April 2020 (Issue #35)

The premise for Issue #35 was


We challenged contestants to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which there is more than one of something that there should be only one of.

We received 240 contest entries and chose six stories for prizes, and we also have a guest writer this issue. Only one of our seven authors has been published in OTP before; the others are new to us. For the first time in our magazine’s history, all seven of our stories are speculative fiction of one kind or another. (When we launched this contest, we expected more stories about art forgers and that kind of real-world interpretation of our contest, but we didn’t get many of them.)


Gregory Sams woke up one morning with 535 million voices in his head and an immense headache.

FIRST PLACE: Call Forwarding, Matthew Keefer’s speculative short story about how the universe doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to.(New OTP author.)
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There’s little for me to do right now except talk. Which is ironic, since talking is what put me in this predicament.

SECOND PLACE: Safety in Numbers, Johnny Compton’s speculative story of unexpected duplication.(New OTP author.)

Georgia knew a third thing for certain: she wasn’t going to obey Mom 2.0’s decree.

THIRD PLACE: The Pieces that Bind, Carol Scheina’s speculative story about what it means to be a family.(Carol took first place in mini-contest #42.)

My groping hand brushed against something flat and hard in the recess of the floor.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Diary, BEBogdon’s speculative story about a teenager’s attempt to keep notes on her life.(New OTP author)

Low? Stay low? How? Is this the proper context? Are prepper sites the right resource? What are preppers? Anyone? Who is anyone? Who are you?

HONORABLE MENTION: Room for the None of Us, Robin Pegau’s speculative story about artificial intelligence. (New OTP author)

As Grand Vizier of Egypt, I, Nebamun, have served so very many gods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Second Coming, Philip Brian Hall’s speculative story of historical fiction about a leadership dispute in ancient Egypt.(New OTP author)

Double vision, not a laughing matter. Got to get my head down.

GUEST WRITER: Reflections, Wendy Janes’s speculative story about someone having an unusual problem with mirrors.(New OTP author)

Note: Photo courtesy of https://allthatsinteresting.com/two-headed-animals#17 and Mike Albans/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images