We don’t care as much about nuclear weapons anymore.
The Cold War era’s existential fear of nuclear catastrophe has faded to a quiet consensus that, maybe, nuclear weapons might help to keep the peace between the world’s major powers. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone would actually press that button to launch nuclear weapons and ignite a nuclear war. There will always be a Stanislav Petrov in the room, right? And enough superheroes, spies, and action heroes have stopped misfired or rogue nukes on the big screen to make it all too easy to convince ourselves that the good guys will always win.
Nuclear weapons? Been there, done that.
In Inkstick’s first-ever short story contest, we invite you to break through our nuclear apathy.
We want you to make us care — and really worry — about nuclear weapons again. After all, the threat hasn’t gone away. With the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons and escalating rhetoric between the US and China, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe is not only very much present, it’s evolved.
Through a fictional short story, we invite you to imagine an event, conflict, or situation that would bring nuclear weapons back into the public consciousness and make us fear nuclear war. How could nuclear weapons re-enter our world? What could go wrong? How might technology or bombastic rhetoric play a role? What scenarios are there that we haven’t — or can’t even — imagine today?
That way, we might actually ask our leaders to do something about it.
The winning author will receive a $500 prize, the runner-up will receive a $250 prize, and the honorable mention will receive a $50 prize. All three entries will be published, with a custom illustration, here on Inkstick!
Please send submissions of 2500 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 30, 2021, at 5:00 PM EST, with the subject “Submission: Nuclear Apathy Short Story Contest.”
We’re excited to read your stories. Good luck!