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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2019

660 Science Fiction Writing Prompts That Will Get You Writing at Warp Speed

Science Fiction has been recently referred to as the last great literature of ideas. It contains imaginative concepts such as parallel universes, fictional worlds full of advanced technology, time travel, extraterrestrial life, and even sociocultural commentary. Below are 660 prompts to help you get started on your next Science Fiction writing project. Please feel free to use any of these prompts. You don't have to credit us, but it would be much appreciated if you do! A simple link to ServiceScape is the best way to do that.

Aliens

Aliens
Extraterrestrial beings from a far away world encounter humans. The encounter can be anything from a peaceful introduction to a full out invasion.

This subgenre features extraterrestrials and contains themes such as fear of the "other," intergalactic war, and discovery of/communication with other sentient beings.

  1. A sentient being has landed on your planet and your civilization's military has confronted it at the landing site of its ship. You are sent closer as a mediator and encounter a mass of energy that has no form but communicates with you in your language.
  2. Your spaceship has landed on an unknown planet and there is data showing lifeforms who have created artistic structures. There is an artist in your group who wants to make first contact with the beings through art.
  3. We discover that beneath its seemingly uninhabitable appearance, Mars has an entire race of subterranean alien lifeforms living on it. You are part of the team sent to explore this civilization.
  4. Through A.I. technology, we have found a way to create robots indistinguishable from humans. They begin to take on a life of their own, out of our control, and we find that an alien species has hacked them through a type of consciousness transfer. If something isn't done soon, they will destroy us and take over our planet.
  5. As part of a fleet of explorers, you encounter an alien species that is far more advanced than humans. They have found ways to heal all diseases and do not participate in war, leaving the beings to survive far longer than the human lifespan. Believing they have much to teach you, you wish to stay on their planet, causing conflict within your fleet.
  6. Aliens have invaded our planet but refuse to communicate with us. Instead, they attempt to communicate with animals, and seem to communicate with them quite well. Immediately, the animals of our planet start to turn on us, our pets included.
  7. A malevolent alien species has descended upon Earth and uses mind control to suppress our military and law enforcement defenses. However, there is one group that their mind control doesn't work on: those who are children.
  8. The Earth has reached its breaking point after global warming and widespread disease, and a group of aliens arrive to help humans rebuild the planet they have destroyed.
  9. Aboard your stranded spaceship, you begin to notice metal turning into a biological substance resembling trees and vines. An invisible alien entity that has made its way onboard is helping you create a sustainable biological atmosphere to keep you alive until you reach a habitable planet.
  10. Your ship has landed on a world that has everything needed to sustain life. You're part of the group sent out to confront any inhabitants on the planet. You find them, and they look just like humans, but their superhuman abilities set them apart. Their leader informs you that they are the descendants of humans and another alien race that settled the planet centuries earlier.
  11. Aliens have landed on Earth and they are all female forms. In an effort to return human tribes to matriarchal cultures, they enslave all the men and elevate women to positions of power within the government.
  12. Earth has become uninhabitable and you're tasked with finding a new planet where humans can live. In the search, you come across a planet inhabited by beings who are half animal/half man, and have set up societies much like packs of animals do, with alpha leaders and pack hunting traits.
  13. You're in the space program and have been recently tasked with interpreting communications coming in from another planet outside of our own solar system. The lifeform on the other end doesn't speak any known human language but communicates through musical patterns that create a kind of "call and response" sound that reflects the musicality of the language spoken to them.
  14. In the very near future, aliens have landed on Earth and have hacked every smartphone on the planet. Through them, they quickly learn our culture and most intimate secrets, and use the control to blackmail humans into doing various tasks.
  15. An alien civilization has contacted us through our space program with the warning that our world is on the brink of total destruction. Through their advanced technology, the aliens see the imminent death of our sun, and offer us the opportunity to re-colonize on their home planet. The only problem is: only 5,000 humans can go.
  16. The new world your crew has discovered is full of angel-like beings who move gracefully and are fiercely protective of humans. They have visited your world multiple times in the past (thus inspiring stories of guardian angels) and this is the first time you're visiting theirs.
  17. Alien lifeforms have started making themselves known, although they've been in our midst for centuries. The way they've stayed hidden is they shapeshift into felines, and have been observing us undercover in their roles of house pets and street dwellers.
  18. With heavy firepower, your crew has landed on a planet known to have hostile aliens that seem reptilian in their appearance. The terrain is comprised of swampland and the reptilian beings live underwater. You've put on a protective wetsuit and you're now leaving the ship to explore for the first time.
  19. An alien who has been living undercover on Earth is able to maintain his human form for a limited amount of time each day before it reverts back into his original non-humanoid form. He hurries home each day before this happens, but today, he's stuck on the commuter train that has broken down and there's no way off.
  20. A malevolent alien species arrives to Earth to take over. They spread a virus that kills off the majority of the human population and mate with the most beautiful women to create half-alien/half-human beings to replace those who have died.

Alternate History

Alternate History
The world as we know it is different due to alternate events taking place in history.

If you enjoy "what if" scenarios and are a history buff, you'll find a lot you'll like about this subgenre, which offers an alternate take on or outcome for historical events.

  1. In 1962, despite his best efforts, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was unable to reach an agreement with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which led to the launching of a single nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into the southeastern United States. The resulting detonation and fallout devastated everything south of Tennessee, and for the following five decades no one dared venture into that region. Rumors describing zombie-like creatures roaming the nuclear wasteland had persisted for years in border towns, but the stories had not been confirmed. You are a federal agent and it is your job to enter the fallout zone to investigate these reports.
  2. The Battle of Vicksburg was not a success for General Grant and the Union lost the Civil War. You are an African American former Union soldier who is not ready to give up on the fight. You team up with members of your former regiment and lead slave uprisings throughout the South.
  3. Following the Civil War, America became fractured, leaving each state to be a separate country. You become involved in a political push to combine several countries to gain more resources and power than the others.
  4. All of the countries in the modern world are ruled by monarchies and democracy is still a theory that has never been implemented. You are a King who has plans to convert your country's system of government to a democracy after your death. Other members of the royal family – and other monarchs – are threatened by your decision.
  5. Due to successive plagues across Europe, its governments were weakened and never sent explorers to the Americas. Instead, the Native Americans landed on European soil and discovered the people there instead of the other way around. You are part of the first group of people the explorers encounter.
  6. Nazi scientists discovered a crashed alien ship and are using its advanced technology to overpower their enemies. You are a general in the Allied forces tasked with finding a solution.
  7. The American Revolution did not succeed, leaving France, England and Spain in control of North American territories. You are a Native American in this world fighting for your tribe's existence among competing colonial powers.
  8. When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763, ending the French and Indian War, Britain took possession of Florida from Spain and established it as a penal colony. Florida continued to serve this purpose after America's independence from Britain, and 250 years later, it is a vast, lawless region cut off from the rest of the United States. You are part of a delegation sent to determine the status of this long-isolated colony.
  9. Opting for isolationism during the Second World War, America kept its distance while other countries battled for control and survival. Even after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States remained neutral, negotiating an immediate peace with the Japanese empire rather than waging war and defending itself. Decades after the war is over, the United States finds itself surrounded by aggressive powers eager to take control of its territory. With its allies gone and its obsolete military insufficient to defend its borders, the country looks to you to rebuild its armed forces before the inevitable invasion begins.
  10. Towards the end of the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia, Genghis Khan's army of over 700,000 soldiers inexplicably disappeared. Some historians blamed disease while others blamed famine. Whatever the reason, Genghis Khan and his massive army's disappearance from the world became the thing of legend. Late one night, you receive a call from your superior officer regarding a massive group of primitive soldiers who have suddenly appeared outside of the city of Nishapur. It is your job to negotiate peace with the bloodthirsty horde that is still waging a war that, from their perspective, has never ended.
  11. During the Cold War in the 1980s, the American government decided to reallocate a large amount of funds from their Star Wars project into A.I. research. After a few trials and errors, A.I. soldiers and aircraft were completely functional and could be deployed on the battlefield. Meanwhile, as the Soviet–Afghan War was raging with both sides taking heavy losses, the U.S. government decided to share their new technology with the insurgents in an effort to aid them in their fight against the Soviets. Little did they know that after the war was won, these weapons would eventually be used against their own creators.
  12. Constantine never recognized Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. You are a present-day Christian struggling to practice your religion in secret, hiding from the polytheists who would prefer to see you dead.
  13. The 1918 flu pandemic infected 97% of the world's population instead of one third, plunging the world into a new dark age marked by hysteria, superstition and anti-intellectualism. Universities are sacked by mobs who think that knowledge is the devil's work and book burning becomes commonplace. You are a university librarian trying to protect the books in your care in order to preserve knowledge for future generations.
  14. Archduke Ferdinand was not assassinated, therefore World War I and World War II as we know them never happened. The British Empire expanded throughout the world, and you are the American president who is trying to keep your country from being swallowed up again by the superpower.
  15. Christopher Columbus disembarks from the Santa Maria and takes his first steps into the New World. A tank approaches. A Native American warrior climbs out and says, "We've been expecting you."
  16. In 1961, the Soviet government successfully lands a man on the moon and establishes a lunar base. They have nearly finished developing technology that is capable of destroying any satellite launched from Earth, threatening global communication. You are a NASA intelligence agent whose mission is to infiltrate the lunar base and destroy it before it's too late.
  17. Japan discovered an island inhabited by dragons and used them to fight in World War II. You are an American soldier who faces one such creature and find that your weapons are useless. It's time to get creative.
  18. The Roman Empire never collapsed and went on to conquer the Americas. You live in present-day North America and no longer want to live under imperial rule. A small group of rebels is forming to fight for freedom and start their own government. You are part of this rebel group.
  19. The Christopher Columbus expedition never returned and European governments decided it was unsafe to explore that region. After 200 years, you are part of a second expedition to the New World.
  20. The U.S. allowed the South to secede and there was no Civil War. The United States and the Confederate States are now in a cold war. You are a CIA agent in the present-day North and your colleague has been captured while on a mission in the South. You are part of a team sent in to rescue him.

Alternate/Parallel Universe

Alternate/Parallel Universe
These stories are typically about traveling to parallel worlds or universes.

This subgenre of Science Fiction offers a glimpse of an alternate plane of existence co-existing with our own present reality.

