Get Smart Before The Squid Take Over!

I felt like writing about some of my other story ideas that don’t fit in the Hermes 925 or City of Gate plots. These are far from being fully fleshed out stories as yet, but maybe writing about them and getting your feedback will help them become so. First, though I want to let you know about a couple of great resources, particularly if you’re a fellow writer. They’re also useful to anyone looking to expand their personal education.

The one I’m most excited about is PubSpace from NASA. Starting in autumn this year, all their research papers from 2016 onwards will be publically available on this website. I find this particularly pleasing because it makes one of the key points of Hermes925, that Jaime was able to find information about the Hermes project publically within the N•Viron  network. Besides that though it means we can all find out what NASA is working on, and that makes my little nerd heart happy.

Beoing Tech Vito Niel performs fusion welds on the tank plugs.
Beoing Tech Vito Niel performs fusion welds on the tank plugs.

There’s also websites that will expand your general education for free. I’ve known about the Khan Academy for some time now, and you should absolutely check them out. I also just learned about another free education site, founded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called OpenStax. Make use of either, or both, of these websites to boost your brain power without having to dig yourself into a giant pit of student loan debt.

Now, story ideas. I was discussing an idea with my Mum that I think most of us have had from to time. What if you could go back in time and do things differently? This idea has been explored before of course, but the approach I’d like to take is a little different. A device that allows you to scientifically observe alternative timelines. Perhaps based on a sophisticated algorithm that can predict how small changes in the past could change the present.

If we had access to this information, what could we do with it? Would we be more determined to pursue the development of actual time-travel, or would being able to see the simulated results of meddling with the timeline be enough to put us off for good? Would such a system be inherently flawed because it would be based on the data we provide? Our own limited perspective and understanding of history would doubtless affect the system’s assumptions and conclusions. Perhaps it would be considered an entertaining novelty rather than a practical tool.

My other story idea is based on these guys. Cephalopods. Squids, octopi and cuttlefish, and other similar creatures. They’re fascinating creatures, and have remarkable problem solving intelligence and an almost playful curiosity. I was going to use the viral video of a squid opening a jar from inside to show you what I mean, but I think this video showing an octopus making novel use of coconut shells illustrates it better.

There have been quite a few books, games and movies exploring what life might be like on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth. Most of them feature zombies, or feral humans, as the primary threat against what remains of civilised human society. I think that, if humans are almost wiped out, or perhaps completely wiped out, that the next dominant species would be as different from us as we are from the dinosaurs. Particularly if the cataclysmic event happens to cause widespread flooding. I think cephalopods are among the most likely candidates to fill our evolutionary niche should we ever vacate it.

What I’m having trouble with is visualising what this new civilisation would actually be like. It’s tempting to make them humanoids with squid tentacle faces reminiscent of Cthulu or the Ood from Dr Who. It’s far more likely that they would retain much of their current morphology which has already proven highly adaptable.

What would they think of the technology we left behind? Much of which would be completely useless once the power stations are submerged. Would they forget we existed and imagine that the ruined structures will built by earlier forms of their own culture, or even aliens? Would our remains be so different from their own that they would find it almost impossible to imagine that we were ever intelligent enough to create such things?

I have yet to find a starting point for either of these story ideas, but I’ll let them percolate in the back of my mind until they become something. Perhaps I’ll end up using ‘the timeline predictor’, or perhaps ‘the planet of the squid’, as part of the Time-Chain idea. Personally I rather get started on The War on Magic or The Lord Highwayman once Hermes is finished. What are your thoughts?

I look forward to your comments. Have a great day.

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