A Question for Science Fiction Fans

I’ve been mostly absent from the forums for some time now. I read them a couple of times a day, but I haven’t been contributing because I’ve spent most of my time in a dreamworld writing fiction. Also, because my answers to forum questions are about five years out of date now :wink:

In the past four years, I’ve published 15 works: 8 novels, 3 novellas, 3 short stories, and 1 trilogy (my first 3 novels).

I try really hard to come up with a plot that hasn’t been used before. I also like to have lots of twists and turns along the way. Beyond my 10-part Chaos Series, I’ve also written a romance novel, which is awkward, because I really don’t know anything about romance (ask my wife). Science fiction is what I like to do.

I’m posting this because I have a problem. I need help with.a new plot idea and thought I would ask some creative minds about it. Any takers?

PS: My Chaos Trilogy is available for FREE from Amazon for the next few days.

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I like how your avatar picture is taken from one of your book covers.

Can everyone join in? If not everyone, then at least me. Science Fiction is the main genre I’ve always read.

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Have you read: A Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell?

Sure! Anyone can join in. I’m looking for fresh plot ideas. If you come up with one, I’ll either write you in as one of the characters or dedicate the book to you. Or whatever.

I read this about fifty years ago. Joseph Campbell has been a major influence in my writing.

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The butterfly is a photograph I took of a yard light in total darkness. When I published my first book, The Chaos Machine, I used it to avoid any copyright issues. I felt it was a natural fit with the plot, since it revolves around Chaos and the Butterfly Effect. Each of the books of the Chaos Series involves some sort of wildly improbable coincidence. Each solves some sort of conflict between factions without resorting to violence. The Race at Valli Ha’i still uses my butterfly for lack of a better cover (I’m definitely not an artist).

Mormons like to posthumously convert their ancestors to Mormon. How does this disrupt the ancestors’ afterlives? I see four problems with it:

  1. Limited number of people who know about Mormon.
  2. Might offend Mormons.
  3. More fantasy than SF.
  4. There is a TV series with people in a computerized afterlife. (I had this idea long before the TV series.)

Problems aside, you’re welcome to the idea if you can make anything of it.

There are all too many novels portraying a dystopia in a country that fails (I quite dislike those,) but what about the other countries? What’s it like for them? Wouldn’t necessarily be dystopian, would it?

The far left in the United States has pledged to burn the country to the ground if either a replacement for RBG is confirmed before the election or if Trump is reelected. Suppose they carry out their threat? (Republicans must nominate and vote on a new Supreme Court judge if they are to remain a viable political entity.) Then what for the rest of the world? The Pax Americana that has held since the end of WWII is gone. So what? The American economic engine is gone. Therefore?

As before, if you can make anything of the thought, you are welcome to it.

If you like the notion of a dystopian novel, how about beginning with the premise that environmentalists get control of everything; but in making policy they look only at the benefits?

Actually, I don’t. My Chaos Trilogy is an “anti-dystopian” story, if that makes any sense. A solar super-storm hits the Earth, but we are spared due to the prior implementation of alien technology. It also spans about 10,600 years of mankind’s development in which WWII is just a blip on the calendar.

I’m living in a dystopian world already. Fiction should allow us to escape from all of that :wink:

I don’t like dystopias, either.

So take the concept, which isn’t so very far from what is going on with the forest fires, and be optimistic with it: people’s good sense and nature’s resiliency combine to make things better.

I have not read your Chaos books, but they will certainly go on my list, to be read right after I re-read Asimov’s Foundation series, which I just started.


Something I’ve thought about since it was so long ago I read them.

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Hi Jim,
I’ve been an avid Science Fiction reader for the last 30+ years, particularly cyberpunk, military, and hard science fiction (no fantasy stuff). I’ve been tempted to write something, but never found the time or discipline … if you want to run something by me, I’d be more than happy to review/comment!

That’s my problem … I have nothing to run by anyone. That’s why I’m looking for plot ideas :neutral_face:

Oh … I misunderstood your ask … you are looking for ideas, from scratch!
Ok, how about … an alien intelligence becomes trapped inside a SketchUp model?

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What are your top 10 favorite SF authors? I know that might be a bit limiting (I could easily add another 10 to this List). Mine are (in no particular order):
Neal Stephenson
Kim Stanley Robinson
Peter Watts
Neal Asher
Blake Crouch
Jeff VanderMeer
Andy Weir
Peter Clines
Richard K. Morgan
Peter F. Hamilton

I’m not sure about that … but I wouldn’t rule it out. Interesting idea :slight_smile:

Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Neal Stephenson, Terry Pratchett, A. E. van Vogt, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jim Hamilton.

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Ok Jim,
We can agree on Neal, I like Cryptonomicon and Seveneves in particular, Fall, not as much …

When a lot younger I read the Lensman series by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C3TH88C)

I read a lot of Isaac Asimov full stories and also short story compilations, until I discovered his science fact books, which were even better. Arthur C Clarke once wrote a dedication in a book:

“In accordance with the terms of the Clarke-Asimov treaty, the second-best science writer dedicates this book to the second-best science-fiction writer.”

I read some Arthur C. Clarke books, but not many.

Not counting Asimov, and it would be a close call, my most read author is Stephen R. Donaldson. He is famous for having written 10 Thomas Covenant books, but he also wrote a five book series called The Gap, which was science fiction.