In any case, I'm just dumping a bunch of half finished ideas here behind the cut. Comments, insights, or whatever would be appreciated.
- I wrote over a hundred pages on this and then decided I couldn't use a word of it. The basic idea is that bizarrely super-powered people are hunting and chasing and fighting each other in the early days of the Wild West. The main character can always fire any firearm he holds, any time he pulls the trigger; guns fired at him fizzle. He's trying to figure out why he's so gifted while Mr. Mithras (superpower: pusher) is hunting him on behalf of a shady organization. As it turns out, the secret is the Universe is falling apart. They're in a rapidly decaying and unstable pocket universe branched off from the "real" universe by some event or another. They basically have to self destruct or watch the world get destroyed around them.
It's definitely got a Dark Tower flavor, but unlike that setting, this happens is something that is decidedly our world- but with Old West superheroes. Well, there's a decided lack of heroes. But you get the point. A big theme would actually be the impact of the Civil War on the characters- all of the main characters were alive for those events, and it's probably tied to where their powers come from.
The problem I have working on this one is that it's complex and trippy. The initial draft reflected this by being flogged through with Purple Prose. It eventually took a turn for the very dark and pointless, which is where I stopped.
- Doctor Future
- Another alternate history type story, it's modeled as a pulp-fiction story in the atomic age. Doctor "Future" (whose real name I still haven't picked) is one of those pulp-fiction Science Heroes. Set in the late 40s, he's very much ahead of his time; while everyone is fascinated and horrified by the atomic bomb, he's much more interested in the power that could be unleashed by the Turing Universal Computer. In this world, Alan Turing was not abused to death by the government that owed him so much, and computer technology leaps forward fantastically fast- but not too fast. Everything is all vacuum tubes and diesel generators, but the ideas of modern cyberpunk are all lurking there.
With this one, the real "theme" is the idea that our view of a computational future, all the way up to "Singularity" fiction is really built around the same thinking that dictated all science fiction in the Cold War era had to be about nuclear weapons and rocket ships. We can't really predict what the future of technology holds, but the one thing we can predict is that we're wrong. One of the side conflicts in the story would be Doctor Future arguing with his peers about what's more powerful and world shaping: nuclear weapons or the computer.
I haven't been able to get more than a few paragraphs in, even as I attack it from different angles. I don't have a clear idea of what the plot should be. There's no core conflict, or even a solid feel for the characters. The only powerful setting is Doctor Future's main transport: a B-17 where the bomb-bay has been converted to house a massive computer (which is smart enough to be the navigator and even do some routine piloting)
- Out of character for me, this isn't science fiction. It's actually a political commentary. Okay, maybe not so out of character. Anyway, Lemmy is a down on his luck skeezebag. He starts the year of 2001 getting his ass beat by a loan shark. By the time September 11th rolls around, he's really fucked up. Drugs, booze, sexually transmitted diseases. He's got a little of everything.
When the planes hit the towers, that's a world changing event for him. Everybody's afraid, and he knows how to make them feel safe: he needs to show the world that we Americans can lick any problem. And fuck it in the ass too. He's going to make a porno about the War on Terror, where brave, chiseled, steroid-enhanced soldiers kill swarthy Arabs and have sex with their women.
Of course, his swamp-dwelling redneck brain (this is set in Florida) doesn't have the wherewithal to pull this off. He doesn't know where to find anyone that actually looks Arabic, so he settles for overtanning beach babes and the whole thing is intended to be a series of ridiculous, racist, and generally demeaning events. Burkas improvised out of bedsheets and all that good stuff. Awful, awful insensitivity.
But that's kinda the point of the whole story; Lemmy's basically a stand in for our foreign policy for the past decade. I don't really have a conclusion here, and I've only got a few pages done.
- I tried to start this, and didn't get anywhere. It's one of those Big Thing sci-fi stories. I've got two stories in the setting that I want to tell, and I could probably mine it for a bunch more. Right now, it's mostly a setting with a few character ideas.
The main setting is a post-diaspora human civilization. We've spread out through the local stars at sublight speeds- so we're talking tens of thousands of years from now. Everything is very alien; humans barely are any more. You've got isolated human colonies, since communication happens at the sluggish speed of light, there's a lot of cultural drift. But then, someone invents FTL travel.
There's some limitations though. You need about the mass of Jupiter compressed into a space-warping blob of degenerate matter to get that working. To get that to work, FTL ships are actually a set of very massive nodes that drag a cluster of spaceships with them. How many? We're talking millions of spaceships. Entire civilizations, essentially. It's not an FTL ship, it's an FTL civilization.
So this raises some really interesting conflicts. Imagine first contact. One story is the tale of a highly insular communalist civilization that is suddenly "invaded" by a Volvox cruiser. It's neither a utopia or distopia- it's just a place where people have decided that the community is more important than individuals. There are some advantages, some disadvantages, and the more interesting story isn't in rehashing the distopic terrain of that premise- but seeing what happens when it meets the massive force of an FTL civilization.
Another story idea: imagine the fallout if one of these colonies were lost. My other idea is that one of these cruisers ventures too close to the home of an unknown post-singularity civilization. Before they know what has happened, they're disassembled down to their quantum state and beamed out to a distant galaxy for analysis. The story would involve the investigators hunting down what happened, and the passengers trying to make sense of events that are honestly beyond their comprehension.
Any time you're dealing with "things beyond understanding" you're basically damning yourself to never finishing the book, or writing something incomprehensible and masturbatory. But it's such a tantalizing idea, and I love the image of the Volvox cruisers- massive blobs of spaceships and nodes carting the entirety of Earth's population to the stars.
- This is kinda a silly idea, but I really want to write a comic script about a superhero loosely based off of Troy Polamalu. It's just a silly idea, and I don't have any real thoughts on plot or anything- I just want Polamalu winging around the cosmos defending the Earth from invaders and rushing home in time to play in the AFC Championship game (on Sunday).
- Another comic book idea. By the way, I have no artist and no drawing talents, so none of these will ever really happen. This one is about Souri Mohandi, the daughter of Iranian immigrants. She's a smart, computer-programmery high school student who discovers that she's able to commune with software in an animistic way. As I term it, she's a "cyber-shaman". Again, I don't really have any plots, but in this case I've got a really good feel for the character. I wrote a few pages a while back, but haven't touched it in a very long time.
- Sushi-San has dishonored his family by whoring his legendary and hereditary talents as a Sushi-chef out as a gaijin cooking show host. He thinks his talents at making sushi are just a culinary tradition, but his family treat it as if he were a samurai denouncing bushido. He doesn't understand- until he stumbles across a Lovecraftian monsters, and discovers that his ability to slice and dice tako and ika is more than just cooking: it's the only thing that stands between the world and ultimate destruction.
This is another comic book idea. I love everything about it, but it's hard to write for comedy. I just haven't been inspired enough to push anything through. But I may actually be able to hoodwink someone at work into being the artist for this- he's doing a picture of my new RPG character (octopus monster) and it looks awesome.
- Introduction to Programming in Prolog
- I really need to continue this. I'm sorry I haven't put more effort into it.