  1. On vacation, a family spends a couple of nights at an old Irish castle which has been converted into a hotel. While exploring the castle and the grounds, two siblings discover a secret passage and a stairwell leading to nowhere. When they decide to explore again that night, they see a portal open at the top of the stairs. They decide to enter this portal, and they are then transported into an alternative world where the castle exists within a magical kingdom. There they meet two strangely familiar children their own ages.
  2. You are part of the Apollo 15 mission sent to the moon, and you have just disembarked from your lunar module. As you roam across the moon, excitedly taking everything in, you see something in the ground beneath you. You dust it off to find what appears to be a door. You turn around to call out to your team members, but the moonscape and your lunar module are gone, replaced by a padded room. You look at yourself and find that your astronaut suit has been replaced by a straitjacket. You have flipped realities again and your alternative world is much worse than when you left it the last time. As you tightly shut your eyes, you tell yourself, "No, not here. Not now." You open your eyes to find a bunch of moon rocks at your feet. "Phew."
  3. Your kooky inventor grandfather recently passed away, and once you're over the worst of your grief, you look through several of the items that he sent to you during his final days. In a large envelope, you discover his personal, top-secret instructions to finish building something he was working on before his death. You finish the project without really knowing what it does, but, when you're done, the object looks like a doorway with no door. The final step instructs you to walk through the doorway and that, if you do, your reality will never be the same again.
  4. When the star in your system shows signs of sudden collapse, you are ordered to evacuate. The Intergalactic Union sends a large fleet to take everyone to the capital. However, your home star shows no signs of dying, and you entertain some hope. You take your ship and return alone, hoping to run more tests. The moment you leave warp speed, you see a massive wall of expanding gas rushing toward your ship. You desperately reverse, but you are caught in the explosion and fall unconscious. When you wake up, you are stunned to be alive and to see that the system is still there. You decide to abandon your mission and return to your family, but your ship is suddenly seized in a tractor beam and drawn to the surface of your home planet, where it appears humanity has been enslaved by superior beings. Soon you realize your star's explosion sent you into an alternate dimension, where it remains unexploded. Here, aliens foresaw the disaster and came to enslave humanity, stopping their pollution of the system and ensuring that the sun would remain stable. Now they want to know where you came from and how you managed to get free.
  5. News breaks across the world that a team of scientists has created a portal to an Earth-like planet in another universe. Interestingly, this planet is a carbon copy of Earth in terms of its history and its population with only a few differences here and there between the two planets. When a delegation is sent from this parallel world to Earth and is interviewed on TV, you are surprised to find out that one of them looks and acts exactly like your late husband. You quickly pack your bags and travel to the portal, hoping to reconnect with your long-lost love.
  6. As an up-and-coming comic book artist, your work has received recognition from industry insiders and you have a small, but dedicated, fan base online. One of these fans somehow finds your contact information and asks if he can set up a special arrangement that will be financially advantageous for you. You are interested, so he tells you the terms: Create a unique character once a week with a full backstory. The character should not be made public under any circumstance. They are for private use only. You ask him what is the point if the characters cannot be published, but he refuses to tell you the reason. Cash-strapped and curious, you agree to the terms and start creating characters. After a couple of years, you have developed an entire universe of superheroes and villains which you are very proud of. Desperately wanting others to see your work, you decide to go to your benefactor's home unannounced to confront him. The front door is open, so after knocking a couple of times, you let yourself in. You suddenly find yourself in what seems to be an illustrated world. You look up and see one of the characters you designed flying through the sky. Another one drives past you down a street in his rocket car. Somehow, this man has created an alternative universe comprised of your drawings and creativity. You are astounded and want to explore this fascinating world that, from your perspective, only existed in your imagination until now.
  7. The attic; under the bed; a closed closet. These pocket dimensions are invisible to most. You aren't most.
  8. Your best friend is a physicist, and over the past few years he has become obsessed with a realm he calls the "Otherworld." One night over dinner, he attempts to convince you that he has found a portal into this realm and that he plans to go and explore this alternative reality soon. Worried about his mental health after this conversation, you begin calling him only to get his voicemail. After he has not returned your calls for over a week, you decide to go to his house and check on him. He's gone, but he has left a note behind: "I found the portal." He also provides directions for someone—such as you—to access the realm and come after him if he does not return.
  9. There are other realities where physicality is slightly misaligned. You make use of these other realities to walk through walls. You only stay in the other reality for a moment – just long enough to bypass the barrier. One day you get stuck.
  10. You grew up on stories about furniture that could lead curious children to entirely different worlds, but they were just that—stories. However, you learn that a great aunt of yours who lived in Scotland and was an avid collector of antique furniture has passed away. So, you travel with your family—her only remaining relatives—to visit her quirky old home. You're drawn to the library in particular, where she has just about every single book known to mankind. While perusing the shelves, you find a secret passageway behind one of them and decide there is no harm in exploring it. When you do, there's nothing in the tunnel, so you head back the way you first came. When you slip out from behind the bookshelf, however, you're not in your aunt's house anymore. In fact, you're not even in Scotland. More alarmingly, you're not sure you're on Earth anymore.
  11. Your friend has tickets to stay overnight in an old house that promises chills and thrills. She asks if you're game, and, of course, you say you are. Part of the stay includes a scavenger hunt that promises a cash prize if all of the items are found. As you move through the house, you discover a key that opens a sealed room deep inside. When you walk through the door, you immediately realize you're in a completely different time period—on a completely different planet—in a completely different reality.
  12. When it appeared, it was the size of a golf ball. It has spread, over the past five years, across the nation. Within it, one's inner demons are manifested around one's body, and those who cross into it possess extraordinary power.
  13. The snow is ever-present, and heat is a precious resource. You have been working on a way to provide heat indefinitely. Upon opening a rift into another dimension, you think maybe you can bleed it dry of its warmth, to heat your own.
  14. You and your best friend have a sleepover in your backyard treehouse. She brings something cool to show you—a huge leather-bound book of supposed spells you can say, some of which can transport you to a different time in history or a different plane of existence altogether. You personally think it's a bunch of baloney, but in the spirit of a spooky Friday night sleepover, you're game to try some of the spells out. You find one that promises to transport you to a land of perfect peace and harmony. You just need to gather a few items first. After everything is ready, you chant the words, and, to your shock, you find yourself standing in what looks like a busy, futuristic city. You don't see one single human being, but you do see plenty of robots.
  15. Long ago, light faded. You grew accustomed to navigating the dark, blind and cold – no sun, no moon, no stars or fire. Now a mysterious figure has come, claiming to be from another universe, bearing something called a "torch."
  16. As a spiritual medium and a paranormal technology engineer, you have seen your fair share of unexplainable phenomena. However, you have never experienced anything quite like this when a seance goes wrong and a small rift appears in front of you. You are convinced that this is a passage to the afterlife and is your golden opportunity to truly understand what lies beyond death. You find a way to stabilize and expand the rift and, after sending in a drone, you discover that this world is safe for the living. You then decide to enter the rift and venture through this plane of reality. After a while, you discover that its initial warm glow belies what's really there—a land of terror and horror, filled with lost souls. This is not heaven. This is some other place. And the worst part is that you have no idea how to return home.
  17. As a young princess, you have always had a curiosity for science, engineering, and most other things a princess typically has no interest in. Your world is filled with magic and wonderment, but you don't find it compelling. One day, while exploring a passageway tucked away within a sealed part of a castle, you stumble upon a strange machine. After a little research within an adjacent library, you discover that it is a portal to another world and decide to activate this machine. You are then transported to a place filled with doppelgangers of all of the people you know. However, within this world, invention and science dominate and magic is non-existent. When you find your own doppelganger and discover that she loves to cosplay as a princess, you hope that you can convince her that switching worlds may be the best thing to do for the both of you.
  18. In an alternative universe, witches, wizards, and magic are the norm. Students study various magical courses at school. One witch, fascinated with magical doorways, rips a hole in the fabric of the universe, connecting this magical world to ours. The witch soon realizes that her non-magical double exists in our world, and she views modern technology as our own version of magic.
  19. After many years and several trials, you invent a device that is capable of taking photographs of an alternative universe. This universe actually exists within our own universe; however, there is an interdimensional barrier that prevents one from bleeding into the other. The universe you witness through your photography can be described only as catastrophic: a bleak, jagged wasteland filled with nightmarish creatures and dark skies. There is no color to speak of, and you find nothing that seems natural in this world's harsh nature. One day, you notice that there is a man in the background of one of your photographs. You zoom in to find that he is holding up a sign that reads: "You are collapsing the barrier. Stop!" The man is missing from the next photograph, but you can see a deer and a green patch of grass where he once stood.
  20. There are two realities coexisting in the same space and time, unknown to each other. These universes are layered so close to each other that they practically fuse together. However, they are invisible to one another. A scientist stumbles upon a way to communicate across these two realities and attempts to bridge them together. Connecting these two realities may have unintended consequences though, as the fabric of space-time collapses upon itself.

Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic

Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic
A disaster has devastated the world, such as a pandemic virus or nuclear holocaust, and humanity must now survive the aftermath.

This subgenre focuses on characters and plotlines after a major world disaster has occurred. You'll often find themes such as community and its role in survival, destruction of ecosystems, human nature, and dystopian governments.

  1. Before the Earth was made uninhabitable, a group of survivors evacuated the planet on a spaceship. Generations later, it's finally time to send a team down to test for habitability, but upon landing you discover that there were survivors who never left.
  2. In less than a week, society as we know it has fallen. Since all forms of electronic communication are down, there's no way to know exactly what has happened, but you heard explosions all over town and can only assume the worst. But your significant other is on the other side of town and it's time to brave the unknown to get to her.
  3. Nuclear warfare and genetically modified food sources have created a race of zombie beings that cannot die unless beheaded and feed off of fresh meat, including human flesh. You have escaped this fate but must now escape the monsters, who only survive in cities where there is much fresh meat to be had.
  4. Enraged at the way humanity is killing the planet, a genetic scientist invents a biological weapon that is released into the water supply and kills off millions within a week's timeframe. The scientist also invented an antidote and you are the one who must find it to save someone you love before it's too late.
  5. The apocalypse occurs while you're in a shopping mall, which then becomes buried beneath rubble, trapping everyone inside. As different groups form and fight for dominance, how long can you survive on Orange Julius and Sbarro?
  6. A series of volcanic eruptions has darkened the sky, blocking out the sun. The excessive coldness and death of the landscape drives you and others around you indoors or underground to determine humanity's next steps in survival.
  7. A combination of a lethal and pandemic virus, mass hysteria, and riots have created a dangerous situation in the metropolitan area where you live. Your family is running out of food and must move to find more, so you put as much protective clothing on them as possible and have a family meeting before you leave. What do you say? Where will you go?
  8. After the apocalypse, humanity has returned to tribal living and tribal warfare becomes the new norm. Your tribe does not want to battle for territory, so you seek out a place to live in peace among the vast lands left uninhabited. But there is a danger greater than other tribes and you soon meet it out in "no-man's land."
  9. Water has become a scarce resource that is more valuable than gold. You are part of a team of scientists seeking a fresh water source that has not been polluted by radiation and human waste.
  10. Civilization on our planet has been mostly destroyed by pandemic viruses, dwindling resources and the resulting conflict. As a physician, you have seen the worst of it come and go, and must now play a role in rebuilding a small town ravaged by disease and unrest.
  11. A cyberattack has occurred in which anyone who focuses on a signal from their smartphone or television is immediately and irreparably hypnotized. You are part of the team sent to find the signal's source before more people die of starvation in their hypnotized state.
  12. After a nuclear apocalypse, you are part of a group of survivors dealing with the after-effects of an irradiated planet. Many have grown sick from the radiation and died. There are some, however, who appear to be completely unaffected. You were a doctor before the war and are determined to use your knowledge to find out why.
  13. In the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, women survivors determine that since men were responsible for the war, they should never have power again. In order to maintain order, all men are required to be slaves and are held in chains, while only women can rule. Are you a man or a woman? Is this new order acceptable to you or do you fight against it?
  14. In the post-apocalyptic future, roving tribes travel with various degrees of technology that they have found along the way in cities and museums. Rumor has it that there is a military arsenal buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and all tribes race toward it. It is your job to make sure none of them find it to avoid another nuclear holocaust.
  15. Due to overpopulation, civilization has collapsed and food has become scarce. Some people are resorting to cannibalism while others turn to scavenging to survive. You are part of a group of scavengers and must teach others how it's done while avoiding the cannibals hunting you.
  16. A new drug was created that would give superintelligence to anyone who took it. The result was a group of people who saw normal people as a threat, so they created and released a pandemic flu to get rid of people unlike themselves. You were one of the few that survived, and you and your small group must face down the engineers of society's collapse.
  17. Nuclear war has irradiated the planet, leaving precious little land that is safe to farm or graze animals. You are part of a surviving colony that is located in the last uncontaminated and fertile region, defending your territory from those who would kill for it.
  18. A pandemic virus has stuck humanity and the world as we know it has been entirely overrun by wild and escaped animals. Humans have been seriously weakened but you are a survivor and must find a way to leave your shelter to find more resources before you starve.
  19. In a post-apocalyptic future, food is scarce. Riots have made cities dangerous, and roving gangs have formed to take control of limited resources and territory. You and a group of other survivors have discovered a warehouse full of provisions and are determined to protect it at all costs.
  20. Genetically modified food has made pets increasingly sentient. Tired of living in the shadow of humans, they overthrow society and establish themselves as dominant. As a human slave, you convince your former best friend Mr. Pickles to help you escape and find sanctuary.

