After months of tension for those who entered, SFX and Gollancz can at last reveal who has won the magazine's second Pulp Idol fiction writing competition.
The winning SF story was penned by Alex Clarkson, a 22-year old Somerset chap working in retail. His story, "Da Capo" is set in near-future Israel where an empathic link between human beings has created a dystopian society in which, Clarkson tells us, "the public have become their own Thought Police." It was judged the winner of the SFX Pulp Idol competition by a panel which included members of the SFX team, publishing professionals at Gollancz, and award-winning SF author Geoff Ryman. Ryman describes the winning story as, "a surrealistic but touching fantasy idea, and a current contemporary subject given a terrifying new twist."
Clarkson has been an SFX reader since the days of Buffy, and says of this year's Pulp Idol competition: "It was a great experience! It was nice to have a word limit, but I only just managed to bring it under with copious editing… I wanted to write an 'end of the world' story; at the same time it's a roundabout comment on the culture of the Information Age."
Congratulations to Alex Clarkson. He and 10 runners-up (who will be told later who they are) will see their stories in a book distributed free with SFX issue 162, available on Wednesday 26 September.
To find out more about Gollancz visit the website at www.orionbooks.co.uk .