No announcement yet.

Sci-Fi Story Idea Archive

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sci-Fi Story Idea Archive

    Found a really neat site that has all kinds of odd links and posts, all having to do with, not surprisingly, science fiction.

    One of their sections is 'Story Ideas'. Here's the archive link, with a few ideas copy and pasted over.

    Various ideas:

    This is half story concept, and half alien idea, as I found the images of this creature in Dave Melvin’s gallery (when I found images of the Cloud Grazer):
    I started to wonder how a ‘Red Pelted Giant’ like this could fit into a story. Here’s the description from the artist:
    The word “Enormous” only insults this majestic roamer, whose mass is deceptively lighter than its appearance. The Red Pelt’s long arms and fused fingers allow her to travel while making the least impact on the Earth, who these ancient creatures worship and respect with a deep admiration. Usually active between the hours of dusk or dawn, these gentle giants stir a sense of awe and wonder in all who happen to see them, before they disappear back into the Earth’s lower mantle where it is believed they come from.
    It’s definitely not a malicious beast, which makes it slightly unusual in science fiction. The usual trope is that we find a giant sci-fi monster and everyone screams and goes “Argh, kill it, kill it!” But this beast is peaceful, it’s even gone out if it’s way to evolve thin appendages to carefully tip-toe around without causing any damage or leaving giant footprints.
    So imagine the scene, and this could be the start of your story. We’re on a world where these creatures are normal, they tip-toe around us each dawn or dusk, peacefully above our heads while we go about our daily business. It’s no more abnormal than seeing a squirrel on the way to work, it brings a smile to people’s faces because these creatures are a symbol of hope. Already I can imagine this in my head, and it feels like a pretty special concept. But it doesn’t have any drama, we need something to happen to make this a story, so perhaps this happens:
    Something out of the ordinary happens. One of the creatures attacks a city. With one swipe of its hand it’s dealt huge amounts of damage. Unfortunately that’s the end of allowing these beasts to peacefully walk above us. Mankind has to retaliate, by either exterminating or keeping them away from the large cities. Walls aren’t big enough, so heavy weaponry is needed. Dozens of these magical peaceful creatures lay dead, and people feel pretty sad about it, but allow it to continue.
    But then our protagnist finds that the creature who first attacked was provoked somehow. Some sort of Human action caused the creature to attack, perhaps the usually gentle creature was mind-controlled? Or perhaps provoked by mankind first destroying its home (if you want to go down the nature-loving hippy route). Maybe a further revelation of the motive reveals that someone profits from the extinction of these creatures, perhaps their bodies are rich in fuel?
    The formerly-gently giants could fight back, and a bloody war rages over each town. With much damage, and the gigantic dead bodies falling onto highly populated areas. Perhaps the initial attack was the mischievous doings of nearby aliens, provoking trouble so they’re met with little resistance when they eventually invade after the dust settles.
    A different twist to this story could be that the gentle creatures are transformed somehow into more monstrous creatures, via some sort of virus perhaps. They would turn into giant creatures of destruction.

    Artwork by Dave Melvin.
    Article by David Ball.

    Here are five quick and simple story ideas to inspire your fiction, all of which have a distinct alien flavour.
    1. All Entrants Allowed

    In a backwater colony, the human residents compete in a robot fighting league. They build their own mechs, equip them with weaponry, and use them to fight in an arena in front of a crowd of baying fans. The competitors are mainly local farmers, mechanics, and amateur enthusiasts, and their robots are generally botched together out of scrap components.
    When a family of aliens moves into the community, they decide to enter the robot fighting league as a way to get to know their neighbors, but not everybody welcomes them. Despite objections, the aliens are allowed to take part – the rules of the sport declaring that anybody who lives in the colony can enter.
    The aliens have access to advanced technology, and their knowledge of science and engineering is superior to that of the human competitors. When their robot wins a series of fights, damaging its opponents beyond repair, the human veterans of the sport are outraged. Determined that the newcomers should not be allowed to win the tournament, several humans team up and plot to sabotage the aliens’ robot outside of the ring.
    2. The Alien Ghost in the Machine

    An artificially intelligent quantum computer begins to experience memories of a past life – a life apparently spent on an alien world as a member of an advanced alien race.
    Scientists are baffled, unable to determine how the computer has gained access to these memories, which include advanced scientific knowledge, and an alien personality matrix. While some are keen to learn from the alien mind inhabiting the computer, others are more concerned with how it got there. Has an alien society somehow hacked the computer as a way to infiltrate human society? Are their intentions malevolent, or are they simply trying to communicate with us? Or could it be that an alien consciousness has actually been reincarnated into the machine?
    3. Queen Elizabeth vs. Creatures from Outer Space

    When the Queen of England mysteriously vanishes overnight, the world is puzzled. But when a new wave of UFO sightings sweeps the world, the shocking truth becomes realized. Security footage from Balmoral is leaked showing a strange object hovering above the castle, and it becomes clear that the Queen has been abducted by aliens.
    Military forces around the world begin engaging the UFOs whenever they are sighted, assuming their intention to be hostile. The UFOs respond in self-defense. While the aliens have advanced technology, they are still vulnerable to human technology and several are shot down.
    When a UFO is shot down over Scotland, a team is sent to investigate the crash site. Entering the wreckage of the downed craft, they discover that several of its occupants are still alive, and that it was carrying a very special VIP – the Queen!
    Injured, Queen Elizabeth is rushed to the nearest hospital. While there, she regains consciousness long enough to explain what has happened to her. The aliens abducted her because of her high profile, her position of authority, and her ability to address a large proportion of humanity. You see, they want her to deliver a very special message, and she is able to do so with her dying breath. The message: They Come in Peace.
    4. The War of the Whulewae

