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Falling into Earth a meteorite was heading towards earth
The meteorite kept hurtling towards Earth, and Cam watched as her vision darkened

Illustrator Charlotte Myers Martin, 13, for Falling into Earth by Ethan Levin, 13.
Published November/December 2011.

A note from William Rubel

A little business for our adult readers and then into the meat of today's newsletter. Kids, skip these business paragraphs if you like.

First, logging in. To be honest, we have had to commission an all new system for managing online access to Stonesoup.com. Our fulfillment house, ICN, has done a terrific job -- but there are still a few rough edges. Our apologies. We have just posted login instructions. Basically, click on the login button in the menu bar and, if you can't remember or make a mistake with your details choose "password reset" when the login screen appears. The rest is just a matter of following instructions. If you need help, call ICN: their phone number is on the login page. Their office hours are 7:30 am to 10:00 pm Monday - Friday Eastern Time (USA).

Christmas orders. The last day to guarantee receipt of the 2017 Annual by Christmas (in the United States) is Tuesday, the 19th. We are shipping all orders priority mail. Orders have been going out every day since the beginning of the week. There are 105 books left. More are on order.

I underestimated demand for our Stone Soup story book anthologies. We have sold out of all titles. If you ordered a title that is sold out you will be given one or more substitute titles that will arrive for Christmas. The back-ordered tittles will be shipped later this month when we get them from the printer. My apologies. Again. Everything is being shipped priority mail, and all packages will arrive by Christmas.

Now, to the Saturday Newsletter!

My daughter, as most of you know, is in sixth grade. This week, in her English class they are studying the "Immortal Jellyfish." This is a tiny jellyfish that has the amazing ability to respond to stress by getting younger! In fact, it can go from adulthood back to being a baby. Many scientists are interested in this jellyfish because it seems to promise the possibility of immortality. Unless, of course (if one is a jellyfish), one gets eaten first! Stella's teacher is asking his students to think about whether they think immortality would be a good thing for us humans. He is asking his students to make a list of pros and cons: would making humans immortal be a good or a bad idea?One obvious problem with immortality is that if nobody dies then we would definitely run out of food, clean water, and the resources we need to live. In fact, if humans never died and babies keep getting born and, in fact, if the immortal humans kept having children it's pretty clear that we'd have a planet-wide disaster on our hands. Death is required for life.

Science fiction writers are the people who start with the inspiration of something amazing like the immortal jellyfish and then try to imagine various "what-might-happens". One solution to the problem of immortality would be for millions of immortals to rocket away from earth to explore the solar system and the galaxies. Another way would be for the immortals to kill one non-immortal every time an immortal was created. Horrible, Awful. Terrible! But it would work to keep the population of immortal humans from destroying the world.

Science fiction is a fiction of possibilities and ideas. In the best science fiction, the author takes an idea from science, and then thinks, "well, if such and such came true, then what?"  The consequences of the "what-ifs" are often what science fiction books are about. Up to this point, Stone Soup has not published a lot of science fiction. We'd like that to change. I would like you all to start thinking about big issues and asking big questions and then make the shift to writing inquisitive fiction, which is what science fiction is.

Over the holidays, choose a scientific ideas that interests you and play around with what-if scenarios. If you end up with a story you think Emma would be interested in for Stone Soup, then please submit it to the magazine.

Until next week,


From Stone Soup
September/October 2002

Characteristic Property

By Rachel Marris Reeves, 12

Illustrated by Martin Taylor, 12


The space pods zoomed above Cassiopeia Jaiden Starwing as she stood on the moving sidewalk on her way home from Academy. Cassie ignored the zooming noise as everyone else did, but her mind did not focus on the obvious. Cassie always acted mellow—she was the youngest of seven children, and the only girl, and she was used to lying low while her brothers got into trouble. But today Cassie was bubbling inside. Tomorrow was her thirteenth birthday, but, like everyone on the planet Earth, she celebrated a day before with her family members. Today was her special day—her day to shine.

Cassie grinned as the sidewalk approached her home. It was common knowledge throughout the galaxy that the people on Earth had some of the richest homes anywhere—Earth was a base station to the other planets and jobs there were well paying and important. Cassie’s home was no exception—it was a huge house, with floor upon floor of circular living space. Cassie’s father owned the fastest growing rocket ship company in the galaxy, and was always busy. Cassie’s mother used to work for the Intergalactal Peace Council and retired soon after her second son, Forrest, was born. Now Oriana Starwing was one of the most admired economics teachers on Earth, and was known as far away as Neptune.

Cassie entered her home, expecting to be greeted by her family at the door, the way her brothers’ celebrations began, but things were not as she suspected. In fact, they were the opposite.../more

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