10 Crazy Scifi Plot Devices That We'd Like to See

Illustration for article titled 10 Crazy Scifi Plot Devices That Wed Like to See

Science fiction tales don't stand or fall on story alone. They also need strange details and subplots to give you a sense that the world you've entered is truly alien. What would 2001 be without the bizarre advertisements in the background? And would Snow Crash really be as great of a novel if it weren't for canny details like the computerized guns that require software updates?

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Here are ten weird ideas for scifi subplots that we'd like to see.

1. 4Chan script kiddies unleash a virus that takes control of military drones (yes, such a virus already exists), crashing them into random targets just for the lulz.

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2. How do people deal with space elevator music? The trip from Earth to the launch platform is three days long!

3. Steve Jobs paid for a crazy surgical procedure that succeeded in uploading his brain to the App Store right before he died. Now he's the ultimate App gatekeeper.

4. Giant squid at the bottom of the sea tap into internet cables and start using bandwidth – but for what?

5. What makes you think that when aliens arrive they'll be able to distinguish between humans and all the other biomass on Earth? Maybe we'll all just look like different forms of roughly the same chemicals.

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6. Where are the trailer parks in space?

7. Google invents artificial intelligence, but all it wants to do is get stoned on tweaked algorithms. This really messes up search queries.

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8. The "Cambrian explosion," when multicellular life suddenly appears in the fossil record about 600 million years ago, was no accident. It was actually the result of early experiments with time travel, funded by a few desperate entrepreneurs who believed that if enough life forms died far enough back in time, their fossils would create endless reservoirs of fuel.

9. Ghosts don't always haunt places. Sometimes they haunt ideas. That's why there are spirits flickering to (un)life among the protesters at Occupy Wall Street encampments.

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10. A strange romance is blooming between two volunteers working on the political campaign of a US senator whose main platform is that he's going to stop the production of artificial wombs because they're destroying families.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

"1. 4Chan script kiddies unleash a virus that takes control of military drones (yes, such a virus already exists), crashing them into random targets just for the lulz."

Would it be more likely that virus or worm would instead keep fetching porn images from 4Chan and then display them on the operator's monitors as the drone useless crashed into a children's orphanage or something?

"2. How do people deal with space elevator music? The trip from Earth to the launch platform is three days long!"

I'm think this would be handled in the same why as cruise ships or train travel, lots of movies, books to read and shuffleboard. I guess the Apollo astronauts, when they weren't staggeringly busy flying their ships, did the same.

"3. Steve Jobs paid for a crazy surgical procedure that succeeded in uploading his brain to the App Store right before he died. Now he's the ultimate App gatekeeper."

I'd rather see that happen to Dennis Richie, who died at roughly the same time, and in co-creating Unix and writing the first C compiler, had at least as large affect on the world as Jobs and Woz did.

Sadly his death got almost no fanfare in the press.

"4. Giant squid at the bottom of the sea tap into internet cables and start using bandwidth – but for what?"

For this!

[www.youtube.com]

"5. What makes you think that when aliens arrive they'll be able to distinguish between humans and all the other biomass on Earth? Maybe we'll all just look like different forms of roughly the same chemicals."

That is a frighteningly serious possibility.

"6. Where are the trailer parks in space?"

Actually I think Gibson did this. But he had them filled with Rastafarians and others from the African diaspora. Or maybe Case and Molly Millions just didn't visit the white hicks.

"7. Google invents artificial intelligence, but all it wants to do is get stoned on tweaked algorithms. This really messes up search queries."

I guess I could say that's a slight variation of "Dail F for Frankenstein" but not really.

That's it. I'm out of ideas for replies.

Only that number ten is probably a pretty good premise for a story. I probably wouldn't read it though—not techy enough.