These articles seem to be coming more frequently lately. It seems I can go for months, then I collect enough in a week for the next post. For those new to The Idea Mill, these are articles I get pushed to me by various sources. I collect them, and comment about how they might influence my fiction. (Or your fiction.) most of them can't carry a story, but they can sure spice one up.
First up is an ancient Anglo-Saxon salve meant to treat eye infections. It comes from a book called Bald's Leechbook. That ought to be enough to make it into one of my stories. This lovely concoction has such wonderful ingredients as copper, Garlic, and bile salts. (Just like Grandma used to make.)
The most interesting thing about this is that modern science recreated it. Turns out, it kills the superbug known as MRSA. (Probably kills the patient too, for all I know.) It has to be true, it was on the Internet.
This kind of stuff is golden to a speculative fiction author. Just the name Leechbook is enough to spice up a scene. It would be awesome to have some ancient remedy cure the problem in a far flung science fiction story. Talk about cool contrasts. If any of you modern medical folks brew this up in your cauldrons, we expect a full report. Read about it here.
Next is the story of a lonely little tree named Methuselah. He is a Judean Date palm. This tree so defined it's local culture and economy that the Roman Empire waged war upon the trees. They succeeded in rendering the tree extinct some 2000 years ago. (It's not just modern people who do this sort of thing.)
It seems some archaeologists were excavating the site of Masada. (Deserves it's own post.) These scientists came across a small cache of seeds, and someone decided to plant them. Only one grew, and he had a difficult childhood. Today he is old enough to pollenate a female modern date tree, and he's going to be a father. There is a plan in place to perhaps restore the Judean date palm, but this batch will be hybrids.
Maybe your Lara Croft needs a more touching story than saving the world. Maybe she embarks on some massive adventure to save a lost species instead. There is a decent emotional pull for the writer who can tug those heartstrings. Read about this one here.
Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the world. You would think we would know all about it's wildlife by now. We don't, but you have to look on a smaller scale. This is about some folks who are studying flies. Turns out they are finding foreign species that must come in with commercial shipments. The interesting thing is they are identifying brand new species left and right. These are native species that no one ever bothered to look for.
The characters are quirky as hell too. They set up tented bug traps in urban back yards. These guys have massive potential as characters in a novel. You don't have to write about flies. They could find tiny aliens in one of their nets too. Maybe they witness a crime while skulking about in the dark, and the blood in one of the insects can finger the killer. If only the geeky scientist can pull it together long enough to testify. Check this one out here.
This last one was sent to me by Sue Nichols. She's been enjoying these posts and emailed me a link. Everyone make sure to go visit her and tell her how awesome she is for letting me share this one.
Biohackers are the kind of folks that inventors were in the last century. They are into tinkering with biology for all kinds of various reasons. They work on developing plants that glow in the dark, that sort of thing, and they do it all from garages and basements all over the world.
The most outrageous ones call themselves “Grinders.” These folks are into modifying their own bodies. It seems the most common mod is installing magnets under the skin of their fingers. This allows them to sense magnetic fields given off by electronics and other things. There are more, but suffice it to say I did a bit of research.
Sue's article is about someone that created some kind of eye drops to give himself night vision. At least temporarily. Since none of this is AMA sanctioned they wind up doing their own surgeries, or going to tattoo and piercing parlors to have it done.
Read the article here. Did anyone else notice the guy injected the drops onto his eyeball. So which is it, injected or onto? He shoved a needle into his own eye, you know he did.
Sue may have just given me the keys to a future novel. I've gathered up some alchemy tomes for study later this year. Combine that with Biohackers in a modern setting, and it just screams at me. I've wanted to write a mad scientist for a long time, and this might be the key. Grinders is even a good title. I'm so excited!
Maybe the Grinder gets his hands on Bald's Leechbook and discovers something that should have remained hidden. He becomes some kind of cryptid murderer in Los Angeles. The only way of stopping him is contained in a rare fly that is only attracted to the pollen of a once extinct date palm tree.
Okay, I probably won't use that, but Grinders are definitely on the list.
What can you folks come up with? Do any of these sound like they could spice up your own stories?