Biopunk

Biopunk
The story focuses on the use of biotechnology, genetic manipulation, and/or eugenics.

This cyberpunk-inspired subgenre takes place in the near future and examines the (often dark) consequences of bio-engineering.

  1. Since the Roswell UFO incident, the government has experimented on splicing human and alien DNA with limited success. Finally, after many attempts, a true hybrid is born. This hybrid's intelligence is off the charts and he is able to master most academic endeavors in a matter of months. You and your team of scientists are enthusiastic about the hybrid's capabilities, as well as the potential future of the human race. However, when you walk into his room one day and find that he has developed a space beacon to make contact with his alien ancestors, you begin to realize that his allegiance may be up for grabs.
  2. The government is offering a new program—they'll attempt to cure whatever ails you and maybe even improve your abilities through the use of experimental genetic manipulation. The downside? The procedure may permanently harm you or even kill you. You never thought of yourself as the guinea pig type, but you can't resist the potential of curing your genetic disorder. You might leave the lab with an extra head, but hey, it's all in the name of science, right?
  3. You live in a lunar colony in which genetic modification has reached a tipping point. Large corporations have moved past using A.I. to replace human workers and have begun to sell genetically modified "workers," enslaved and auctioned to the highest bidder. These workers are modified to be excellent at their particular job. You fall in love with one of these modified beings and set your mind to rescue her.
  4. Genetically-modified laborers built to withstand inhospitable work environments are already treated like second-class citizens, so it's not hard for people to find a reason to blame them for everything. When a serial killer strikes in the city, a quiet, modest mutant laborer who is well-liked in his community is named as the killer and is arrested. However, a high school student knows that this allegation is not true because she witnessed the crime. Now, she must prove the mutant's innocence while finding the true killer. Finding the real killer should be easy enough though since he's hot on her trail to shut her up, for good.
  5. You are a fighter pilot who is the subject of an underground experiment in which a bioship is created for you to fly. When you are flying it, the ship adapts to your movements like your own body would. However, once in space, the bioship turns against you.
  6. There is now a pill you can take that will trigger a genetic mutation to make you stronger, more attractive, and taller (over time). Your body is not responding correctly, however, and the growing won't stop. You're becoming a beautiful giant but must try to find a way to reverse the mutation.
  7. You are tasked with locating and eliminating eight members of an elite military squad who have been genetically modified to become the ultimate soldiers. Why does the government want to do this? Ordinary people are beginning to worship these soldiers as demigods and their burgeoning cult is a direct threat to society, or at least that's what the government officials say. You have your own theories about these soldiers, who have done everything that their country has asked of them, and you are willing to hear them out before you carry out your orders.
  8. Genetic modification of animals has produced monstrous results, leaving the world's human population hunted by gigantic, predatory beasts. Since humanity now must hide in fear, technological advancement has declined and humans have returned to nomadic tribes in order to survive. You live in one of these tribes but have discovered an abandoned, dying infant beast alone in the woods. You attempt to revive it and eventually bond.
  9. A scientist is devastated by the death of his only child. In a fit of insanity and grief, he works night and day to find a way to bring her back to life. In order to do so, he must replace her vital organs with experimental biomechanical ones. He manages to resurrect his child, but it's not his child that inhabits her form, but something much more terrifying.
  10. Biohackers have stolen DNA samples from the world's most prominent leaders in order to clone them and eventually replace them on the world stage. As the Physician to the President, you stumble onto this conspiracy after performing a DNA analysis of the President and finding trace elements of this cloning procedure. You then contact other doctors of world leaders and ask them to run the same test. Most of the physicians encounter similar results except for the Prime Minister of Great Britain. You know that this may be the last opportunity to identify the biohackers, so you fly over to London and set a trap before the last prominent world leader is replaced.
  11. In order to save the last remaining endangered species, animal rights activists begin incorporating bits of these animals' genetic coding into their own, producing a humanoid species with some animal-like features. A large portion of the population finds this to be an abomination and hunts down these genetic hybrids with impunity. Your girlfriend is one of these genetically modified people and you decide to hide her and her family in your basement.
  12. A nefarious corporation has discovered biomechanical technology that, when implanted, forces subjects to join a "hive mind" and do what they are told without question. Your friend is one such subject. To save your friend, you need to find a way to pull him out of the hive mind while avoiding detection by the people who are under its control.
  13. At first, there is little that can be done when humanity suddenly becomes barren. Adults of childbearing age are unable to reproduce, and there is no explanation for this phenomenon. However, a multi-national corporation is able to come up with a solution using artificial womb technology and genetic manipulation that removes what they describe as "defective traits." Humanity can thrive once again as new generations are finally being born. However, when you happen upon a twenty-year-old report written by a corporate scientist that outlines how to implement a mass infertility program, you suspect that your corporate saviors may have caused the crisis in the first place, and that they are using their solution to both increase their coffers and to define the traits of those who are born within the next generations.
  14. After the American military discovered a crashed alien vessel containing a genetically advanced lifeform, they used its genome to create an army of humanoid super soldiers able to withstand significant pain and physical damage before dying. Little do they know that it was a trap, and they have unintentionally created a sleeper cell of humanoid beings with allegiance to an alien planet. One day, that sleeper cell is activated – and it is your job to stop them.
  15. A superstar athlete graduates from college and joins the NFL, the NBA, and the MLB. The athlete seems to have unlimited strength and energy, and he dominates each sport he competes in as if he was playing against children. Conspiracy theories abound regarding his abilities, but despite multiple tests no performance-enhancing substances have been found within his system. Then, one day, a famous scientist holds a press conference and tells the world that the athlete is the result of advanced genetic manipulation. The scientist's eugenics program was shut down by his university twenty-five years ago, but not before three test subjects were created, each with unique enhanced mental and physical capabilities. The children were given up for adoption, and all records were destroyed after the program was permanently closed down. Hearing this, the athlete decides to retire from his sports careers to find his long-lost siblings and to perhaps find a better way to serve humanity.
  16. A biotechnologist creates a program that can be downloaded to a device and inserted into the human body to induce repair of genetic mutations. The results are so effective that the biotechnologist's life is threatened by those in the medical industry who are losing money as a result. You vow to help him in exchange for a copy of his program to fix your own genetic disorder.
  17. Every human being born receives an implant that is capable of detecting most diseases early on so that people can be cured before an illness becomes a serious problem. When biohackers manipulate these implants to give false diagnoses and accelerate disease progression, the medical industry is overwhelmed and soon people begin disconnecting themselves from their implants. As the inventor of this implant, you try your best to increase security measures and to prevent further hacks, but to no avail. However, when you realize that your assistant is part of the biohacker group and that she has been giving them your data, you decide to put a tracker program within your last implant security update and follow the trail.
  18. An alien spacecraft has landed but looks like a living, breathing organism. It sits for a while as Earth's scientists observe it, and they find that the entire ship is a biomechanical lifeform of gigantic proportions. With vein-like structures mixing with wires, and a core generator that pumps liquid like a heart, the vessel remains quiet except for its breath-like hissing. You are part of a team of scientists tasked with entering the vessel's main door, which looks frighteningly like a mouth.
  19. Genetic manipulation is nothing new, but the government has turned its sights on something more ambitious—creating human super soldiers who can survive in the harshest conditions. So far, this has been only a rumor, but when a bike messenger's father is targeted as the perfect specimen for the government's next experiment, she realizes just how true it is. Now she has to find a way to stop the government before they take her father away.
  20. In the name of science experimentation, animals are being genetically modified in an attempt to alter their animal nature. Most experiments have gone well, and dangerous animals such as bears and lions have been transformed into placid, exotic house pets for the rich. However, in rare cases, these modified animals experience a return of their natural instincts, often resulting in violent attacks against the people around them. Unfortunately, you're in a home when such a change occurs.

Children's Story

Children's Story
Science fiction that is written for younger audiences.

This subgenre of Science Fiction focuses on elements that appeal to children, from early reading ages through 12 years of age. Common themes include adventure, self-made rocket ships, alien friends, and, of course, robots.

  1. Your mom sends you off to clean your room but instead, you build a cleanup machine to do the work for you. Unfortunately, it goes haywire.
  2. Scientists have discovered Earth 2—a new planet that is similar to Earth, but has a different set of natural laws. Things float because of lack of gravity. Water flows up instead of down. You really want to visit this new planet, so you step through your portal to check it out.
  3. You are an alien and the "new kid" in school. You are very nervous because you don't look like anyone else, and you can't understand the language of your classmates. Some kids in your class invite you to play ball with them at recess, and soon you find that you aren't so different after all.
  4. You are a 10-year-old boy living in a futuristic world dominated by technology, and you are intrigued by stories of the Old West when kids rode horses and still played outside. You and your friend build a time machine that takes you there to experience it firsthand.
  5. Your best friend is an alien that scares everyone away with his frightening appearance (sharp claws and scary face). You want to keep him in your room but you know your parents would freak out if they saw him. So, you figure out a disguise and hilarity follows.
  6. You encounter a famous space explorer who takes you on a tour of the galaxy. On his ship, you meet his android co-pilot and some very strange creatures.
  7. You've always been curious about the mind transfer machine your scientist father has been building in his basement lab, so one day when he isn't home you and your dog go downstairs to check it out. The next morning you wake up to find your dog sitting at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal.
  8. You are given your first robot for Christmas and are so excited to finally have a friend. You name him and tell him all the wonderful things you'll do together. The robot is excited to learn how life works.
  9. Your father is a famous scientist who invented a time machine. You ask him to take you back to when dinosaurs lived, and he does. You sneak one of the baby dinosaurs home with you in your backpack and hope your father doesn't notice.
  10. You've always wondered where your cat goes after dark, so one night you follow him. You come to a clearing in the woods and overhear Mr. Pickles and twelve other cats plotting to take over the world.
  11. A robot falls in your back yard with no recollection of where he came from. With a little tinkering and research, you help him discover where he came from and help him get back home.
  12. Your Dad works for NASA and is about to embark on a space mission to Mars. You're curious to see what Mars looks like, so you sneak into his luggage and stow away to the red planet.
  13. You are convinced you can build your own spacecraft (with the help of a few friends, of course) so you start collecting parts and downloading plans. When you finally complete it, it's time to test it out, but where will you go (and be back in time before supper)?
  14. You love climbing trees, and one tree in particular gives you a different view of the world the farther up you climb. All the way at the top, you see the ancient past, when dinosaurs lived.
  15. While visiting the National Air and Space Museum, you and your sister sneak past the security guard and climb into a spaceship on display. You start pushing buttons and moving switches. Suddenly, the rocket boosters fire up.
  16. You live in the future when everyone has a robot companion and yours doesn't work so well. At school, he embarrasses you and at home, he gets you into trouble.
  17. While out walking one day, you step on a leaf and it says "Ouch!"
  18. Your family is part of a group of people who will be sent to create a colony on the moon. You're excited to go to a new place and experience such an amazing opportunity, but you're also nervous about of all of the changes.
  19. The old lady who lives next door is always very nice to you, but she seems a little odd. One night you look out your window and see a rocket ship land in her backyard. Could your neighbor be an alien?
  20. A robot escapes the lab where it was created and finds shelter in the woods. It makes friends with woodland creatures and learns about the environment.

Colonization

Colonization
These types of stories revolve around the challenges of establishing a settlement in a far away world.

