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DaveKuzminski
04-07-2005, 08:56 PM
A recent news story about NASA's planned mission (JIMO) which uses a nuclear engine on a space craft prompted me to come up with this story idea. A terrorist plot involves a group taking control of said ship about a year out from Earth just after the engines are engaged (assuming that NASA might be forced to turn on the engines only when the craft is safely away from the Earth for political reasons) and turning it around with the intent of striking a large US city. The authorities become aware almost immediately after they lose control and the ship changes course, so they have whatever time it takes for the return in which to react and nullify the threat. Can they find the terrorists and regain control? Can they break the terrorist code to retake control? Do they target the craft with an armed missile?

Anyone who wants to use this idea, please be my guest. I don't have enough background to do this one myself, but I'd like to see someone else run with it.

preyer
04-07-2005, 09:27 PM
i'm looking for a short story to get into before jumping back into my novel, just to get the juices going. you may have noticed those little story ideas i sometimes throw in a thread, though i'm not inspired to write about any of them just quite yet. those are up for grabs, too. right now i'm leaning towards two fantasy ideas, one being a parody, the other retooling an older fantasy-detective thing that i hadn't finished due to lack of interest, which i'm sure i mentioned somewhere here before.

i think it might even be kind of cute to write about building a robot... in the 14th century. that's got unlimited potential on so many levels, eh? hm, i might just try that one unless someone beats me to it. unless i'm mistaken, inventors of the time were pets of a lord or king so they could invent new war weapondry among other things. who was it that built wings and jumped off the tower? i'm not sure which period it was in, but i know blacksmith-types were often secreted away to protect the kingdom's metalurgical formulas from the enemy. both those ideas are good fodder.

hm, i'm thinking johnny depp should play the lead role....

MadScientistMatt
04-07-2005, 09:45 PM
Interesting. Trouble (for your hero) is there isn't much you could do to stop them. The danger would not be having it blow up like a nuclear bomb, but that it would self-destruct and contaminate an area with its fuel. So shooting it down would play into their hands. Sounds like trying to stop it would be quite difficult. Which would make for a great story.

I might want to give that one a try. I had one idea in my list of possible plots for having terrorists in the future breaking into a spaceship dock and stealing antimatter fuel. But setting a story about stolen fuel that could be used as a weapon in the present sounds even better.

DaveKuzminski
04-07-2005, 10:42 PM
Well, by shooting it, I meant while it was still in space before it could reach the atmosphere. Even if the craft isn't destroyed, it can be deflected so that it misses the Earth completely.

I must admit, I like your idea about the anti-matter theft. Hope you write it.

MadScientistMatt
04-07-2005, 10:48 PM
Thanks. Right now almost all my BIC time is going to my nonfiction book, but I've got quite a few ideas (most of them science fiction or fantasy) for plots that would make good fiction.

HConn
04-08-2005, 01:34 AM
Why wait a year for the nuclear engines to come online? They still have nuclear materials in the ship minutes after it takes off.

What if they blew it up on the launching pad, contaminating Cape Canaveral and whatever space program facilities are there?

Actually, this was listed in the "Ten underreported stories" last year (or the year before). NASA was planning to launch a rocket containing nuclear materials, and people were panicking at the thought that it might crash on the way to space.

preyer
04-08-2005, 02:00 AM
tom clancy in space? for a funny plot generator, 'the best page in the universe' has this:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=five_shitty_movies

scroll down to the tom clancy segment and play around. the generator actually works. it's pretty funny... and rather sad, lol.

one sci-fi story set in present day is an old one i always meant to get around to but just never got it off the ground. basically, a group of idealistic recent college grads build a 'super-suit' which is used for vigilante purposes. of course, their idealism is strained by practical matters. at one point, the main drama was derived from the new guy, a jock stud the 'hero' in the suit is jealous of, being an ordinary person outside the suit. the two have their own suits, but behave very differently than what's expected from the original plan.

