Alright, it’s time to finish up with the old story notebook I discovered a couple of weeks ago. These ideas were written down back in 2007, when I was writing the first draft of Ashes of the Starry Sea. Without further ado:
In the future, people live in arcologies, and wars are fought outside by robots. It will be a new system of feudalism: arcologies are like castles or walled towns, and people won’t die in the wars, just change sides.
I’m not sure I knew very much about feudalism as an economic system back then, but the basic idea, I think, was that life would be localized in the arcologies and nationalism as a unifying principle would die out.
In the Middle Ages, warfare was basically a contest between nobles, and though it certainly disrupted the lives of the peasants, they didn’t really care which side they were on because it didn’t make a difference. Napoleon revolutionized the world because he galvanized the peasants through the new concept of nationalism and made them actually care about the outcome of the wars.
An AI falls in love with a CS major, but the CS major loves a real girl.
The Little Mermaid, with a modern twist. And the mermaid AI commits suicide by uploading herself to a trashy old computer that’s on the verge of crashing. The final scene shows the wrecked computer somewhere in rural China, being scrapped for the metal parts in a vat of toxic chemicals. Awesome.
A character who’s an android and sees the world in terms of numbers.
The story should revolve around the question: if math is a language, how do you say “I love you” in numbers?
An election where people can scientifically predict best and worst case scenarios, based on each candidate’s qualities and the world situation.
Political science may not be a hard science, but it is awesome for science fiction.
Voter preferences are normally distributed around a common mean, but parties choose opposing points of view because of an information shortfall about the nature of that mean. What if the information problem were solved?
We would have exactly two parties that are identical in every meaningful way…wait a minute…
Someone discovers a language that is intuitive in all humans and overcomes many barriers of language in describing the world.
Linguistics is good for sf&f, too.
What if galaxies themselves were sentient?
Sounds like something out of a Robert Charles Wilson novel. I love it!
A space colony that, due to information technology, is a pure democracy.
I’m using this idea right now in Mercenary Savior. When I first started planning the novel, I wanted to do a story about the Mongols in space, but I knew it would need more than that, so I thought “what if one of the places they invaded was this pure democracy?” As soon as I combined the two ideas, BAM! I had a story.
An advanced society without public education or health care.
Uggggh, don’t even want to go there. Not until Obama’s out of office.
The Mormon pioneer exodus in space.
I tried to use this idea with Hero in Exile, but for some reason it didn’t work. It was as if the story wanted to go in a completely different direction. Oh well–you win some, you lose some. Besides, it’s not a total loss; it’s always possible to recycle.
A kingdom that will be cursed if ruled by anyone other than a direct heir. What if the direct heir is a child?
An attempt to brainstorm some fantasy.
Robot prostitutes–one who has no feeling or emotion, but develops artificial intelligence. This is what will fuel the development of androids.
Sad, but true.
A spaceship so massive that it generates tides when it enters orbit.
Sounds like something out of Arthur C. Clarke.
A tomagachi becomes sentient and uploads itself to the internet. OR…an AI disguises itself as a tomagachi.
Tomagachis! Whatever happened to them? They were so trendy…for like six months in the 90s.
What if our most deeply held beliefs had the power, under the right circumstances, to turn into monsters–real, literal, fantastic beings of awesome power?
Now there’s an idea with some interesting potential. We could build battle arenas and watch our beliefs duke it out, literally. Which ones would win?
A society that values myths more than facts.
I’m sure that societies like this have actually existed–or may still exist today.
American suicide bombers.
Hey! It could happen.
Ghosts on a spaceship.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide…
A culture where kissing (or any other public display of romantic affection) initiates marriage.
Now THIS I would like to see, or maybe even use someday. It could be interesting.
And that concludes the old story notebook, bringing us to the end of 2008 when I finished Ashes of the Starry Sea and left for the 2008 BYU Jordan study abroad.