The Parsec Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Story Contest opened for entries Feb. 1. First prize is $200 plus publication in the program book for the Confluence 2014 literary speculative fiction conference, which will take place July 25-27 in Pittsburgh. The second-place prize is $100 and third place $50.
Stories for the contest must be in the science fiction, fantasy, or horror genre, previously unpublished, and not under contract. The submission guidelines say nothing about religious content, but the parent organization is a secular group. The word-count maximum is 3,500. Each author may submit up to four stories. The entry deadline is April 30.
“The theme for this year’s contest is “PARCH.” The theme may be broadly interpreted, but must be integral to the story.”
The contest is open to non-professional writers, which Parsec describes as “those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large circulation publication.”
When you get to the site, you will see that Parsec also has a planned anthology, Triangulation, with the same theme. Stories entered in the contest may be considered for the anthology if the contest entrant chooses that option when submitting. You may also submit to the anthology without entering the contest.
As far as I can see, there’s no entry fee for this contest. It’s extremely unusual for a no-fee contest to offer a cash prize, so this is either a great opportunity, or there’s a cost hidden further in the entry process than I was willing to explore (that is, up to the point where I was asked to create an account to log in to the site). If you enter the contest and find it has a fee, please let us know.