Year Two Canopus Award Winners

100 Year Starship announces the winners of the Second Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Writing hosted by actress and writer Nichelle Nichols.

The awards were presented by Nichelle Nichols. While most famous for her portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek television show in the 1960s, Nichelle Nichols has been an active advocate for NASA and space exploration.

In the category of
the winner is 

The Three-Body Problem 

by Cixin Liu
Translated by Ken Liu
(published by Tor)

In the category of
 the winner is 

“Slow Bullets” 

by Alastair Reynolds
(published by Tachyon Publications)

In the category of
the winner is 

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet

by Buzz Aldrin and Marianne Dyson
(published by National Geographic)

In the category of
the winner is 

“The Quest for New Cydonia” 

by Russell Hemmell

In the category of
the winner is 


—The Seeds of Interstellar


by Robert Buckalew

In the category of
the winner is 

“A Kingdom of Ends”

 by Ryan Burgess

100YSS, led by former astronaut, engineer, physician and entrepreneur Dr. Mae Jemison, is an independent, long-term global initiative working to ensure that the capabilities for human interstellar travel, beyond our solar system to another star, exist within the next 100 years.

“Imagination, varied perspectives and a well told story are critical to advancing civilizations.  In particular, beginning with the simple question ‘What if?’ pushes us to look beyond the world in front of us and to envision what could be, ought to be and other realities,” said Dr. Jemison.  “Both science fiction and exploratory non-fiction have inspired discovery, invention, policy, technology and exploration that has transformed our world.”

The award is named for the second brightest star in the night sky, Canopus, which connects humanity’s past, present and future through fact and fantasy.  Over the millennia Canopus not only heralded planting seasons in the Rift Valley, but was a major navigation star for everyone from the Bedouin of the Sinai and the Maori of New Zealand to deep space probes like Voyager. Just as Canopus has helped explorers find their way for centuries, great writing—telling a story wellis a guidepost for current and future interstellar achievement.

The digital presentation of the 2nd Canopus Awards was done in conjunction with Look Up Lunar Landing. Look Up Lunar Landing is the fourth international Look Up event, following the introduction of Skyfie™ in October 2018 during a 24-hour event; a November 2018 photo curation challenge with NatGeo’s SureShot; and an April 2019 project with Yuri’s Night.

Originally scheduled for live presentation in late 2017, the Canopus Award event, and the Nexus conference that it was a part of, were postponed due to insurmountable challenges faced in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that devastated the Houston area that year. In the intervening time, efforts have been made to reschedule the Nexus and while those plans are still being developed, 100YSS determined that in a desire to celebrate the accomplishments and efforts of the Canopus Awards and its judges, nominees, and winners, that the announcement of the awards would be moved online.

Canopus Award program manager and writer Jason D. Batt notes that, “100YSS is launching the awards at a particularly fortuitous time. The recent announcements of Kepler-452b exoplanet, major financial support of searches for extraterrestrial intelligence and the space probe New Horizons close encounter with Pluto and the amazing images it is generating highlight how we all look up and dream of what’s out there.  The Canopus Award celebrates that passion that is common to the public, researchers and science fiction fans alike.”


Award category finalists are as listed below:

“Previously Published Long-Form Fiction” (40,000 words or more):

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager)
  • Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Tor)
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (HarperCollins)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, Translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
  • Arkwright by Allen Steele (Tor)

“Previously Published Short-Form Fiction” (between 1,000 and 40,000 words):

  • “Slow Bullets” by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon Publications)
  • “The Long Vigil” by Rhett C. Bruno (Perihelion)
  • “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “Wavefronts of History and Memory” by David D. Levine (Analog Science Fiction and Fact)
  • “The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred” by Greg Egan (Subterranean Press)
  • “Whom He May Devour” by Alex Shvartsman (Nautilus)
  • “Love and Relativity” by Stewart C. Baker (Flash Fiction Online)

“Previously Published Nonfiction” (between 1,000 and 40,000 words):

  • “A Terrestrial Planet Candidate in a Temperate Orbit Around Proxima” by Guillem Anglada-Escude, et al. (Nature)
  • “A Science Critique of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson” by Stephen Baxter, James Benford, and Joseph Miller (Centauri Dreams)
  • Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin and Marianne Dyson (National Geographic)
  • “Let’s All Go to Mars” by John Lanchester (London Review of Books)
  • “Our Worldship Broke!” by Jim Beall (Baen Books)


“Original Fiction” (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “The Quest for New Cydonia” by Russell Hemmell
  • “Luminosity” by Adeene Denton
  • “Mission” by Yoshifumi Kakiuchi
  • “Envoy” by K. G. Jewell
  • “Sleeping Westward” by Lorraine Schein

“Original Non-Fiction” (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “Motivatingly Plausible Ways to Reach the Stars” by James Blodgett
  • “Microbots—The Seeds of Interstellar Civilization” by Robert Buckalew
  • “An Anthropic Program for the Long-Term Survival of Humankind” by Roberto Paura
  • “Terraforming Planets, Geoengineering Earth” by James Fleming

“Original College Writing” (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “A Kingdom of Ends” by Ryan Burgess
  • “Ethics in Space” by Greg Becker

In addition, the following works were noted as inclusion for honorable mention by our selection committee although they were not finalists in any category:

Honorable Mention

  • Interstella Cinderella by Deborah Underwood (Chronicle Books)
  • Protos Mandate by Nick Kanas (Springer)
  • The Ark by Patrick S. Tomlinson (Angry Robot Books)
  • The Destructives by Matthew de Abaitua (Angry Robot Books)
  • “Exquisite Banality of Space” by Leslie J. Anderson, published in Uncanny Magazine
  • “Spacefarer’s Creed” by Matt Noble (poetry)
  • “Dispatchers from Interstellar Race Relations Log” by Janel Cloyd (poetry)

Years of science fiction have produced a mindset that it is human destiny to expand from Earth, to the Moon, to Mars, to the stars.

Barney Oliver

Founder and Director, Hewlett-Packard