PAWC and CGCS Announce SciFi Writing Contest: Warfare in the 21st Century, Future Battlegrounds, Open to Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Norwich University’s On-Campus and Online Programs

The Norwich University Peace and War Center and College of Graduate and Continuing Studies are teaming up to host a writing contest titled Warfare in the 21st Century: Future Battlegrounds, to culminate at the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium on Sept. 24-25, 2019. Contest entries will be divided into two categories: undergraduate students and graduate students (both online and on-campus). Each entry will be reviewed by a panel of experts and be judged on creativity, incorporation of story parameters, incorporation of real-world trends, and how well the story is constructed.

A first-place winner and a runner-up will be selected in each category. Prize details to be announced. The winning entries will also be published in a special collection alongside two stories from noted science fiction authors with accompanying original artwork.

Contest Opens: March 22, 2019
Submissions Due: June 30, 2019
Winners Announced:
Sept. 24-25, 2019

Submission Categories:

  • Undergraduate Students (Online and on-campus)
  • Graduate Students (Online and on-campus)

Story Parameters

Storytelling as a creative means to accomplish military foresight and forecasting is a powerful way to explore uncertain futures, and imagining how complex scenarios may play out. Creatively addressing the complicated nature of the future of conflict allows writers to come to unique conclusions that may not have been apparent in a more traditional model of military forecasting. 

Long-form examples of such writing include: Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States. Collections of short-form examples of such writing can be found on the following websites: The Art of Future Warfare, Center for International Maritime Security, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and U.S. Army TRADOC Mad Scientist Initiative.

  • Focusing on the main theme Warfare in the 21st Century: Future Battlegrounds, incorporating concepts of diversity and inclusion and using real world information (RE: NO ALIENS), contest entrants are invited to think creatively about how wars will be fought in the future (from either a military or civilian perspective), by whom, and how it will affect civilian populations.
  • Components of the story could include, but are in no way limited to, future warfighting capabilities, threats in space, the global information grid, emerging technologies such as nanotechnologies, biological agents, cyberwarfare, climate change and national security, robotics and artificial intelligence.
  • Stories must include an element of diversity and inclusion, per our guidelines.
  • Stories should be science fiction (fantasy, nonfiction essays, etc., will not be reviewed). While speculative fiction and fantasy need have no relation to our real world, this contest calls for science fiction that extrapolates from—or projects forward—our world’s current technological, scientific, political, and social conditions. Science fiction’s imaginative explorations of possible futures thus maintain an extrapolative connection to our real world.

Submission Details and Deadline

Submissions must be no less than 2,500 words and no more than 4,000, double-spaced, in 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font, with standard 1-inch margins. 

Submit your work via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. along with a cover letter that that includes your name and contact information and the category to which you are submitting (graduate, or undergraduate). For guidelines on how to craft and format your cover letter, see this article.

Submissions must be received no later than June 30, 2019.


Creative Storytelling for Military Foresight/Science Fiction definition: Stories dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

Department of Defense Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan (2012–2017)

“Diversity is a strategic imperative, critical to mission readiness and accomplishment, and a leadership requirement. As the global threat environment continues to evolve, the DoD Total Force2 will confront complex, asymmetric operational environments, and unconventional tactics, necessitating full employment of all department assets – foremost our people.

We defend the greatest nation in the world – a democracy founded on the promise of opportunity for all. It is a nation whose demographic makeup parallels the environment in which we live – continually changing -- and DoD must change to maintain and sustain its future forces. To the degree we truly represent our democracy, we are a stronger, and more relevant force. The Department views diversity as a strategic imperative. Diverse backgrounds and experiences bring inherently different outlooks and ways of thinking, the key to innovation in organizations. We gain a strategic advantage by leveraging the diversity of all members and creating an inclusive environment in which each member is valued and encouraged to provide ideas critical to innovation, optimization, and organizational mission success.”


Potential Story Approaches

  • Forecasting – A description of the timeline and events leading up to the conflict
  • Describing – An account of a conflict while it is occurring
  • Backcasting – A look back on the conflict either via After Action Review or a dialogue on lessons learned.



Online Programs


Upcoming Featured Events

Norwich University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Norwich University collects personal data about visitors to our website in order to improve the user experience and provide visitors with personalized information about our programs and services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you accept the information policies and practices outlined in our Privacy Policy.