DaveKuzminski
04-08-2005, 03:39 AM
Why wait a year for the nuclear engines to come online?

What if they blew it up on the launching pad, contaminating Cape Canaveral and whatever space program facilities are there?


Because most of their plans have been on a grandiose scale much like those found in a James Bond movie. They'd rather hit a soft city with millions of potential victims than a hardened spaceport with a few thousand.

MadScientistMatt
04-08-2005, 06:38 AM
Tom Clancey in space? Believe it or not, I actually thought of the stolen antimatter plot when I was thinking about how I might borrow parts of the plot from Treasure Island and set it in space. I had started pondering what sort of treasure a space pirate might want, and was trying to imagin what sorts of things might be both extremely valuable in the future and likely to be carried aboard a spaceship. "Antimatter fuel" was one thing that came to mind, and then I thought that stolen antimatter was way too interesting to keep sitting around in a treasure chest on an asteroid.

But I still plan on writing a few science fiction stories about pirates sometime - maybe in space, maybe hijacking a futuristic ocean vessel that is run entirely by robots and reprogramming it.

preyer
04-08-2005, 12:45 PM
'treasure planet' was a decent flick based on 'treasure island.'

i love pirates. and ghosts.

i once wrote an absolutely kick-as s star wars fanfic where these republic guys find an centuries old (by their standards) imperial star destroyer abandoned in space, which turned out to be haunted. actually, it was just a haunted house story. i wrote it before anyone ever coined the term fanfic, so it's long lost, lol. be interesting to find it and re-tool it, though, stuff like that is just such a turn on for me.

but, yeah, lost treasures are cool, too. way cool, in fact. combine 'the magnificent seven,' 'the maltese falcon,' any version of king arthur you like, 'treasure island' and some shakespeare, and i'll read the hell out of it. :) oh, throw some robin hood in there for good measure.

zizban
04-08-2005, 05:20 PM
A treasure island in space story would be good, very good. I'd have to re-read Treasure Island again to get the feel down but it MAY work.

MadScientistMatt
04-08-2005, 07:45 PM
Glad you guys like the idea. I'd probably take a more hard-SF approach rather than the fantastical flying square-riggers of "Treasure Planet," but I'd been thinking, "I need my characters to have an adventure." And classic adventure stories seemed like a good place to get an adventure plot.

DaveKuzminski
04-08-2005, 09:11 PM
Treasure Island in space sounds interesting. However, place the treasure on a asteroid lost in a belt of many asteroids so that it has to be found. Anyway, it has strong possibilities.

MadScientistMatt
04-08-2005, 11:20 PM
Yes, it would definitely be in a hard to find place. My original idea for the treasure was that instead of a map to pirate treasure, it would be somebody trying to track down a spaceship with a valuable cargo that vanished under mysterious circumstances. And an asteroid belt would be a good place for a ship to have an unfortunate accident happen... or have an accident like that arranged.

zizban
04-09-2005, 12:59 AM
Yes, it would definitely be in a hard to find place. My original idea for the treasure was that instead of a map to pirate treasure, it would be somebody trying to track down a spaceship with a valuable cargo that vanished under mysterious circumstances. And an asteroid belt would be a good place for a ship to have an unfortunate accident happen... or have an accident like that arranged.

yes, good! Maybe the ring system of a gas giant as well.

preyer
04-10-2005, 12:03 PM
one scene jumps to mind, where you take any classic stagecoach scene and replace that with spaceships, maybe having the hero hop from one ship to another towards the end.

i'm very enamoured with ghost ships and lost fleets, elephant graveyard-type things (i once did a short story involving dragon graveyards) and old war wreckage. i like to work those things into space stories. (it's impossible for me to pass up on a good documentary where they visit sunken ships.)

