Non-profit XPRIZE describes itself as "an innovation engine." The organization facilitates contests pitting the best minds in science against one another in the spirit of friendly competition to solve unique problems facing the world today.

Usually, their competitions are focused on providing real-life solutions to problems using science, but with their latest venture, XPRIZE is looking to get a glimpse of the future through the world of fiction.

To that end, XPRIZE teamed up with Japan's largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), to present Seat 14C. The goal of the project is to bring together some of the best minds in science fiction to peer into the world of tomorrow. Writers are tasked with using a story prompt to create an original tale told from the perspective of a passenger aboard Flight #008, which lands 20 years in the future.

A notable science fiction writer's tale will occupy each of the fictional plane's seats, and some of the most well-known names participating in the experience are Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaiden's Tale (now an acclaimed series on Hulu); Charles Yu, a writer on HBO's Westworld; and a diverse host of other writers, many of whom are recipients of the prestigious Hugo Award.

Occupying Seat 14C

The sci-fi elite aren't the only ones who get to participate, though. The contest launches as an interactive web experience allowing users to click through the airplane and read the stories submitted by the renowned authors. When they click on seat 14C, however, they will receive instructions on how to submit their own story in the hopes of having their work chosen to occupy seat 14C.

If you are interested in participating, you will need to submit a short story (between 2,000 and 4,000 words) before August 25, 2017. The stories will be judged on the following criteria:

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  • A unique vision of the future
  • Adherence to the initial prompt
  • Alignment with a techno-optimistic view of the future

In additional to the acclaim of having their work associated with XPRIZE, the winner will also receive a $10,000 prize pack that includes a trip for two to Tokyo and ili, a handheld universal translator.

The site is currently live with more than a dozen stories from acclaimed sci-fi authors, and one talented member of the general public will join them after the winner is announced on September 26.

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