moxyyland-front-72dpi-actualOver at the excellent HarperCollins Authonomy website, we ran a short story competition for people to write a short story (up to 3,000 words) based in the world of Lauren BeukesMoxyland.

The winners have just been chosen!

Here’s the official announcement from Lauren, herself. Take it away, Ms B:

A huge thank you for everyone who took the time to write a story inspired by some aspect of Moxyland.

The stories were fantastic, from canny perspective switches on major events in Moxyland to sheer insanity I don’t know if I would have come up with if you shot me full of hallucinogens and locked me in one of those floaty sensory deprivation tank things. I’d often catch myself grinning at stories, at the wild inventiveness.

The calibre of the writing was great, and even when it wasn’t, when the writers didn’t quite deliver on the premise, the ideas fizzed and popped like sherbet laced with C4, from a live guitar that had to be tamed to nano-goo sex dolls to body armour made of meat.

It’s been an incredibly frustrating process to decide on just three stories. In making the big decision, I looked for stories with smarts, that were playful or surprising, but also had bite. They had to be bold, inventive and ideally have a social conscience. If they found a sneaky way to bring in Moxyland’s characters or major events or ensure that it was very much at one with the universe, so much the better.

Ultimately, it was a very subjective and personal decision. I chose the stories that excited me the most, the ones that resonated with Moxyland, the ones that made me want to rave about them to everyone I know.

The full short-list and long-list are included below.

The (very, very close) runners-up are:

  • Khanyi by 821202 – A cunningly brilliant perspective switch on Moxyland’s gallery scene written with wit and style and a razor-edged verve. I loved this story.
  • Shade by TobyOne – A wicked and thoughtful gem of a story. It has great writing, a well crafted story about energy and land claims with impeccable world-building and a nastily appropriate resolution. And it has zeppelins.

AND… THE WINNERS ARE (cue drumroll… segues into extended drum solo):

  • Inatec Biologica by Unpresuming
  • Land of the Blind by Newmouse
  • @nother by Bryan Steele

 The winning stories will be published in the British edition of my new novel, Zoo City and in the US edition of Moxyland – both in stores in May next year.

Inatac Biologica by Unpresuming
I love stories that play with unconventional format and the minutes of a board meeting between various concerned parties concerning the Toby situation was both clever and appropriate. This, along with the runner-up story, ‘Khanyi’, represents, for me, the best of true fan fiction, picking up a dangling thread in the novel and running with it. It’s smart and funny and disgusting (the kebab image is vilely, perfectly Toby). A pitch-perfect postscript to Moxyland that answers, very satisfyingly, the burning question at the end of what Toby did next.

Land of the Blind by Newmouse
This isn’t a perfect story. It has rough edges, partly due to the lost formatting. But it’s the kind of story I wish I’d written. It’s loaded with subtle telling details incisive insights, beautiful descriptions and a dark plot that tangles up a mesh of shiny ideas in a way I didn’t see coming, incorporating a secret drug trial only accessible via a virtual world, disturbing art, seedy Salt River locations, epilepsy and the anti-corporate struggle. It’s provocative, political and really, just horrible. Which I appreciate.

@nother by Bryan Steele
This story plays out behind the scenes on Moxyland. Cnapce is a repo man cum bouncer for the digital age, an irresistible bastard who gets a kick out of pulling the plug on unpaid accounts, booting duplicates and generally enforcing the rules of Pluslife according to his dailylister uploaded by his corporate bosses. The writing is sharp and slangy and Cnpace is that dangerous combination of cocky and oblivious to what’s really going down here. You just know someone is going to get hurt. It’s fast and fun, hurtling towards a moral crisis that’s all in a day’s work.


Here’s the shortlist, who all deserved being mentioned in dispatches:

1. Khanyi by 821202 – a cunningly brilliant perspective switch on Moxyland’s gallery scene
2. Raw Materials by Anitero – Death and architecture in Manila with a dose of brand sabotage.
3. @nother by Bryan Steele – The story about the online equivalent of the repo man, booting users and shutting down illegal accounts that seamlessly latches Moxyland.
4. The TICK-TOCK-MAN by B. Saint V – a queasy mash of identity and art with beautiful characterisations and explosive results.
5. No Cure For Cancer by Decca – A secret nano-cure for cancer and reality TV are not a good combination in this raucous fast-paced frolic of a story.
6. Nostrum by Duffy5000 – Before Kendra’s Ghost, there was another lurking in Foo Bear’s tai-chi classes. A sly, smart tale about what’s wrong (or right) with the kids today.
7. Digem 1.0 by Keith Harvey – Tobacco industry advertising at its finest and vilest with compelling characters and a real sense of Cape Town.
8. Land of the Blind by Newmouse – Secret drug trials, disturbing art, a working class stiff stricken with epilepsy, virtual espionage and dodgy dealings and an anti-corp struggle hero who is going down.
9. Shade by TobyOne – When even sunshine has become a commodity, Startek finds a unique solution to dealing with an unwanted intruder in their Kalahari solar plant. A provocative, relevant and spiky story.
10. Inatec Biologica Inc by Unpresuming – a pitch-perfect postscript to Moxyland that answers the burning question of what Toby did next.

And, by popular demand, here’s the long-list:

  1. Khanyi by 821202
  2. Raw Materials by Anitero
  3. @nother by Bryan Steele
  4. The TICK-TOCK-MAN by B. Saint V
  5. No Cure For Cancer by Decca
  6. Nostrum by Duffy5000
  7. Digem 1.0 by Keith Harvey
  8. Land of the Blind by Newmouse
  9. Shade by TobyOne
  10. Inatec Biologica Inc by Unpresuming
  11. The Sedge by Steffan Evans
  12. A Cup of Coffee by Adrian Ellis
  13. You Have No Fucking Idea by flatbread
  14. Job Hunting by qscribe
  15. Optical Delusions by Cadence
  16. Life is a Diamond by Giulietta M. Spudich
  17. Level Four Physicality by Rico Craig
  18. Whispers on the Wind by Sam W. Sanders
  19. Thandie Barbie Meet Ghost by Poppet
  20. Technically Defunct by Ryan
  21. Untitled by Seamus33

PS: If you’d like to discuss your story with me (briefly) I’m open to giving you once-off feedback. This is not an invitation to a lengthy critique, but I can give you some quick comments and notes, if you’d like. Contact me via my delightful publishers, on — Lauren

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