​China's lucrative sci-fi awards seek entries

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, October 30, 2023
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The second Science Fiction Planet Awards, boasting a prize pool of 6.65 million yuan ($910,000), are now actively seeking submissions.

Winners and nominees of the first Technology Award pose for a group photo at the first Science Fiction Planet Awards ceremony held during the China Science Fiction Convention in Beijing, May 2023 . [Photo courtesy of the CSFC Organizing Committee]

The Science Fiction Planet Awards is a key element of the China Science Fiction Convention (CSFC), and it includes four categories currently accepting global entries: Technology Award, Literature Award, Work Award and Contribution Award.

The CSFC has been held seven times since its inception in 2016 by the China Association for Science and Technology. This year, it joined the Zhongguancun Forum, becoming a national science and tech forum highlighting the role of sci-fi in technological innovation. 

The second Science Fiction Planet Awards began its call for entries on Oct. 15 and was promoted during the recently concluded 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). As China's first independently created international science fiction award, it holds annual selections and offers a prize pool of 6.65 million yuan. 

The awards focus on encouraging "futuristic experiences," while the four categories will revolve around the themes of "advancing perception through science and technology," "depicting novel life experiences" and "new perspectives and reflections on future life scenarios."

The Technology Award includes three sub-categories of Best Sci-Fi Creation Technology, Best Sci-Fi Experience Technology and Best Sci-Fi Product Innovation. With a prize pool of 3 million yuan, the award focuses on technologies that enhance human perception, such as human-machine interaction and AI. Its goal is to spotlight and accelerate innovative sci-fi tech applications. Entries can come either from the nomination panel or entities with clear intellectual property rights. Each entity may only apply for one sub-award, and past winners of national awards are excluded. For overseas participants, materials must be submitted in the Chinese language.

The Literature Award recognizes exceptional sci-fi literary works in the Chinese language, emphasizing unique narratives and underlying principles. The award has three sub-categories of Best Science Fiction Novel, Best Science Fiction Novella and Best Science Fiction Short Story, offering a total of 1.7 million yuan in prizes. To be eligible, works must have been first published between Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2023, with specific additional requirements regarding ISBN and ISSN numbers. Submissions, either nominated or individually submitted, must be in Chinese and reflect confidence in technological and societal progress, and maintain a positive, future-oriented stance. Entries will be judged based on five criteria: scientific accuracy, literary value, imagination, direction and influence.

The Work Award aims to boost the quality and influence of sci-fi films and TV shows, emphasizing fresh insights into future living scenarios and promoting diverse, high-quality growth in the industry. With sub-categories for Best Sci-Fi Film, Best Sci-Fi TV Series and Best Sci-Fi Enlightening Work, the winners will share a prize pool of 1.7 million yuan. Entries will be exclusively nominated by the nomination panel, and will include licensed sci-fi content from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2023, which holds the required distribution permits for China. The assessment prioritizes innovation, values and scientific theories in content.

The Contribution Award, accompanied by a prize of 250,000 yuan, honors individuals and groups for significant advancements in boosting the sci-fi community, education and cultural promotion. Managed by a selection committee, the award will primarily spotlight contributions in the previous year, but may also recognize achievements from earlier if recent ones are lacking.

Initiated by four sci-fi industry luminaries — Wang Jinkang, Liu Cixin, Wu Yan and Frant Gwo — the Science Fiction Planet Awards were unveiled at the opening ceremony of the 2021 CSFC. The inaugural award selection in 2022, which at that time only featured the Technology Award category, received a total of 216 entries from 27 domestic provinces and regions as well as nine countries. Winners were announced at the CSFC in May 2023, recognizing the innovative technological breakthroughs made by high-tech enterprises Enhanced Robotics (ER), Noitom and Ommo Technologies, with a team of academicians and experts overseeing the selection.

The second iteration of the Science Fiction Planet Awards will be evaluated by technical experts, industry professionals and industry investors. Adhering to the principles of an "open, fair, and competitive selection," the judges will assess projects across five aspects: innovation, internationality, practicality, demonstrability and user experience. 

The Science Fiction Planet Awards will be open for submissions from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2023. Organizers will review entries for eligibility in November, with qualifying projects then further evaluated by a committee from December 2023 to January 2024. The awards ceremony is set for during the CSFC in May 2024. For more details, visit: www.sfpaward.com.

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