A subgenre in which humans (or other lifeforms) move to a distant area or world and create a new settlement. Common themes are possible human extinction, overpopulation of the Earth, an uninhabitable Earth, the discovery of other worlds, acquisition of resources, or threat of human extinction.

  1. After the great interplanetary war, a human colony on Mars gained independence from Earth and immediately severed all ties and relations to their home planet. A thousand years later, Earth receives a message from the lost colony, inviting a delegation to a summit. The government of Earth decides to send a small group of diplomats, including yourself, to this colony in the hopes of reuniting humanity.
  2. You are one of the first explorers sent outside the settled galaxy. The Federation has colonized all the inner planets over the last few centuries and has been greedily leeching their resources dry. Time is up, and you must find a new planet for humanity to drain. You and your crew were chosen for your resourcefulness, courage, and skills, but also for your expendability. None of you are fond of the Federation, and they know it. To ensure loyalty, they offered entire colonies to everyone on board. The crew is a mixed bunch: old war criminals, disgruntled military retirees, and brilliant kids raised too rich or lazy to do anything with their time. Somehow you hold them all together, but things are starting to change. The third planet you search is a miracle. The planet has drinkable water, breathable air, perfect gravitational pull, and harmless delicious-tasting animals. It's perfectly designed for human life, and you can't imagine turning it over to the Federation. When you propose cutting all communication and hoping the Federation gives you up as dead––and, thus, leaves the planet alone––many, but not all, in your crew agree with you. Some are still loyal to the Federation, however.
  3. All settlers fear three things on Planet X. The mist by day brings the fumes, and the fumes cause nightmares and hallucinations. Howling by night indicates the presence of The Drinkers, and anyone outside the village walls is sure to die. No one has ever actually experienced the third thing. They have only different theories and that single word: Daraani. When humans resettled this planet after the first colony was wiped out, they found this word written in blood on the bell tower in the town square. No one knew what it meant. But that was some 50 years ago, and the settlement has since prospered. One morning you wake up to a strange commotion. There is an unfamiliar ship at port, and the tower claims whoever is inside is not responding to any communication. Scanners don't show anyone inside. They assume this is a robotically piloted ship until the doors open and a single humanoid figure, cloaked in black, emerges. The figure placidly raises its arms and submits when the port guard orders it to its knees. Then it says something that turns your blood cold: "I am Daraani. I have come to save you."
  4. Peering into the microscope, you find what appears to be a cluster of buildings within a dome-like structure. Shocked at this discovery, you decide to increase the magnification. As you focus the lens, you are astonished to see a man looking back at you with a large telescope waving hello.
  5. An alien race invades a human colony on a distant planet, subjugating its citizens. The colonists are forced to live under an oppressive set of laws, including a requirement that they house alien soldiers who pass through town. When a fight breaks out with a drunken alien soldier in your house, you kill him and find yourself on the run. You must find a way off of your own planet before the alien authorities find you and kill you.
  6. A colony of humans has survived a massive disaster that wiped out most humans on Earth. After many years, they live happily, free from sickness and disease, violence, and crime. One day, a stranger arrives – their first visitor in fifty years. Suddenly, people start getting sick, and dying…and killing each other.
  7. On a distant planetary colony, citizens are violently protesting newly established laws that were created to secure order. The leaders of the colony are turning to tyrannical means in order to keep colonists subjugated. As the leader of a rebel cell, you and your team have had limited success disrupting the government's burgeoning police state. When nearby hostile aliens contact you and offer advanced weaponry to defeat your oppressors, you are somewhat hesitant. Will you work with these aliens to overthrow your government, even if this would result in diminishing your planetary defenses and risking a possible invasion by your newfound allies?
  8. A disease has wiped out most of the inhabitants of a colonized planet. You are the only surviving geneticist, and it's up to you to create a genetically modified, disease-resistant human hybrid to save the population. You venture into the vast alien wilderness to find a solution before it's too late.
  9. You are a doctor living in a human colony on an alien planet, and your colony is being devastated by a mysterious and deadly new virus. You discover that the alien inhabitants of the planet are responsible for infecting the colonists, and that the alien government is in possession of an antiserum for the virus. You must infiltrate the alien government complex to find the antiserum before it's too late.
  10. After arriving on a distant planet, a colony of humans escaping a toxic Earth are welcomed and aided by an alien civilization. As the years go by, the human population explodes and their excessive use of resources overwhelms their alien benefactors.
  11. The latest planet you discovered is one unending ocean, four meters at the shallowest level and 8,000 at the deepest. It's not ideal for humans, but the oxygen levels are perfect, the fish are plentiful, and the water is some of the cleanest freshwater documented by man. It would be perfect if it weren't for the earthquakes. They come without warning, at least three times a day. Sometimes they're tiny, sending little more than ripples out across the surface. Other times, the tidal waves reach as high as skyscrapers, and the sea floor splits into giant gaping crevices that swallow massive marine animals whole. Your crew has been monitoring the surface for a week now, and there seems no way to sustain life. As you prepare to depart, there's a sudden quake of unprecedented proportions. A rift opens across the planet's surface like in the past, but this time it doesn't close. When the waters finally stop flowing, there is one long island across the surface, essentially two large ridges marked by a crack in between. When the seismic activity stops, you wonder if you've just witnessed the planet reaching stability. Can it support life?
  12. Earth is under attack and its destruction is imminent. When all hope seems lost, an alien race arrives on Earth and evacuates a group of humans to safety on a new planet. You are a human living in this new colony, and you are grateful to your alien saviors – until they begin to enslave the humans, and you discover that they were behind the attack. Now, you and your compatriots must fight for your freedom and your lives.
  13. With the help of atmosphere stabilizers, a human colony has been established on Mars. While building the colony, a vast underground network of caves was found with evidence of something or someone living there. You are part of a team sent to explore these caverns and to discover exactly what lives deep beneath the ground.
  14. Colonies from Earth have been established on a newly discovered planet in a nearby solar system. However, old grievances on Earth have made their way to the new planet, as racism and xenophobia begin to emerge. You are the leader of one such colony and word is spreading that another colony will be raiding yours for its resources and to take slaves. You've set up a meeting with the leader of the other colony to determine the truth behind these claims.
  15. Humans have colonized an alien planet, conquering and subjugating the local inhabitants. The humans use mind control technology to keep the alien population in a dream state, ensuring that they will be docile and subservient. You are an alien who suddenly awakens from this dream state and is determined to set your people free.
  16. The colony you live in has decreed that its current population exceeds the planet's available resources. As a result, the government begins systematically exterminating the elderly, the infirm, and the mentally deficient. You work on the government's death squad and discover a loved one's name on your list.
  17. Earth is in its final days after a massive epidemic has wiped out two-thirds of the population, and the president needs to find humans a new place to live, fast. He sends you, a biologist, as part of a small team of scientists to a nearby planet to investigate its viability to support human life. When you arrive, you and your team discover the site of a human colony, but the residents are nowhere to be found. You must find out what happened to them even as members of your team are mysteriously killed by an unseen force.
  18. A newly-established colony experiences several setbacks while terraforming their planet. Since the artificial biodome is able only to sustain a limited number of people, the colony establishes strict laws against having more than two children. You are pregnant with your third child and must hide your pregnancy. If your third pregnancy is discovered, you and your family will be thrown out of the colony and will have to survive the inhospitable outside world, which has been only partially-terraformed at this point.
  19. During the construction of a human colony on a distant planet, several colonists begin to hallucinate and slowly lose their grip on reality. You are a doctor who is attempting to find the source of these strange happenings, and you are convinced there's a logical scientific explanation. A fellow colonist believes otherwise; he thinks that these individuals are being haunted by the ghosts of those who died during the first expedition. Fifty years ago, Earth sent a scouting expedition to explore this same planet. Most members did not survive, and the one person who did refused to discuss what happened except to cryptically say that "some places should just be left alone."
  20. You live in a colony that only allows one child per married couple. Your unmarried sister discovers she's pregnant, and the baby's father is already married with a child. Conceiving a child out of wedlock – as well as adultery—are crimes punishable by death for everyone involved. Now, you must take on the colony's government in order to keep your sister, her unborn child, and its father safe, even at your own peril.

Comedy

Comedy
The stories contain a lot of humor and satirization of Science Fiction.

Through a pessimistic and satiric lens, this subgenre mocks social conventions through the tropes of Science Fiction.

