The Idea Mill # 17

It’s time for another Idea Mill post. My regulars know what these are, but I’ll explain a bit for new readers. I set up several push feeds to drive me news about things I’m interested in. I collect articles that kick my Muse in the pants, and share them with everyone after I have enough.

If you enjoy these, they have their own category in my sidebar. Explore to your heart’s content.

Sadly, Zite magazine is going away soon. I am forced to migrate over to Flipboard. Their interface and custom features suck compared to Zite. I have to shoehorn my wants into their categories as opposed to ones I customize. I may have to hit the App Store later today to see what else there is. I’m open to suggestions.

The first one is an archaeological dig they think might be a witch grave. This girl was malnourished, and her soft tissues were burnt away prior to her being tossed into a pit and covered up. There are any number of things that could have happened here, including a house fire. This grave was near another identical grave that was discovered earlier.

It could be that the girls were locked up and starved. Eventually they were burned at the stake and tossed away. Read about the discovery here. They are planning on DNA testing to see if the girls were related.

I don’t know that I have to speculate much here. This adds credibility to any witchcraft story. Maybe there are tidbits here to add a bit more realism.

This next one needs some time to percolate. Daydream about it and let your Muse work it over. Scientists just grew electrical wires and components inside roses. In one case they were able to use electricity to lighten or darken the leaves. This can ramp up the photosynthesis process. They also talk about using plants to one day generate power. Read all about it in this article.

I like this one on many fronts. I think it can fluff up your science fiction in many ways. There could be conflict between destroying the rainforest, and replacing it with some kind of Frankenstein plants that make electricity and oxygen. What might the downside be? Maybe it provides oxygen and light for your spaceship.

Maybe this is the first step toward a plant based takeover. It’s like a zombie apocalypse or the Terminator, but with plants.

Fantasy doesn’t get left behind either. What if some alternate race learned how to grow steel inside gigantic trees. What special qualities might the weapons made from it have? Druidic magic? Electrical powers? What?

Finally, scientists have been able to grow human vocal cord tissue in the lab. This is actually pretty cool in a real world sense. It seems the ultimate goal is restoration for those who had cancer and various injuries. They tested the material out in canine larynxes, and it appears to make human sounds when manipulated. Read it here. (Caution, you have to wait for an advertisement.)

You don’t have to limit your speculation to this particular tissue. There will be an industry growing our spare parts one day. I wrote a short story about this in my Experimental Notebook, but you can take it a lot of directions.

What if unexpected traits of the original donor come with the transplant? You could really screw up your character’s life here. What if a famous singer donated the tissue, then a recipient comes along to compete in the entertainment industry?

These last two articles really trip my trigger. I still have my bio-hacker/grinder outline, and am going to add a sticky note to it after this posts.

I always try to end these with a cheesy story idea were all three elements are incorporated. This time it isn’t as hard as the last few. Here we go.

A city crew is tearing out the landscaping to replant new electricity generating plants. They place the living power grid over the burial site of actual witches who were burned alive.

The roots reach into the graves. Strange threats and warnings start happening on electrical devices, but nobody can figure it out.

An old laboratory beagle uses his superior olfactory powers and learns the truth. When the flowers bloom, the pollen is going to deliver a curse upon the entire city. He has human vocal cords, but there is a disconnect between his canine mind and human parts. Can he deliver the news in time?

Have fun with these. Do they inspire any of you who write speculative fiction? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments. Does anyone have a good replacement for Zite magazine they can suggest?


Filed under The Idea Mill

23 responses to “The Idea Mill # 17

  1. There are stories about transplant recipients having a terrific craving for fried chicken or new desire for kinky sex that they never had before the transplant, only to learn later that the donor was a sex worker or loved fried chicken. Would make a fantastic creepy story… A serial killer’s cells are harvested before his execution so organs can be grown in labs, BUT there are unintended consequences…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew I could count on you. This kind of story just got more credible. I have to admit, I was thinking about your face cream while hacking this out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooooh! Interesting thought. To take it a step further, women get DNA from their babies inserted into their own DNA while they are pregnant. You could do something with that. OR, the frankenfish DNA… What if that engineered DNA starts showing up in humans and with subsequent generations of people, children are double the size of previous human beings AND they mature physically in 1/2 the time?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can see I have a lot of research before I write that one. There is an old idea mill post where they talk about the first test tube babies. Quite a bunch of them actually had three biological parents. They have entered the workforce now. What fun could they bring?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The grave one does seem pretty straightforward. You could go ghost too, I guess.

    The roses make me think about a world where the sun is blocked and they’re the only source of light. Maybe they evolve to exist on the electricity and can shock people that try to pluck them. Mostly background for a post-apocalyptic world.

    The vocal chords . . . what if you could get those of a famous singer? It could be a way to become famous if you pay the right price. Maybe they have a short lifespan too, so there’s a price for using them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m almost afraid to think of the possibilities of my dog speaking English. He throws the stink-eye at me so often when I’m working, I can imagine what words he’d use. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ali Isaac

    Craig, these posts are pure madness! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just love idea mill posts. As always, it’s like opening a cabinet of curiosities or taking a stroll through a carnival side show and soaking in the weirdness. Great as always!

    Liked by 1 person

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