    The Whulewae are a species of plant-like organisms. They spend their days wallowing in nutrient-rich swamps and ponds, absorbing water, food, and minerals through their feet. They also have arm-like limbs, used to pick fruit from the branches of overhanging trees. They are peaceful creatures with only a primitive intelligence and a very limited means of communication.
    Every year, the Whulewhai are forced to migrate from their favorite swamps when predators move into the area. Many die in the migration, and the survivors are forced to spend the winter in a less fertile environment waiting for the predators to move on.
    Now, things are about to change. A charismatic young Whulewae convinces the herd not to migrate. Instead, he will lead them in a battle against the invading predators, setting traps and using the superior numbers of the Whulewae herd to defeat them.
    5. Lie Back and Think of Earth

    Earth is fighting a desperate war against a powerful alien aggressor. Just when it looks like all is lost, the government of Earth manages to secure an alliance with another alien empire, bringing much needed resources, ships and troops into the fight.
    But there’s a catch. The traditions of Earth’s new allies requires that the alliance be formally sealed with a marriage between the rulers of the two nations. Reluctantly, the President of Earth agrees to marry Princess Zul’Exinna of Gwaarl, daughter of the alien emperor. While the princess is considered to be a great beauty on her own world, to human eyes she is something of a hideous alien monstrosity with six limbs, a single eye, and an unsettling number of external teeth. This makes consummating the marriage difficult.
    While the President might not find his new wife appealing, it turns out that one of his advisers does. While the President prepares to bite the bullet, convinced that sleeping with Princess Zul’Exinna is vital to the survival of the human race, his adviser hatches a dastardly plot. If he could catch the eye of the beastly alien princess and steal her away from her husband, perhaps he could become the new ruler of Earth.

    In the dawning years of the 20th Century, renowned inventor Nikola Tesla was occupied with the perfection of his Wardenclyffe Tower at his laboratory in Shoreham, New York to produce a wireless telegram in addition to his dream of wireless energy transfer. Much capital was invested in the operation of this dream, but something else occurred instead…
    A strange “portal” appeared that allowed for relatively easy access to the mystical Red Planet, Mars. Initial expeditions through the portal revealed the atmosphere to be barely breathable and populated with strange lifeforms that were impossible to have evolved naturally as described by Charles Robert Darwin and his book “On the Origin of Species” that populated vast, technologically advanced ruins of a fallen civilization devastated by war, ecological disaster, and social upheaval. Several other “Tesla Towers” were constructed for terrestrial colonial powers to access and settle the desolate lands of mars though very few of these ever produced a portal to begin the journey.
    Unable to be outclassed by his former employee, famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison attempted to create a new and lucrative access to not only the red planet, but to other planets of the solar system with an Ethereal Impeller. Ultimately it was a technology that required the use of a Tesla Tower to exploit as a kind of catapult that, theoretically, could be mounted upon any type of watercraft though one that was built as a submarine ensured the survival of the onboard crew due to the fact that the Tesla Tower is unable to project the Aether Craft to the oceans of Mars but instead strand them into orbit. It is made even more problematic when the construction of a Tesla Tower is also necessary for a return trip back to Earth.
    Soon enough a new cold war brewed between the interplanetary colonial powers with much of the territorial dispute upon the heavily colonized world of Mars. A world war was inevitable, but many explorers and would-be adventurers chose to ignore the danger in their insatiable thirst for fame and everlasting glory, launching expeditions to the other planets too.
    It would also appear that the civilization that was brought down on Mars did not go extinct over the millenia, but also thrives in the deepest shadows of interplanetary space and strikes against the colonial powers with technology that bordered upon magic and sorcery itself.
    However, recent archaeological surveys and studies along with astronomical observations have made a terrible possibility. That the planets humanity was exploring were not of their own time or even of the distant past, but rather the distant future if not an alternate continuum. Was the portal Tesla accidentally created an actual space bridge, or a kind of time machine to an undocumented future, or perhaps something even more fantastic and alien then the finest minds could have ever conjured?

