KU student wins national science fiction prize

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Aliens and humans will soon converge to establish a lifetime peace agreement.

Well, probably not, but in the award-winning short story by Kansas University graduate student Matthew Candelaria, such a conference is taking place.

Candelaria recently was announced as the grand prize winner in the internationally acclaimed L. Ron Hubbard Writer's of the Future Contest.

His short story, "Trust is a Child," deals with aliens and humans trying to attain peace while embroiled in secrets.

Inspired by his own interest in international politics, he says the story serves a metaphorical purpose.

"To me, the alien is a natural metaphor for the foreign, so when I am writing about aliens, most of the time, I am writing about the U.S. and its relations to other countries," Candelaria says.

Candelaria penned the short story during the late summer of 2001. Debating with the decision of whether to submit it or not, the events of Sept. 11 inspired him to mail it that very day. Forgetting to add the crucial zip code, however, caused the manuscript to end up back at his door.

"I took it out of the old envelope and put it in a new one -- WITH a zip code -- without changing a single word or looking at it again," he says.

Despite the mail woes, the story found its way to the contest and was published along with the other finalists in "L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XIX" (Galaxy Press). Candelaria just returned from the award ceremony held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., where actor David Carradine presented him with a cash prize and trophy.

Candelaria is working on three nonfiction book projects with KU professor emeritus James Gunn and trying to finishing his dissertation.


Special to the Journal-World

KU graduate student Matthew Candelaria, right, stands next to actor David Carradine, who presented Candelaria with the first-place trophy in the National Writers of the Future Contest recently in Beverly Hills, Calif.