Bruce Rosenbaum and Jim Su Bruce Rosenbaum and Jim Su

Congratulations to our winners!

Conventional prizes

Idiosyncratic prizes

Read all the finalist stories below, and read about contest statistics in this blog post. Thanks to all our writers, readers, and judges for participating!

Congratulations to our short-listed authors!

Below are the short-listed finalists for the 2023 Quantum-Steampunk Short-Story Contest. Vote for your favorite story in the People’s Choice Award category! Enter your vote at this link by 11:59 PM ET on April 16, 2023.

  • The Recurrence Machine  by Rick Searle : “I am a writer with a deep interest in physics and its implications for the human condition.”
  • Doctor Up and Mister Down  by Gerard McCaul: “I am a British physicist who works on quantum control theory at Tulane University in New Orleans. After the third incident, I am no longer allowed to discuss my interests in polite society.”
  • Stealing Buttons  by Jeff Provine: “Jeff Provine is an English teacher at Oklahoma City Community College and graduate of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. He believes science and the arts are best experienced together.”
  • The Creature of Ashen House  by David Wakeham: “Interdimensional wizard.”
  • Tunneller  by Alexander Campbell: “I’m a novice writer. I’ve been deep into sci-fi and fantasy since I was old enough to read, and I hope to make a living as an author someday.”
  • Looking Forward, Looking Back  by Claudia Clarke: “Claudia Clarke’s PhD is in Quantum Thermodynamics which she’s definitely going to start describing as a PhD in Quantum Steampunk from now on. She writes fiction she rarely shows the world too.”
  • Redacted Pages From the Journal of W.E.B. duBois  by Chana Kohl: “Chana Kohl works in Jerusalem in clinical research. Writing in her free time, her stories appear in 365Tomorrows and Metastellar. She is winner of the 2022 AnalogSF Emerging Black Voices Award.”
  • Ai Pan  by Alex Chan: “As a tech product manager, I spend my days thinking about how existing and near-future technology can be used to make lives better. Writing allows me to theorize about more speculative technologies and their impact on individuals and broader society.”
  • Pursuit  by Cristina Legarda: “I was born in the Philippines and grew up in Bethesda. I hold degrees in literature and ethics and am a practicing physician in Boston. My work has appeared in Ruminate, Smartish Pace, and others.”
  • Reprobate  by Mason Rouches: “I’m a PhD student studying Biological Physics at Yale University. Sometimes my interests in thermodynamics are rivaled by my interests in 19th & early 20th century literature.”
  • Three Imperiled Scientists  by Matt King: “I’m a certified nerd and lifelong storyteller. Currently pursuing a Physics PhD at Yale University, I am working to unravel some of the latest mysteries in neutrino physics.”
  • The Final Dawn  by Nathan Suri: “I am a particle physics graduate student, trying to explore the universe from its smallest levels to its largest. I seek the truth through a myriad of lenses, empirical and creative.”
  • Eikonal  by Paulo Barreto: “This is not the kind of text I usually write (I did it almost on a whim, over a couple of hours after hearing about the contest)—but hey, there’s a first time for everything!”
  • Raintown  by Katherine Wong: “Katherine Wong is an undergrad at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems (Computer Science + Philosophy/Psychology) and English. She loves reading/writing sci-fi and collecting funky earrings.”
  • A Message for Dr. Y.S. Sun  by M.H. Cheung: “M. H. Cheung is an alumnus of the Alpha Young Writers Workshop, and enjoys stories about broken worlds, how to mend and live within them. M. H. can be found on Twitter @einduawau, and at”

Contest Advertisement
By Hannah Cho


Each entry must…

  1. be written in English;
  2. contain no more than 3,000 words;
  3. be written in a steampunk style—including, but not limited to, taking place during the 1800s (and, if desired, some time in the future); and
  4. involve at least one real or imagined quantum technology.

Those are the main requirements. Common-sense details are in the Contest Rules.


  1. Submission: Oct. 10, 2022—Jan. 15, 2023, 11:59 PM EST, via submission form.

  2. First cut: Jan. 15, 2023—Mar. 15, 2023.
    The leadership team will choose 15 finalists.

  3. Finalist judging: Mar. 16, 2023—Apr. 16, 2023
    The judges will select winners. The finalists will be posted online, where the public can vote for a People’s Choice Award winner.

  4. Announcement of winners: May 1, 2023


Multiple prizes will be awarded, in the form of Visa gift certificates. The grand prize will be $1,500; the rest of the prizes will be at least $100 each and will total $3,000. The leadership and judges will determine how many prizes and which denominations to award. We anticipate offering prizes for categories such as Most Badass Steampunk Hero/ine, People’s Choice, Best Student Submission, and Quantum Technology We’d Most Like to Have.

How to enter

Fill out and submit the online form.

Who can enter

Everyone aged 13 and over.


Undergraduate Quantum Association



Jeffrey Bub

Distinguished University Professor and philosopher of physics University of Maryland.


Louisa Gilder

Author of The Age of Entanglement.


Jack Harris

Professor of Physics, Yale.


Walter E. Lawrence III

Emeritus Professor of Physics, Dartmouth..


Ken Liu

Speculative-fiction writer; Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy winner.


Spiros Michalakis

Outreach Manager, Quantum Physicist, and Scientific Consultant for the Ant-Man films, Caltech.


Emily Brandchaft Mitchell

Associate Professor of English and Novelist, University of Maryland.


Patrick R. Warfield

Director of Arts for All, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Maryland.