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Strange New Worlds was an annual competition for new writers to write short stories in the Star Trek universe. The competition generally drew entries numbering in the thousands, from which three prize winners, and up to twenty honorable mentions, were selected by editor Dean Wesley Smith, along with Paula M. Block of Paramount (later CBS) Consumer Products, and an editor from Pocket Books (John J. Ordover until leaving Pocket in 2004, later Elisa J. Kassin and Margaret Clark). These selected stories were published in an annual anthology.
Following the announcement of the Strange New Worlds 10 winners, Smith announced he would step down as primary editor. Shortly afterward, Pocket Books announced the contest would not continue, due to financial considerations.