January 3, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

SF Trope: “door” between “worlds”

THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE and TUNNEL IN THE SKY were a couple of books I read many years ago that introduced me to the idea of being able to skip from our world to another instantaneously.

That one was fantasy and the other “science fiction” made no difference to me as a kid. That such a concept might exist in science DOES make a difference here!

Based on the reading I’ve assigned above (remember I’m a teacher at heart!), here’s the idea for today:

Red-headed Liam O’Donnell has exactly the fiery temper you’d expect of him, even at twelve-years-old. Of course, this makes him nearly impossible to adopt out when his parents – who are the only people on Earth who can really control him – are killed in a car accident. Plus the fact that he’s almost 13. And Orange Irish.

Not a pretty combination no matter how you look at it. Obviously, he’ll disappear into some sort of magic portal and help to defeat King James (obviously!) and bring glory onto himself…

Until he’s out biking late and angry (his usual mood lately) in the country. Biking off trail and uphill, letting the effort burn out the anger, he tops a crest and finds he’s looking down on some sort of hat-shape UFO, pulsing green in the darkness. There’s a door open in the side and he thinks he sees someone moving around outside.

Leaving his bike, he goes closer. A human male – whose hair is so black in the green light, Liam’s sure it’s red – is arguing with…a raccoon. The pair of them are shouting, the man in American English and the raccoon in a language Liam can’t understand, but is sure is a language because of the rhythm of the sounds.

Suddenly both of them turn to look at him and he realizes he’s slid half-way downhill. He scrambles to get back up but the two sprint uphill faster than he can climb and they grab him. Liam lashes out wildly, hitting both of them until the man puts him in a full-nelson wrestling hold. Liam kicks until the man says, “If you don’t stop moving, I’ll have the raccoon chew your leg off at the knee.”

To emphasize the point, the raccoon lunges forward and his mouth engulfs Liam’s knee. He twitches and the teeth bear down. A hair more and they’ll pierce his skin. He shouts, “All right! All right!”

The man says, “I think the gate attracted exactly what we need, Krrrrsnatcheerrr: young, attitude, angry teen with no connections.”

The raccoon said, “That’s what you always say and it always turns out badly, Carlos.”

You get to take it from here…

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