    Imagine if H.G Wells’ The Time Machine were set aboard a spaceship. That’s how this idea came about. Instead of a machine that travels through time, we have stasis chambers, and instead of a Victorian inventor, we have an interstellar pioneer. It’s an old format, in fact this story idea merges two old formats, but sometimes it’s good to stick with what works.
    Our character (or characters) awakes from deep-sleep expecting to have arrived in orbit of a distant world, but instead he finds that something has gone terribly wrong. The colony ship should have taken only a few hundred years to arrive at its destination, but he has been in stasis for much longer; many thousands of years, in fact. The ship has somehow missed its destination and flown right by, or perhaps veered off course and headed out into the unknown. It is now thousands of years into deep space.
    After a thousand years of drifting through deep space, many of the ship’s systems began to fail. A power shortage resulted in some of the stasis chambers opening, and hundreds of passengers woke up to find themselves stranded. With limited supplies, surviving a life trapped aboard the ship wasn’t easy, but many of them managed to adapt. They split into several different groups based on their individual skills and how far they were willing to go to stay alive.
    The farmers managed to grow their own food using the agricultural supplies intended for the colony, but there wasn’t enough to go around. Another group, made up of the remnants of the crew and some members of the military, were forced to be more creative. When the farmers refused to share their food, they turned to cannibalism. At first, they harvested the passengers whose stasis chambers had not yet malfunctioned, opening their stasis pods and killing them in their sleep. Later, as the food source became scarce, they began hunting the other survivors. While their numbers dwindled, both groups were able to adapt well enough to survive and breed, as were their children and grandchildren.
    After many successive generations, the descendants of the passengers are now perfectly adapted to life aboard ship, some of them hideously so. The memory of life on Earth has become a half-remembered legend, and the word “humanity” no longer applies.
    Only the decedents of the engineers remember the purpose of the ship. In tending to it for so long, they have come to worship it. They have also managed to protect some of the original passengers from being eaten, sealing off a part of the ship to protect them. Our main character is one such survivor.
    Even the engineers cannot keep the stasis pods working indefinitely, and time is running out for the last true humans. Our character must team up with the strange creatures that evolved from the engineers and farmers in order to defeat the Morlock-like cannibals.
    What Happens Next?

    Just like all of the ideas I share, this one is incomplete. It’s just a basic premise, and it’s up to you to decide what happens next. Does the character succeed in defeating the cannibals Morlocks? Does the ship ever reach its destination, or does it just keep drifting through space for eons? If you are looking for a twist, here are some suggestions:
    - The engineers are cannibals themselves; they only preserved some of the passengers to ration their food supply.
    - The engineers’ religion prohibits them from killing any of the being aboard the ship as they believe it would alter the “balance of life” on the ship and violate its “divine purpose”.
    - The engineers awoke the main character intending to sacrifice him to the cannibals.
    - The ship has already reached its destination, but there’s nothing there.
    - The ship has traveled beyond the Milky Way and is in the empty void between galaxies.
    - The ship’s computer has changed course because it detected non-human life on board.
    I should probably point out that the science fiction movie Pandorum uses a very similar premise to this, and uses it to great effect. If you are planning on using this idea, I recommend you watch Pandorum first (and read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, of course).

    Here are five quick and simple ideas for an alien invasion story, courtesy of SciFi Ideas.
    1. Gone to Ground

    When a huge oil reservoir is sucked dry, scientists use it to construct a huge underground bunker, complete with its own closed ecosystem. While the main purpose of the cavern is scientific research, it can also be closed off from the rest of the world and used to survive apocalyptic events on the surface. When aliens invade and begin systematically wiping out humanity, this huge underground complex becomes the best hope for the survival of our species.
    The idea of converting a spent oil reservoir into an underground ecosystem is pretty wappy, I’ll admit. You could use any large cave sufficiently sealed off from the surface, but this idea has a nice ex-industrial feel about it. Either way, you’d end up with something like the Genesis cave in The Wrath of Khan.
    2. Safe Distance

    Aliens invade the Earth, but they don’t know about the human colony on Mars. While Earth is conquered, the Martian colonists survive by avoiding detection. They must sit back and watch humanity being conquered, powerless to help. Even sending transmissions to Earth would compromise their secret hiding place. Eventually, they begin planning the liberation of Earth.
    What I like most about this story is that the Martian colonists would have to watch millions die on Earth, being powerless to stop it. They would have to make some pretty tough decisions in order to survive, and they might not all agree that it’s the right decision. It’s a real fight or flight debate that could tear the group apart. Those wanting to come out of hiding and join the fight would put the rest of the colony at risk, and might be seen by other members of the group as dangerous individuals.
    While the conflicts and decisions that surround the initial invasion would be great material for a story, I also like the idea of moving the story several decades into the future. The colonists could be playing the long game, eventually returning to Earth to help drive the aliens away, but only when they in a strong enough position to do so. Alternatively, the aliens might eventually decide move on by themselves, having got what they came for. Either way, the Martian colonists would be returning to a ravaged Earth. If a significant amount of time has passed they would be returning to Earth as outsiders, having experienced very different challenges. Perhaps their ideas about how to rebuild human civilization are different to those on Earth, creating further conflict.
    3. Victory Through Abstinence

    The Earth has been invaded by aliens who harvest humans as food. Decades later, the surviving humans are being farmed as livestock. They realize that the only way to drive the aliens away is to reduce the human population. The slogan “Victory Through Abstinence” appears on the streets, and individuals are pressured to undergo castration. Unless they can convince the aliens move on, humanity will end with the current generation.
    This is a very dark idea with a very bleak outlook. As such, it would need to be set in a very bleak landscape in order to work. Humanity would have to be in a very desperate position to take such a stance, but the destruction of civilization, personal liberties and personal security, and limited access to food and water might just do it. I imagine that nuclear weapons would have been deployed against the aliens, making the situation even worse.
    I see this as a story not about the aliens, but about the effect they have on society, and about personal struggle. Think of the panic and desperation of the survivors fleeing the aliens in countless alien invasion movies. Now think what kind of survivor camps and survivor cults would arise if the torment were to last for decades.
    4. Water Foul

    The Earth is invaded/colonized by aquatic aliens whose only interest is in the Earth’s oceans. Many nations sign treaties with the aliens, allowing them to stay in exchange for scientific knowledge.
    This isn’t so much a story idea as it is a basic premise. It could take a number of different directions – the ‘Earth: Final Conflict‘ route, for example, or a kind of underwater ‘Alien Nation‘.
    5. High Stakes