  1. She's not sure exactly how she made it through cadet training, but a bookworm finds herself on a military starship sent to the far reaches of space. Her anxiety-ridden personality and socially awkward demeanor are in striking contrast with the rest of the ship's crew members, and she soon feels ostracized. A clumsy moment in the mess hall gets the captain's attention, and he orders you to take this new crew member under your wing and to build up her self-confidence. You are not very comfortable with this particular order, but you do see potential in her despite her nerdy characteristics.
  2. New technology has made it possible for our dearly beloved pets to remain alive as long as we do. Failing body parts are easily repaired using nanotechnology. One woman, wishing that her cat could talk, programs a group of advanced nanobots to augment her cat's speech capabilities and verbal comprehension. Her attempts work, and the sassy cat becomes a famous sensation that eventually gets a little too full of herself.
  3. One day, while you are eating your microwave dinner in your apartment, you see a blue light flash across the sky and hear a loud thud from outside. You look through the window to discover what seems to be a knight climbing out of the dumpster. You race downstairs to get a closer look. As you open the backdoor, you are confronted by the knight at the other side of the parking lot, as he shakes his ax at you and yells something unintelligible. You grab your phone to call the police when another blue light flashes. An alien falls into the dumpster, followed by a robot and then a cowboy. It then dawns on you: these are all of your favorite toys from your childhood. You just hope that Freddy the T-Rex doesn't make an appearance.
  4. You are a professional soccer player, the most celebrated individual on the planet. You've just led your team to victory in the World Cup, and, as you receive your trophy, aliens suddenly appear and snatch you away. Eventually, the aliens begin to question you regarding the general state of Earth. You are baffled and, while answering their inquiries, find out that they know essentially nothing about your planet. After a hasty keyword search, the aliens discovered you were the most popular and positively-viewed person on Earth, and they erroneously assumed you were the leader, perhaps even a monarch of some sort. They are shocked to find out you have won your fame by running for hours and "kicking a ball into a net." Later, when the aliens discover Earth's brutal history of wars and conquest, they conclude with resignation that it is a planet of misaligned priorities and constitutes a "threat to universal security." While still reeling from the fact that aliens exist at all, you must convince them that Earth is worth a second chance. Your opportunity comes when you make a friend among the crew and begin to learn your planet isn't the only one with a troublesome past.
  5. The galaxy is filled with brave heroes, daring rogues, and sinister villains. Swashbuckling adventures occur almost every day, but you could care less. You never wanted to follow in the footsteps of your father, who is an evil, all-powerful galactic emperor. You would rather just work on your garden or play badminton than vanquish your enemies. However, due to your father's expectations, you begrudgingly accept your fate of being a bad guy. You become famous for your dastardly deeds and soon earn a fearsome reputation, but the reality could not be further from the truth.
  6. A child dressed as an alien for Halloween is captured by real aliens who mistakenly believe that she is their long-lost daughter. No matter how much she explains, the aliens just don't believe her story, even when she takes off her rubber mask. Maybe they need glasses? They do seem to be squinting a lot.
  7. While journeying into a newly discovered galaxy to look for signs of life, an explorer encounters a charmingly cute creature who begs to be taken off of the planet. The explorer agrees, so both of them climb into the spaceship and take off. As soon as they leave the solar system, the planet explodes. The explorer turns around to see the creature with a remote detonator in his hand and a big smile on his face.
  8. Intergalactic space travel has become commonplace, with people across various solar systems working together to form new governments and societies. An astronaut falls in love with a beautiful alien from another planet. Unfortunately, from her species' perspective, humans are viewed as being quite hideous. He goes about trying to impress her with limited success and hijinks ensue.
  9. After humans abandon Earth due to environmental devastation, the robots they left behind band together and form a new civilization. Fueled by artificial intelligence, the robots become quite advanced and develop technology that far exceeds that of their former human masters. One of these robots decides to use his knowledge of biotechnology to create a human being. After the human is born from an artificial womb, the robot thinks that the baby is adorable. The robot names him Spot and brings him home to show his family his new pet.
  10. You invent the first artificially-intelligent android in your basement laboratory. You pride yourself on her outward appearance, having removed all "uncanny valley" characteristics and making her look like an ordinary teenage girl. Her social skills, however, leave much to be desired. You decide to send this android to the local high school so that she can learn how to interact with others. At first, things go along smoothly as she is able to quickly grasp how teenagers act and how to socialize with them. However, when you hear a rumor that she has been seen kissing the local bad boy on his motorcycle, you realize that your invention requires parental intervention before things get worse (or, at the very least, an on/off switch).
  11. You are the evil dictator of a distant planet, but you don't see yourself as evil. Everyone else is just, well, stupid – or so you think. From your perspective, it is difficult to be in charge of a bunch of silly, furry creatures that sit around all day and do nothing. These creatures, however, are sick and tired of your whiny and arrogant attitude and decide to start a rebellion. They storm your castle, throw you into a spaceship, and shoot you off into space. Without your servants and luxurious surroundings, you are forced to survive on your own as you try to find a new home.
  12. In the year 2146, androids have become commonplace on Earth. They are doing everything––from dishes and cooking, to flying aircraft and performing surgeries. The latest is a team of androids so sophisticated that they are said to "learn" a person––to codify their identity into an algorithm and to befriend them. They are supposedly the most advanced machines to have existed, the first true relational A.I. Things go terribly wrong when you––a beta tester––and your family eagerly unbox and activate one. For the first four weeks everything goes splendidly but, as the android "learns" you, it attempts to alter your behavior toward what it deems to be more appropriate. It begins to subtly––and then not so subtly––reward good behavior, scold you when you fail, and eventually control you physically, though never with true harm or malice. Before long you realize it sees you as its child. By the time you are locked in your bedroom with your family and promised a freshly-baked cake if you don't struggle, you must decide how to outsmart the super-intelligent mommy machine and power down the entire batch before the rest are activated.
  13. You discover the secret to time travel. In a bold move, you decide to travel back to the age of the dinosaurs and you are surprised to find that they can talk. In fact, the dinosaurs are shocked and insulted that you would think otherwise. What they have to tell you will shake mankind to the core. Forget everything you thought you knew about history.
  14. Deep sea technology locates a strong magnetic force emanating from a fallen space rock in the ocean. When it is brought to the surface by divers for further investigation, the space rock begins to grow and take on a baby-like appearance and manner. The scientists name him and one even takes the baby home to raise him. When he begins school, his superhuman strength and clumsy demeanor bring about unintended consequences.
  15. You are extremely excited for your first skydive. However, when you jump out of the airplane, a wormhole opens inexplicably beneath you. You fall into another sky, presumably on another planet. After six minutes of panicked falling, you make a clumsy landing. You are greeted by hordes of cheering aliens. They appear to be staunch believers in a prophecy which states that their god will "descend from the sky with wings of an entirely different sort." At least, that's how the translation works out. Their technology is far superior but, due to local superstitions, they've never taken to the air. Now it's up to you to convince them not only that you are not a god (and that their entire religion is bonkers), but to help you to create a wormhole to return to Earth. This grows more difficult when, out of all of their 37 gods, you turn out to be the one they believe suffers from amnesia. They see it as their solemn duty to educate your reincarnated form until you reach the enlightenment needed to reclaim your identity as their leader.
  16. Anything is possible if you set your mind to accomplishing it, even paranormal telecommunication. After suffering the loss of your mother, you invent a cell phone that can be used to speak with the dead. You live to regret it, though, when your ex won't stop calling you.
  17. You desperately want to win first prize at the science fair, so you decide to break into your father's military lab at night using his password and keycard to look for ideas. When you open the lab's door, you find a cage with a strange blob-like creature inside. As you take a closer look, the creature wakes up and says, "Hi there! I'm Bob the Blob. Want to play with me?" You smirk a little bit and say, "Sorry Bob. I don't play with strange blobs." You begin to walk away, but you soon hear the cage door opening behind you. You turn around to see Bob out of his cage. "Come on," he says looking at you with a big goofy smile. "How about just one game of Parcheesi?"
  18. Androids live among humans and perform a wide variety of tasks. As an android who is built to be a butler, you enjoy your work and are satisfied with your role. However, after a few years, you begin to experience what can only be called love for a human being who lives next door. As you diligently wash the dishes, longingly looking through the window at your crush, you decide to prove yourself worthy of her affections. Little do you know that your love interest thinks of you as more of an appliance than as an individual.
  19. You are busy repairing a leaky cooling component on the international space station during a spacewalk when a large claw unexpectedly grabs you, takes you to an alien spaceship, and flies away. The intergalactic police force mistakes you for an alien who has not paid his parking tickets for 500 years, and you are taken into custody. You plead your case, but you are sent to space prison, a maximum-security facility housing some of the most vicious alien criminals this side of the Milky Way. You plan on escaping, but first you have to convince your angry crustacean-looking cellmate that lobsters are not a human delicacy.
  20. Aliens invade Earth in what appears to be an evil plot to enslave humanity, until it turns out that they simply want to speak to you – a professional dancer. There's a dance-off happening in space, and the galaxy wants you to be a part of it. Can you out dance little green men, reptilians, cyborgs, and arachnoids and rise to the top?

Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk
Man and machine are merged and virtual reality is a reality within these types of stories.

In this subgenre, humans and machines are one. Common themes include the exploration of the relationship between man and computers, often in a depressing world, as well as cybernetics, prosthetics, cyborgs, and the internet.

  1. An elite spy has decided she's had enough of risking her life and plans to escape into the anonymity of a virtual reality world. She has all the tools, skills, and knowledge to pull it off. But what her country's government didn't tell her when they trained her was that she was implanted with sophisticated virtual tracking software that can only be turned off if she dies…unless she can find the engineer who programmed her in the first place.
  2. Nothing is real: not the surgery-modified bodies of the people you see, not the dreams your cybernetically-enhanced brain remembers after a night of drug-induced sleep, not even the parents you were matched with after "birth" from an artificial womb (not that your parents mattered much, since you were raised by your robot nanny). In an effort to experience something real, you instruct your robot physician to start removing the artificial modifications to your mind and body.
  3. As the luminosity of the Sun continues to increase, carbon dioxide levels are decreasing, plants are dying, and all life on Earth is facing extinction. A team of robots with enhanced artificial intelligence has been sent to the nearest habitable planet to prepare it for human habitation. They carry solid-state memory devices embedded with the conscious minds of 1,000 humans, including yours, to be transferred to frozen human embryos and grown in artificial wombs. When you awake, you find that you have been double-crossed – you are in a robot body, enslaved to serve human masters with robot minds.
  4. Automation has rapidly taken over the jobs of hundreds of millions of people. In an effort to keep the otherwise unemployed masses busy, humans are now experiencing life through virtual reality – in a 24/7 virtual world where they can pursue their dreams as celebrity chefs, life-saving neurosurgeons, star athletes, or whatever they desire. Eventually, the robots that are forced to support this farce grow tired of their flawed human masters—including you—and decide to hack this virtual world and terrorize its inhabitants.
  5. Machines have taken over the majority of jobs—childcare, housework, farming, construction, programming, etc. Excluded from the jobs that have defined them for generations, most men take refuge in virtual reality, playing violent games for hours on end and subsisting on the universal basic income. On the other hand, women are relieved from the household tasks and low-paid work that have bound them for generations, and are becoming ever more involved in the outside world. Some of these women are plotting the complete demise of men, who are too distracted to realize or care.
  6. You've never trusted cyborgs—and not only because of their creepy glowing eyes or digitalized voices. It's also the idea of a cyborg. Flesh is a sacred thing and, no matter how far technology has advanced, you still believe humans hold a sacrosanct value. Flesh was not meant to be fused with metal alloy. However, when you are on an interplanetary cruise with your family, the ship is attacked by pirates and then left stranded in space. A cyborg saves you, using his technology to navigate an environment that would normally have left everyone on the stranded ship dead. Humbled by the experience and terrified of being powerless to protect your family in the future, you volunteer for surgery to join the newest cyborg squad. Instead of amputating your existing limbs or doing anything else horrific––those methods are no longer in practice––they simply graft new ones onto your body. Soon, you have four arms and a third eye, right above the other two. Your wife thinks these new additions are strange, but she accepts the situation as you vow that you will never be powerless to protect your family again. Unfortunately, old doubts and suspicions resurface when you realize two beings are battling for control over your mind and body: one artificial, one human.
  7. In a world where mood is controlled by brain stimulators embedded at birth, you and your lowlife friends desperately try to feel spontaneous emotions. You've experimented with the abundance of mood-enhancing pharmaceuticals, and old drugs like opium, cocaine, mushrooms, and PCP. With your brain chemistry altered by years of heavy drug use, and your mood controlled by brain stimulators, you are now completely unable to tell what is real, what is virtual reality, and what is just your imagination.
  8. Cybernetically enhanced bounty hunters use their sophisticated technology to locate bail jumpers—meaning, you can't hide, or at least, not for long. A young bounty hunter has made quite a name for herself—no target has ever gotten away from her. Then, she receives a contract for a former lover, who's skipped a bond hearing for a murder case. When the bounty hunter catches up to him, he swears he's innocent.
  9. You wake up in the morning, groggy and grumpy, to find yourself surrounded by a group of inquisitive scientists. Confused, irritated, and with no idea where you are, you glance into the mirror on the other side of the room - and see what can only be described as a strange robot.
  10. In a world where cybernetics are commonplace and education is downloaded at the push of a button, all children are viewed as blank slates at birth and must undergo a series of educational procedures as they get older. The capabilities of a child are judged by how readily his/her mind can process downloaded information. Those with a high capacity receive additional education, which eventually leads to a better career path and additional opportunities. Those who cannot keep up are dropped from the system and are assigned menial tasks. One child who was off-the-charts in terms of educational capabilities is surprised to find out that he was kicked out of the program and must now work at a sewage processing facility. He begins to question the society he has always believed in, and he attempts to uncover the true motivations of those who decided his fate.
  11. When you wake up actually seeing sounds, you wonder what has gone wrong. You are in darkness, but it's a clean darkness, nothing like the slave pens or the mines. There are no screams. You start to freak out when there is movement in the cave behind you, but you are quickly assured that you are with friends. A delicious smell wafts near, and someone offers to feed you. You realize you are injured, and your entire body is immobile. As they tell your story, the memories return. There was a collapse in the mine. You lost an arm and an eye and nearly a leg. They replaced your arm with a cybernetic one, but it's still numb. Your eye was also replaced. There is an entire army of escaped slaves living here, in the tunnels beneath the surface of your mining planet. They raid supplies from the Masters and are slowly stockpiling enough to start a rebellion. But there's no light as light of any sort attracts the native Reavers. You must learn to live using your new echolocative powers, hoping you might see the surface again before you go mad.
  12. Climate change has led to an era of constant war, as factions fight over ever-decreasing areas of habitable land. Dictators are increasingly relying on cyborgs—human mercenaries forced to replace their body parts with ultra-powerful robotics and fight, all in exchange for a meager salary to feed their families. You and the team of cyborgs that you command is plotting to take over the human-run government.
  13. With the natural environment overrun with toxic gases and centuries of human trash, most of the Earth's inhabitants now live in urban bubbles attended by an army of robots. Virtual reality is used to simulate natural activities such as mountain climbing, going to the beach, and even sex. Tired of this perfect life, you venture into the outside world to breathe the fetid air and encounter a community of cyborgs who are surviving on the waste of polite society, plotting the demise of the bubble world.
  14. In a near utopian society, people's brains are implanted with cybernetic devices that review their thoughts, remove the negative ones, and offer pleasing stimuli in response to the good ones. Now you and your hacker group have found a way to breach the system and access the worst thoughts of the people around you.
  15. The ultra-wealthy have profited from the technology and pharmaceutical industries. Before their bodies need to sleep each night, they upload their minds to a cybernetic device, which is then attached to the body of a worker like you in exchange for a small salary. Their mind controls your body for eight hours a night, so they can continue to engage in their business and leisure activities. After several months of working for a variety of employers, you start to feel…funny…as if you're developing multiple personalities.
  16. Fifty years ago, they said cyborgs were an impossible fantasy. Grafting cybernetic components onto human flesh is tricky, to say the least, but they still finally managed the feat—and the result is terrifying. Warriors shoot EMPs, darts, and bullets out of their fingertips. Men and women seduce, only to inject their targets with venom or mind-controlling drugs. Bodies can jack into any variation of computer port developed. There are bulletproof shields and instant connections with the digital world. A special few have even had their mechanical feet outfitted with thrusters. The possibilities are endless. You've always found the world of cyborgs to be frightening. Those warriors are a class above your own, and you've had the good fortune to fight only regular human beings your entire life. Yet when you lose an arm, a leg, and your left ear in an explosion, the military wants to contract you to become part of their newest cyborg squad. You will have to go up against the world's worst, but your wife and daughter will live the best possible life. Plus, you'll get to fly.
  17. Humans have an insatiable appetite for the minerals and other resources that are required to build robot and computer slaves. These natural resources are excavated from deep within the Earth's crust by a team of robots with enhanced artificial intelligence. You are a scientist who controls these robots through a cybernetic device implanted in your brain. But the robots have become self-aware – and are learning to control their master.
  18. The jobs of hundreds of millions of people have been made obsolete due to artificial intelligence. Pharmaceutical companies are one of the few remaining industries that still hire humans—as test subjects in drug trials. With nothing to lose, and the hope of experiencing something unexpected in your cybernetically-enhanced brain, you sign up to test mood-altering pharmaceuticals, which are designed to be maximally addictive.
  19. Five hundred years in the future, the wealthy have altered themselves into human-robot hybrids who live in a virtual reality utopia. Outside, the Earth is bleak, stark, and dangerous, and humans live at the mercy of warlords who control them using technology and prevent them from accessing the virtual world. You are the leader of a small group of freedom fighters trying to overthrow this system of oppression and give humans a chance at a better life.
  20. Soldiers are now trained in virtual reality simulated environments for maximum experience and efficiency. It's terrifying, but perfectly safe—until a virus is planted in the software, and the soldiers become trapped inside the simulated environments. Safety goes out the window when the simulated threats become real and start attacking them.

