Brainstorming: Last Humans Not On Earth

I saw the image above on Reddit, it’s a picture of the World Trade Centre after the events of September 11th 2001, taken by the only American not on earth and I had a story idea.

What if the threat of impending nuclear war or some other catastrophe has lead the UN or some other Global body to take representatives of each and every Nation and put them in space for safe keeping? Orbiting in a space station are 2 people from each and every Nation on Earth, or maybe just the ambassadors to the UN of each member state?

The inevitable happens and all human kind on Earth are wiped out, the people on the space station are the last survivors of a dying species.

What would happen?

An alternative would be for them to be safely stowed at an “unknown” location under the sea, like the recently revealed DARPA project.

Alternatively the UN might have “set aside” a cross section of Humanity for safe keeping, either underwater, in space, of underground. These people would have had regular contact with the surface to keep them up to date with the happenings, but their goal was to be a disaster recovery backup for humanity, isolated from any natural or un-natural disasters or disease.

What are these people’s lives like? What happens when the signal from Earth suddenly goes down?

What kind of people are these people?

You’d have to have people trained as builders and farmers as well as scientists and engineers. Politicians

How Many people are there?

Assuming they have been down there for a few generations, you’d need to have a large enough population to prevent inbreeding being an issue.

How would you train them?

If the containment is to last several generations how do you train them? Training people in engineering and science is easy enough, at least in the theory, but how do you train farmers and carpenters who are trapped underground/in space/underwater without fields to farm and wood to work on?

When they eventually come out do they know what they are doing?

How long will they have stayed away?

Are there actually other survivors who don’t know about this program?

I think my thought track is heading away from the original premise and going towards a Fallout type situation where survivors of a nuclear war live in a vault, but I think the key difference is that these people don’t start out as “Survivors” they are a disaster recovery backup for humanity, akin to the Seed Vault in Svalbard but for people rather than plants.

I’ll maybe post some more thoughts here once I’ve had a chance to incubate the idea…

Useless Superpower: Selective Telepathy

I had an idea this morning of a super power that would not only be completely useless but would also be a little annoying. What if you were telepathic but the only thoughts you could hear were other people’s earworms?

For the uninformed here is the definition of an earworm from Wikipedia:

An earworm is a piece of music that sticks in one’s mind so that one seems to hear it, even when it is not being played. Other phrases used to describe this include musical imagery repetition and involuntary musical imagery. The phenomenon is common in normal life and so may be distinguished from brain damage which results in palinacousis.

I think it might be an amusing aside to a character in a story, they experience some really weird incident and gain a super power but it’s completely rubbish… Maybe I’ve been watching too much Misfits…

Can anyone see any benefit to this super power? Or can you think of a more rubbish/pointless power?

Feel free to leave comments.
Incidentally the reason I put the definition of an earworm in this post is because when I told one of my colleagues of the idea he thought I was talking about this:

Story Idea: History is Written by the Winners

In the Bible that dude God killed 2,038,344 people, and Satan only 10. Maybe Satan is the good guy but he just lost the battle.

I read the above tweet this morning and had a thought for a story, what if god was the bad guy and he just put himself in a good light because as the victor he was the one who told the story?

I assume the story would be a bit Hellblazer stories with a John Constantine like character but possibly not. It could actually end up being a double bluff where Satan convinces a faithful person, probably a priest, that he is in the right only to find that at the end that Satan had tricked the priest and the whole thing was meant to be a test of his faith…



Story Idea: Culinary Conspiracy

I had a thought this morning, what we didn’t need food, food was a drug that we obtained a chemical dependency to by eating when we were children. Had we not eaten as children we wouldn’t need to eat now.

I know it’s a completely ridiculous but the concept of Breatharianism does exist, I wouldn’t even call it a psuedo science. But there being a conspiracy by the evil food industry to make us dependant on food would make an interesting plot for a science fiction novel or short story at least…

Story Idea: The Author

I came up wiry this idea on the plane, while reading a book. I was thinking about the way sometimes I script what is happening around me in my head, and how cool it would be if I had a super power to make my scripts come true.

The basic concept is this: Have you ever considered yourself to be the protagonist of the world? There is I think a philosophical concept which implies that it is possible that the world revolves around the observer, what the observer cannot see does not occur but is filled in by the observers mind. Kind of like playing a video game I guess, the computer doesn’t bother rendering the bits of the game that you can’t see,when you visit an area the programming of the game and the script makes it seem as if stuff has been happening though

What if you had the super power to script anything in the world around you, you get to change the variables of the world, alter your story. The man who you are having an argument with who has just pulled a gun on you, as he pulls the trigger you silently will him to have forgotten to reload it, click…

The cute girl who just walked into the room, you make up a story about how she’s vulnerable and has just broken up with her boyfriend, you start talking to her, you script it so that you are her type and end up going home with her.

This may sound cool, if you had this power it would to be honest be awesome, but it would make for a rubbish story, mainly because there is no strife, you have created the ultimate boring story of wish fulfillment, and your story like the first version matrix in the Matrix series will fail.

So what can you do to add strife? Perhaps add a moral compass to the main character? Perhaps the character isn’t the only one with this power, those who possess the power are immune to being rewritten.

I think the main things have to that there are rules or laws to using these powers. You cannot rewrite that which you already know or have experienced, or that which has been experienced by someone else who has the power, in effect we are making the people with power gods among men (or women).