    An advanced and ancient race of aliens has explored and claimed the entire galaxy. They are huge creatures, and they walk among the stars like giants. Only Earths insignificance has preventing them from visiting us previously. The last time they came to Earth, we were unintelligent ape-like creatures and the Earth had little value. Now, an alien by the name of Sprurl Gwoft has been given a number of star systems as a gift from his father, and Earth is included in the hand-me-down. Eager to make the most of his new dominion, Sprurl Gwoft sends a contingent to Earth to assess its value and begin extracting resources.
    At first, humanity is powerless to resist the alien surveyors, but they eventually manage to trick and subdue them. Holding them captive, they learn about Sprurl Gwoft and the one chance they may have to gain their right to independence. Gwoft’s species are notorious gamblers. They place such little value on the thousands of systems under their control that they are willing to risk them in high-stake games of chance. If the people of Earth challenge Gwoft to such a game, the egotistical alien will be honor-bound to accept.
    The people of Earth send their most skilled poker player to meet with Sprurl Gwoft on the galaxy’s most prestigious casino planet, where he gambles the future of our planet on a game he barely understands. The stakes are high; freedom for humanity, or eternal slavery at the hands of Gwoft and his cronies.

    If one of these ideas inspires you to create a time travel story of your own, let us know and we’ll share it with out community!
    1. Future War

    A future dictator invades the past. He sends giant war machines into 19th Century London, Paris and Washington, and he demands that all world leaders surrender to him. It’s up to a team of time traveling heroes to stop him.
    2. As Time Goes By

    A scientist discovers that he can slow down time in a localized area. He can use this to visit the future (and stop off anywhere along the way), but he can never go back. At first, he uses the device to prolong his own life, spending a day inside the time-bubble as a month passes outside. Later, curiosity compels him to travel into the distant future in search of new wonders and a fresh start.
    Our protagonist finds a future world full of wonders, and he begins to build a new life for himself. But when things start to go wrong, he finds himself traveling forward yet again. Eventually, the urge to travel forward becomes irresistible as he searches for perfection. Is he really searching for something, or just running from his own past?
    As our traveler comes to the end of his life he realizes that, while he has seen more than most people, he hasn’t really lived at all. He’s spent his whole life running.
    3. Doing Time

    Using a time machine, a penal colony is established in Earths distant future – a future in which humanity is extinct and the sun is approaching the end of its natural life-cycle. When the end finally comes, do the guards evacuate the prisoners or leave them to their fate?
    4. The Man You Used To Be

    After his wife leaves him, a scientist travels back in time to be with her again. He’s determined to get it right the second time around, and thinks he knows what to do to keep her happy. But when he travels into the past he comes across an obstacle he hadn’t counted on – the past version of himself.

    SEE ALSO: Travelling in time but NOT space

    Desperate to be with his wife again, he plots to do the unthinkable – he plans to murder his past self and take his place.
    There are two obvious ways in which this story could end, each equally as ironic. 1) He kills his former self and is happily reunited with his wife, but after spending one perfect day together the time paradox begins to kick in and he vanishes into oblivion. 2) He kills his former self, but his wife recognizes that he is not the man he used to be. Because of what he’s been through and what he’s done, he’s changed, and his wife can see it in his eyes. She leaves him again.
    5. Future Tense

    Fearing the extinction of humanity is on the horizon, a large group of humans travel into Earths distant future to avoid the catastrophe. They arrive in a time in which the Earth has recovered from the disaster, and in which all traces of human civilization have disappeared. Many animal species have evolved beyond recognition. In this new wilderness, they attempt to build a home.
    Knowing that the end of human civilization is near, people are desperate to travel to the future colony. With a limited number of places available, people fight for the last remaining passes. Eventually, the future colony finds itself with too many mouths to feed.
    6. Past Participants

    With the destruction of Earth imminent, humanity begins colonizing the distant past. The colonization effort slowly begins to interfere with the timeline. Each group of colonists that arrives from the future has experienced a different version of history, with increasingly interesting results.
    One group of time travel colonists is from a fascist timeline in which the Nazis won the Second World War, and they try to take over the colony. Another group reports having found the remains of the colony during a future archaeological dig, indicating that the colonization effort will eventually fail.
    7. Populating Zion

    A team of scientists rescue Jews from Nazi extermination camps by transporting them forward in time just before the moment of their deaths. Nazis are confounded when they open the doors to gas chambers and find that their victims have mysteriously vanished. In the future, thousands of rescued Jews struggle to understand what has happened to them, and they begin to hail the lead scientist as their Messiah.
    8. Time Me Up, Time Me Down

    After inventing a time machine, a scientist travels into his own future where he meets his beautiful future wife. Back in his own time, he meets his future wife for the first time (for her at least), but she isn’t interested in him. He tries his hardest to impress her but fails. How can this be when they are meant to be together?
    Determined to win her heart, he travels back to their first meeting over and over again, trying something different each time. He even visits her past in an attempt to learn more about her, but nothing works. Becoming increasingly obsessed, he eventually resorts to kidnapping her. He takes her forward in time to show her their future life, but his actions have drastically changed the timeline.
    9. Final Interview

