May 14, 2014


I’ll be taking a BRIEF break from writing a fantasy, a science fiction, and a horror novel online – to just provide you with an trope, a current even, and a shove in the right direction. The reason? I’m a school counselor and this year I am responsible for the class of 2014. As events heat up, I need to use my energy to send them off well! So, until June 5, 2014, I will be in Guidance Counselor Mode…

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: robots

“The Serpent In Eden, Nebraska”

Caleb Ogallala stared at the hole in the ground. “‘bout wide enough for me to get my arm down. Probably to my elbow,” he said. Looking up at his sister, Isabella Pearson nee Ogallala, he said, “You probably don’t believe I saw what I said I saw.”

Isabella – who went by Bell at SolaRobotics in the far, frozen northland of Winnipeg – said, “You’re my brother and I believe you saw what you thought you saw.”

“Not the same thing. You may be all of twenty-three and all I am is seventeen, but I know what I saw. It was a robot shaped like a snake and it dug this here hole.”

Bell winced at the Plainsism. She’d barely managed to ditch the weird accent after she did her undergrad work at the University of Minnesota. She’d finally got that accent right. Now she was struggling to fit in at her newly adopted home in Canada. She nodded, then squatted, “All right then. I apologize. You saw a robot shaped like a snake go down this hole.” She looked up at her brother. He didn’t seem as happy as he used to. Mom and Dad dying from MERS while she was away at college probably hadn’t helped with the mood. Not that their family laughed much. Salt-of-the-Earth Dad had called them...She shook off the melancholy image and shielded her eyes with her hand as she said, “First question is: has the county let the prairie dogs back in?”

His lips twitched in a smile. It was the first one since he’d picked her up at the skip-port in Ogallala, sixty klicks straight north of here. He said, “Not that I know of, but people ‘round here, they don’t much trust nobody’s government, even when it’s the Accordion Party.”

She stood and straightened up, “It’s the Accord Party.”

He shrugged then said, “It had your logo on it.”

“What?” she said, suddenly intent.

“The second letter of your name the round sun with black diamond eyes. It was on the snake head.”

Unexpectedly, Bell was cold despite the heat from the late morning sun…

Names: Nebraska, Nebraska ; Nebraska, Nebraska

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