A quick note for those who are new to The Idea Mill. I have several different push feeds that I check on a daily basis. I have them set up to push information about topics that interest me. I find it easier to keep updated on certain topics to keep my imagination well fueled. Maybe one of these posts will spark your imagination.
Underwater archaeologists recently discovered a huge monolith off the coast of Sicily. It is approximately 12 meters long, and I’m going to guess for the Americans in the audience that it’s about 15 feet. If you really care, you can do your own conversion.
This stone has three large holes drilled through it, and dates back to the last ice age. Apparently, this area was an island back then. It indicates a sophisticated society existed on the island that long ago. They were capable of harvesting and carving a stone that large. It also appears they transported it to its location.
I’m not intirely convinced that it isn’t from a later shipwreck, but let’s go with the story. It could lend a lot of credence to stories about more sophisticated prehistoric cultures. There has been some debate as to whether the earliest humans possessed a language. They would have had to if they were going to pull off this project. Here is some credibility if you want to write about intelligent cavemen. Maybe ancient aliens is your thing. Go crazy here. The article I read is here. Big old whoppin’ underwater rock.
It looks like we’re sticking with archaeology today. This story is from Ireland, and I’ve seen it on a blog or two. It appears that an ancient beech tree blew over in a storm. The exposed root ball contained half of a skeleton dating back to +/- 1100 AD. The other half is there, and the tree tore it in half when it fell. It appears to be the remains of a tall teenage boy. The body has evidence of stab wounds.
This is almost like the opening wet scene from any episode of Bones. It would be a great beginning for a mystery. I write speculative stuff, so I might turn it into some kind of ancient spell, or even turn the kid into a monster that is finally free of the tree planted to keep him down. Maybe I’d release an ancient disease instead. Here is the article: Big old whoppin’ dead tree.
In this story, scientists discovered the skeletons of 15 humans of a previously unknown species. They stood anywhere from 3.5 to 5 feet tall, and had smaller brains than expected. (I think some of that genetic trait is still present in some Idaho drivers.)
They are calling them humans, and they represent something new to us. The species is very old, but these remains are newer than expected. This almost certainly means they lived side by side with more modern humans. They also appear to have been intentionally placed in this cave. That could mean they had death rituals, or that whatever killed them had death rituals.
There was a time when science fiction concentrated on lost worlds. These guys could make great antagonists in an exploration type story. Your intrepid hero is hacking his way through the jungle, (because it really should be a jungle) when he’s attacked by munchkins who aren’t very smart. They make up for it in numbers and determination. What’s worse than Bigfoot? Fifteen Littlefoots with bad attitudes. Here is the article: Not so big or whoppin’ early humans.
I can’t let this one be entirely about archaeology. I can’t predict the stuff I’m going to find, and lately that’s what I’ve unearthed. This one is a bit different. It’s called What to do when Someone Gives you a Giant Squid.
The title alone intrigues me. This would make an hilarious mad science handbook. It might make a great graphic novel too.
In a nutshell, some fishermen hauled this thing in and called some posh museum in London. They created what amounts to a gigantic pickle jar and shoved her inside. There are some great details of the ammonia smell giant squid have and how it smells like urine. Awesome stuff for your novel.
The scary part is the weaponry this thing packs. The suckers are ringed with tiny teeth that equal razor blades. The scientists ruined a few pairs of gloves wrangling this thing into it’s pickle jar. I call this article, Big old whoppin’ dead squid.
These guys are awesome for fiction. We are pretty helpless in the water, and that ramps up the scary part. Add in those razor edged suckers, and even survival might mean ringing the dinner bell for something else.
Maybe you want to turn this into a mad science story, and release a creature that smells like pee, and has concertina wire tentacles, loose on London
Part of the shtick is for me to outline one story incorporating all these articles. Here goes nothing…
Our hero discovers a skeleton in the bole of a fallen tree. The skeleton holds a cryptic map to the Lost Dutchman of King Solomon’s Crown Jewels. In Africa he gets ambushed by a bunch of tiny cavemen, and survives by swimming into the ocean. He spies a huge monolith under the water. It turns out to be the Lighthouse that marks the site of the LDKSCJ. After his rescue, he returns with a ship only to find the LDKSCJ is guarded by a giant squid whose suckers can eat holes through a ship. Instead of Hook’s crocodile with the ticking clock, you can smell the squid coming. Use the smell like the theme song from Jaws, and have everyone panic when random sailor # 1 pees over the rail of the ship. (No more asparagus aboard this ship.)
Do any of these articles spark your imaginations? Would you ever use one of these as the basis for a novel? As one element of the story? Let me hear about it in the comments.