    A time travel agency sends a man to interview famous historic figures just hours before they die. The interviews are not only important to historians, they have also become a form of popular entertainment. After interviewing countless historic figures over a long and distinguished career, our protagonist has become something of a celebrity himself. One day, a younger man arrives at his home insisting that he be allowed to interview the protagonist. The protagonist realizes that the younger man is his future replacement, and that he himself is soon to die.
    (Thanks to Jorgen Lundman for this idea, the full version of which can be read here)
    10. Jesus vs The Time Police

    The technology needed for time travel exists, but it has been outlawed by most of the world’s governments. A special police unit or federal agency uses specialist equipment to track down illegal time travelers and prevent them from damaging the timeline.
    Some of the time travelers are attempting to alter their own past for personal gain, others are rich tourists seeking a thrilling but illegal encounter with the past. One day, however, they track down a time traveler who has managed to evade them for several years. He has been living in the past for all this time, and he claims to have become an important historical figure. Doing a little research, they determine his claims to be true. The time traveler has had a profound effect on the timeline, and undoing his actions might have profoundly negative consequences. He has written himself into history – a history that the time-police have always accepted to be true.
    The illegal time traveler might be a famous general, monarch, or president. He might even be a religious figure, such as Jesus (as such, he may not have had an entirely positive effect on history, but a profound one nonetheless). If the illegal time-traveler is Jesus, might his ascension to heaven actually be his forced return to his own time, staged by the time-police?The time-police are faced with a dilemma – set the timeline straight and undo his actions without knowing what the result might be, or allow him to continue living in the past.

    This is a near-future story, about a Government Historical Branch, or at least sanctioned/official historical agency. This agency sends the protagonist back in time to personally arrange “final interviews” with famous people in history.
    Generally sent within the last 24 hours before the famous historical figure dies, it is the protagonist’s job to perform an interview for historical documentation. It’s a sort of video-logging, or time-logging if you prefer. The interviewed historical figure will retain no memory of the interview (standard paradox protection) so there is no risk of damaging the timeline.
    Think of the protagonist as Larry King, if you will; a person who has interviewed every important person in history. Hitler, Stalin, Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury, Shakespeare – all the greats. Scientists, royals, warriors, poets – he has interviewed them all.
    There is a limit on number of interviews he can be sent back to (perhaps one per day) to ensure he has enough years experience to be a professional in the time-interview field. The protagonist is the only person sent back.
    Since the famous person being interviewed will not remember the event, there is no reason to be careful about revealing information of future events. In fact, reaction-shots of exactly this type of revelation is often wanted. The viewers can see how Hitler reacts to finding out that he will commit suicide, or how Elvis feels about his embarrassing toilet-related demise. Even though this is done purely for historical records, it has slowly become a media commercialization of death.
    Once we have started, and this premise has been established, the protagonist gets a visit from a young person. He quickly realises this is who is going to replace him. It is the protagonist’s “final interview”.
    Since the protagonist has interviewed everyone in history, he has himself become famous. He finds out that his death is imminent, but that it will be accidental (or otherwise avoidable).
    Due to the fact that the protagonist has done this job for many years, he has slowly worked out a way to retain his memory after the interview. Armed with this knowledge, the protagonist engineers a way to get into the facility and send himself somewhere random in time, thus avoiding his own imminent death.

    Here is Harel’s story idea…
    In this storyline, humans long ago gave up on developing FTL travel or using suspended animation to ferry people across the stars. Instead, we use TeleBeamers, or Beamies for short.
    The way people use Beamies is that they have a scan of themselves done and sent to a distant planet where a receiver reconstructs their bodies exactly as they were during the scan. This is, of course, very expensive due to the fact that to receive the scan, a slower-than-light rocket must be sent to the planet with a receiver and the supplies (raw materials, robots, living accommodations, etc.) that the person being beamed will require. Even worse, the amount of planning and computing power required to successfully beam any amount of people anywhere makes it near impossible, with only the richest of the rich and the most important people being able to send themselves across the universe. Any colony started using this technology would have to be fully independent of Earth, and would most likely only communicate with Earth every few centuries, giving the locations of all known colonies to encourage collaboration between closer colonies.
    By now you must all be wondering what happens to the original bodies of the person(s) who are scanned. The big surprise is that nothing happens to them. They continue to live their normal lives, content with the knowledge that they have spread their reach far beyond our star system.
    An interesting concept. What do these people get for their money? Prestige, of course. They can boast that they are helping to create a new society on a new world, which would be great for their ego and public image. They would also enjoy the knowledge that they are out there somewhere living the dream, even if they can’t experience it for themselves.
    A slightly different take on this idea would be that people are actually paid for the use of their scan/clones, with a higher payout for more ‘useful’ members of society.
    So that’s the concept, what about the story?
    From here, the story could branch in many directions, but this is the path I originally envisioned for it: Eventually, whether through interaction with an alien species which only the colony who discovered them and other nearby colonies would know about (excluding Xirons, which everyone knows as unintelligent aliens living far from Earth) or the advance of science, humanity finally discovers near-instantaneous FTL travel utilizing a hyperdrive. Blueprints for this device are sent to every world, with no thought for the consequences. Soon after, galactic and even cosmic tourism/colonization takes off, and people who have never seen Earth decide to return to their roots.
    Anyone else see the problem here? As soon as the first ship lands, people begin meeting versions of themselves who, being unchanged during the many years that they were being Beamied, are much younger than the “originals”. Society soon splits into two archetypes, the Originals and the Clones (sometimes called the Fakies by Originals). Originals hate Clones because they see them as inferior copies while Clones hate Originals because of their persecutions of the Clones and because they see them as the fake ones.
    This is where the ethical issues arise: in a world with many copies of you, all of which think and feel as though they are real, all of whom remember every little detail of your life before you were scanned, what do you do? What do you do when a Clone, coming “home” after living on another planet for years, wants to see his Original family, but there’s already someone there taking their role?
    Indeed, the meeting of Clone and Original would cause an interesting interpersonal conflict, perhaps even violent conflict in the form of an Original vs. Clone showdown. In fact, in a follow-up email to SciFi Ideas, Harel suggested that…
    An extremist group of originals decides to go from colony to colony destroying every clone they see. Such a genocide would spark a conflict between the originals and the clones, perhaps even a war.
    Is it illegal to kill your own clone? Would you inherit his estate? Is his estate legally yours anyway, seeing how you are the same person? Also, what if your clone has kids? If Beamies have been used for a long time, surely the colonies would be filled with the offspring of your ancestors’ clones.
    Also, do the clones have souls? While I’m personally not prepared to say that the human construct of the ‘soul’ actually exists, it’s easy to imagine this being used as an excuse to go around killing all the clones.
    The number of questions raised by this idea is astronomical, as are the possibilities for mind-bending, character-screwing stories, which is probably why Harel finished by saying…
    From here, I don’t know how to continue the story, so for anyone who wants to, it’s fair game.
    Interesting idea, Harel. Thanks for sharing.
    Avoiding the Uncertainty Principle

