A note from Jane
Here in London, our mayor has declared an emergency. We are in lockdown, and our hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients. It’s cold and gray, and the streets are eerily quiet. What better time to be distracted by fiction, and art, especially some that takes me out of our own world and onto another one!
There are so many intriguing things about Invisible to Human, the artwork featured in this week’s newsletter. Its title makes me stop and think as I focus on the strange, many-limbed creature on the right—maybe the human can’t see it, even with their flashlight apparently focused on it, but I get the feeling it can see the human! I find my eye constantly drawn into that big, single eye with its blue center, one of the only colorful things amid the different shades of gray. Looking at the whole image, I love the way Emi has used diagonal planes of light and dark to illustrate what is visible to each of the figures and what is not. The alien’s tentacle vanishes into the blackness of the human’s experience while the human steps forward into what they perceive as lonely darkness, behind and unable to see the presence of the creature the viewers are so aware of. It’s mysterious, and just a bit sinister. There is a higher resolution version of Invisible to Human (and all of our featured artworks) at our website, and I encourage you to click the link and view it there to really appreciate some of the details.
Dana’s story, “The Alien Who Copied Everyone,” gives us a more lighthearted view of aliens and outer space—her alien eats, reads, and watches TV—with lots of comic touches, like the book the alien is reading called Life Full of Baloney, and crazy deadpan details like trash-throwing possums. But even this story ends on the mystery of a forever unanswered question.
This weekend, create something that reflects on the mysteries of the galaxy. Maybe you will invent a whole planet and its inhabitants, like Dana, or draw what you imagine, like Emi. Perhaps you will use this as an opportunity to write something for this month’s Flash Contest (details below and on our website). For those of you who enjoy space facts along with your fiction, why not take some inspiration from this list of planned spaceflight in 2021. Enjoy a trip outside our everyday world, and as always, if you like what you produce, send it in for our editor, Emma, to see.
Classes and contests!
January Flash Contest
This is the first week of January, which means it is Flash Contest week! You have until noon PST tomorrow (Sunday, January 10) to submit your entries. This month’s challenge is to write a short sincere-fiction story about a character that lives 100 years in the future. Click here for all the details, including how to submit.
Writing Workshop & Book Club, Winter/Spring 2021
Booking is now open for our next ten sessions of writing workshop and book club, starting Saturday, January 23. You may either buy one ticket for all ten sessions, which works out at a slightly discounted price per session, or select individual sessions if you can’t attend them all. Subscribers attend at half price. For more details, and to book your places, visit Eventbrite.
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Lucy, 13, reviewed Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. She writes, “If you are looking for a book that is thoughtful and thought-provoking, gracious and graceful, smart and spirited and soulful, Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance is a book that you should most definitely check out.”
Abhi, one of our frequent contributors, reviewed a movie. Check out what he thinks of 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick.
From Stone Soup
By Dana Yehia, 8 (Sunnyvale, CA)
Illustrated by Emi Le, 13 (Millbrae, CA)
There was once an alien who lived on a planet called Watercolors and wanted to be an explorer. But there was a little problem. The problem was that to be an explorer, you had to explore. But everyone on his planet already knew so much about the planet, it would be almost impossible to find something that hadn’t been explored on Watercolors. He knew he had to do something about it, so he started exploring day and night but couldn’t find anything that someone on his planet hadn’t explored yet. That’s about the time the poor little alien decided to give up.
After all of that thinking, he felt a bit of hunger in his tummy. It was that type of hunger that made it feel as if your tummy is saying, “I want FOOD!” He felt like he’d caught the flu—his tummy was killing him—so he went to eat lunch. When he arrived, he saw the menu of his dreams! There was pizza, spaghetti, tomato soup, hamburgers, steak, fries, chicken, asparagus, artichokes, meatloaf, and even his very favorite meal—omelets! So, he got himself a spot in line. He waited for his turn, because that’s what a polite alien does. He waited in line for about ten minutes, but it felt like a hundred million years to him. . . . /MORE
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