Kids with Vision

IMAGINE Contest opens up the world of Sci-Fi / Fantasy to kids

by Nicole Georges

Among her many projects, Nicole is a writer for The Jamaica Gleaner, a PR Consultant for the Miss Canada Plus Pageant and coordinator of the IMAGINE Science Fiction Contest.

“The IMAGINE contest was one of the greatest experiences in my life!” (Lyubov Kushtova – young adult contestant)

“My experience entering the contest was an interesting one, believe me. I have never entered a contest in my life, but I enjoyed writing a short story for this contest.” (Priya Patel – young adult contestant)

“It was fun entering the Imagine contest... it was cool winning $100. I now have something to brag about. I also found out that I am pretty good at writing stories, so I think I might have found my career.” (Hafsa Elmi – young adult contestant)

“Entering the IMAGINE competition was an excellent experience. Winning or losing, it was definitely awesome meeting other great authors and artists, and seeing their great work. It is both educational and fun. Awesome experience!” (Adrian Ma – kids contestant)

The above testimonials are from a cross section of kids and teenagers from the GTA who were all contestants in the IMAGINE science-fiction/fantasy short story contest. The contest also includes a poster art category for aspiring young artists.

The IMAGINE Contest is a production of Visions of Science Network for Learning (VoSNL), a 17 year-old, non-profit organization that promotes careers in science, math and technology to black youth and other under-represented minorities. VoSNL has initiated several ventures to engage youth in scientific endeavors, including the annual Visions of Science Symposium, and a network of community science clubs.

The IMAGINE contest, which began in 2006, encourages youth who like writing and drawing to explore their creativity, against the backdrop of futuristic or fantastic landscapes. The stories must feature minority heroes or heroines.

As the coordinator for the contest, I think it is essential to encourage ethnic youth to explore sci-fi/fantasy writing and art. Sci-fi is about everybody’s future, and how we interact with technology. So we want stories in that genre, about Asian characters; blacks, Indian, South-Asian, Latino protagonists, etc. We want kids to imagine the future where people who look like they do, are an integral part of society.

The contest is open to all young people in Canada from grades 6-12. The best entries are published in the annual IMAGINE Anthology, which is now on display at the Lillian H. Smith Library, as part of the Merril Collection of Sci- Fi, Speculation and Fantasy.

The contest slate of sponsors includes Jamaica National Building Society, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Bakka Phoenix Bookstore, Silver Snail Comics, 3M Canada and Kisko Freezies.

The IMAGINE sci-fi/fantasy short story and Poster art competition, runs from February 1st to April 25th. Prizes valued at $1,500 will be awarded at the annual Visions of Science Symposium scheduled for May, and at the IMAGINE summer picnic.

(For contest information go to www.vosnl.org, or call IMAGINE coordinator Nicole at 416-298-1649. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CNM

EXCERPTS FROM WINNING STORIES

Red Hot Water

by Sorina Chis, Terraview-WillowfieldPublic School, Grade 6

Everyone’s hero was a 28 year old astronaut named Antar who emigrated from Kenya in 2039. When Antar arrived in Canada at the age of 17, he only spoke a little English and his writing was poor. He went to school where he spent most of his days and most of the evenings studying English and Science, Math and History. Before his first year in Canada was over, his exceptional results were starting to get everybody’s attention and recognition. He had no other dream left to fulfill than getting admitted at the University of Texas to become a doctor.

When Antar was young, his mother and sister passed away because of bird flu. No doctors cared to go to his hometown in Kenya because they were afraid of catching the patients’ diseases, so all his life Antar wanted to become a doctor and find a cure for bird flu.

On January 4, 2050, Antar became interested in researching alternative water resources on Mars in hope of finding a treatment for bird flu.

He took his red pick-up truck and drove all the way to the NASA station to make his childhood dream come true…

“Red Hot Water” appears in the IMAGINE 2007 Anthology

The Harvest

by Hafsa Elmi, OakdaleParkMiddle School, Grade 7

INTRO: A very long time ago, before the earth was created, a group of noble aliens had an important gathering at Planet Artev. The aliens were running out of food and they held this meeting to see what they should do.

“Quiet!” yelled Elder, the boss of the aliens. “I have thought of a great plan!”

“What is it?” asked After, Elder’s brother.

“Since we seem to be running out of food for our planet, we should create another planet full of a different species and then eat them!” Elder answered excitedly.

“Well, doesn’t that mean we have to harvest them like we do to our regular food?” asked Youngest, the younger sibling.

“That’s exactly what I mean!” said Elder.

“So how long do we have to wait?” asked After.

“Until they are nice, lazy and round,” replied Elder with an evil grin.

The story begins here. Now it’s the year 2020…

Manuela (nickname Manny) Fernando was a 13-year-old girl who lived in Toronto, Ontario. She had just moved there from Mexico last year. Ever since Manny could remember she would have these strange dreams. A few years back, she told her parents about her problem but they laughed saying it was silly. In her dreams she was seeing alien-like creatures taking humans away.

During the past years other weird things began to happen. The obesity population was increasing dramatically and there were only a few healthy and fit people of which Manny was. If that wasn’t strange enough people began to disappear too. Strangely all of the missing people were the most obese ones…

“The Harvest” can be read in the IMAGINE 2008 Magazine (cost $2. Call Nicole for details at 416-298-1649)