A New Format

We extend a hearty welcome to writers, critics, and the internet at large. We are WYRM’s Gauntlet if you didn’t already know, and we’re here to announce that our competition has an exciting new format.

Round 1 / the First Challenge will have a new, much more comfortable deadline of four weeks. It will also be a writing challenge, so we hope to see more avid writers and frequent submitters of short fiction take a stab at this.

Round 4 / The Final Challenge will now only consist of a one-week deadline. That’s cutting your usual time in half, but upping the ante here will make the home stretch all the more exciting!

As always, we’re thrilled to see each and every one of you come out this year. Let’s have some fun!

First Challenge

Here it is, the First Challenge of the long-awaited return:


First Challenge: The Little Storm

Your First challenge is to read and review “Nanny Anne and the Christmas Story” by Karen Jay Fowler. It is currently available online at Subterranean Press.

Here at the Gauntlet, we look for a lot in a review. Most importantly, we want your honest opinion. First of all, did you even like it? What did you make of the characters and the plot? Does the story hold up to scrutiny? What’s really going on in the story anyway? WYRM judges have read it. What have we missed?

We’re not looking for a few technical notes. We want something that’s in-depth.



Your deadline is firm, and it is Tuesday, 10/5/21 @ 10PM EST

WYRM’s Gauntlet 2021, the Return

Some thought we were pandemicked out of existence. Others worried the fire was gone and never coming back. Truth? You can put a fire out in one, but never in all of us; a coal just smolders under the ash. For the first time since 2019, we’re challenging writers from around the world again. Be there, and bring your creative energies. We’re pretty sure not even slapping our social accounts with good ‘ole censorship could get rid of us now.

Tuesday Sep 21st @ 10PM, the First Challenge

Sign up now

1st Challenge

It has dropped.

“The Storybook”

Your first challenge is to review “King Midas and the Golden Touch.” It’s typically thought of as a children’s story, but that shouldn’t matter. In your review, identify the SF elements within it, along with any adult themes.

Deadline: Tuesday, September 24 @10PM Eastern Standard Time

Welcome to 2019!

Whether you are competing this year, keeping an eye on what we’re up to, or just curious as to what this is all about, welcome to the Gauntlet. It’s 2019, and we are back.

We at the Gauntlet have been described as sassy. As crazy. As demanding and fun. We have a different approach to getting our work done, and a fresh view of what it means to be a writer or critic. We love to see new and returning faces. The people who have come through this tournament have been diverse, and of all skill levels, but there remains a common thread: the performances have been legendary.

What new writers will we see? What kind of challenges will meet them? And, what sort of champion will emerge?

If you haven’t heard, sign-ups are open.

New Champion Crowned, Full Gauntlet Results

A big congratulations goes out to Wilma Combs, our new Gauntlet Champion, who secured victory with her story, “In the Teeth of the Earth.” We’ll be learning more about her and her work in the coming days.

We’d also like to congratulate First Runner-Up Gustavo Bondoni, and Second Runner-Up Nina Shepardson, who survived to the very end with strong entries all tournament long.

Read more about it!


Final Challenge: The Phantom Word

The round to decide it all. 3 Gauntleteers now face this:

Final Challenge: “The Phantom Word”

In your final Gauntlet story ‘the word’ cannot exist. It must not be found. The concept, on the other hand, should ring as clearly as a bell. It should be fully understood. This word, this concept, in question is entirely up to you.

Your Final Challenge is to write a speculative fiction short story within the next two weeks. We want this story to center upon a concept which you never quite articulate. Remember, they didn’t say the word ‘zombie’ in The Walking Dead.

Results are in!

In round 3, Firefly made a comeback! After reviewing Steven Brust’s fanfiction chapter based on the cult series, the Gauntlet produced its 2018 finalists. Congratulations to:




No rest for the wicked, I’m afraid. The Final Challenge is on tomorrow.