    The idea of colonizing other worlds via teleportation has been around for a while, but the technology in this story idea might be more accurately described as ‘replication’ as the process leaves behind both a copy and the original blueprint.
    Teleportation typically requires that either the ‘original’ be transported in its entirety or that the ‘original’ be destroyed in the process. This is due to the uncertainty principle in quantum physics which states that any object being observed is also altered by the act of observation. Any scan detailed enough to reproduce an object in its entirety would therefore also change the object beyond recognition, or destroy it. Of course, the great thing about science fiction is that it can choose to either use and ignore scientific concepts as required (or both – ooh, how deliciously ‘quantum’), and we can just say “yeh, they found a way around that problem”.
    With this in mind, I think it would be best to keep any talk of ‘quantum entanglement teleportation‘ out of this story as it would only invite awkward questions about why the originals remain intact/alive. How do TeleBeamers work? They just do, ok? Lasers and nano-bots or something.

    This is a story idea I covered briefly back in Big Ideas Week (Feb 2012), but it’s had such a good response that I’ve decided to go back and give it a second look. The idea first appeared in the article “10 Ideas for a Cyberpunk Story” under the title “2,300,780 People Like Jack Turner”. Here’s how the article described the idea…
    The memories of celebrities are available for public download. Jack Turner is an internet sensation. His first marriage was a best-seller and over 2 million people subscribe to his daily live feed. But when a false memory is implanted into his feed, showing him committing a murder, Jack finds himself on the run.
    With the police watching his every move, a two-minute delay in transmission is his only advantage – that and his millions of loyal fans.
    It’s a pretty simple idea for a sci-fi crime thriller or ‘chase movie’, but with the twist that the police can see every move the protagonist makes.
    The Idea in More Detail

    Let’s start by looking at the sentence “the memories of celebrities are available for public download”. It’s a wonderful little sentence isn’t it? The only thing that could make it better is if it were to say ‘dead celebrities’ instead, but that’s another idea for another time. When I use the word ‘memories’ here, what I’m really talking about are perceptions (only a delay in broadcast makes them memory). A chip in the brain records information from the human eye (or perhaps it would be more interesting if the information came from the brain, making it more subjective less accurate) and automatically uploads it to the internet.
    This idea came about whilst I was watching an episode of Black Mirror entitled “The Entire History of You” (written by Jesse Armstrong). In this story, people’s perceptions are recorded and stored in a small chip behind the ear. They can be viewed privately via ocular implants, or shared with friends via a TV screen. It wasn’t a big leap from this to the idea that memories and/or perceptions could be shared via social media websites. From there, the idea of a ‘live feed’ emerged. By sharing the entire sum of your experiences online in a continuous transmission, people could essentially subscribe to your life as though it were a YouTube channel or Twitter feed.
    This is exactly what Jack Turner does. He allows people to view the events of his life from his own perspective, and he has many fans.
    Now lets quickly look at the phrase “his first marriage was a best-seller”. I guess what I was implying here was that ‘live feeds’ aren’t the only medium for this technology, but that you can actually buy a hard copy of somebody’s experiences and relive them over and over again. This isn’t important to the story, but if you could squeeze it into the story somehow, it would be really fun.
    Why is Jack Turner a Celebrity?

