Japanese Science Fiction Writing Contest Open To Aliens And Computers

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Finally, a writing contest that doesn't discriminate against non-human authors. Japan's Hoshi Prize, named after Japanese SF author Shinichi Hoshi, is open to entries from computers, plus "other non-humans, such as space aliens and animals, as long as they are written in Japanese."

Top image: Alien Computer Screen by SkywarpG1

That quote comes from Hoshi's daughter, Marina Hoshi Whyte, who explains that the entries will be blind submitted to judges. So they won't know who — or what — was the author until they make a decision. She adds:

It's sort of a joke, but for real. I wanted the award/competition itself to be science fiction. After all, if it can't expand the imagination of the general public, what's the point of having a sci-fi competition?


One entry in the contest may actually come from a computer — a group of Japanese scientists led by Professor Hitoshi Matsubara at Future University-Hakodate in Hokkaidō is trying to create the first science fiction story created by an artificial intelligence. They're using all of Hoshi's own stories, plus his essays, to try and "teach" a computer to write a story.

As Hoshi's daughter explains to the Guardian:

Hoshi's stories are very simple, usually containing just one idea that gives you a twisted, surprise ending. They believe this is the first step toward making story-writing AI that can eventually write long and complicated stories. When we were starting this competition in 2013, I wanted this AI project to some day enter its stories, which you can say is an extension of my father's [vision]. There's a chance that other scientists are working on similar projects and of course I want them to enter too.


Read more about the contest, and how to enter even if you're not human, at the link. [The Guardian]