Another possible rule could be that even though you have this power of authorship, you are still mortal, someone could sneak up on you and kill you.

Also regardless of your power you only know what you could normally perceive, Ie you are not omniscient.
I’m sure there are other limitations that could make it interesting.

The idea in a way reminds me of what happens in Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure where they say that when they get out of whatever situation they are in they will travel back and orchestrate something,except without the time travel aspect.

Another thing to wonder about is how you gain these powers,are just born with them,do you collect them highlander style by killing your enemies? The second option could lead us to a fairly naive protagonist who gets his power by accidentally killing someone, saw by running him over?

Anyway I need to put more thought into this idea,I’m on a train,so excuse the post being horribly formatted, will fix in hotel room.

How to really get people to quit smoking…

I write a lot of story idea’s here, and as I doubt that this is the type of policy that would never see the light of day I’m going to file this under story ideas, as it would provide some interesting colour to a dydtopian/utopian science fiction/alternate present story…

I just had an idea that would probably never work or be implemented but could stop people from smoking. I’d like to point out at the start that I am not and never have been a smoker.

At the moment the way I see it the government applies a tax on every packet of cigarettes that you buy, I don’t know the rate of tax I don’t care to be honest, but supposedly that tax is in part supposed to artificially inflate the price of cigarettes to the point that people are less likely to buy, in the mean time it raises money for the government to spend on missiles… Sorry the NHS…

My proposal is to remove that tax completely, but instead make purchasing cigarettes something you need a license to do, applying for a license costs say £100. When you go to the shops to buy your cigarettes you have to not only show your licence but also swipe it so that there is a record of the purchase. At the end of the year you get a bill for your cigarette licence which is adjusted for every cigarettes you’ve bought.

The license would stop under-agers from buying cigarettes, because they wouldn’t be granted a licence, it would also make it impossible for people who didn’t smoke to buy cigarettes for people who did.

The other advantage of this plan is that being hit with a big one off bill is a lot scarier that whittling away at your money with a tax you barely notice.

I’m normally against the government, or any other body for that matter collecting and storing information about me, but in this case I think that since you are doing something which has been proven to damage your body I think that how much you smoke should be recorded in your NHS records, it should also be given to health/life insurance providers so that they can raise your premiums…

This is all hypothetical, I’m aware that you could replace “Cigarettes” with unhealthy food, or alcohol, but this isn’t a blog post about making people have healthier diets or stopping people from drinking, it’s about smoking…

If you did hypothetically want  to extend this to food, you could give people credits whenever they ate healthily, if you ate nothing but salads and fruit all year maybe the government would actually owe you money…

I’m not sure how you’d modify this for drink, I’m not sure I want to broach that topic, I don’t drink but I know far to many people who do and I don’t want to be lynched by my drunken friends…

Story Idea Extended: Overpopulated Take 2

I had an idea this morning that kind of extends the idea I had the other day regarding over population. In a world where overpopulation is rife I can see the government promoting homosexuality as an alternative to heterosexuality. The logic being that homosexuals don’t produce babies, which could curb the overpopulation of the world.

This would be a stark contrast to todays world where homosexuality is still frowned on by most governments, maybe future governments would give special benefits to homosexual couples in order to stop to growth of the human race to unmanageable proportions.

Not sure how this would work, whether there would be a hetero backlash. Maybe people would start campaigning for hetero rights? It would be an interesting way to look at the world.

Story Idea: Outsource your people

I had a quick idea for a story, set in a dystopian future. The entire world is in disarray, there has been a population explosion and the world’s resources can’t cope with it. There is one country that has managed to thrive in the midst of the chaos. In order to combat over population, they have mandated that all citizens are sterilized.

With over population no longer an issue they have thrived, the one problem they have is replacing the people that die/retire from work. For this problem they have come up with a novel solution, they outsource their population. When an opening for a child becomes available families can apply to become parents, the application process is long but comes with financial benefits, as the government pays you money to raise children.

Where do the children come from if everyone is sterilized? From other poorer countries, the government pays people in other countries for their babies. In doing so the family of the baby not only gets the money for the baby, but they can also rest assured that their child will live a better life in the utopian country.

I’m of two minds of the adoption bit, as part of me also sees Brave New World like nurseries being developed where the children spend their entire lives being prepared to do certain jobs, in this version of the idea the families pay for their child to have a better life and how much they pay gives them different social status. Perhaps particularly good genetic stock could receive the equivalent of a scholarship?

Anyway that idea is incubating who knows it might come to something.

Dream Journal/Story Idea: The forgetful slumber

I don’t remember much about my dream last night apart from being in a situation where someone had cast a spell on me and a group of people where we would slowly lose our memories every time we went to sleep. So we had to stay awake at all costs less we forget who we were.

I think it would make an interesting premise for a short story.

Story Idea: Grumpy Old Vampires

I got this idea while skimming Twitter, I think for some possibly related possibly unrelated reason both Neil Gaiman and William Gibson mentioned something to do with vampires, I thing William Gibson said something about vampires and fart jokes. Somewhere along the line these tweets put in my head an idea for a (short?) Story.

The idea is to do to something akin to the movie Grumpy Old Men but for vampires movies, with two grumpy vampires complaining about the state of vampires today with their sparkling etc. I’m not sure what else it would entail but I’m sure you could probably get a lot of mileage out of it.