The guidelines of the prompt were very simple. Stories had to be set in a city in the distant future (i.e. in or near the year 2099), be 1,000 words or less, and have as significant plot points both nature and people. With this framework The Nature of Cities launched a short story contest in 2018, and by the time the deadline had passed they had received 1,200 submissions from 116 countries—from young people, adults, established writers, emerging writers, first-time writers, and more. They wanted to write about their visions of the future.
Very diverse in form, these 1,200 stories included science fiction, magical realism, speculative fiction, and fantasy. After many rounds of judging, fifty-seven of these stories from 21 countries were compiled into a book titled A Flash of Silver-Green: Stories of The Nature of Cities. Seven of those were judged to be prize-winners, authored by women from the United States, Canada, and India.
To place these stories in context, literary scholar Ursula K. Heise was asked to write an introduction that offers a cultural backdrop to work that tackles the future of cities from an environmental perspective.
57 short stories from 21 countries, and an introduction by literary scholar Ursula K. Heise.