DaveKuzminski
04-10-2005, 06:55 PM
Oh, man, what a concept! A dragon graveyard! It even makes sense in some ways. Dragons that died of old age and disease would make their way to the graveyard while those that were killed were dismembered and destroyed by ignorant people who believed that if they didn't utterly destroy the dragon carcass that its parts could regrow as new dragons much like planting a crop from seeds. I know that idea was used in old literature and in at least one cheesy movie, but this kind of makes it new.

zizban
04-10-2005, 07:16 PM
Something like that was done in a very poor fantasy novel in the mid 80s. It wasn't memorable. Any of us could do better.

And as for a "treasure planet" it wouldn't involve rigging. As much as I love ships, rigging in space just strikes me as...wrong.

preyer
04-10-2005, 10:52 PM
the dragon graveyard was done before? huh. didn't know that. not surprized, lol. i probably did that story in about '89 for a juniour college creative writing course i took (which is why 'creative writing' courses turned out to be a waste of time). i always liked the story, though. just goes to show that just when you think you've done something a little different....

yeah, i always thought the rigging was funky, too. i could see it were they solar panels of some kind.

ghosts and SF never did work out very well with me for some reason. i put my hand to several attempts and always wondered why i was doing it. i stopped doing them entirely once r.l. stein's 'goosebumps' series did a novella based on star wars, of all things. i take that back: i started a thread on a star wars board years ago called, 'star wars urban legends' that had plenty of article-type ghost stories like you'd find in ghost story collections. some of the stories came out fairly decent. anyone interested and i can slog through their archives and find it.

DaveKuzminski
04-11-2005, 03:51 AM
Solar sails are actually being developed, so rigging isn't out of the question. Just don't look for it to be like what we're used to.

preyer
04-11-2005, 09:52 AM
it would be one of those stories people don't like, but remember for years where halfway through the book, i annihilate all the good guys in one fell swoop then concentrate on the bad guys and have them simply run roughshod over the planet (it would be an epic fantasy-type story) and accomplish what they set out to accomplish. in the end, naturally, it's a case of 'beware what you wish for...' as it all falls apart, so that there's a weird cosmic sense of justice as the world wiped clean begins to rebuild. the idea is that tyrrants and heroes are pointless when tomorrow comes.

zizban
04-11-2005, 04:58 PM
it would be one of those stories people don't like, but remember for years where halfway through the book, i annihilate all the good guys in one fell swoop then concentrate on the bad guys and have them simply run roughshod over the planet (it would be an epic fantasy-type story) and accomplish what they set out to accomplish. in the end, naturally, it's a case of 'beware what you wish for...' as it all falls apart, so that there's a weird cosmic sense of justice as the world wiped clean begins to rebuild. the idea is that tyrrants and heroes are pointless when tomorrow comes.

That's...so upbeat ;)

SFEley
04-11-2005, 09:24 PM
the dragon graveyard was done before? huh. didn't know that. not surprized, lol. i probably did that story in about '89 for a juniour college creative writing course i took (which is why 'creative writing' courses turned out to be a waste of time). i always liked the story, though. just goes to show that just when you think you've done something a little different....


The dragon graveyard was also used to good effect in the popular anime series Escaflowne. And the "Terrorists seize nuclear-powered [missile | submarine | robot | toaster]" plotline has been done many times in suspense fiction. Making it a spacecraft just changes the device, not the story (which would probably involve an intrepid government analyst, his special forces colleague, and a hot female technologist racing against the clock to find and then outwit the small band of terrorists, led by a jaded military veteran who talks too much.)

