Theodore Sturgeon, by Mark Zicree

Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award celebrates the best science fiction short story published the previous year.
(photo by Mark Zicree)

2023 Theodore A. Sturgeon Memorial Award Winner


LAWRENCE, KS – 28 August 2023

for immediate release

The J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF) is pleased to announce this year’s winner of the 2023 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story published in 2022. The winning piece, selected by a jury of prominent science fiction writers and scholars, is Samantha Mills’ “Rabbit Test,” published by Uncanny Magazine.

Jurors (Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Pinsker, Noël Sturgeon, Taryne Taylor) described the work as a “powerful and powerfully relevant story about liberty and human rights in the face of encroaching fascism.” One juror said Mills’ story “absolutely wowed me when I first read it, and it holds up to reread. To me this does everything science fiction is supposed to do.” Among the qualities jurors praised was the way the protagonist’s personal story centered a structure that moves back and forth through history.

Samantha Mills is a Nebula and Locus Award-winning author living in Southern California with her family and cats. She has been short-listed for the Hugo Award and previous rounds of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award competition and included in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2023. You can find her short fiction in Uncanny Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, and others. Her debut novel, The Rise and Fall of Winged Zemolai, is coming out in 2024 through Tachyon Publications. For further details, including social media handles and a full list of published work, go to

CSSF will present the trophy and monetary prize to Mills at the Sturgeon Award Ceremony on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 5:30 pm in the Hall Center for the Humanities (900 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS). The ceremony will feature a reception, opening remarks, presentation of the Award, a reading by Mills, and a Q & A session.

This year’s ceremony is part of the Gunn Center’s second annual Sturgeon Symposium, celebrating an international array of speculative literatures and communities. The theme, “Fantastic Worlds, Fraught Futures,” coincides with the anniversary of the publication of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, KU’s 2023-24 Common Book. The Symposium begins virtually on Wednesday, September 20 at 9 am and runs through Friday, September 22, with virtual and in-person sessions; it is free and open to the public. For the full program and registration link, visit

Sturgeon Award


1st “Rabbit Test” by Samantha Mills. Uncanny Magazine, November 2022.

2nd "Banbang Luksa" by Nicasio Andres Reed. Reckoning Press.

3rd "Slow Communication" by Dominique Dickey. Fantasy Magazine, February 2022.


1st “Broad Dutty Water: A Sunken Story” by Nalo Hopkinson. F&SF, November 2021.



1st  "An Important Failure" by Rebecca Campbell. ClarkesworldAugust 2020.  



1st  "Waterlines" by Suzanne Palmer. Asimov's Science Fiction, July/August 2019.



1st  "When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis," by Annalee NewitzSlate, Dec 2018.

2nd  "On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog," by Adam Shannon. Apex, Dec 2018.

3rd  "Nine Last Days on Planet Earth," Daryl Gregory., Sept 2018.


1st  "Don't Press Charges and I Won't Sue," by Charlie Jane Anders. Boston Review: Global Dystopias, Oct 2017.

2nd  "And Then There Were (N-One)," by Sarah Pinsker. Uncanny, March 2017.

3rd  "A Series of Steaks," by Vina Jie-Min Prasad. Clarkesworld, Jan 2017.


1st  "The Future is Blue," by Catherynne M. Valente. Drowned Worlds, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris Books, 2016.

2nd  "Touring with the Alien," by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Clarkesworld, April 2016.

3rd  "Things with Beards," by Sam J. Miller. Clarkesworld, June 2016.


1st  "The Game of Smash and Recovery," by Kelly LinkStrange Horizons, 17 Oct 2015.

2nd  "The New Mother," by Eugene FischerAsimov's, Apr/May 2015.

3rd  "Gypsy," by Carter ScholzFantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2015.


1st  "The Man Who Sold the Moon," by Cory Doctorow. Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future,

    eds. Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer, Morrow, 2014.

2nd  "Shatterdown," by Suzanne Palmer. Asimov's Jun 2014.

3rd  ""We Are the Cloud," by Sam J. Miller. Lightspeed Sep 2014. 


1st  "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind," by Sarah Pinsker. Strange Horizons, July 2013.

2nd  "Mystic Falls," by Robert Reed. Clarkesworld, Nov 2013.

