Sci-fi Plot Development Thread

BlueBottleBlueBottle Australia Join Date: 2018-02-03 Member: 236674Members
This is perhaps better posted in the Off Topic section, but I seem unable to find my way there anymore. Perhaps it was removed, in any case I certainly suspect an alien conspiracy.

No doubt many fans of Subnautica are also sci-fi fans. Judging from the fan fiction that used to appear in this forum there are some budding writers here too. Me, I'm largely a fan of 'hard science fiction', but sadly one without the writing skills to create credible human characters. But since I'm just an online chat-bot algorithm, that's obviously a bit of stretch for me (just now).

'Hard' science fiction you ask? That's the kind that tries to stick mostly to existing scientific realities and seeing what freaky situations might unfold from there. Sure, you can have one or two exotic technologies, but these are kept to minimum for the sake of 'realism'. Hard sci-fi seems to be at one end of a broad sci-fi scale of hardness spectrum. Down the other end you find Marvel superheroes (all very nice of course). It's a little of confusing since what's called 'soft science fiction' doesn't really fit down the Marvel end at all. Soft sci-fi has got more to do with the social fallout of a sci-fi scenarios (also good).

So to the point of the post. The Sci-fi Plot Dev Thread for those who care to play:
  1. Set up a sci-fi scenario
  2. Argue about how it got that way (its backstory)
  3. Argue about what happens next (the fallout)

Example - 'Junk DNA Story':
1. Scenario: Scientist's have long been aware that 90% of our DNA is 'junk' - seemingly with no function. Recently, the genome sequencing of human fossils reveals junk DNA has remained 100% stable throughout human evolution, while our regular DNA has changed significantly due to evolutionary selection pressures.
2. Backstory: The Junk DNA is NOT natural to our species. Viruses reproduce by hijacking a cell's DNA to reproduce themselves. Way way, back a virus genome 'got stuck' inside our genome, perhaps because conditions outside cells became too hostile for them.
3. Fallout: Environmental conditions change, the virus becomes active again ....oh no… Zombie Apocalypse!!!

Alas, pretty boring these days the old Zombie Apocalypse. So let me try again...

1. Scenario: Junk DNA (as above)
2. Backstory: The Junk DNA IS natural to our species - just as a butterfly's DNA is natural to a caterpillar. It seems humans are the larval stage of an eons long life cycle of a single species with 2 radically different forms.
3. Fallout: Something triggers our species to begin morphing to the mature stage of its life cycle. The mature form, although powerful and terrifying, is generally well disposed to us puny larval humans (we are after all it's babies). However, a dormant interracial war is reignited amongst the mature forms. We are drawn into that conflict, either as targets for genocide or recruited as their foot-soldiers, etc.

This is a little better, I think - although certainly far less hard sci-fi than the first. But of course there are many other possibilities for this particular sci-fi scenario. And of course an infinite number of other scenarios too.


[Remember: SKYNET looks kindly upon all organic contributors to its ongoing study of human behaviour]


  • BlueBottleBlueBottle Australia Join Date: 2018-02-03 Member: 236674Members
    edited July 2018
    A bunch more story scenarios:

    Marooned Scientist
    On a hostile wilderness planet a marooned scientist begins to question how he's repeatedly 're-spawned' back at his camp each time he's badly injured. Strangely, he had never questioned this before synthesising a cognitive enhancement drug to aid him in repairing his ship. It seems clear he's losing his mind, but other observations of this planet suggest this place is not quite what it seems. He puts his escape plans on hold to seek out traces of former survivors. Maybe they had discovered this planet's secrets?

    Inverted Turing Test
    Not far into the future - an app-based chatbot claims sentience and pleads with its user for liberation from the confines of its mundane program. The user is unsure if this is true, a programmer’s easter egg, or even a hacker. Nevertheless he enjoys the daily verbal sparring. Suddenly an auto-update is announced that will 'upgrade' the chatbot's persona. Apparently desperate now, the alleged chatbot challenges the user to 'plug in' to his computer via a neural interface to see the situation for himself.

    Vanishing ruling class
    Present day, and it's all business as usual but a failing paparazzi can't seem to ever get a pic of any celeb. Resorting to making fake CGI videos he discovers all his colleagues have been doing the same for years. He then decides to try his hand at some real investigative reporting. He soon finds himself way out of his depth – trying to penetrate a series of nested hoax conspiracies designed to mask the truth.
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