The 2017 Pod and Planet fiction contest dished out more than 55 billion ISK to dozens of writers. In a new after-action report, the Pod and Planet team reveals behind-the-scenes details and how this contest compared to previous years.


Participation and Lore

Contest popularity is on the rise. In 2017 we saw a 20% increase in submissions, especially in the lore-based category, ‘8,000 Suns in New Eden.’ The judges noted, though, that the category’s entries didn’t often delve into actual lore. The report speculated that lore literacy might be decreasing in the community, “Perhaps because EVE Online doesn’t expose new players to the lore as much as in … the days when we used to have the latest Chronicle posted on the sidebar of the login page.”

He has a point.

Apart from Drifters and a few other elements, lore and backstory don’t often have a real impact on game-play. In New Eden, lore is a matter for the people who read every little book, forum post, or related site. EVE’s in-character elements could easily play a stronger role in the community and the game and I could see the new Agency PVE overhaul incorporating lore in any number of fun ways to help bring lore back to the forefront. In the recent lack of ‘lore related’ material from CCP has allowed players and other providers to fill in some of the gap. While high-quality tie-in books like Frigates of EVE get solid reviews YouTube videos play an out sized role. Arataka’s ‘The Discourse’ comes to mind, and it’s hard not to see Jin’taan’s recent Minmatar takedown inspiring the grand prize story, Djavak Andrard’s ‘Flametender‘ as prime examples of the community filling in for CCP. Pod and Planet gives a good overview of how the community’s creative voices perceive and understand New Eden at a narrative level. Where CCP and the rest of the community go with that is anyone’s guess.

Short Shorts and Big Potential

This year, Pod and Planet introduced a new ‘Very Short’ prize which overlapped with the three main categories. Stories of 750 words or less made up almost 60% of submissions. Flash fiction like this has real potential to reduce barriers and encourage new writers. Writing for Pod and Planet can easily lead to submitting pieces to more prestigious flash-fiction or short-story publishers. In a time when a play-by-post roleplay forum can become a beloved book and TV series, anything’s possible.

Special Thanks

In the report, contest frontman Telegram Sam thanked judges and donors, especially one key collaborator.

MysteriousAlt singlehandedly made this year’s Pod & Planet a nice event with a 50 bil ISK donation. In addition to rounding up the item prizes, hauling some of them through the ganker gauntlet, and handling treasurer duty. And of course, all-around co-coordinating the event and watching for ways to get the word out. o7 MA!

Backstory


Jenne Exupery

Jenne Exupery is a low-wattage independent who dabbles in shipping, salvage, trade, exploration, and nearly victimless heists. He can usually be found bumming around Derelik and Domain under one name or another. Preferred contact method: in-game mail to Jenne Exupery of Manticore-Horizon Shipping [MANHO].