Open Call: Stories of the Moon

Stories of the night sky or the dark side of the moon

Deadline: May 9th 2021

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The London Reader is looking for stories, writing, and art featuring the moon and all its phases and reflections—from the distant harvest moon of our mythological past rippling through the centuries to our waning pandemic present and on to the new moon of a transhuman far-future.

The moon pulls the tides—it recently played a role in freeing the super-container ship that blocked the Suez Canal. The moon has inspired our stories of gods, myths, and legends: from ancient beings to the stories of werewolves that still hunt through our best-selling fiction. The moon is represented in stories by women, men, and other creatures—from the Greek and Roman goddesses of the moon, to the Medieval traditions of the Man in the Moon, and the Chinese poems and Cree stories of the rabbit on the moon. It’s impact can be felt across ages and cultures: in words for menstruation, to the Germanic words for month and Monday, the day at the start of the working week, to words for mental illness. In the 20th century humanity visited the moon aboard the Apollo Mission, and recently China’s rover Yutu-2 (“Jade Rabbit”) is the first craft to land on the dark side of the moon. There are now multiple international plans for future lunar missions. The moon has shaped our past and is now shaping our future. In 2021, what now does the moon mean to us?

This issue of the London Reader is calling for stories, poems, or art that reflect on, gaze upon, or feel the pull of the moon in any way. From myth or history, through our torn present, or gazing forward to a radically different future.

Stories can include folktale, ancient myth or historical, astrological, magical, magic-realism, or contemporary takes; dystopian and utopian reflections; or speculative imagined far-futures. All submissions should tell a deeply human story brought about through our relationship with the moon.

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Possible Prompts

  • A couple in isolation on the moon gaze down on a world so far away.
  • An astronomer grapples with the ethics of a Cold War US Air Force plan to nuke the moon upon which she’s working while her own relationship falls apart. 
  • Back in their tiny Lunar Module, Neil Armstrong is having doubts about returning to earth after having touched the magic of the lunar surface.
  • Rabbits native to the moon call a council to discuss what to do with silver-suited human invaders.
  • A family evacuated from a blistering forest fire gaze up at a dark blood moon caused by the smoky sky and reflect on the home they’ve lost.
  • A queer-Wiccan coven gathers to celebrate the full harvest moon and mourn the loss of their lover, ex, founder, and rival.
  • Prehistoric people sit around a reflecting pool under the full moon and share the lessons they’ve learned from the cold comfort of it’s maternal glow.
  • A wild werewolf pack howls their rage at the moon as they pursue a human hunter.
  • A medieval pilgrim, far from home and struggling with their mental health, feels the pull of the moon.
  • An early modern merchant sets off on a mission to bring to market the cheese they swear the moon is made of.
  • An astrology-inspired period-tracking app reveals more to a new user than they’d ever imagined possible.
  • Sailors stuck on a treacherous offshore-sandbar sing sea shanties and pray for the full moon to bring the high tide to free them.
  • A social-media addict is trapped on an oil-tanker in the Suez Gulf and passes the time in a series of viral posts as they wait for the full-moon high tide to free the Ever Given.
  • Astronauts preparing for a long mission on moon-base share a last meal on earth and discuss their loves and lives they’ll leave behind.
  • 21st century space-tourists find themselves abandoned on the moon as the space exploration company that got them there goes into liquidation.
  • Far-future astronaut roughnecks mine a rare mineral on the moon in the pay of their trillionaire tech company overlord.
  • Survivors of the climactic collapse of earth struggle to grow life on the inhospitable surface of the moon.
  • The distant future inhabitants of a lunar campus fight a revolution for equality and freedom from their bosses on earth. 

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 3 related poems per submission. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and previously published submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.

How to submit: The London Reader submission portal for this issue. This link requires a Google account.

If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk. (You can submit by email if you do not have a Google account.)

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The deadline for submitting on this theme is May 9th 2021.