I find that it helps me plan out stories when I type out the ideas for others and, ideally, have conversations about the ideas, so I thought I would post some story ideas I’ve had for a while but haven’t yet gotten a chance to get around to actually writing. Let me know what you think.
1) Homo Homini Ericius
This is the idea I have the most developed and that I’m most likely to not only write, but write next. The story would be a parable of the Hedgehog’s Dilemma. If you’re unaware, the parable of the Hedgehog’s Dilemma is basically as follows. On cold nights, hedgehogs need to be close to each other for warmth. However, the closer they get to each other, the more likely they are to hurt others and be hurt by others’ quills. It represents the human condition, where we need other humans to avoid being lonely, but being near other human beings inevitably results in our getting hurt, even without any ill intent from other human beings.
The story would follow a young woman who wakes up one day with telepathy, and suddenly finds that she uncontrollably hears others’ thoughts. In the Hedgehog’s Dilemma analogy, she finds herself under assault by quills, with only minimal added warmth. Imagine suddenly being able to hear every thought of your friends and loved ones, even just acquaintances. There’d be some benefits, but honestly, I think the net impact would be negative if you couldn’t turn it off. I know that a great deal of my thoughts aren’t flattering, especially while driving. I’d really like to write this story, so we’ll see how it goes.
I’m still mostly unsure how this one would go. I just have a few basic ideas. Basically I’d want to use a technopathic individual, one who can “speak” to machines, and talk about purpose, and whether it’s preferable to be given one or to find it.
3) De Immortalitate
This idea is for a dialogue between two historical figures regarding which form of immortality is superior, memetic or genetic, that is, the survival of your ideas or the survival of your descendants. The two figures are these: Emperor Kogen, the eighth emperor of Japan, whose descendants still sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Unfortunately, very little is known about him. In fact, his Wikipedia article devotes more words to what isn’t known about him than the reverse. Why use him? Because he’s a contemporary of the figure I do care about, Xu Fu. According to one legend, in order to avoid execution at the hands of an angry Qin Shi Huangdi after Xu Fu failed to bring back the elixir of immortality, he instead decided to never come home, and made landfall in Japan, bringing the benefits of Chinese civilization, kick-starting the Japanese Iron Age and the Yayoi Culture.
I find it an extremely interesting legend, and I like the thought of debating which form of immortality is superior. I kind of wish there were more legends about mysterious figures appearing from beyond the seas to rapidly progress civilization, but maybe that’s due to my taste for speculative fiction. Of course, Qin Shi Huangdi would have preferred personal immortality, but that didn’t work out for him.
4) Ghosts & Parrots
This idea isn’t really well-developed. It comes from an anecdote from Alexander von Humboldt. During his travels, Alexander von Humboldt came across the cave of Ataruipe in Venezuela. This cave was the cemetery of an extinct nation, the Atures, containing about six hundred skeletons placed in baskets called mapires, shaped like square sacks. His interpreter could not give him certain information as to the age of the skeletons, but a parrot contained a clue.
The Atures had been attacked by the Caribs, and, under their assault, had withdrawn to the rocks of the Cataracts, where they finally, sadly perished, and with them, their language. However, in Maypures there still lived an old parrot, the last speaker of the dead tongue, whom no one could still understand. This unique bird was the last being who could still speak the Ature language.
I love the anecdote, and I was thinking about a story where an archaeologist visits an old, abandoned island site. He discovers that the local birds, maybe corvids, because they mimic voices, too, and sound creepier than parrots, speak the long dead language of the people he’s studying. He thinks they’ve been passing it down through the ages, simply mimicking the original speakers, and then each other, all this time. But then the reveal would be that the birds are new, only introduced extremely recently, so the only way for them to learn the language was from hearing ghosts. I don’t really know how to fill this story in, though. It’d just be my usual type of open-ended speculative fiction story. But we’ll see. It might turn into something.