String theory

Have you ever wondered about how the future will look?
Do you think there might be life on other planets?
Have you been inspired by the space battles and the brilliance of science fiction books and movies?
Do you have the imagination to make your own story?

Do you have a message to the world and want it spread?

Then, join STRING THEORY - an online science fiction writing contest! Within the span of a hundred words, you have got the opportunity to craft a prose about life, the universe and everything. The only other limits are set by your imagination - and how many light years and eons it could encompass in its tentative grasp.

Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s reality. Who knows! Maybe you shall have a small but important part in shaping the destiny of our planet.


Winners will be awarded the opportunity to write for Penumbra, the monthly online magazine, for 3 issues. They will be provided a certificate at the end of it for their work.Free one year subscription of The Caravan Magazine for the 3 winners.


Please post your queries related to this event at

The contest takes place in two rounds - Preliminary (Round 1) and Final (Round 2).

  • In Round 1: You must write an abstract of your story, i.e. you must write a short summary, without revealing the details. You can relate this condition to a movie trailer, where you get a gist of what the movie is about, yet you don't know how/what exactly happens until you watch the movie.  

            Word limit: 150

            Submission deadline: Saturday, January 31st, 2015. 

  • In Round 2: The selected entries from the Round 1, will take part in this final round. Here, the participants must write their story in full form. 

            Word limit: 600

            Submission deadline: Friday, February 20th, 2015.


All the entries must be written in a word document (.doc or .docx) and mailed to " " 

The participants whose entries have been selected after the preliminary stage (Round 1) will be contacted through e-mail, to participate in the final round (Round 2). 

The story should be your own. Plagiarism will not be tolerated at any cost. We will know, Big Brother is watching you. 

Judge's decision of prize winners will be final and binding. 

General hints that can be followed are listed below. Feel free to break them if you think doing so will make a better story.

  • Although science fiction has the word science in it, it is not the only thing going on.  It can also involve themes of bravery, politics, religion, love, humour, dystopia, heroism, finding the reason of the character’s existence (Existentialism), feelings of connection with the universe and so on.
  • A good story can be depressing or awe-inspiring, can haunt you about the possibilities of technology or fill you with hope for what the future holds. Select only two or three of the ideas/themes that I have mentioned in the previous points that you’re passionate about and stick with it.
  • Be original. What do you like? What emotional tone do you want your story to convey? Seriously philosophical or light-hearted?
  • You can imitate.  Not to be all self-contradictory, but adopting the tone of an existing story or modifying its plot and using it in your own original way will help you express what you want to convey. Artists learn by imitating the style of the masters. Remember though, imitation is different from plagiarism. 
  • Check out stories by famous writers like Isaac Asimov (Nightfall and The Last Question), Arthur C. Clarke (The Star and The Sentinel),Douglas Adams, H.G. Wells and so on.
  • Use the net.  There are sites that will help you create names of characters, locations or even story titles etc. (Google Character/Location/Title Name generator).

The stories will be judged based on your creativity and scientific plausibility. The latter means that your story must only be an extension of the current scientific knowledge, i.e.  your story must be a reasonable extrapolation of some existing physical laws/theories of nature. 

Best three writers will be selected as the prize winners. 

Good example: Warp drives are scientifically plausible because there exists a theoretical framework called the 'Alcubierre Drive' - a warp speed propulsion system that uses a theoretical form of matter called negative matter. 

Bad example: Psychic powers are a bad example of something that is scientifically plausible because there is absolutely zero evidence of humans being able to do anything like that. There is no proposed theoretical framework for it.



Anil Menon is a leading Indian writer of speculative fiction. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of international magazines and anthologies including Albedo One, Interfictions, Interzone, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Jaggery Lit Review and Strange Horizons. His work has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Hebrew and Romanian. In 2009, he helped organize India's first three-week residential workshop in speculative fiction at IIT-Kanpur.  He is the author of The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, 2010). Most recently, along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an anthology of speculative short fiction inspired by the Ramayana. His first book was shortlisted for the 2010 Vodafone-Crossword Children's Fiction Award and the 2010 Carl Baxter Society’s Parallax Prize. He has a forthcoming novel The Wolf's Postscript (Bloomsbury, 2015) and can be reached at

1. Who can participate?

    Students from any college can participate.

2. How many entries can one submit?

   Only one entry can be submitted per person.

3. Is there any registration fee?

    No, there is no registration fee. But you must have registered on the Pragyan website and should possess a Pragyan ID.

4. In what file format should the story be submitted? And what other details must be added?

    The story must be submitted as a word document (.doc   or .docx) .You must write your Name, Pragyan ID, College name and Contact number in the header of the word document containing your story. The name of the word document must be in following format: Pragyan ID_Title of your story.

5.  How do I submit my story?

     You should mail your story (as a word document) to the following e-mail ID: And the subject of your mail should be in the following format: Pragyan ID_Title of your story. If you are selected after the 1st round, you must follow these same rules while submitting your entry for the 2nd (Final) round.

6. How will I know if I am selected for the 2nd round?

    You will be notified through e-mail within 10 days of the 1st round’s deadline. The deadline for submission of entries for first round is January 31st, 2015.


7. On what grounds can my entry be disqualified?

    The entry can be disqualified on the following grounds:

  •          If the story is much longer than the word limit.
  •          If you have not mentioned your Name, Pragyan ID, College name and Contact number in the header of the word document containing your story.
  •          If you don’t stick to either of the themes mentioned.
  •          If you send your entry beyond the deadline. [Deadline for 1st round is January 31st, 2015 and the deadline for the 2nd (final) round is February 20th, 2015.]
  •          If the story is found to be plagiarized.


8. Should I come to the NITT campus to attend either of the rounds?

     No, you don’t have to come to the campus. The contest is entirely online based.


9. Who will be chosen as the winners for the event?  

    The best three stories from the final round will be chosen as the winners.


10. How and when will the winners be notified?

     The winners will be declared within a week of the 2nd round’s deadline. The deadline for the 2nd round is February 20th, 2015. E-mail and SMS will be sent to the best three writers.


11. How are the winners awarded?

      The winners are awarded a certificate of appreciation; and their stories will be published during Pragyan 2015 and in magazines. The details of the magazines will be notified to the winners.


12. Is there any participation certificate?

     No. Only the winners are awarded with certificates of appreciation. 

The theme of your story must be specific to either

Space travel (or) Colony on Mars.



The entire details of String Theory can be downloaded here.

Pratibha R 

Formula: 0



Formula: 1


Formula: 2




Faculty Advisor

Dr. Sathyaraj Venkatesan

Assistant Professor

Department - Humanities

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