Flash Vision Contest

“When two people dream
the same dream,
it ceases to be an illusion.”

– Philip K. Dick

Submit to Flash Vision

Reality is an illusion. So in that respect, it’s time to get real. Humans have contemplated illusory reality since Plato’s allegory of the cave, and dramatic performance is one of the earliest forms of storytelling. Whether through transcendental experience or scientific discovery, humans have come to understand that our perception of reality is not what it seems.

Your challenge for this contest, then, is to send us stories that include some sort of performative aspect, simulated reality, hallucinatory/dream sequence, or other illusory element. Whether that involves characters taking the red pill and having the scales fall from their eyes or instead losing themselves in blissful ignorance, we want stories that ripple with fabricated elements and altered states.

The paranoia-drenched work of Philip K. Dick, fear and loathing of Hunter S. Thompson, dystopias of Margaret Atwood, or dreamlike uncanniness of Haruki Murakami come to mind here. The disturbing gaggle of sideshow performers in Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love could provide some effective inspiration as well. As do the films of David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and Darren Aronofsky (and even some directors whose first names don’t start with D). Or the art of the Surrealists. But those are just a few jumping-off points. 

Your entry could involve:

– TV, movies, or the theater
– Dancers, magicians, circus performers, ventriloquists, mimes
– Dream sequences
– Ecstatic visions

– Psychedelic trips
– Computer simulations
– Parallel universes
– Intricate conspiracy theories
– Charlatans, hucksters, snake oil merchants
– Mass deception
– Mass transcendence
– Telepathic abilities 
– Game shows run amok
– A dystopian surveillance state
– Musicians or movie stars
– Secret societies
– Cults
– Ceremonies
– Prophets
– Hackers
– Masquerades
– Trips down rabbit holes
– Characters who inform small dogs that they are no longer in Kansas

Send us stuff that involves either pulling back the veil or putting on a mask, performances as escapism or as art imitating life, someone pulling the strings or someone passing through the doors of perception. 

We like literary-adjacent approaches, but we also dig full-on genre and pulpy takes as well. The sweet spot is often somewhere in the middle. 

The top three entries will win cash money (USD).

$300 for Flash Vision winner

$200 for 2nd place

$100 for 3rd place

We also give mad respect to 4th-10th place,
publishing them in our Flash Vision mega-issue

and in a future print anthology, with contributor copy included.

Submit to Flash Vision

Follow these guidelines, and your story could break on through to the other side.

– All submissions must absolutely be under 1,000 words, and we tend to look more kindly on 750 or fewer because… WHITE RABBIT! 

– All contest submissions will be read blind, so we won’t be playing favorites. 

– Please paste your entry into the corresponding field. Do not list your name anywhere or we’ll assume you don’t know to read.

– Entry fee is $8 USD (Sorry, no refunds.) 

– We reserve the right to extend deadlines if necessary (and you can expect our usual Procrastinator Special with corresponding increase in entry fee for you slackers).

– Submissions must be previously unpublished work, and you will retain copyright (duh). By entering this contest, you give us permission to publish your work (if selected for our Top 10) both online and in a future print anthology.

– No limit on how many entries you can submit, but you must submit them one at a time. Don’t just mash them all in there.

– Contest deadline is end of day (PST) Monday, June 7th, 2021.  Winners announced on June 21st and we’ll unleash the Flash Vision mega-issue shortly thereafter.

– And, most importantly, this is a FLASH VISION contest, so you must include some sort of performative aspect, simulated reality, hallucinatory/dream sequence, or other illusory element. But again, this can be in almost any form imaginable.

So that means you can do something like this…

or this…

or this…

or this…

or even this…

Feed your head.

Submit to Flash Vision

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