want to feel the romance of life there, the wonder of the lunar frontier, of its magnificent desolation. We prefer near future (50 to 150 years from now), realistic stories about human lunar settlement. We want good characterization and well-written, tight prose. We want to feel what it's like to live on the Moon.

We will be accepting submissions for stories that deal with humanity's return to, and colonization of the Moon. Winning stories will be selected later this year by a panel of award-winning authors and editors, and will be included in the print anthology RETURN TO LUNA. Winners will also receive complimentary full-year memberships to the National Space Society, including a subscription to the award-winning magazine, Ad Astra, and a chance for their story to be featured in a review in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Visit or for updates. Read below for story guidelines and rules.


Please read entire guidelines before submitting to ensure your story fits the requirements!


  • Previously unpublished stories only -- no reprints.
  • No simultaneous submissions (that is, don't send your story to us and to other publishers at the same time).
  • Multiple submissions are okay (you may send us more than one story).
  • Set entirely on the Moon.
  • Realistic stories showing very possible futures.
  • No gratuitous sex or excess violence or anything beyond mild language (these stories will be read by space enthusiasts of all ages).
  • Science Fiction (no fantasy, horror or other genres).
  • No aliens or faster than light travel.

LENGTH: 2000 to 6000 words.


PRIZES: All winning stories will be published in the anthology RETURN TO LUNA with a potential readership of thousands; the book will be submitted to well-known science fiction editors to consider each of the stories for inclusion in their "best of the year" anthologies, and the book will be sent out for review. All winning authors will be eligible for royalties and will receive free membership to the NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY for one year. GRAND PRIZE WINNER will also have a review of his or her winning short story featured in NSS's magazine AD ASTRA, and on the NSS and Hadley Rille Books websites.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ONLY: Send as an attachment to an email message with subject line "NSS CONTEST" to Microsoft Word .doc file is preferred, or .rtf is okay (please contact us if you need to make arrangements for another format). Please virus scan your document before sending. Story will be stripped of author name and assigned a number before forwarded to the jurors. You will receive a confirmation email back from us. (If you do not receive a confirmation email then that means we did not receive your story.)

FORMAT: We prefer the standard manuscript format as shown here:, except that we prefer single-spaced rather than double-spaced. Please don't do any fancy formatting such as right-justifying, etc. -- leave that to us. Please don't hit Enter (or Return) at the end of each line. Let your word processor wrap the text.

SUBMISSION PERIOD: From now through June 15, 2008.


  • How have we set about establishing a lunar base, and then a colony?
  • What are living conditions like?
  • What is the lunar wilderness like? What kind of exploring to settlers do?
  • What are the buildings like and how do people get around the lunar surface?
  • What kinds of transportation do they use to travel to and from the Moon?
  • What kind of society lives there? What are the challenges to human social structures?
  • Are lunar colonies self-sufficient or do they depend on Earth?
  • What kind of industries exist and how do the colonists make use of lunar resources?
  • Does the colony resemble Las Vegas or is it more like a science outpost?
  • Will there be settlements on the far side -- a radio telescope array, perhaps?
  • Is the colony located near one of the poles where miners extract ice from the permanently shadowed areas?
  • Why have we established a colony on the Moon?

JUDGING: Winning stories will be selected by our jury of authors and editors, including Michael A. Burstein, Tom Dupree, Jude-Marie Green, Jay Lake, Geoffrey A. Landis, Christopher McKitterick, Eric T. Reynolds, Lawrence M. Schoen, Allen Steele, Ian Randal Strock.

RESULTS: We expect to announce winners by late summer 2008.

ABOUT THE BOOK: This anthology will be professionally published in either trade paperback, hardcover, or both. We expect to publish the book late 2008. About the National Space Society

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and more than 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information about NSS, visit

About Hadley Rille Books

Hadley Rille Books was founded in 2005 by Eric T. Reynolds to publish Science Fiction with an emphasis on space, archaeology, climate and other science-related topics, with a goal to bring a new sense of adventure of the Universe to the reader. Hadley Rille Books publishes well-known writers as well as new and emerging voices. For more information, visit

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