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,