The Idea Mill #26

Sometimes the articles come faster than others. I've seen it take months to get enough articles for an Idea Mill post, this time it took about two weeks.

For all the new followers, I get these articles from various sources and share them here. They are a great source of inspiration for those who write speculative fiction.

Let's look at the first article. It appears chimpanzees have a ritual. Nobody really knows what it means, but speculation is that it looks like religion. The chimps throw rocks at trees. It isn't limited to one animal or one troop. It usually involves the same tree, and occasionally there are piles of rocks found as if this has gone on for a long time. Read the article here (Link)

They say bigfoot likes to whack trees with a club. An article like this could give some credence to your bigfoot story. Maybe old BF is throwing rocks at trees instead. Maybe the chimps have a specific reverence for that tree. A tree church if you will. Maybe the rocks are prayers, or a tribute to an ancestor.

I'll probably do some assessment of my blog activities as part of the year ending. Various primates have been pretty prominent in the Idea Mill posts. From baboons who might be domesticating wolves, monkeys who may be chipping flint, and now chimps who may be developing religion. Seems to me the setting is ripe for some hyper evolution type science fiction.

This next article is the kind that shows up occasionally. Someone discovered a possible cure that we'll never hear about again. It looks like some wasps from Brazil have venom that kills cancer cells but not healthy tissue. This all involves some complicated way the cancer cells outer membrane differs from healthy cells. Basically, the wasp venom makes the membrane rupture and the cancer cells pop like tiny balloons. Here is the story (Link)

What can we do with this one? It sets the stage for a jungle adventure pretty easily. It also lends itself to a corporate espionage type story using rival pharmaceutical companies. Of course you would need a crazy wing-nut type character to expose it all. Nobody listens to him until the facts become overwhelming. Maybe you want to write about a desperate family trying anything to save a loved one. It seems to fit with an environmental warning pretty well too. Loggers are destroying the jungle, and there is a desperate race to save the wasps before the cure is lost forever.

There is no reason you couldn't write about a wasp wrangler trying to deliver a colony of lifesaving wasps to a new colony in a distant galaxy too. When his ship gets boarded the wasps get used as weapons against the invaders. It distracts them long enough for the wasp wrangler to get to the weapons vault. Good thing wasps eat meat.

Finally, this one is just friggin weird. It's called sokushinbutsu; the practice of self mummification. It was practiced by monks in Japan in an attempt to become Buddha. It involves eating a special diet of bark and twigs, restricting water intake to dry out your innards, and basically meditating in a box your friends bury in the ground. It only takes three years, but it doesn't work every time, presumably because the monk wasn't suitable to the mission. Read about it here (Link)

For the record, I will not be attempting this. No pizza, no beer, no wonder they wanted to die. It will probably become the next hot diet book: The Mummification Diet.

So what can we do with this one? I'm a little bit stumped, but maybe I'm just dumbfounded. What if it were a form of hibernation? A kind of stasis that could last for centuries. You just need a little time in the hot tub and some Doritos to come back to life. What about something like the terracotta warriors in China? Someone stashed away an entire ninja army, just waiting to put them into action. Lends itself to secret societies, covert plans, and some kind of takeover attempt for your hero to foil.

These mummies could fit right in to a fantasy world too. The creepy old temple where only a few caretakers remain. Treasure hunters show up and the caretakers put a few mummies in the shower to help them out. Why not make them Sleestack type characters?

So how about a story using all three? The last Idea Mill stumped me, but I might be able to come up with a corny story with these.

Your hero needs to retrieve a colony of cancer-curing wasps from the jungle. We're going to have to move the jungle to one that has chimpanzees. He discovers chimpanzees exhibiting ritual behavior, but only around an ancient ruin.

There is competition from a more ruthless competitor, and they use bulldozers to knock down the jungle in hopes of stirring up the wasps. Your hero learns the chimpanzee ritual is the secret to finding the wasps, and if he can figure it out he'll have more than enough wasps for his purpose.

Before he can figure it out, the competition pushes through to the ancient ruin. This awakens the sleeping mummies who begin a campaign to wipe out everyone that isn't a reverent chimpanzee. The chimpanzees show your hero the only way to avoid the killer mummies is to start the self mummification process himself.

The killer mummies pass him by, revenge is extracted on corporate greed. He gains enough time to solve the Chimpanzee riddles and walks out with a pocket full of wasps. At the end he'd kill for a bag of Doritos and a hot tub.

Okay, all three elements – check. Corny – check.

What would you use one of these stories to create? Tell me in the comments.


Filed under The Idea Mill

36 responses to “The Idea Mill #26

  1. Susan

    God I love your mind. LOL….if only this were true. Pharmaceutical companies are both heroes and villains. Good story…though I like the idea of a fantasy story where there is a creepy old temple where only a few caretakers remain. Those sort of “what if” in our history stories intrigue me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun Idea Mill, Craig — that self-mummification is a curious one~~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! The monkeys made an appearance. All I’m saying is Planet of The Apes doesn’t seem quite so far fetched now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These were great! I especially loved the wasps…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great ideas, and that self-mummification one … Makes me wonder just what they were thinking. The wasp one sounds like The Mosquito Coast, a Harrison Ford movie from the 80s, except it was ants, not wasps.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the wasps were put there to guard the mummies, but archaeologists come to examine the mummies and get stung by wasps. They barely survive. One of them, who was hiding the fact that he has cancer, is miraculously cured. In gratitude, he begins a crusade to protect the ruins from exploitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m intrigued by the wasp venom, but I can’t bring myself to look at the link.
    I laughed my fool head off at the mummification diet trend. I can associate so much humor with that…
    That chimpanzee thing was really neat too. I love a natural mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Whoo-hoo fodder for fiction. The chimpanzees have intrigued me since I saw the very first move with Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell The costumes and make-up were creating a huge stir back then. What would happen if the ‘tree gods’ became angry and sent killer wasps to attack? Would the apes need to mummify themselves and hide underground…sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tough ones this time.

    1. The chimps are using the rocks to either stun or weigh down evil nature spirits. These are angry beings that seek to wipe out all life to start Earth over. Only the chimps know about them and their extinction would mean these spirits go free.

    2. The wasp thing is so cool. They are sent around the world, but not to be free. Special spas for the rich use them to cure cancer. Genetic engineering creates other wasps that cure things like obesity, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Again, only for the rich until a group of thieves sent out to steal enough for their own breeding program. At the same time, another group has designed a lethal wasp that they are about to unless on all of the spas.

    3. The mummies are being hunted for by those who think one of them holds the secret to immortality. In reality, they guard the gateway to the afterlife. Nobody knows if they are trying to keep people out or keep things in. Only one way to find out.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Like the mummies idea!! Charles’s spin to it adds even more!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I want to go to the beginning of the post and say how much I glommed onto the idea of the tree church and the rocks being prayers. Utter brilliance, and so warped at the same time. I love it!

    Okay, the whole thing was strange, and warped and weird, and your story made me laugh. Especially the ending. I just came off of writing 4K today, 3K yesterday so my brain is fried. I needed this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I probably would have had the mummies be chimps who had undertaken the process, for chimp reasons.

    Also, the boys in the lab are having trouble replicating the wasp venom, but word has gotten out, so cancer sufferers are stumbling around in the jungle, trying to figure out how to get stung enough for a cure, but not so much that they die.


  13. Pingback: Writing Links in the 3s and 5…11/7/16 – Where Genres Collide

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