The Dare

Two centuries ago, on a dare to tell the best scary story, 19-year-old Mary Shelley imagined an idea that became the basis for Frankenstein. Mary’s original concept became the novel that arguably kick-started the genres of science fiction and Gothic horror, but also provided an enduring myth that shapes how our society continues to grapple with creativity, science, technology, and their consequences. Two hundred years later, inspired by that classic dare, CSI launched a series of creative challenges inspiring amateur and professional writers to reflect on questions of science, ethics, creativity, and responsibility. In partnership with National Novel Writing Month and the Chabot Space and Science Center, CSI launched #Frankenstein200, a short fiction contest about unexpected consequences and unintended monstrosities.  Over 65 entries were received over a 6-week period and were shared and voted on by members of the Medium community. Winning authors were selected randomly and received a curated selection of classic and contemporary science fiction books as well as personal feedback from Hugo and Sturgeon Award-winning science fiction author Elizabeth Bear. The second challenge, a long-form nonfiction competition presented by ASU and Creative Nonfiction magazine, asks authors to document true stories about the evolving relationships between humanity and technology. Winners will be announced in mid-2017, will have their work featured in an upcoming issue of Creative Nonfiction magazine and will win up to $10,000 in monetary prizes.