April 16, 2014



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.

Change of pace for a bit – I’m going to look at elements of EXTREMELY popular SF, F, and H; break them apart and use each element as a jumping of point for a story idea…

Popular Science Fiction Story/Series: Dune
SF Trope: Artificial Intelligence is a “crap shoot”

Logan Andrist called out after Gichigami, the Ojibwe man, “Wait!”

Nkokoyanga Pomodimo spun on him and knocked him down.

“What’d you do that for?” Logan exclaimed, scrambled to his feet, fists at his sides.

“You’re surrendering everything we’ve worked for.”

“‘We’, who? We’re supposed to be for the planet!” Logan said.

“We already are! Aren’t you? I sure am,” Nkokoyanga said.

“I am – but who’s to say that our way is the only way? How does dumping more iron into a lake that already has tons of iron sunken on its floor,” he drew a shaky breath, “How is that going to help?”

“It will! You know the science. I don’t need to sketch it out for you. It’s a proven methodology. We’ve been trained...”

“Trained in what? The plans of a single group of people. What if there are other ways to approach the recovery of Lake Superior? What if what we’re doing is wrong?”

“You’re just thinking of this now?”

“We’ve never met Gichigami before now.” He scowled, stared at her for a bit, then said, “It doesn’t bother you that in all the classwork we’ve done; all of the ways we’re out to change the world; that we’ve never talked about more than one way of doing this? ‘Dump iron filings and kill the spiny water fleas and the holopedium!’ Hasn’t anyone ever thought of another way? Are there any other ways?”

“We’re not smart enough to know that,”  Nkokoyanga said.

“So you’re stupid?” Logan fired back.

She folded her arms over her chest, lifting up her breasts slightly. Logan squinted as she said, “No more stupid than you.”

“Then I accept that I’m stupid. Gichigami lives here! He looks out over Superior every day. He’s named after the lake!”

She shook her head, saying, “So someone tells you they’re named after a lake and then mutters some hocus-pocus and you’re ready to give up science and follow them?”

“If they offer a proven alternative to what’s already being done.” He paused. “How long has EGov been dumping iron into Lake Superior?”

Nkokoyanga shrugged, but turned away. “We’re continuing work begun in the late 2020’s.”

“Has the lake changed since then?”

“I’d have to review the data.”

He tossed her his scanner and said, “There. Review the data. There aren’t any other files under Lake Superior reclamation. This is all they’ve been doing. Check the dates – then cross reference and let me know if the original phytoplankton has made a comeback.”

While she worked, she said, “Thirty years isn’t a very long time for something this big to take effect, Logan! It make take centuries for us to rebalance the lake.” She lifted the scanner and read. A few moments later, she looked up, “There’s been no statistically significant change in the Holopedium gibberum population in the years since iron fertilization began thirty-eight years ago.”

“‘No change’,” he echoed. “You’d think there might be some fluctuation, don’t you? You’d think after nearly forty years the domeheads down in MSP Vertical would have tweaked the process or added another or something, don’t you?”

He lips had thinned to near invisibility. Then she thumbed off the scanner, handed it to him and said, “I’ll listen. That’s it. Listen. I will not abandon a methodology that has a solid research foundation and has proven effective in the past for some Noble Savage mumbo-jumbo…”

Names: Popular African American name, Australian Capital Territory, Common African American last name; Popular American name, Brazil; Ojibwe name of Lake Superior

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