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Showing posts from November, 2011

Martian Gold Rush

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How about a story showing a gold rush on a near-future colony of Mars?

Terri Main publishes a paper called "Science news for Sci-Fi writers," in which today I saw a link leading to an article from Io9 that shows a photo I'm including below:



This photo shows dry ice pits common in the southern hemisphere of Mars, a planet cold enough to fill these pits every Martian-southern-hemisphere-winter with frozen solid carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere. Every summer, some of the frozen CO2 (a.k.a. dry ice) melts away, revealing these pits with curious shiny gold rims. (For scale, the small one in the center is about 200 feet across.)

It so happens that as of now, no Earthly scientist knows what the causes the gold-coloring around these pits.  What if it so happens that it's actual gold, that the process of forming and sublimating dry ice somehow brings subsoil gold up to the surface and deposits it along the rims of these pits?

If it should happen in the near future th…

The four faces around the throne of God--faces of aliens?

The title of this post was meant to be attention-grabbing.  Bear with me, please.
The book of Revelation talks about four beasts around the throne of God, one with the face of a man, one like an eagle, one like a cow, one like a lion (Rev 4:6-8).  These same creatures are also mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, notably in Isaiah 6, where they are called "Seraphim," which is Hebrew for "burning ones."  Ezekiel 1 gives more description of these angels, stating that each one of the four creatures has four faces, each face pointing one of four directions, like the cardinal directions of the compass.

Please note that I'm not maintaining these four creatures designated for special service of God are anything but angels.  They seem to constitute a special type of angel, naturally, but I hold to the Biblically orthodox view that they were directly created by God, just as all the other heavenly beings in God's service were created.  I don't hold the (nutty, IM…

Angels in Other Dimensions

This past year while I was deployed to Afghanistan, I ran into a copy of Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos, a book designed to explain issues in modern Physics in layman's terms.  It was worth reading, not just because it inspired a few story ideas in my mind.
In discussing string theory, a hypothetical attempt to combine all forces of energy and types of matter into a common theory which imagines the universe to be composed of various types of vibrating strings, Dr. Greene revealed that this theory cannot possibly work unless there are dimensions beyond length, width, height, and time.  Most versions of string theory (there are many versions) imagine at least ten dimensions, where the other dimensions are so tiny we can't perceive them.
I've seen this compared to looking at a garden hose from a distance.  From a distance, a hose looks looks like it only contains one dimension, length.  Up close, of course, it has width and depth as well, and has surfaces contain…

Elmer Quincy, waste trader

An exotic setting or technology is usually the first thing that crosses my mind when I have a new story idea, which I populate with characters after the fact.  But today a character popped into my head and the setting followed afterward.

Elmer Quincy inhabits a future world where interstellar commerce is common, as is contact with alien races.  Under the principle of "one man's trash is another man's treasure," Quincy makes his living collecting biological waste and trash from certain alien cultures and trading them to others.

Dirty in every sense of the word (physically I imagine him obese, in stained and greasy overalls, with a stubbly face; in business I imagine him a tough haggler and quick to make a profit even when not strictly legal), he distinguishes himself by what he refuses to do:  join a criminal syndicate involved in alien slave smuggling.  Disliked by the law, pursued by criminals trying to kill him, perhaps befriended by an odd religious sect, Quincy b…

The Rotifer Beast

I once began to write a story from the point of view of single-celled organisms, several years ago.  I imagined parameciums as intelligent and conceived a story about three paramecium knights who had to fight a horrifying beast.

The beast I picked was a rotifer, something I'd seen in a high school biology class, under a slide that was supposed to show paramecium cells.  My biology teacher speculated the rotifer I saw had eaten all the parameciums that were supposed to be there.  Which proved to be the spark for a story idea that came up years later...

In the story I gave the knights three personalities and accents: one French, one Spanish, one German.  My intent was to have all of them fail in their quest, only to be rescued by a "simpler" cell--the equivalent of a shepherd boy in the single-celled world I imagined...

The story wasn't working right, plus it started seeming weirder than anyone other than me would probably enjoy, so I abandoned it.  Though it does flo…

Fantasy Park

Jurassic Park imagined a fictional scientific method to bring dinosaurs back to life, for the purpose of inhabiting a for-profit amusement park.

You could imagine the same sort of thing with a "Fantasy Park"--genetic engineering being used to deliberately create dinosaurs, griffins, ents, trolls, and other fantasy creatures of all kinds, specifically for a for-profit park.  Humans on salary could, via surgery or genetic engineering, volunteer to take roles as demi-human elves, dwarves, orcs, etc.

This story could be written as a minor variation on Jurassic Park itself:  Several experts visit the park before opening with some innocent children along for the ride, everything goes horribly wrong as fantasy creatures escape because somehow they're too real and too malevolent to ever be caged in.  I would rate that a fairly interesting story plot, even though an obvious copy.  I'd actually prefer something more original, though.

An improvement would be to make the fantas…