Engineering News-Record wants to explore the future of construction and work, through the lens of science fiction. We are asking our readers who invent the future of the industry every day to help us build a collection of new, previously unpublished, short science fiction—or even simply ideas for science fiction—to gaze into the crystal ball of construction's future.
Imagine, what H.G. Wells, Arthur C.Clark or Jules Verne would be writing about now that could help us envision new solutions to challenges of today?
We will publish the best ideas and stories in an ENR anthology entitled Imagining Construction's Future: Science Fiction from the Readers of Engineering News-Record, in the fall of 2013.
We are looking for contributions to the collection that engage the reader, demonstrate insight into the world of construction and show how new, science-based ideas could change in the future of the industry.
The project is inspired and supported by Intel Corp.'s The Tomorrow Project, and its futurist, Brian David Johnson. The Tomorrow Project hosts a wide-ranging, online conversation about life in future that uses science fiction as one of its key tools for ideas exchange.
The Tomorrow Project asks:
What kind of future do you want to live in? What future do you want to avoid?
Submissions advice: Facts and Fiction
Science fiction is different from fantasy fiction, which owes no allegiance to plausibility. Science fiction is grounded on scientifically plausible concepts. That's what gives science fiction such power not only to predict, but also to help shape the future.
Science fiction tells stories about people in future, or non-historic times, living in conditions shaped by technologies, events and environments that are different from what we think of as "normal" today—but scientifically and logically possible.
Intel’s Johnson uses what he calls "science fiction prototyping" as part of a process to create a pragmatic vision of the future of work and computing. For a practical guide to using fiction as a way to imagine our future see: “Science Fiction Prototyping – Designing the Future with Science Fiction.”
ENR's project will focus on construction, and while we expect to see some cautionary stories about futures we wish to avoid, hopefully, we also will see stories that envision how, through imagination, conditions that limit the industry today and which most of us see as immutable constraints, could actually and plausibly be eliminated tomorrow through creativity and science.
Of such ideas, inventions are made.
Submissions may be in the forms of plot outlines, summaries, poems, excerpts or complete stories—we're wide open—but they should not exceed 1,500 words.
Submissions must be in English and in digital format. Supporting .jpg or .pdf illustrations may be included as well. You may enter as many times as you wish. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged by email.
Authors may request their work be published under a pen name, should it be accepted for use, but the author's actual identity and contact information must be included with the submission for editing and verification purposes.
Submission of an entry will be taken as acceptance of these conditions.
Submissions will be evaluated and the best selected for publication by a committee of ENR editors, with additional guest committee members to be announced.
Submission must be available for publication in the ENR anthology, and therefore must be original work by the submitter that has not been published previously in any format, or if it has, copyright permission to reprint it must be obtained by the author and extended to The McGraw-Hill Companies.
McGraw-Hill will hold non-exclusive first world rights for publishing in print and electronic media. Copyright remains with the author.
Please e-mail ENR-Science-Fiction@McGraw-Hill.com with any questions.