Looking closer from a distance.
The inhabitants of a rare single-mooned planet on the inner edge of their system’s Goldilocks zone, the Snamuh, are their world’s apex predator. The only surviving species in their genus, these masters of language, known to invent entire dialects for mere entertainment, have learned to record the sounds of their dual-vocal cords into the alphabet that lets you read this text right now.
This description, dear writers, is not about some far-flung alien species, but us humans. It’s inspired by Horace Miner’s Body Rituals of the Nacerima
, a satirical piece that critiques the way anthropologists distance other cultures by seeing them as the ‘other’. The piece is now used to help American anthropologists examine their work objectively, because, spoiler alert, Nacerima is American backward.
As the world becomes more globalized, we must re-examine what we view as ‘familiar’ and what we see as ‘other’. Tell us a story about something that is familiar to you—your childhood home, your country, a family heirloom, or a feather—and describe it in a way that makes it seem entirely new. Title your piece the name of your subject backward.
[This prompt was designed by Community Ambassador AbbyMayHampsen.]