Illustrator Natalia Dunyak, 13 for her story Galactic Rebels,
Published January/February 2015.
A note from Editor Emma Wood
Congratulations to our Science Fiction Contest Winners!
First Place ($80):
“Middlenames” by Thomas Faulhaber, 13
Second Place ($40):
“Young Eyes” by Allie Aguila, 12
Third Place ($20):
“The Mystical Creatures of Blue Spout Bay,” by Marlena Rohde, 12
Fourth Place ($10):
“Sunk” by Benjamin Mitchell, 13
“The Transmitter” by Sabrina Guo, 12
“Holding On,” by Macy Li, 12
“Shhh” by Harper Miller, 11
I have to admit: when we put out a call for our science fiction contest, I was nervous. Even growing up, I didn’t read a lot of science fiction, and I certainly don’t read a lot of it now. Because I’m not as familiar with it as a genre, I didn’t feel very comfortable with the idea of judging a contest! But, once I started reading, I realized what a good reminder this contest was—a reminder of the fact that a good story is a good story, regardless of genre. The stories that stood out to us were the ones that would have stood out to us in general submissions as well. They were stories that used exciting language, that created realistic worlds, that kept us engaged, that created suspense, and that ultimately led us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our world.
Many stories stood out to us for different reasons, but the few that we chose were really remarkable: “Middlenames,” the winning story, offers an imaginative critique of religion and class through an invented society that assigns you a middlename—which determines your identity for life—at birth. “Young Eyes” explores the dangers of technology, and both “Mystical Creatures of Blue Spout Bay” and “Sunk” take radically different approaches to climate change. We’re excited to share the full stories with you in a special Science issue that will be published this September.
Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you for your wonderful work! Your Amazon voucher prizes will be with you this weekend.
The September Science Special Issue
We need more science-related work to complement our contest winners’ stories in the science special issue. To that end: we are putting out a call for all science-related and science-inspired nonfiction, poetry, and art submissions to include in our September issue!
Have you completed a science project recently? Are you fascinated by dinosaurs or comets? Do you love to photograph butterflies? If so, we would love to hear from you. You can either submit:
- a scientifically-inspired poem, drawing, photograph, collage, or sculpture
- a write-up of a science project you completed (this might include images, to illustrate processes you discuss, or different stages of an experiment)
- a researched nonfiction essay about a subject that interests you (this might also include a personal narrative about your interest)
Please write with any questions and please submit your work soon! The deadline for this issue is July 1st.
May 2018 issue online now–and in print very soon
Our May issue is out this week, and I hope you all take some time over the weekend (or whenever you have time) to enjoy the range of poetry, stories and art we’ve chosen for you this month. The issue is online now, and subscribers can download a pdf version to print at home or browse on an offline reader of your choice.
We are also now back in print! Individual issues are for sale in our online store(stonesoupstore.com). January to April 2018 are in stock and shipping now; and May 2018 is available for pre-order. The printing presses are running, and copies of our May issue will be with us and ready to ship to you in the middle of the month.
Whichever format you choose, please enjoy all the wonderful work our young authors and artists produce, tell your friends about it, and leave a comment at our website if there is something you particularly respond to. It’s your support that makes Stone Soup all that it is.
Until next week,
From Stone Soup
Written and illustrated by
Natalia Dunyak, 13
The Galactic Soldier Code
To protect the peace of the Milky Way,
To fight bravely on land, sea, air, and space,
To execute the orders of our superiors,
We are the Galactic Soldiers.
Jade’s cell was a small, cramped space, with bare white walls and floor, except for a small bed, sink, toilet, and mirror. She paced back and forth, her legs burning and the tattoo of her boots soothing her.
I’m running out of time, she thought bitterly. I need to get out of here.
Beads of sweat collected on her forehead, her heart beating like a drum in her chest. She sighed and pressed her back against the wall. She stopped to look at her reflection. She was startled by it. Her deep blue eyes were shaken with fear. A hunk of black hair covered the left side of her face. The one blue highlight stood out. She eyed her uniform—tight black shirt and pants, made for ease in slipping in and out of spacesuits. The purple band on her right arm finally caught her attention. The band had two thin letters, GS, and a crude drawing of an eagle circling Earth in orbit. It was the symbol of the Galactic Soldiers.
Jade was part of this group, the space combat branch of the military, founded shortly after the discovery of other planetary life. The soldiers were trained to be diplomats and defend the galaxy from harm. They went through intense training and had to understand the ins and outs of astrophysics. Jade excelled through training and rose through the ranks. She and other officers were sent on the spacecraft Athena to travel to the Alpha Centauri solar system. This mission would determine the fate of the Earth. She sighed as tears swelled in her eyes; she buried her face in her hands as the last few hours flooded back into her mind.
* * *
The sounds of the four people’s boots echoed through the hallway Their faces were grim. The commander had called the meeting; no doubt the news was going to be sour. He grunted and punched ten numbers into the entrance pad and the doors swished open. The moment they stepped in, the door shut behind them.
The room they entered was full of strange, colorful machines and glass walls. A rosy nebula shimmered softly. Dominic walked next to Jade. He smiled, his perfect white teeth glittering. “You know what the commander knows?”
“Nah, I have no idea,” she replied. Dominic was the same rank as Jade; he had sandy blond hair and navy blue eyes, and a wicked sense of humor. He was a close friend of Jade’s. She knew him better for his valiant acts as a soldier.
She craned her neck to stare at the commander. He was a ruthless leader who got his position through public relations and doing political favors. His greasy black hair fell onto his face. An eyepatch covered his right eye, but a scar still peeked out. No one was brave enough to ask where he got it from.
“Let’s get started,” he said. They gathered around a long, elegant table with a gridded screen. In the center there was a small lens. The commander pushed a button and a large hologram flickered on.
The hologram unfurled a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy. It was so realistic it didn’t look like a hologram. The nebulae looked like small clumps of clouds you could touch. The stars shined like Christmas lights. The brilliant map of the cosmos was annotated with red markings, showing approximate locations of the sun and other celestial objects. Everyone was in awe of its majesty, except the commander, who cleared his throat loudly.
“We have attack strategy to plan,” he said. “This mission will determine the fate of the Earth.”…/more
Stone Soup’s Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.