Archive for the ‘Ideas For SF/F Stories — Help Yourself!’ Category

An Alien Cortés And Pizarro?

Almost none of the SF novels and films of alien invasion and conquest appear to have any notion of how the overthrow of civilisations actually happened on Earth. One of the closest approaches is Ian McDonald’s parable of community relations, Sacrifice of Fools, about nomadic alien tribes with superior business methods who settle among us, […]

Using Our Edge

That dear old Homo sapiens is a disgusting excrescence on an otherwise civilised galaxy is not an entirely new idea; it was, in fact, the revolutionary innovation of The Day The Earth Stood Still and was attempted also in the famous turkey, Plan 9 From Outer Space. And then we have C.S. Lewis’ Interplanetary Trilogy […]

The Shadow In The West

After decades of exposure to Tolkien, for whom all good things resided in the West and contrariwise, what we need now is a cod-medieval fantasy series in which the Bad Guys are in the West but have such complete control of the propaganda apparatus that no one who are the orcs.

Like, Whatever, Cool Spaceship

Aliens come to Earth in 1959 and visit American suburbia – that is, we parody the centrality of that suburbia in both Hollywood and much pulp SF. The aliens then draw the not unreasonable conclusion that women are some sort of non-sentient domestic symbiote. So far, so Stepford Wives; but they pay a return visit […]

Arthurians Among The Connecticut Yankees

There have been several fictions about people from the past catapulted into our own era, and then either sinking or – in the better tales – swimming there. Experience with so-called “primitive” cultures in the here-and-now shows us that people master new gadgets very quickly indeed. They may not know why they work or how […]

We Can Remember Yesterday For You

In recent times we have seen the same economic and other mistakes committed about a decade apart, as if we have no collective memory. Well, perhaps we don’t, perhaps the men who brought us the last banking crisis were still in short pants for the one before that. This would repay us for a culture […]

It Could Have Started There Instead

We have had several alternative-history novels in which the Germans (and Japanese) won the Second World War, but what I should like to see is one in which Nazism arose in the United States first, while Germany remained true to Goethe and Schiller. Don’t laugh: in order to see that the thing is possible, all […]

A New 17th-Century World Power?

Just suppose that in Japanese history there had been no “closed country”; that is to say, suppose that the Tokugawa shogunate had reunified the nation but continued the policy of “the southern-barbarian trade”. In our world, a few years after seeing their first firearms the Japanese had copied the Portuguese model and fought a major […]

The Unimpeachables

A new wrinkle on the alien first-contact story could feature a planet with a subtly dimorphic race. The earthlings naturally attempt to read this arrangement in terms of two sexes, but in fact the aliens are hermaphrodites, like Ursula Le Guin’s Gethenians but more so. So there are no anatomical differences. But then, amid much […]

The End Of Desire

Postulate: some time in the future, a politically-correct attempt to suppress “appearance-ism” and achieve what Hartley once called “facial justice” through a tailored virus or some other deus ex machina goes horribly wrong, wiping out human sexual desire altogether. As is common in SF, we ignore the fine print of whether and how this is […]