Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (sometimes abbreviated as SNW or ST:SNW) was an annual collection of short stories set in the Star Trek universe, written by amateur writers chosen through an open submissions process. The first volume was published in 1998, with the tenth and final volume published in 2007. Each of the anthologies was published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The main editor of these anthologies was Dean Wesley Smith, though he announced that Strange New Worlds 10 represented his last work on the project. Shortly afterwards, it was formally announced that the contest itself would not continue after its tenth year. Co-editors of the series included John J. Ordover, Paula M. Block, and Elisa J. Kassin.
Stories in the book anthologies "can be set in any of the Star Trek time frames and may feature any one or more of the Star Trek characters," according to the submission guidelines, and each anthology included a selection of stories for all of the live-action Star Trek series: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and (from 2002 to 2007) Star Trek: Enterprise. In more recent years, each anthology also included a section called "Speculations," containing stories which could not be neatly ascribed to any one of those series.
The rules for each anthology were first announced in the pages of the preceding anthology, and could also be found at the Simon & Schuster website.
Submissions were open only to "nonprofessional writers" (which the rules defined as those who had sold no more than two short stories) who were residents of the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) and Canada (excluding Quebec) over the age of 18 at the time of their submission. The stories themselves were to be original creations no more than 7500 words long and not previously published elsewhere. Writers were permitted to submit more than one story, though required each submission be mailed separately, and no writer could have more than one story published per anthology.
Certain tropes that are common to fan fiction were explicitly outlined in the submission rules as cause for a story to be disqualified from consideration, including "hurt/comfort" and Mary Sue stories. Slash fiction was implicitly excluded by prohibiting stories "focusing on explicit sexual activity" or revealing "the hidden passion two characters feel for each other." Original characters were also prohibited to the extent that stories cannot be centered on "characters that are not past or present Star Trek regulars or familiar Star Trek guest characters."
Other prohibitions included "graphic depictions of violence or sadism" and major changes to the canon, such as "the previously unestablished death of a Star Trek character" or the existence of "a long-lost sibling."
Each Strange New Worlds collection contained a Grand Prize, Second Prize, and Third Prize winner, along with as many as twenty honorable mentions, meaning that an anthology could contain no more than twenty-three stories in total. Every writer was paid ten cents a word for their story and is entitled to a share of royalties on the anthology, with the top three writers receiving additional bonus advances of $1000, $600, and $400, respectively.
Authors who have been published three times in Strange New Worlds are, as outlined by the rules, no longer eligible for further publication. Getting to such a point has become known as making one eligible for a "Wardy," named for Dayton Ward, the first writer to fall into this category.
Various writers who first had their Star Trek short stories published in Strange New Worlds collections have gone on to write other Star Trek short stories and novels for Pocket Books, as well as work in other fields of fiction, including Ilsa J. Bick, Kevin Hosey, Robert T. Jeschonek, Jim Johnson, Kevin Lauderdale, William Leisner, Kathy Oltion, Scott Pearson, Peg Robinson, Mary Scott-Wiecek, Kim Sheard, Amy Sisson, Kevin G. Summers, Louisa M. Swann, Geoffrey Thorne, the aforementioned Dayton Ward, and Christina F. York.