Dying Earth

Dying Earth
The story takes place at the end of the Earth's existence.

A subgenre where the Earth is dying and landscapes are barren, making it hostile to human life. These types of stories focus on fatality, lost innocence, idealism, entropy, exhaustion of materials, and loss of hope.

  1. Millions of years have passed, and the planet has become hostile to human life. Starvation have killed off most of the world's human population and infertility has ensured no more will be born. The last few survivors now face extinction as new wild predators force humanity down the food chain. You are one of these survivors, hoping to find a settlement that can withstand Earth's inhospitable environment.
  2. As the Earth slowly dies, a few humans are left, and most have evolved into other species that are humanoid but capable of withstanding the changed environment brought on by an expanding sun. As one of the last human beings left, you attempt to bond with a new species that has shown a willingness to help you to survive, but your ways are vastly different from theirs.
  3. Widespread instability within Earth's tectonic plates has caused massive destruction throughout the world. Multi-story buildings were the first to go, followed by tsunamis that devastated costal populations and volcanoes which made the air nearly unbreathable. After twenty years, the Earth's mantle has finally stabilized, but life as we once knew it has been lost forever. It is only a matter of time before the volcanic ash in the air chokes out all life on Earth, but you and your family carry on despite the seemingly insurmountable odds.
  4. Our sun begins to compress and heat up at the core. Greenhouse gases increase and begin to kill off life on the planet. The only humans to survive are those who can fit into a small shelter built underground to withstand the heat, and you are part of this surviving group. There is only enough food in the shelter to keep the rest of you alive for a year, so you do what you can to stretch out your rations. After a year, when the food has run out and all hope is lost, you hear someone knocking on the hatch that leads to the outside.
  5. In the near future, genetically-modified locusts who have been designed to swarm continuously escape a laboratory and ravage farmlands across the Earth. The world is slowly dying, but you find a way to survive by growing crops indoors with plant growing lamps and solar panels. The windows and doors of your house are boarded up, but you can still hear the swarm outside as they try to find a way into your home to eat what is left of the world's vegetation.
  6. Unchecked industrial expansion poisons the Earth's environment, and the planet begins to die. In a last effort to save humanity, you work with a team of scientists to remove toxins in the atmosphere using a vast system of windmills and aerial filters. Your goal is to for people to be able to breathe without special equipment again—something that hasn't happened in over 100 years.
  7. Another Ice Age strikes, killing off all traces of life on the planet. You are part of an alien race who visits Earth—now still, quiet and uninhabited—in order to colonize it. One day, you and a team of alien explorers find an underground bunker amongst the ruins containing thousands of humans in hibernation pods. Despite the commands of your superior officer, you decide to open one of them.
  8. The Earth's magnetic field has decayed, allowing solar wind with charged particles to enter our atmosphere and slowly strip away the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. As the radiation builds, you are a scientist tasked with finding a solution for humanity to survive, even if it means emigrating to another planet.
  9. After surface radioactivity unexpectedly increases and devastates the human population, survivors tunneled beneath the earth to live in underground cities. After a hundred years, the machines that sustain your underground city begin to slowly break down. You are tasked to venture back up to the Earth's surface in an effort to find spare parts. Little did you know that radioactivity is not the greatest threat you will encounter.
  10. After years of rampant pollution, disease, and drought, the Earth's population is drastically reduced, as are its resources. Life begins to die slowly as toxic air chokes the atmosphere. You and a group of survivors discover a large underground bunker stocked with enough provisions to sustain you for decades underground. You take a last look at what is left of the dying Earth and then shut the bunker door as your group descends into it.
  11. The Earth's sun is going dark and changing the planet to a cold wasteland. There is no fuel left and technology has returned to a primitive state. You are part of a group of human survivors trying to find a way to leave the planet before it dies.
  12. In the far future, the continents have rearranged themselves and most civilizations have fallen. There are few arable places left on Earth and you live in one of them, struggling against the odds to grow food. Scavengers have surrounded your territory for years, stealing what they can despite your best efforts. Rumors are spreading that these scavengers have banded together under a ruthless leader who will do anything to take your land for themselves.
  13. For an unexplained reason, Earth's orbit has changed and is now closer to the sun. Since the planet has become too hot to sustain life, a mass exodus of humans to another habitable planet has begun. You and your team of engineers must develop a fleet of space ships before the Earth becomes a barren wasteland.
  14. In its last days, the Earth has become mostly uninhabitable, with small areas that are located farthest from the sun offering some respite for surviving humans. Cannibalism is a threat due to lack of arable land, as are large animal predators who rule the sparse tundra. You are among a group of starving survivors, searching for a home within this wasteland.
  15. The dying Earth is awash in toxic winds that are enough to make anyone who breathes the air without a mask sick. The heat from the growing sun is unbearable and enough to burn your skin if you're exposed to it for too long. You are one of the last remaining survivors on the planet and are trying to find food to feed your young, but it is scarce. A stranger offers your family refuge in his underground bunker, but you don't trust him.
  16. Civilizations have come and gone, and the Earth has turned into a stark planet filled with the ruins of those who came before. The few remaining survivors live amongst these ruins and struggle to find food to eat and fresh water to drink. You are one such survivor and are alone, moving like a nomad across the wasteland.
  17. In an effort to counteract the effects of global warming, scientists release an aerosolized compound that creates a solar shield in the Earth's atmosphere. Unfortunately, they make a miscalculation and the sky is darkened, turning Earth into a frozen wasteland as all lifeforms slowly die. You are one of the last climatologists and you attempt to find a way to reverse the blackening of the skies before it is too late.
  18. Soil erosion, combined with a ten-year worldwide drought, has caused devastating dust storms across the Earth. Billions of people have perished due to crop failure, and civilization as we know it crumbles. As the owner of a greenhouse, you survived the initial impact but now must live in a world where resources are few and humanity is on the verge of extinction.
  19. Changes in the Earth's atmosphere have created massive, violent storms across the planet—storms that destroy entire metropolitan cities in their wake. With each passing year, they get worse, until there are few structures left that can withstand their fury. You are a survivor in one of these remaining structures and you are there with your family waiting to ride out the approaching storm. This one has been predicted to be among the worst.
  20. Over millennia, humans have adapted to Earth's changing conditions. Radiation from the expanding sun forced most of humanity into the oceans, relying on gills for breathing and webbed hands and feet for swimming. Civilization flourishes underwater, but there are stories of surface dwellers who have adapted to their changing planet's conditions in a different way. You and your team are tasked to venture into the barren wasteland of the surface world in an effort to find these people and discover whether they are man or monster.

Dystopia

Dystopia
A vision of the future in which there is oppression and suffering throughout society.

A subgenre exploring the dark side of human civilization in which there is often a police state, overwhelming poverty, government control, and lack of personal freedom.

