The Future – Powered by Fiction

The Future – Powered by Fiction

The competition deadline has been extended to December 31, 2013!

Due to overwhelming interest, we are extending the deadline to allow for even more participation. If you have already submitted, please feel free to use this extra time to revise your entry and resubmit before the new deadline. 

The Future Powered by Fiction provides a space for young people to participate in science-based conversations and share their imaginative designs for the future.

In collaboration with the Society for Science & the Public, ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination and the Intel Foundation, the Tomorrow Project has announced an innovative fiction competition geared at 13- to 25-year-olds worldwide, asking them to contribute science fiction stories, essays, comics and videos to explore the kinds of futures we want to work toward together.

Here's a step-by-step guide explaining how to enter the competition and join the conversation.


If you want to write a story and need some direction, read this winning submission from a past competition. The author wrote "The Lost Emotion" as a response to the competition theme: “Is the Future Friendly?" It contains references to compelling technology but the story is about people, not just tech.

3,000 words max.

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Get creative! Design your vision of the future through visuals, music and/or dialogue. Be prepared to present signed releases for each recognizable person in the video. Do not use copyrighted music unless you have proper documentation from the original artist.

4 minutes max, with 500-word essay.

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If you are planning on creating a comic book for this competition, aim to create something that is visually and mentally stimulating. Combine a great plot with your own personal comic book drawing style. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of these free online comic book tools: pixton, toondoo, stripgenerator, makebeliefscomix.

30MB max, with 500-word essay.

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3. Choose a THEME:

Click each thumbnail for inspiration and resources.

4. Start by Creating a Science Fiction Prototype:

Download Free Lesson Plans

These free lesson plan includes homework, warm-up questions, a lesson on science fiction prototyping, group activities and discussion topics. They are designed for one class period, but can easily be expanded to provide a week-long experience.


Designing the Future in 5 Easy Steps

Step 2

Insert Technology Inflection Point

Choose a technology you are worried or excited about. What happens in the story that causes that same concern or excitement?

Step 4

Insert Human Inflection Point

How does the main character adapt to what is going on? How do they change? What decision do they make?  


Step 1

Build the World

Who is the main character? Where do they live? When? Select a date that is just on the other side of plausibility.

Step 3

Explore the Ramifications

What are the consequences of the inflection point or conflict? How are the characters or setting affected?  

Step 5

Reveal What We Learned

How does the setting or main character change as a result of their reaction or interaction with the technology?



STEP 1. Build the World

Pick a person, place and a date. A good starting point is to pick a date that is far enough out that it is just on the other side of plausibility. You can get yourself almost 90% of the way there from current science "fact," but you must push yourself further into "fiction." Now that you have your person, place and time, you've begun building your science fiction world.

STEP 2. Insert Technology Inflection Point

Now you need to figure the plot/conflict of your story. Another good starting point is to choose a piece of technology that you are worried or excited aboutsomething that you want to explorethat brings up the problem, the inflection point. Something happens that substantiates worry or concern.

STEP 3. Explore the Ramifications

What are the ramifications? You have a person and a place; they must have a family, a place to live. Something must have happened that caused problems. What happens to them? What happens to where they live? What happens to their family? What happens to the societal structure? Legally, ethically, etc. Begin to experiment and really prototype what happened.

STEP 4. Insert Human Inflection Point

Within those ramifications, something changes. It is usually within the main character(s); they adapt, they make a decision, they change as a part of the ramifications from the first inflection point.

STEP 5. Reveal What We Learned

In the final section of the story, we begin to explore how that character or how the world has changed. What did we learn from this journey? In science fiction prototyping, they’ve changed due to how they react or interact with the science and the technologies presented within the story. 

5. Finish Your Story, Comic or Video and SUBMIT!

Now complete this basic Science Fiction Prototype to create a future you envision and submit your entry to compete for CASH and bragging rights!

Basic Entry Requirements:

  • Age range: 13-25 years old
  • Develop a science fiction story, essay, comic book or video about the future, based on science fact

Competition Dates:

  • Deadline extended to December 31, 2013


  • All entries are reviewed by an external editorial board (Society for Science & the Public and ASU Center for Science and the Imagination)


  • 10 participants will win $1,000 USD and will be published on the Tomorrow Project website and through social media
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