Sci-fi Contest Winner and Podcast: From Ender’s Game to Hunger Games

To listen to our a read along with real teens or find discussion questions about Ender’s Game, please see our Ender’s Game Read Along.  Also, to read the stories in our contest, see our Short Story Finalists post.

Sci-fi Contest Winner

Sci-FiBack when I was in high school, my short story contest submissions were read by five or six judges at most.  With over 470 votes for our Teen Sci-fi Story Contest, I am so proud of all our teen writers…and thrilled they have gotten so much exposure!

We did have to pick a winner, though, and in the end, Katelyn Wittenborn (The Nephirim) ended up up with the most votes!  Congratulations, Katelyn!  (To read the story, click here.)  We’ll send you your winning book package supplied by Thomas Nelson and Redeemedreader, as well as an Amazon Gift Card very soon and feedback on your story from some of the sci-fi panelists below.

And congratulations, too, to Rebekah Brown, our first runner up for Voices of Courage, and Jacqueline Krogmeier, second runner up for Blue Eyes.  You’ll both be receiving $30 Amazon Gift Cards very soon.

Thank you all so much for participating in our teen writing contest, both writers and readers!  We very much hope you’ll join us again next summer when we hope to host several more writing contests!

Podcast 40: From Ender’s Game to Hunger Games

***Unfortunately, our podcast content is no longer available.***

In some ways, the sci-fi/dystopian trend for teens is just a fad, and already publishers are looking for the next big thing.  But for many of today’s teens, the sci-fi/dystopian genre has already shaped their imagination in a unique way, informing their morals, their desires and their worldview in significant ways.  We invited some really special panelists to discuss this, and we hope you’ll appreciate their thoughts on stories like Ender’s Game and Hunger Games that are so important to teens today.


The Panelists

  • David Walton: David is a dad, a Christian, and an award-winning science fiction author published by Tor–the quintessence skysame publisher of Ender’s Game.  He has numerous short stories in print, and his third book, Quintessence Sky (Volume 2), hits bookshelves this November.  (You can read about that here.)  One of the things that makes his fiction so provocative is that he also happens to be an engineer with Lockheed Martin.  That means he works on top secret government projects pushing the limits of current technology, which in turn gives him unique insight into the moral and spiritual challenges of science and sci-fi for Christians today.
  • Michelle Burke: Michelle is a mom, a Christians, and an editor at Thomas Nelson.  Michelle specializes in books for kids, and as such, she is trained to swipeanalyze not just the words on a page, but also what is being communicated visually–a great benefit for analyzing books turned into movies.  As a parent, Michelle has wrestled with what makes a book/movie like Ender’s Game or Hunger Games beneficial for her own kids–and what might make the dystopian darkness something she should be wary of.  In addition, she’ll  be able to add some of her thoughts on what makes dystopian stories for teens published by Thomas Nelson different from their secular counterparts.
  • John Ottinger: Those of you who joined us for the Ender’s Game read along will be familiar with John.  He’s a writer, classical educator, and dad.  His reviews, interviews, and articles have appeared in WORLD magazine, Publishers Weekly, Black Gate, Strange Horizons, SF Signal, and  He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in English at the University of Central Florida with research interests in Science Fiction, Christianity, and Southern Literature.  He blogs at
  • Megan Basham: Not only is Megan a wife, mom and my good friend, she’s World Magazine‘s Entertainment Editor and a regular contributor to World’s radio program.  As the author of Beside Every Successful Man she has appeared on The Today Show among many national media outlets  and is currently a cultural critic at  All of this makes me very grateful to have Megan helping me as co-host of the discussion.

And of course, I’m Emily Whitten, serving as host for the discussion.  (If you want to know more about me, see Redeemedreader’s About page.)

For related reading, see our Hunger Games posts including Janie’s review of the first Hunger Games book, my review of the first movie, and our discussion with teens.

Will you or your teens see the newest Hunger Games film?  Why or why not?  Let us know in the comments below!  We’d love to hear how you think about some of these issues.


Reading Ahead for You

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1 Comment

  1. Redeemed Reader Podcast | David Walton's Fiction on November 29, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    […] recently had the privilege of being a guest on a podcast at, a site that reviews children’s literature from a Christian perspective.  The other guests […]

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