Of course that's no reason not to do it again. So what if it's been done before? Everything has been done before. Unique ideas are thin on the ground, and if you happen to find one, that and five bucks will buy you a cup of coffee. Originality doesn't sell books. Strong storytelling that feeds into readers' particular escape fantasies sells books. And if you're good enough to tell a strong story, you probably don't need to borrow ideas from an online bulletin board.

preyer
04-11-2005, 09:29 PM
how's this for an opening line: 'i live in the as shole of the universe, third fart from the hemmorhoid belt.' colonists there died, leaving the children in custody of a crazy sex-pot. but, they're happy and don't want things to change when a message from earth comes asking if everything is okay. the message is ten years old. the crazy 'leader' sends back jibberish and it's up to the oldest on them to track down the message and destroy it so earth doesn't send anyone to see what's been going on.

so, the guy embarks on a galactic journey to destroy the message. turns out the universe is full of odd-ball creatures, customs, and cultures. to make things worse, the message develops a personality along the way and doesn't want to get caught. at one point it hides in a whore-bot to escape, but that's where it gets trapped as the guy, ah, 'downloads' the message with his new mechanical penis (he's been experimenting with the universe's technological advances, such as 'natural growth formulas,' one of which went horribly awry and he winds up with more than he bargained for) right there in the middle of the business district of some planet. he gets arrested, of course.

once free, the message is in control of his new mechanical buddy, which proves unfortunate as his ship runs out of gas near the sex planet.

anyway, the guy (i think i'll name him 'guy') comes across a spate of bizarre characters and situations, all the while he's experimenting, eventually winding up with a different body altogether, going from young man to woman and everything inbetween. he didn't even know there *was* something inbetween. by the end he frees the message and locates his body in 'dead space,' where frozen bodies are floating randomly by the billions, bumping off his ship as he looks for his own.

it's a strange story. at one point he's to meet with someone to help him on his quest, goes to a planet and to the place he's supposed to be, but finds no one. his contact is a soldier who's fighting a war-- right under his feet. guy accidentally stomps both 'massive' armies into the dirt under one foot, never knowing. this starts an 'incident' wherein the warring factions band together and chase him back to earth (guy is always asking people where texas is), where the invasion causes thousands of dollars of damage before it's crushed.

it takes guy a long time to return home. the girl he left behind married guy's rival and had a daughter, whom guy then marries instead.

it's a weird story. at first, guy travels in a 'space lung,' an alive spaceship. he visits planets such as where the lava and ice people are at war, which happens to otherwise be an excellent place to go for a good steam. liquid universes. interplanetary rainbows. 'the fourth dementian is in my pants, but no one came on time,'-type of narration. once home, he's asked what he learned: 'nothing,' guy says, but nothing turns out to be eveything. i've got a lot of little ideas for it.

anyone with bizarre ideas feel free to give 'em up, with the caveat i might use them if i like it. basically, for the last few daze i've written down stream-of-consciousness items and those will be the premises of the story.

if i write it. :)

SFEley
04-11-2005, 09:42 PM
if i write it. :)

What you've described could be a brilliantly funny novel. It could also be awful gibberish. No one will know until you write the thing. A plot summary does no good; the idea doesn't matter, it's the execution that makes or breaks you.

So don't ask for approval or validation. Don't ask for other people's ideas -- you clearly have plenty of your own. If you want this book to happen, WRITE THE THING. Quit kicking it around and start typing. When you're finished, show that to people. Of course I'd advise you to check your capitalization, grammar, and spelling; they'll have to be better than what you post here. But that's secondary to a good story. Write it first, then clean it up.

Or don't write it -- that's certainly a lot easier.

preyer
04-12-2005, 02:38 AM
uhm, i wasn't asking for approval or validation. :) i really don't *need* anyone else's ideas, like you note, just thought it would be fun for someone to let go of their nonsense. i'm far from being above using someone's good idea or advice as long as they're willing to part with it. otherwise i'm not that much into collaborations.

what's wrong with my grammar? :)

preyer
04-14-2005, 12:49 AM
it occurs to me, too, that a very scientifically advanced society doing an archaeological dig on a magickal town from the distant past might be suitably different for a story. would have to be carefully done.

preyer
04-18-2005, 10:03 AM
i'm thinking... 'rat patrol' in space....