Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

It’s that time again, when Grist rolls out its annual climate fiction short story contest! Have something to say about the future, and how we might win it? This could be the contest for you!

Imagine 2200 climate fiction contest 2023: Submit your story

We’re looking for stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of climate progress – roughly seven generations – imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope. 

Hopeful doesn’t mean “fatuous” or “unrealistic” or even “easy.” It does mean light at the end of this particular tunnel. If you’re wondering what a winning entry looks like, here are stories from previous iterations of the contest:

Here’s the listing on The Submissions Grinder (best submission tracking platform out there and did I mention it’s free?).

All genres welcome, no cost to enter, submissions close June 13, 2023. Head to the link for more details and the submissions portal.

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Photo by Felipe Dolce on Unsplash

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Today, a short but earth-shaking bit of science, from over 2000 years ago.

The story of Eratosthenes and Earth’s circumference, as told by Carl Sagan

After hearing that the shadows disappeared at noon in the town of Syene (now known as Aswan), Eratosthenes achieved his understanding of our planet’s size by comparing the angle of the sun’s rays in the port city of Alexandria-at the same time.

The Sagan video won’t post for whatever reason, but this is the link: 

Carl Sagan – Cosmos – Eratosthenes

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Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

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The power of the word to help transform our own emotions and our own belief in what’s possible for us? I don’t think anything transcends that.

— Oprah Winfrey

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Photo by delaram bayat on Unsplash

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Today is Harriet Tubman Day. Who was she and why do we celebrate her?  

Harriet Tubman: Facts, Underground Railroad & Legacy

Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter.

When I was young we lived across the street from a mansion. A massive Victorian from the 1870s, it had a wrap-around porch and beautifully kept grounds. Flowers bloomed behind wrought iron fences and mulberries spilled over onto the sidewalk. One Halloween, the woman who owned the house took at look at my ghost and my brother’s Batman and invited us inside. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a scary story.) 

We were greeted by a wide foyer, elegant wooden paneling, high ceilings and chandeliers. Our neighbor gave us a brief tour and then, perhaps looking through our costumes to the skin underneath, said, “Once upon a time, this house was part of the Underground Railroad.”

Based on the age and location of the house I don’t think that’s likely to be true, but I didn’t know that at the time. The story helped bring to life the books I’d read about runaways, slave catchers and the transformation of a young girl with a disability into a savior of her people.

How to Experience the Lasting Legacy of Harriet Tubman

Pressing my hands against the bricks of the home Harriet Tubman built, I closed my eyes and listened to the wind rustling between the leaves of the trees surrounding this place where she lived and worked as a free woman, awaiting a message from the Underground Railroad conductor and Union spy.

She continues to be an inspiration and so to her, to my ancestors and all those who braved so much during that harsh and terrible time: thank you.

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you… Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

— Harriet Tubman

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Photo of the Harriet Tubman Mural by Kirt Morris on Unsplash

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With apologies to turtles. And tortoises. And science.

Today, allow me to refer you to a story from Nature’s Futures, about a put-upon pair of frontline workers and the genetically-modified reptile who captured their hearts.

Clean-up on Planet 9 by Carol Scheina

A giant sea turtle swimming in a building-sized aquarium. Fields of toothy purple flowers. Goddamn dollhouse-sized pine forests. Quite a bit wasn’t the size or shape it was supposed to be.

While I appreciate the author’s discussion of her inspiration for the story, I can’t help but think that it could also be (at least distantly) related to the mysterious origins of the dimension-hopping tortoise* in my own story, “The T-4200.”

Sadly, “The T-4200” is not currently available online, but this story inspired me to send it off to a reprint market. Fingers crossed!

* I know, while a turtle and a tortoise are both members of the Testudine family of reptiles, they are not the same. Still (and with apologies to all right-thinking scientists out there), the story already adds animal-based faster-than-light travel, so I’m just going to go with it.

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Photo by Josh Miller on Unsplash

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“The chief obstacle to a woman’s success is that she can never have a wife.”

— Anna Lea Merritt (19th Century Artist), Lipincott’s Magazine (thankfully, this is no longer true everywhere)

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The path to success has always been difficult for many artists, and much more so for women. Given that it is International Women’s Day and I am from Pennsylvania, I thought I’d share the story of one group of women who looked at the crappy hand they’d been dealt and said, “Thanks, but we’ll find a better way.”

This is the story of the talented Victorian girl gang known as The Red Rose Girls.

Clubhouse Goals with the Red Rose Girls

While renting out the Red Rose Inn in Philadelphia, they lived on their own terms exploring the benefits [of] a communal all-female household. And at a time when women were barely even permitted to attend art school, they enriched each others careers and thrived together as self-sufficient artists.

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Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

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Short on time but still want to explore the wonders of the universe? Check out Dust, an outlet for short sci-fi videos:

The YouTube Channel Sci-Fi Fans Need To Watch – CNET

…Dust’s absolutely balling YouTube channel, which functions as a receptacle for hundreds upon hundreds of sci-fi shorts with surprisingly high production values. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and you have around 15 minutes to kill, I 100% recommend hopping onto Dust and hitting play on pretty much anything. … As a spot for aspiring filmmakers to show off their talents, Dust’s videos mostly feature high-concept sci-fi – sort of like a post-modern Twilight Zone for zoomers. Almost all have surprisingly good special effects, decent acting performances and – above all – come bursting with grand ideas.

Have fun out there!

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Photo by Alex Shuper on Unsplash

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It’s been just over two years since the Perseverance rover began its quest on Mars. What’s it been up to? A lot, but this article has a summary and link to the whole of its adventure (so far) distilled into a time-lapse video.

Follow Perseverance on Its Mars Journey With This Two-Year Timelapse – Universe Today

The rover has now traveled almost 15 km (9 miles). In addition to studying numerous rocks, it has also collected and stowed away 18 sample containers of rocks, regolith, and even the Martian atmosphere, to be gathered later and brought to Earth in a future Mars Sample Return mission.

For more cool stuff like a Mars photo booth, check out NASA’s Perseverance’s Highlights and Dr. Sunanda Sharma’s talk about Perseverance- Two Years on Mars.

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Chewie on Mars: “What do you mean, this isn’t a new chew toy?”

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It has been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukrainians have been stronger, more determined, courageous, resourceful and resilient than any external observers expected. The fact that they have to be these things is terrible. The fact that they continue to be these things is glorious. 

Today, a collection of photo retrospectives and readings about the conflict and what’s at stake.

Time for me to donate to one of the many organizations working to help those affected by this war. World Central Kitchen remains one of my favorites.

Glory to Ukraine!

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Photo by Daria Volkova on Unsplash

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If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to fly, here’s a little taste…

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Photo by Jeff Tumale on Unsplash

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