We are proud to present the winners of our July 4th Blockbuster Fiction Contest. The stories below are filled with pulse-pounding excitement, unforgettable characters, and unabashed patriotism. You’ll find science fiction, romance, post-apocalyptic adventure, and more. You can’t ask for better beach and BBQ reading for your long Independence Day weekend.
So crack open a beer, pull up your favorite lawn chair, and join us for an awesome adventure!
Grand Prize Winner
Break The Sky by Matt Souders
Don’t leave me!

Min-Suh’s tiny legs pelted across jagged rocks just behind her mother. The air was thick with humidity and hot like the fire pit behind their home before supper. She could barely keep up, even though her mother turned her head back to make sure she was still there, and, each time she did, her pace slowed. Sweat poured from her forehead and periodically burned her eyes, but the pair kept on running. Ahead, along a broken ridge in the hills, there stood a fence covered with barbed wire. She was small enough that she thought she could crawl through the barrier, but she knew her mother would have to climb if she was to ever see the other side.
Rangers vs. Aliens by Lori Janeski
John T. Forbes stared out of his Club’s front window and watched the waves of heat radiate off the bare concrete of formerly-busy Main Street. A year ago, downtown Fort Worth had been bustling and thriving.

Amazing how a sudden alien invasion could change things.
Honorable Mentions
Hello Venus! by Brendan Kelly
"HELLO VENUS!" screamed the clock radio. "This is Jeff Christie, with the News and Information Service of Radio Venus, bringing you The Jeff Christie Show! It’s Thursday, the 16th of Messidor; and it is 11 AM here in Venusburg. That means it’s 8 PM in Gagaringrad, midnight in New London, and 7 AM for you people in Buchanan and the Rio Linda Delta…."

Refusing to open his eyes, Simon York reached out with his arm and tried to find the clock radio on his bedside table.
A Supreme Moment by Fred Tribuzzo
"Emily Cricket Hastings!" Sister Marie shouted in lieu of God Almighty as the bullets whistled by and the porpoising ’67 sky blue Barracuda left the road at high speed.

Cricket made a hard right turn and sped the Plymouth convertible through a sunny field of tall grass, aiming for the woods alongside a white farmhouse.
Day of Honor by Matthew Bowman
Like most Andaran bars, Giobani’s Splendiferous House of Rest and Replenishment was a modest affair. The highly philosophical Andarans only got particularly wound up when debating their beliefs, and the rest of the time they were a quiet sort. They made damn fine ale, though.

"Fondest greetings, General," Giobani said, waving to him with one prime-arm. His low-arms were busy cleaning glasses, but his other prime-arm was already reaching for a bottle of Korbal’s favorite. "I am gratified that you have once again decided to use my establishment as the place to host this singular celebration."

"You want us to go after an actor?"

"Yes, an actor."
Rockin’ the USA by Leigh Kimmel
In her years of marriage to the leader of the band, Laurel Sinclair had learned plenty about dealing with problems: flaky studios, incompetent roadies, goofy groupies, even crooked managers and record company execs. But political trouble? It felt more like something out of a historical movie, of people having vapors over Elvis Presley’s on-stage gyrations, or an entire town in an uproar over the moral threat of ragtime.

Squaring her shoulders and trying to look taller than her modest height, she faced the man in Navy dress whites. "But Kim and the Humdingers isn’t a political band."