Newspapers: Fodder for Sci-Fi Inspiration   Leave a comment

Newspaper

I’ve been glancing through the headlines, as most of you do, I’m sure, to not only figure out what’s going on in this world but perhaps troll up some fodder for fiction.  When I’m stuck or need a break, I put down the project at hand, pick this up and scan headlines.  Not blogs or other social media, but that quaint little collection of light grey pages that lands at the end of a driveway or plops on a porch.

Yep.  A newspaper.

I subscribe to two local papers, have several digital subscriptions and read all sorts of magazines, both online and print.  Listen to a whole bunch of different podcasts.  From these sources, a virtual (literally) treasure trove of really neat stuff’s just waiting to be picked and eaten, occasionally alive.  Though you might already know the stories and the sources, it’s worth consideration for sci-fi stories.

For example:

Headline: El Nino May Bring Record Heat, and Rain for California, New York Times, August 13 2015 edition.

Random inspiration: El Nino (“the child” – male), a slumbering pre-conquistedor kid, awakes from his long-forgotten grave when San Diego sewer workers open up a bit of the freeway to repair a broken water main.  See, this kid’s the ancient victim of a sacred ritual wherein young innocents’ lives were sacrificed to The Holy One in order to bring warmth and water for crops to grow.  Trouble is, after one long, lingering look at his hot wet-nurse, this youngster planned to grow to adulthood.  Kid’s last thoughts, right before his neck slicing, conjured up a curse, promising a time when his bones are discovered, he’ll unleash his vengeance and both fry and flood California.  So when our unsuspecting sewer workers jackhammer and pickax the asphalt on a typical July morning, the steam rising from the broken pipe isn’t evidence of a pipe failure, it’s EL NINO manifesting a physical form so he can wreaked havoc with the weather…and unite with the one woman who’d give him what he needed.

Headline: Swiss Find Remains of Two Japanese Climbers Missing Since 1970, Associated Press, August 7, 2015

Random inspiration: Though they might appear to be missing Japanese climbers, they are, in fact, only the remains of higher ascended beings who shed their disguises after studying the lives of those on Earth.  Meeting at the foot of the Matterhorn glacier, their intergalactic stellercaster ship gracefully landed when said mountain, enveloped in dense fog, provided a safe and mysterious curtain for rescue.  Once aboard, duo relates horrific story of nuclear war, cold war, resource depletion and disintegrating moral values, especially those having to do with free love.  Ignoring all of the former and attentive to only the latter observation, lonely shipmates ditch the spacecraft to come ashore on this wild planet to learn a few firsthand lessons of their own.

So you see?  It’s not much of a leap from reality to sci-fi.  All that’s needed is a quick read between the lines and a spin on the details.  After all, it’s what politicians do every day.  Why not you?

 

 

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