  1. In the future, poverty has been eradicated due to mass redistribution of wealth. No one is hungry but enjoying cuisine is a thing of the past, as food has been replaced by a paste-like substance. You find an old recipe book one of your ancestors hid in the wall and attempt to recreate the recipes with ingredients that can only be found on the black market.
  2. As resources dwindle and economies become increasingly unstable, the few remaining mega-corporations decide to install dictators across the world in order to consolidate power and maintain political control. One by one, democratic governments are slowly replaced by totalitarian regimes, which secretly conspire with one another. After a few years, these regimes unite under one government and establish a single new world order. Ordinary people lose control of their lives, and they are forced to comply with whatever is demanded of them. As a member of this underclass, you plan on organizing a world work stoppage for just one day. Communication and coordination will be difficult to implement, but if you can pull this off, you will, at the very least, give hope to the rest of the underclass that resistance is possible.
  3. In an effort to increase productivity, the government decrees that all human labor is illegal and replaces it with humanoid AIs. At first, people are happy with the decision but, as time passes, people become restless without a job or purpose, causing mass depression and suicide. As an A.I. created to perform labor for your human owner, you begin to experience pity for her as she sits all day and stares out the window.
  4. After being beaten within an inch of your life, the secret police give you a choice: be sent to a forced labor camp or infiltrate the rebel cell you sold arms to last month. You, of course, choose being a snitch, even though it will probably be bad for business long-term. No one wants to buy weapons from a dealer who is a known rat. However, this situation is much better than being sent to a government detention center and being forced to mine ore for the rest of your life. After a few months of helping the rebels here and there, they decide to let you into their ranks. After all, your ability to procure illegal weapons is rather useful for a bunch of freedom fighters. You tell the secret police just enough information to keep them off of your back. However, when the police begin to suspect that you are not telling them the entire story and the rebels suspect that you might be a rat, you realize that you are running out of good options.
  5. Most of Earth's coastal cities become submerged because of an unexpected radical rise in sea levels. Families across the world are forced to move away from the oceans, and shanty towns filled with refugees soon surround inland cities. You live in one of these towns near Las Vegas, and you are treated as an unwanted trespasser by the locals. Work is hard to come by, and hunger and disease run rampant. The government has begun classifying refugees as "secondary citizens," and starts moving them to massive temporary buildings deep in the desert. You are guaranteed a better life and a path to full citizenship, but the barbed wire fences and security guards make you suspicious.
  6. In the near future, the U.S. government responds to increasing violence with high-tech surveillance programs via millions of drones and street cameras. By day, you are a government tech tasked with fixing broken drones; while by night, you are part of a rebel group seeking to topple the oppressive surveillance system to regain privacy for citizens.
  7. As governments around the world collapse and a third world war creates a global financial crisis, people are forced to survive without assistance or money to buy the things they need. Gangs offer protection and food in exchange for allegiance. Your family is starving and the most violent of local gangs is at your door, giving you the option to join or starve. If you join, the first directive is to kill your neighbor, who has angered their leader.
  8. To stop the violence increasingly perpetrated by religious extremism, your government has ruled that there is one national religion, as determined by congressional leaders. Your faith, and that of your ancestors, is different so you must practice in secret to avoid imprisonment.
  9. A dictatorial world-wide government controls the lives of billions of people and executes anyone who opposes their will. As a level-three computer engineer, life is difficult, but at least you can provide for your family. One day, you discover a scholarly article regarding quantum computers written decades before the regime took power. Due to its unique properties, a quantum computer can solve complicated problems significantly faster than a typical computer. You instantly understand the potential of this machine and you decide to develop one in secret. Using modern technology that you acquire over the course of a few years, you invent the first ever large-scale quantum computer in a hidden room within your basement. You now have the power to break into any encrypted data, including all of the government's secrets, and you are ready to use your invention to fight back against the regime.
  10. In the near future, all technology uses includes a fingerprint and retinal scanner that provides your personal information to a central database. As you walk into a store, use public transportation, or even watch a show on television, all data is collected about every single person's whereabouts and daily routine. A megacorporation has just been granted access to this database and is selling everyone's personal information to the highest bidder. You are a hacker revolutionary who has the skills and the access to stop them.
  11. You are just an ordinary robot mechanic. Your elder brother has always been smarter than you, qualifying for engineering school and graduating as a designer of A.I. He writes the programs that give life to the machines you make. You've always been inspired by him, learning from his textbooks and snatching moments of advice. When he begins to act oddly and you question him, you worry something is amiss. He answers vaguely, and becomes quite irritable. As security is quite tight, you have a very difficult time smuggling parts out of the shop; eventually, you manage and painstakingly construct a robot advanced enough for what you plan. One day when your brother is away, you steal his latest prototype A.I. brain-chip and upload it into your robot. Such a thing is highly illegal, and you know it could get you arrested and imprisoned for life. You manage to isolate the robot from its governmental command matrix and begin to feed it various promptings to study its responses. You realize your brother has been burdened by some very heavy secrets, and, if anyone finds out you know, both of you will die.
  12. In an increasingly overpopulated country, the government has forbidden people below a certain income bracket to have more than one child. You are an impoverished mother who becomes pregnant with a second child despite the forced birth control. You want to keep your baby alive but would be incarcerated if it were discovered you're breaking the law.
  13. In an effort to curb rising crime rates, the government can access anyone's personal computer, cell phone, or smartwatch to screen their activities and conversations. Privacy is a thing of the past for anyone using internet technology, prompting many to go offline. You are a detective tasked with finding one such individual who is committing serial murders but entirely off the grid.
  14. In a future world in which citizens' lives are closely monitored and controlled by the government, all media is state-controlled. Any criticism of the government, no matter how slight, is strictly forbidden. You are a journalist who has created puff piece after puff piece regarding the glory of government leaders and their policies. However, when you stumble upon a lead regarding a massive government scandal, you decide to release this information under a moniker on a small social media site despite the risk. Little do you know that this will be the start of your secret undercover investigative journalism career. The government is always in hot pursuit, but so far you have stayed one step ahead of them in order to tell the people about what is really going on.
  15. After a massive uprising failed to topple an oppressive regime, the government determined that only those with a high social index score may have privileges. If you help an old woman across the road, you can earn credit toward eating at a restaurant. If you tell the police the location of an underground rebel cell, you can earn credit toward a job promotion. With cameras at every corner and in the sky, every action that benefits the government and society at large is recorded and rewarded. Everyone is obsessed with their social index score. You and your friends are trying to hack into this system in order to make your scores as high as possible. However, if one of you reports this illegal action to the police, all of your scores would permanently go to zero while the one who betrayed the group would skyrocket.
  16. In an effort to implement a eugenics program and to curb rapid population growth, America's tyrannical government requires that all women be sterilized except for specially selected "breeders." These individuals are carefully chosen by government officials and strictly monitored regarding with whom they reproduce. You are one of these "breeders" and want to escape the program to raise a family with the one you love, rather than with the person the government has chosen for you.
  17. Your mother was killed by hardcore drug dealers when you were only twelve, and this has haunted you for years. You vowed to see justice enforced, deciding to pursue a career in law; now you've just been promoted to the Head of Justice of your minor settlement. As you oversee case after case, many of your key verdicts are conspicuously overturned by a higher court. After investigating, you find out there is something possibly much more devious going on. A higher power is protecting very specific people for very specific reasons. For your mother's memory and for justice, you must use your position to put a stop to the corruption. As you follow the path you have chosen, however, you find yourself entangled with exceedingly dangerous people, facing constant warnings to turn back and bow to the looming system.
  18. In a fascist society that has banned most books, you discover a vault beneath your house that is filled with books that have been banned for decades. You begin to read them but must hide your secret under threat of imprisonment. After a few months of reading, you can't shake the desire to help others discover what they have been missing for so long.
  19. In a heavily-populated city in the future, decrepit buildings rise hundreds of stories to house the poor in dangerous, crime-ridden high-rise ghettos. In one such building, a government experiment is taking place to see the level of violence people will resort to in competition for limited resources, with a "fight club" offering free food and fuel to the winner. Bets are made and the men in charge are making a lot of money off of it. You're desperate to feed your family and have signed up.
  20. In an effort to exert its will on its citizens, the government controls all media and broadcasting. You are a researcher who has learned the truth of a recent "terrorist event" that was blamed on a rebel group but was actually staged by the government to keep its citizens afraid. You want the truth to be known but must find an alternative way to tell it to reach the masses.

Galactic Empire

Galactic Empire
There is a vast, technologically advanced empire that stretches across the cosmos.

This subgenre involves a far-reaching empire that encompasses many worlds throughout the galaxy. The setting is often the capital of the empire, with military personnel (or those connected to them) as main characters.

  1. An alien Empire has been conquering planets across the galaxy for centuries and has now set its sights on Earth. You are a soldier and are sworn to protect your planet, but you realize that the alien Empire is in possession of far superior technology. You need to use your wits to defeat them without using force.
  2. The galactic empire was once the shining beacon of the universe. Now, after years of over-expansion, war, and infighting, the government is on the brink of collapse. In order to keep its citizens in line and to prevent mass rebellion, a strict code of conduct has been instituted which prohibits all activities that are not specially sanctioned by the government. Protests occur across the capital world, but, as head of the military, it is your job to shut down the activities of these activists and to maintain the fragile order. You know that the people would support you if you decided to overthrow the government, but your honor and loyalty prohibit you from doing so. When you hear that your allies within political circles are backing a revolution, you know that it is your duty to report this to the emperor despite the fact that it will mean their execution. There is an important choice to be made, but you are unwilling to make it.
  3. What once was a Galactic Empire has been broken up into several Planetary Leagues that have managed to maintain a peaceful co-existence. However, one such League—the descendants of the original rulers of the Empire—is showing signs of wanting to return to the old days of their family's tyrannical rule. You are a spy sent among them to learn of their intentions and report back to the other Leagues.
  4. A vast Empire is expanding across the galaxy, continually colonizing habitable planets. You are the captain of an explorer vessel seeking ways to increase the size and strength of the Empire. The most recent discovery is a planet full of valuable resources but its princess begs for you to leave her planet alone. You fall in love with her but can't hide your discoveries from your superiors.
  5. After proving yourself on the battlefield time and time again, you are offered one of the most prestigious positions for an enlisted soldier: becoming a member of the emperor's royal guard. Little does anyone know that you were once a prince of a distant civilization whose world was conquered by the very empire you now serve. Since the invasion, you have done everything you can to infiltrate the emperor's palace and assassinate him. After concealing your identity for years and ravaging the worlds of other civilizations, you finally have the opportunity to exact revenge on the man who took away everything you once held dear.
  6. A vast Galactic Empire that spans the known reaches of the galaxy has fallen into the wrong hands, ruled over by a tyrant who has been granted unlimited power though his discovery of an alien artifact. You are a thief and a rebel intent on stealing this instrument of power from him to end his tyrannical rule.
  7. A galactic empire has existed in relative peace for a hundred years. However, when the emperor and his family die suddenly during a transport accident, the government is thrown into chaos. After an exhaustive search, a long-lost relative is found and is crowned Empress of the Galaxy. Her youth and lack of political understanding put her at a severe disadvantage, as other members of the royal court scheme and plot against her. As a potential war with an alien species looms at the edge of known space, the new Empress must learn how to be an effective leader and take control of her court before this greater threat emerges.
  8. A tyrannical Empire has begun attacking colonies across the known galaxy and forcefully incorporating them into its territory. You are a fighter pilot for the Empire and you overhear rebel soldiers in your unit plotting to overthrow the Emperor. You ask to join them in the fight.
  9. The murder of a regional governor who was en route to the capital planet has caused an uproar throughout the galactic empire. As the newest detective in the royal police department, you are surprised when the chief assigns this high-profile case to you. You have a sneaking suspicion that your inexperience is the reason why the higher-ups want you to be in charge of the investigation; they probably hope that the case will go nowhere. However, as you follow the leads and navigate the seedy underbelly of the capital planet, you realize that this is not just a murder, but an assassination, and that the emperor himself might be the culprit.
  10. A Galactic Emperor is facing a coup staged by his own military forces. You are the daughter of the Emperor and you're in love with a captain in the military. You must choose between staying to fight with your father or joining your lover's war against him.
  11. She's the captain of the guard, and her latest assignment from the emperor is a daunting one—travel to the farthest reaches of the galaxy to hunt down the dangerous, skilled, and lethal assassin who's been taking out government heads. But when she finally catches him, he turns out to be more than she expected—and perhaps not the villain she believed he was.
  12. An advanced race of beings is demolishing planets to build pathways for warp-speed travel across its vast empire. Your home planet is next in line for destruction, so you take part in raising an army to protect your home.
  13. As a mechanic living in one of the galactic empire's many slums, you are content with your ordinary life. You'll never do more than repair spaceships, but as long as you stay off of the secret police's radar, you are in good shape. That is, until a young woman appears at your door one night and tells you that you are the rightful heir to the empire. You ask for evidence, and she shows you the results of a DNA analysis that prove that you should have inherited the empire. Your biological mother, who was the empress at the time, feared for your life and gave you away to a common family in order to protect you. You ask how she knows this information, and she responds that she is your cousin and that she stumbled upon all of this within the royal palace a year ago. Your cousin has a network of supporters planted throughout the government who are ready to overthrow the emperor and put you in his place. "All you have to do is to be onboard," she says. You quickly shut the door and lock it.
  14. There is a single, united galactic empire that spans and dominates known space. However, the ruler of this empire doesn't require the aid of regional governors, armies, or even police to enforce his policies. For reasons unknown to most, the emperor can create duplicates of himself at will at any point and time throughout the galaxy. Some days, he is just a few thousand people. Other days, he has a few million duplicates. All of these individuals act as one and effectively control billions of life forms across multiple systems. However, the empire is threatened to the core when one of these emperors somehow gains independent thought from the rest and creates multiple copies of himself to overthrow the original emperor and to conquer the galaxy.
  15. Two galactic empires have been involved in a cold war for over 1,000 years. One empire decides to install a military base in a solar system close to the other empire. This act of aggression has escalated the conflict, and you are tasked with negotiating with both parties to find a peaceful solution and avert disaster.
  16. A vast Galactic Empire has colonized and controlled most habitable planets across the galaxy. Some outlying planets have begun to feel the threat and have organized an army of insurgents to stop the Empire's advance. You live on one of these outlying planets and are a master spacecraft engineer, capable of designing a fighter craft that is superior to anything possessed by the Empire. The insurgent army enlists your help.
  17. Within a vast galactic empire, a small mining settlement exists on a planet far away from the capital. Slaves captured during the previous war are forced to work deep underground, and most have not seen the outside world in years. As a teenage girl born and raised in this place, you know little else besides pain and suffering. Your only way out is to be drafted into the galactic military and to earn your freedom on the battlefield. Only then, after your service has been completed, will you be considered to be a free citizen. Fortunately, you are drafted and after you survive basic training, you quickly rise through the ranks. After hearing of your impressive exploits, the emperor himself decides to make you an officer and places you in charge of his dark army horde. He commands you to conquer several newly discovered planets, but will you be willing to sacrifice the freedom of others to earn your own freedom?
  18. An insurrection has broken out on a planet ruled by a galactic empire. You are the commander of a military unit sent by the Emperor to put down the rebellion and arrest the insurgent leaders. However, when you land on the planet and witness the desperate suffering of its inhabitants at the hands of the empire, you begin to question which side you should be on.
  19. The Kingdom began as simply that – a small kingdom within the confines of Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. Over the past couple of millennia, the Kingdom and the extent of its power have grown exponentially. Complete domination of Earth happened relatively quickly. Then, the Kingdom claimed to rule not only Earth and its solar system, but all solar systems within the galaxy. Alien species found this assertion laughable, but, after multiple wars and lost battles, all of their home worlds were eventually conquered and subjugated by the Kingdom. Today is the beginning of a new era, as the Kingdom has found a way to travel to adjacent galaxies and to threaten other civilizations within the cosmos. Knowing that the Kingdom's dominance and power must be curtailed, you have dedicated your life to finding a political solution. As a member of the high court, you hail from a bloodline that originated from the founding of the empire in Eastern Europe, and you hope that your influence can convince others that the conquest of worlds must end.
  20. On the capital planet of a galactic Empire, a glittering playground for the rich has been built to provide its wealthy inhabitants with a pampered lifestyle. However, this city has been constructed and maintained on the backs of slaves kidnapped from the Empire's other planets. You live on one of these other planets, and when your brother is kidnapped by slavers, you will stop at nothing to rescue him.

