Buckhannon native earns major Science Fiction award


BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon native recently earned third place in the international Mike Resnick Memorial Short Story Competition. This national competition is designed to identify and highlight the best emerging talent in Science Fiction.

Christopher Henckel, now a resident of Wellington, New Zealand, composed his short story Echoes of Gliese for the national competition. Henckel has been writing for the last 12 years and has since published three amateur stories and received nine other awards. His most recent award through the Mike Resnick Memorial Short Story Competition makes his 10th award and his first professional publication.

The Mike Resnick Memorial Award is an annual recognition sponsored by Galaxy’s Edge (published by Arc Manor) and DragonCon. The three winners of this year’s competition were announced at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, September 12. Resnick, who passed away in 2020, was a prolific author who wrote more than 200 novels, according to Henckel. He was known for cultivating new talent, thus the inspiration for the Mike Resnick Memorial Short Story Competition.

Of his previous awards, Henckel emphasized his most notable achievements in addition to his most recent award, include publication in Escape Anthology (2019) and Sci-Fi Lampoon magazine (2020), as well as being a finalist in the international Writers of the Future Contest (2020), a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest (2021) and being shortlisted by the Dream Foundry (2020).

According to Henckel, his winning story Echoes of Gliese, is about a man fighting to save a critically ill living Starship from being euthanized. According to Henckel, the story was inspired by the White Island eruption. In this story, a planet (Gliese 832c) erupted. Gideon, Captain of the living organic Starship, strongly opposes euthanasia, so the story is about his quest to save a critically ill baby Starship from being euthanized and the lessons he learns hidden in the echoes of the Gliese disaster.

This Sci-Fi short story will be published by Galaxy’s Edge Magazine in March 2022 and will also be on Amazon.com. Henckel expressed he intends to keep writing, but with more of a focus on novels in the future. “My focus has always been novels,” he expressed.

Buckhannon was home to Henckel for 27 years before he moved to New Zealand in 2004. He currently serves as the Senior Procurement Specialist at Ministry of Education.

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