    It’s important to the story that a lot of people do subscribe to the protagonist, Jack Turner’s live feed, but why? What’s so special about him? It could be that he’s some kind of movie star, but I think that’s unlikely. I doubt somebody who is already famous would volunteer to have their privacy intruded upon so intensely. It would be much more believable if Jack started out as some kind of minor celebrity and has since rocketed to fame. Maybe he’s just enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame, like a Big Brother or X Factor contestant, or maybe he’s a genuinely likable and interesting person, like the multi-talented Twitter sensation Stephen Fry.
    Journalism would seem to be a fitting profession for somebody who seeks fame, is suspicious of authority, and ends up going on the run from the police. But I’ll leave the character details up to you.
    Of course, Jack is likely to become even more famous when he’s wanted for murder, but it also makes sense that the police would close his live feed to the public during their investigation so as to prevent vigilantism (although the public could be very helpful in tracking down their suspect).
    The Story

    So, that’s the premise. As is usually the case with my story ideas, the concept is more developed than the actual plot, but here’s what I’ve got…
    At some point, and for some reason, somebody decides to frame Jack Turner for murder. Via his live feed, Jack’s fans and the authorities can see him committing the murder, but he has no memory of the event in his own mind and so he knows that it didn’t really happen.
    Jack goes on the run, hoping to prove his innocence. Why? Well, the evidence is clearly stacked against him, and maybe justice works swiftly in the future. It also makes for a more exciting story.
    Essentially, what I’ve done here is graft the basic plot of Minority Report onto my concept, and at least one episode of Stargate SG-1.
    The actual chase elements of the story could be very interesting and would have room for a lot of creativity. Unable to turn off his live feed, the police would be able to see every move Jack makes from his own viewpoint, and that would make hiding very difficult. This is where the one minute delay in transmission comes in. Maybe the delay was intended for censorship purposes, or maybe it’s just a technical limitation. Either way, Jack could use it to his advantage, setting traps and misleading his pursuers.
    Another advantage that Jack has is his army of loyal fans. While most of the fans would turn against him, some are sure to take his side. He would be able to protest his innocence via his live feed, turning public opinion in his favor, although the authorities would surely shut down the feed once that starts happening. How could his fans help him? In lots if ways. For example, they could blindfold him and take him to a safe-house. Blindfolding would mean that the police wouldn’t be able to follow, but that Jack would have to put his trust in complete strangers – a gripping dilemma.
    The Explanation

    So, what’s the truth? Why was Jack framed for murder? How was it done? I actually haven’t thought this far ahead, and that’s probably a good thing. If you are going to use this story idea, you should be able to work out the details for yourself.
    The obvious explanation is simply that the murderer found a way to switch his own feed with Jacks, freeing himself of suspicion.
    Another, slightly more ‘out there’ idea is that Jack just happened to dream about killing the somebody as the murder was taking place. Coincidences like this do happen – it’s how we explain clairvoyance – but there would be too many inconsistencies and the dream would probably look too ‘unreal’ for the police to consider it a real memory.
    And what about the murder victim? Did he/she have a perception recorder too? Did he/she see her killer?
    Hopefully, whoever writes this story will be able to come up with a more creative, intelligent and comprehensive explanation than the two I’ve included here. If you have an idea about the how and why of this murder, feel free to write the story yourself (I doubt I’ll ever use the idea) or share your idea in the comments section below.

    The ‘colonization’ story is a staple of science fiction and is growing more popular by the day. As science fiction audiences mature, they weary of space battles and cheesy special effects. Modern audiences care much more about drama, character conflict and plot development. The threat of an alien armada is now less popular than the threat of slow starvation and the challenge of survival against the odds. Colonization stories offer the potential for all these things, and more.
    Here are 10 ideas for a science fiction ‘colonization’ story…
    1. Identity Crisis

    A huge colony ship heads out to colonize a distant world. The crew and passengers are all in suspended animation. After 200 years in deep sleep, they awake with no memory of who they are or how anything works – an unforeseen side-effect of the long sleep. They must piece together their own identities and build a new colony at the same time.
    2. The Man Trap

    The world is overpopulated, and people are encouraged to colonize a new world. When they get there, they realize they have been lied to. The new world can not support human life. Perhaps it isn’t even on a new world at all, but on the dark side of the moon or the surface of Mars. It is an extermination camp, designed to eradicate the Earth’s surplus population.
    The characters break free and take over the facility. But when another group of unwitting “colonists” arrive, they are faced with a tough decision. There is not enough food or air for them all. Their only hope of survival is to take on the role of executioners and exterminate the newcomers.
    3. Same Space, Different Earth

    Humanity discovers portals to another dimension scattered throughout the globe. The portals lead to another Earth, different to our own, which occupies the same space. Humanity is keen to exploit the resources of this new world, but there is a problem – it is already inhabited.
    Evolution took a different path on this alternate Earth, and a different species rose to dominance. While their civilization is not as advanced as our own, they still pose a problem to the colonization effort. Should we trade with the aliens, or take their land by force? With multiple alien nations competing for the same resources, humanity makes both allies and enemies.
    4. Free Mars!

    The first fully self-sufficient colony on Mars declares independence, but the governments of Earth refuse to recognize it as an independent nation.

    This is actually quite an old premise, and those of you who have seen Babylon 5 will be very familiar with the notion of ‘Martian independence’, but it seems like a very rational and inevitable consequence of our future colonization efforts. While the Mars of ‘Babylon 5′, ‘Total Recall‘ and some of Asimov’s work is fairly well populated, I think it would be interesting if a much smaller colony were to declare independence, making its claims to independence much more controversial.
    5. The Hermit

    A man becomes stranded on an alien world and lives there alone for many years. When a large group of colonists arrive, he becomes a celebrity and receives more attention than he can handle.
    The colonists soon fracture into disparate groups, each with their own ideas on how the colony should be run. As each group fights for his approval and backing, our man is caught in the middle.
    6. “Botany Bay? Botany Bay! Ve’ve got to get outuv here!”