3rd  "The Weight of the Sunrise," by Vylar Kaftan. Asimov's, Feb 2013.


1st  "The Grinnell Method," by Molly Gloss

2nd  "Nahiku West," by Linda Nagata

3rd  Eater-of-Bone, by Robert Reed

A special Sturgeon Award for Distinguished Service was presented to Frederik Pohl this year.


1st "The Choice," by Paul McAuley

2nd "Six Months Three Days," by Charlie Jane Anders

3rd "The Paper Menagerie," by Ken Liu


1st  "The Sultan of the Clouds," by Geoffrey A. Landis

2nd  "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon," by Elizabeth Hand

3rd  "The Things," by Peter Watts


1st  "Shambling Towards Hiroshima," by James Morrow

2nd (tie)  "Things Undone," by John Barnes

2nd (tie)  "This Wind Blowing, and This Tide," by Damien Broderick

2nd (tie)  "As Women Fight," by Sara Genge


1st  "The Ray Gun: A Love Story," James Alan Gardner

2nd  "Memory Dog," Kathleen Ann Goonan

3rd  "The Tear," Ian McDonald


1st (tie)  "Tideline," Elizabeth Bear

1st (tie)  "Finisterra," David R. Moles

2nd (tie)  "Memorare," Gene Wolfe

2nd (tie)  "The Master Miller's Tale," Ian R. MacLeod


1st  "The Cartesian Theater," Robert Charles Wilson

2nd  "A Billion Eves," Robert Reed 

3rd  "Lord Weary's Empire," Michael Swanwick


1st  "The Calorie Man," Paolo Bacigalupi 

2nd "The Little Goddess," Ian MacDonald 

3rd  "Magic for Beginners," Kelly Link


1st  "Sergeant Chip," Bradley Denton

2nd "Voluntary State," Christopher Rowe

3rd  "Mere," Richard Reed


1st  "The Empress of Mars," Kage Baker

2nd "Bernardos House," James Patrick Kelly

3rd  "It's All True," John Kessel


"Over Yonder," Lucius Shepard


"The Chief Designer," Andy Duncan


"Tendeleo's Story," Ian McDonald


"The Wedding Album," David Marusek


"Story of Your Life," Ted Chiang


"House of Dreams," Michael Flynn


"The Flowers of Aulit Prison," Nancy Kress


"Jigoku no Mokushiroku," John G. McDaid


"Forgiveness Day," Ursula Le Guin


"Fox Magic," Kij Johnson


"This Year's Class Picture," Dan Simmons


"Buffalo," John Kessel


"Bears Discover Fire," Terry Bisson


"The Edge of the World," Michael Swanwick


"Schrodinger's Kitten," George Alec Effinger


"Rachel in Love," Pat Murphy


"Surviving," Judith Moffett


  • "Rabbit Test" by Samantha Mills in Uncanny Magazine, Nov. 2022
  • "In the Beginning of Me, I Was a Bird" by Maria Dong in Lightspeed Magazine, Jan. 2022
  • "Slow Communication" by Dominique Dickey in Fantasy Magazine, Feb. 2022
  • "If We Make It Through This Alive" by A.T. Greenblatt in Slate/ Future Tense Fiction, Jan 2022
  • "Babang Luksa" by Nicasio Andres Reed in Reckoning Press, Feb. 2022.
  • "Ten Steps for Effective Mold Removal" by Derrick Boden in Apex Magazine, Sept. 2022
  • "The City and the Thing Beneath It" by Innocent Chizaram Ilo in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb. 2022
  • "A Hole in the Light" by Annalee Newitz in Sunday Morning Transport, Oct. 2022
  • "Toronto Isn't Real and Other Metropolitan Anomalies” by A.D. Sui in Augur Magazine, Dec. 2022
  • "Bonsai Starships" by Yoon Ha Lee in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Feb. 2022

The award was established by James Gunn and by the children of science fiction great Theodore Sturgeon in 1987.

Full history of the award here.

Since 2022, the Sturgeon Award has been officially awarded at the annual Sturgeon Symposium. More info here.

Sturgeon Award trophies

Sturgeon Award Trophies

Individual Sturgeon Award Trophies (permanent trophy with engraved names at right). Individual trophies designed by Kij Johnson. Photo courtesy of Chris McKitterick.