Congratulations to the Winners!

It’s the year 2147: a time of enduring peace on Earth. The Last War ended half a century ago. We can cure most ills, the air is pure, and teleportation is how we get around. Sounds great, right? So why does everyone suddenly want to kill Joel Byram?
Tal M. Klein hard science fiction
hard science fiction
A virus wiped out every male on Earth, leaving the females to carry on alone.  Now, five centuries later, the genome is breaking down and the only hope may lie in something long lost.
Brian Guthrie hard science fiction
hard science fiction

Rules and Overview

Readers, Authors, Lovers of Science:

The time has come to announce the top three winners!

Geek & Sundry’s Hard Science contest attracted some of the most innovative, diverse, and compelling projects we’ve ever seen on Inkshares. From teleportation and long distance space travel to paleontology and an exploration of a world without men, these projects accomplished the best of what science has to offer science fiction: using plausible concepts to explore the far reaches of who we are, our relationship with the world, and where we might be headed.

So first, thank you to Geek & Sundry for hosting this contest, championing hard science fiction, and growing the incredible author community on Inkshares. Thank you to the Science and Entertainment Exchange for their support and advocacy for science in entertainment. And our deep, heartfelt thank you to all of the authors who took the bold leap of putting themselves and their stories out there for all the world to see.

Without further ado, we couldn’t be prouder to announce the top three winners:

And just in! We have Geek & Sundry's selection for their debut title. Congrats to (drumroll please)... Tal M. Klein, author of The Punch Escrow! Tal ran an amazing campaign and his book embodies the best of the hard science fiction genre, exploring the surprising and disturbing science behind what it would look like if teleportation was real. Please offer him your well wishes, he deserves them!

Check back here on May 27 to learn about the theme for the next Nerdist contest, launching June 1.


The Inkshares Team


(for frequently asked questions about Inkshares, please refer to the Inkshares FAQ)

How does the contest work?

Any writer can create a draft project and begin building a following on Inkshares anytime by clicking submit or creating a new project using the “hard science fiction” genre. The contest officially starts on April 4, 2016, and only projects that begin selling pre-orders on or after that date within the “hard science fiction” genre will be eligible for the contest. At 12:00 p.m. PST on May 16, Inkshares will announce the top three “hard science fiction” projects as determined by the highest unique reader pre-order counts, even if they haven’t hit their funding goal, and will publish all of them. Geek & Sundry will then choose which of the top three they would like to add to their collection. All three projects will receive the same editorial, production, distribution, and marketing support as any Inkshares project, including distribution into independent bookstores as well as Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

What is a “collection?”

A “collection” is essentially an imprint run by a third party on Inkshares. All titles within a collection will receive that collection’s branding and will be discoverable as part of a collection on the Inkshares site. Collection owners can choose to take a percent of royalties in exchange for their promotional effort on behalf of your book. Learn more here.

How do I join a collection?

The owner of a collection decides which Inkshares project they want to include as part of their collection. The author has final say on if they want to be included in a collection.

What does it mean if I’m chosen for the Geek & Sundry Collection?

If you make it into the top three of this contest and you accept Geek & Sundry’s Collection invite, your book will carry the Geek & Sundry logo on the spine and back cover and Geek & Sundy will help market your book. In exchange for these promotional efforts, Geek & Sundry will receive a percentage of publishing royalties and have an opportunity to co-develop your work into other media such as movies, TV series, and digital productions. Please review Collections Terms for more details.

What if I’m chosen to participate in another Inkshares collection?

You can only be in one collection at a time. If chosen to be another collection in addition to making it into the top three in this contest, you should decide which collection feels most in line with your publishing goals.

What’s the best way to increase my pre-order count?

We have a crowdfunding guide that may help. In addition, explore Inkshares credits. Your friends, family, and the broader science fiction/fantasy reader community can earn credits by engaging with and referring your work, allowing them to better support you. Lastly, check out advice from previous contest winners or ask the broader Inkshares community on our forum.

What happens to the pre-orders if I don't win the contest or hit my pre-order goal?

Backers are immediately refunded for any project that doesn’t hit its goal. Anyone who pre-ordered will also remain a follower of your project, allowing you to continue updating them on the progress of your book even after your funding period is over.

What if I’ve already published elsewhere but I want to participate?

We recommend investigating the kinds of rights you have wherever you’ve published. If you own the rights or they’re non-exclusive, then you can participate. We offer non-exclusive rights, as detailed here.

What if my book isn’t finished?

While we’ve found that more content helps a book receive more pre-orders, the book doesn’t have to complete for you to participate. You simply need to build your project page and upload a few chapters to get started.

How do you define “hard science fiction?”

Our favorite definition is a work of science fiction that emphasizes the known rules of plausible science. We allow writers to self-define genres when creating their project. The intent of our platform is to democratize the process by which books get traditionally published. We trust our community to back the hard science fiction books they want published. If a title appears to be abusing the democratic spirit of this contest or may raise legal and copyright questions, don’t hesitate to let us know at

What will you do in case of a tie in unique readers?

If two winning projects have the same number of unique readers, we will break the tie by selecting the project with the highest pre-order count.

Should I have my friends and family use multiple accounts, place multiple orders, or trade pre-orders to help me out?

No. As detailed in our Terms of Service: "The purpose of Inkshares is to highlight broad reader interest in specific works. Accordingly, please do not 'game' the system. As an author, don't pre-order your own book or encourage others to order copies of your book through multiple accounts. As a reader or purchaser, don't create multiple accounts so as to order more copies of any title. Do not engage in any scheme or exchange of promises that would lead to the ordering of a book in a manner not reflective of genuine interest in the writing."

We understand that these campaigns can be stressful and everyone wants to do their part to help. In order for Inkshares to stay true to its mission of publishing books that readers truly want, the best way to help is to get out there and tell readers why a book is worth supporting.

I’ve participated in previous contests, either as an author or reader. I’d like to know: how can I help on this one?

We’re delighted you asked! First, there’s a wonderful forum on Inkshares that offers a place to collaborate. The best thing you can do, though, is to explore new projects throughout the length of the contest, offer feedback and reviews on projects that catch your eye, and pre-order and refer the books you love. While many authors won’t hit their goal, there’s still tremendous value in building up a readership and community on Inkshares. You can be an integral part of that.