Long before zombies appeared in modern entertainment they were a part of Haiti’s darker spiritual practices. Labelled as a "culture-bound syndrome" by anthropologists, the process of zombification is performed by a bokor, or sorcerer priest. Pharmacologically, the puffer fish toxin tetrodotoxin and the hallucinogenic planet datura have both been named as agents contributing to deathlike paralysis and mindless stupor. Voodoo adherants believe a zombie’s spirit has been separated from their body, leaving behind an empty shell.
Ever move a stick through water? Though the water impedes the passage of the stick, if you put a little muscle into it you can make the stick move pretty fast. Look in the water while you’re doing that and you’ll see a pocket of air open up behind the stick. The phenomenon, known as super-cavitation, can allow future ships and submarines to travel at unthinkable speeds. While the Soviets and the U.S. experimented with supercavitating weapons like torpedoes no (known) supercavitating vessels exist. What if future naval battles were less like “Battleship” and more like a Mach 2 dogfight on (or under) the water?
Like the "monster" in Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein," the golem is a human made animate. The golem may offer a writer a preindustrial option for an artificial lifeform, like a robot, but using incantation instead of technology. First, get some mud. Then, get one of the traditional “names of God” and write it on a piece of paper. Insert it into the statue’s mouth, presto! Golems have amazing strength in some accounts, but use your golem wisely and make sure you know how to deactivate one when it inevitably runs amok!
In the same way that a black hole can prevent light from escaping, an analogous sonic black hole uses liquids moving faster than sound to trap sound. Scientists are using these artificial black holes to look for Hawking radiation. This line of research will give us a better understanding of the universe. What kind of results will the team discover?
So, Scientists have finally figured out how to regenerate organs in a mammal for the first time? That's pretty damn cool and headline-grabbing, worthy of an epic story all on its own. However, the kicker is what seems like a minor detail and comes at the end of the story.
The mice they used were specifically engineered to respond to the regenerative treatment. What would happen if humans were engineered in the same way. What if we were built to be hackable and upgradeable? What if we learned how to build permanent slots in our dna? Regeneration would only be the beginning.
Hidden somewhere in the rain forests of Latin America may be an ancient lost city filled with hidden treasures. The elusive city of Paititi is mentioned in Incan legend (and Jesuit accounts) and has explorers all over the world searching for it. Could a hidden city be waiting for discovery? Machu Picchu is now an international tourist attraction but wasn’t discovered until 1911. Experts still aren’t sure what its purpose was or why it was ultimately abandoned. Could your speculative tales involved intrepid explorers in search of lost cities filled with mystery and/or treasures?
By flying close to an object like an asteroid a spacecraft can tug on it with a miniscule amount of force. Over long periods of time such a process can be used to deflect incoming asteroids or even place one safely in Earth orbit. Could a future Earth have a second (or third) moon? Will the Solar System be filled with gravity tugs constantly ferrying asteroids?
Have you ever seen it? A small fraction of the population have witnessed this effect which has historically been attributed to everything from the supernatural to aliens. Despite various experiments and hypotheses there is still no widely accepted scientific explanation for its origins. Theories range from vaporized silicon and natural nanoscopic batteries to microscopic black holes passing through the atmosphere. Perhaps you can find its cause in your speculative writing?
Before becoming a classified top secret project, the experimental MARAUDER (Magnetically Accelerated Ring to Achieve Ultra-high Directed Energy and Radiation) was able to produce donut-shaped rings of plasma and balls of lightning that struck their targets with “devastating effects.” Directed energy weapons are a staple in much Science Fiction (i.e. military SF). Set your phasers for…destroy?
The purpose of this page is to inspire and inform writers. Come to find that spark from the Picture Prompt of the Month, the Speculative Facts, our latest Pinterest Pins and the News Feed. Come to BSFW meetings to take your story through its paces and on to publication.
The Muse Tweets