String Theory

A world taken over by robots or a world consumed by spaceships?
What do you think the future holds?
How about putting forward all those ideas that your brilliant mind discovers every now and then and putting it to the test.
Give us a picture of what you think the future will look like- life on other planets, space battles, alien attacks, anything. 

Bring forward the Science Fiction enthusiast in you and use this opportunity to spread a message you've always dreamt of spreading.
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.

Set yourself on the Star Track and don't let Science Friction slow you down.

(Update: Problem statement is out!! Check the appropriate tab.)

Goodies worth INR 5000 to be won!!

No of rounds: 1

Word limit: 1000

  • Two abstract images/pictures will be released on 25th January, 2016 on the Pragyan website and other social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter profiles of Pragyan).
  • Participants will be given three weeks of time to write their story around either of the images. The entries must be submitted to along with the picture they had chosen before 14th February, 2016.
  • The story must be submitted as a word document (.doc or .docx).  You must write your Name, Registered email-ID, College name and Contact number in the header of the word document containing your story and then save the file in following format:Image number_Title of your story.


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 can be used in your story as they are scientifically plausible. 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. (Outside of implanting a Wi-Fi transceiver in your brain!) Use of such ideas is not encouraged.

This year, we have invited Mr Anil Menon to be the judge for entries.

"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. His most recent work is the novel "Half Of What I Say" (Bloomsbury, 2015). He can be reached at"
  • The story should not exceed 1000 words.
  • The story should be original. Plagiarism will not be tolerated at any cost.
  • Judges decision of prize winners (top 3) is final and binding.

General hints that can be followed are listed below. Feel free to digress as required.

  • 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, humor, 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, and H.G. Wells and so on.
  • Check the internet. There are sites that will help you create names of characters, locations or even story titles etc. (Google Character/Location/Title Name generator).

1) Who can participate?

Undergraduate 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 registered email 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, registered email 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: Image number_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, from your registered email ID

And the subject of your mail should be in the following format: Image number_Title of your story. 

6) On what grounds can my entry be disqualified?

The entry can be disqualified on the following grounds:

a. If the story is much longer than the word limit.

b. If you have not mentioned your Name, registered email ID, College name and Contact number in the header of the word document containing your story.

c. If you send your entry beyond the deadline. [Deadline is three weeks after the release of the images.]

d. If the story is found to be plagiarized.

7) Should I come to the NITT campus to participate in this event?

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

8) Who will be chosen as the winners for the event?

The best three stories will be chosen as the winners.

9) How and when will the winners be notified?

The winners will be declared after a week of the deadline. E-mail and SMS will be sent to the 

best three writers.

10) How are the winners awarded?

The winners are awarded a certificate of appreciation, and there is INR 5000 worth goodies to be won. Also, their stories will be published during 

Pragyan 2016 and in magazines. The details of the magazines will be notified to the winners. 

11) Is there any participation certificate? 

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

For full event details, click here.

For Event queries:

Lakshmi                          9952958375

Sreevatsan Madhavan  9566102288

Email us at :

For further queries:

Arjun Perezhi                8220284003

Two abstract pictures/images are presented as the prompts for writing.

Image number 1:

Image number 2:

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For queries, email

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