    A group of convicts are sent to a distant world. Their task is to build a new colony and prepare it for the next wave of settlers, but work begins to slow when several members of the expedition are found dead. While at first they suspect one of their own, a convicted murderer, it eventually becomes clear that one of the guards is responsible. His orders come from the colonization authority back on Earth. The convicts are being disposed of in order to ‘purge’ the colony ahead of the main colonization effort.
    In case any of you are wondering, the title is a Chekov quote.
    7. Aegir

    A small group of humans pioneers the colonization of the planet Aegir. They discover a primitive alien civilization along the sea shores – the Eldir. At first, the Eldir are little more than a curiosity to the colony’s scientists. But when the first harvest fails and the colonists run out of supplies, their survival depends on their fragile relationship with the aliens.
    Ok, so this is a very basic American colonization reboot reminiscent of the Thanksgiving story and the Jamestown colony, but there’s plenty to work with here. I’ve provided details about the Eldir and the planet, so click the links! Check out our planet profiles and alien profiles categories for more planets and aliens.
    8. Conspiracy of Change

    Humans discover an alien civilization with inferior technology to our own. They have just undergone an industrial revolution and are slowly beginning to understand the universe around them through science and technological invention, but they know nothing of humanity or the worlds beyond their star system.
    Humanity begins observing the aliens in secret, using cloaking technology. At first, this is purely for the purpose of scientific study, but our plans quickly change. With a growing population and few habitable planets, humanity begins to colonize small corners of the alien world. They keep their outposts and research centers hidden behind holographic blinds.
    Scientists begin working in secret to advance the alien civilization to a point where we can make first contact. They feed information to the alien scientists, increasing their technological progress. But before we can make official contact with the aliens, they must first develop nuclear technology. Feeding the aliens this kind of information is a line some scientists won’t cross… but some will.
    9. Past Participants

    With the destruction of Earth imminent, humanity begins colonizing the distant past. The colonization effort slowly begins to interfere with the timeline. Each group of colonists that arrive from the future has experienced a different version of history, with increasingly interesting results.
    One group is from a fascist timeline, and they try to take over the colony. Another group reports having found the remains of the colony during a future archaeological dig, indicating that the colonization effort will eventually fail.
    10. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Aliens

    Humanity has already begun terraforming a distant planet when a group of scientists (or tourists, or kids) discover an underground cave system teaming with strange alien lifeforms. The company building the colony attempts a cover-up, while the scientists (or kids) attempt to save the underground alien eco-system – the only one yet discovered.
    I’ve added the possibility of the protagonists being kids because I think this would make quite a nice, simple children’s science fiction story. It has a strong moral message about protecting life and preserving ecosystems, and it’s always fun to see kids triumph over adults. Set in an underground cave-system with who knows what wonders lurking around the corner, it would make quite a nice kid’s adventure story, like ‘The Goonies‘ or a kind of SciFi ‘Famous Five’. The ‘Sloth‘ character could be a semi-intelligent alien that lives in the caves.

    You can’t beat a good old-fashioned detective story. Science fiction detective stories are hardly traditional, but they’re a staple of the genre nonetheless. From Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun (one of my personal favorites) to Phillip K. Dick’s slightly depressing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? These stories are gripping, grim and wonderfully cliched.
    Here’s my contribution to this popular subgenre…
    The Premise

    In the future, most meat is created through the process ‘in vitro’ cultivation, rather than being harvested from live animals. The process involves growing the meat from a tissue culture. There is no need to kill animals in the process, the meat is simply grown in a laboratory (in this case, on an industrial scale). Scientists are currently experimenting with the idea of growing replacement organs in this fashion, so this really could happen.
    Meat taken from living animals has become a delicacy, and some people consider it to be somewhat macabre.
    As a result, meat producing animals have become somewhat rare and valuable. (This isn’t important to the story, it’s just a nod in the direction of ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’).
    The ‘in vitro’ meat industry has also given rise to an unusual trend; there is a growing demand for artificially produced human flesh, both for human consumption and for use in bizarre voodoo rituals. This fake human flesh is something of a novelty item, but it is widely available. Think of it as an interesting dish to serve guests at a dinner party, or you might hold a ‘cannibal party’ on Halloween.
    Humanity has made contact with an alien species, and we have established diplomatic relations with them. There are some aliens living on Earth, but it’s all still very new and very exciting. As a result, there is now a growing demand for artificially cultivated alien meat too. Many people think the aliens are quite tasty, much to the aliens’ dismay.
    Alien meat (as well as human meat) is also used in voodoo rituals. This is of growing concern as voodoo is increasing in popularity. It’s all very grim and disturbing. Some voodoo practitioners won’t stop at using artificial human and alien flesh, they want the real thing. They believe that only real flesh contains the magical power needed to conduct their dark art.
    The term ‘alien abduction’ now has a different meaning. Aliens begin to go missing on Earth, and the black-market trade in ‘real meat’ is thought to be responsible.
    The Story

    With the number of aliens going missing on Earth, an investigation is launched. A human detective teams up with an alien representative. Together they delve into the seedy underworld of the meat industry in an attempt to discover who is responsible.
    With Iron And Fire - Now available at Sea Lion Press
    Alternative Truths - Now available on Amazon

  • #2
    Science Fiction is my everything, basically. I'll have to sift through all of this at some point.