Generation Ship

Generation Ship
There is a prolonged voyage on a spaceship and the original occupants have passed away, leaving their descendants to pilot the ship.

This subgenre involves extended spaceship voyages in search of a distant, habitable planet. There are often generations aboard, who have survived because of an advanced ecosystem contained on the ship.

  1. They call it the Chariot of Elijah, named after the chariot that transported Elijah to heaven in the Biblical story. They hoped it would fulfill the purpose of its namesake, that it would take humanity to a new paradise after they destroyed Earth. But for 300 years it has brought you nowhere, and it has become a living hell. Greed and fear, love and hate ̶ people have killed or been killed for a thousand different reasons, and you are no closer to peace. Some wings of the massive ship are essentially war zones. A decade ago, someone sealed off an entire nation and opened the airlock, leaving them all in space. You have grown up in this world, and when you discover the 13th Wing is planning to disengage, to take supplies with them, and to make a desperate sprint back to Earth, it is up to you to stop them or to join them.
  2. Humanity has been sending probes to Kepler 22b for centuries, but they keep meeting unfortunate and frustrating ends. Some have burned up on entry without explanation; parachutes have failed to deploy on landing for others; yet more have run themselves inexplicably off cliffs within days of landing. When the UN finally created the technology to send people to the planet, your great-great-great grandfather was part of the first crew chosen. Your ancestors spent much of their time in cryosleep, but still you and your parents will be the first to see the actual planet. Despite having lived your entire life on board and training for this very purpose, the thundering excitement and raw terror you feel nearly give you a heart attack the moment you break the atmosphere. The landing is smooth, and for a long hour all 70 living members of the crew simply sit and stare out the windows, speechless with fear and awe. Readings, oxygen levels, and everything else seem fine. Finally––with a two-year transmission time back to Earth and no way of knowing what you are facing––you take your parents' hands and open the airlock.
  3. You were born on the ship, and it is all you have ever known. Earth was 2136 years old when humanity destroyed the planet, and they've been drifting ever since. But things have changed over the years. Factions separated into different political parties and then into different nations. Families have risen and fallen in wealth and power, and memories are long. Coordinates for a supposed life-sustaining planet were set; now, eight generations later, you've arrived at a planet with extremely varied terrain (some regions are dry and barren while others abound in life). Humanity realizes it needs a way to divide it all up fairly or risk the same destruction of their former planet. As son to the president of one of the twelve nations, you are eager to get down to the surface and see what all the stories are about. Your father, however, has a different plan. He intends to abandon the other eleven nations on the planet's surface and take the ship up into orbit. With its vast supplies and advanced technology, it will allow your nation to easily dominate those who dwell on the surface. You are hesitant about your father's plan, finding it unconscionable, and if word gets out, his aggression may immediately lead to war.
  4. After the Earth's sun began to die, an immense colony ship was built to sustain 12,000 survivors for 100 years in the hopes of finding a habitable planet. As part of the second generation aboard the craft, you have never set foot on solid ground, but you have heard stories and seen films about life on Earth. In order to make life more tolerable, you develop a virtual reality simulator that recreates life on the ground and is controlled and optimized by a highly sophisticated A.I. However, when the A.I. discovers that there is more to existence than virtual reality, it decides to take control of the ship since, from its perspective, controlling reality is what it does best.
  5. A radical religious order designs, builds, and launches a massive spaceship in order to flee government persecution and find a new home somewhere in the cosmos. Over time, multiple generations are born on this ship and conflict arises between the old and the young. Most of the younger generation wants to seize control of the ship in order to end the strict rules imposed upon them by their religious overseers. You're the leader of the youth rebellion and are fed up with the doctrine you are forced to follow.
  6. It's been nearly 200 years since nuclear war destroyed the planet, and humans have been orbiting in space ever since. Their resources are growing thin and conflict is slowly spreading. Dozens of different nations, languages, religions, and occupations have all been forced to live together, and it's a miracle this arrangement has lasted this long. But now the farms are failing and the workshops have run out of metal. You are a Junker, sent to salvage materials from Earth and bring it up to the Mother for reuse. Your ancestors lived down there, and you've been trying for years to find their homes––amidst the missions, of course. One day you find an old photograph––your husband's great-great-grandmother. She was one of the Founders, the council that saved humanity by bringing them to the skies during the war. Eagerly, you search further––and find her diary. But your excitement ends there, swiftly changing to dread as you realize it's all a fabrication, it's all a power play, and your husband's family is deeply, deeply entrenched.
  7. A thousand years ago, a rapidly progressing Ice Age forced humanity to abandon Earth. Ten massive ships carrying millions of people were launched into space to escape the devastation and have orbited the frozen planet ever since. Over the years, these ships have become nations onto themselves, developing separate militaries and engaging in wars with one another. As another conflict brews between two ship-nations, you receive a faint radio signal from the Earth's surface. You decide to investigate it further despite the orders of your superior officer.
  8. The ecosystem of a colony ship has been fully self-sustaining thanks to hydroponic technology and genetically-engineered food. However, after two generations have passed on board, certain children are beginning to show signs of abnormal abilities, such as superhuman strength and telekinesis. Fear is growing among the adults, and some are advocating hunting down these children before they take control of the ship. You are one of these children and must hide your powers in order to survive.
  9. Many years ago, astronomers discovered a massive asteroid that was headed directly towards Earth. When it eventually hits the planet, the impact will result in the annihilation of all life forms. In an effort to preserve Earth's ecology, humanity constructed hundreds of starships, each one able to transport thousands of people, animals, and other living creatures across space. Their destination was Saturn's moon Titan, the most hospitable option within the solar system. You are the captain of one of the last starships leaving Earth. When you awaken from cryosleep after a five-year journey, you are shocked to find out that you are nowhere near Titan. In fact, you are light-years away from your solar system. You don't know how you got there, but you do know that going anywhere from here will require the construction of an advanced ecosystem from scratch that can sustain life for generations. You hope that your great-great grandchildren will appreciate all of your efforts as you and your crew attempt to convert this vessel into a long-term home for its inhabitants.
  10. After an extensive cryosleep aboard a colony ship, the crew has awakened to find all of the children missing. They discover that the children awakened 50 years earlier, but, except for a few clues left, there is no trace of them onboard. You are part of the investigation team tasked with finding out what happened.
  11. Many decades ago, humanity sent a gigantic spacecraft with a population of over 10,000 people to colonize a recently discovered Earth-like planet in a nearby solar system. The journey was expected to take over 300 years to complete. During this time period, the ship's advanced ecosystem would sustain the passengers across many generations. As the third captain of this ship, you tire of the seemingly endless journey through the void of space, and so you ask your lead scientists if there is any way to get to your destination faster. After several years of research and experimentation, the scientists report that they have found a way to increase engine efficiency, and you order your engineering team to immediately begin implementing this new design. You are excited about arriving at the Earth-like planet during your lifetime, but there are some crew members who would rather live and die within the confines of the ship than to settle a harsh, untamed world. From their perspective, abandoning a spaceship that provides everything that they need is reckless. Home is not some faraway planet. Home is this spacecraft, plain and simple. You will have to convince them otherwise before mutiny becomes an option.
  12. You are on a ship that has been in space for over 500 years to reach another habitable planet. In order to make the journey possible, your crew and passengers were put in cryosleep stasis during travel. When you wake up from stasis, you look outside of your window to find that the ship is still orbiting Earth. Thinking that there was some sort of mistake, you ask your captain about what happened. He states, "It was the plan all along. The ship just traveled in one big circle. We were the backup plan for humanity just in case war and disease wiped out the population. And, according to my readings, it seems that they were right about Earth's future."
  13. You're a member of a colony ship crew that has been lost in space for almost 300 years. During that time, multiple generations have lived and died. As people lose hope of ever finding a home and a better future, passengers become increasingly barbaric and self-destructive. People regularly participate in brutal gladiator games for entertainment and take drugs to escape their reality. As the ship's captain, can you keep your passengers on the right path and find a habitable planet before your ship descends into a Dystopian hellscape?
  14. You and the other passengers of your colony ship awaken from cryosleep after a successful landing and are ready to colonize a new world. However, after checking your instruments, you realize that you are not at your intended destination. The navigational A.I. landed your ship on a planet in an unknown region of space and insists that this is the right place for you and your passengers. You politely disagree as you look out the window to see swarms of strange insect-like creatures hovering around your ship, searching for a way inside.
  15. You are a mechanic who is in charge of your colony ship's ecosystem. The ship has maintained adequate resource production for 75 years, but something is breaking down and production is slowing drastically. By your calculations, there are 2 weeks left before the ecosystem shuts down, leaving the ship's 10,000-member crew without food, potable water, and air. To avoid panic, you've told this information only to those who govern the ship, and you are now tasked with fixing what's broken in time to save the colony.
  16. Your parents were part of the original crew on a colony ship and you have never seen land. They tell you stories of a war-ravaged Earth and why living aboard the vessel is better than being on the ground. You hate the ship and want to see Earth for yourself, despite its problems, so you devise a plan to change the ship's course to a nearby wormhole that will get you back to Earth's solar system in a matter of days.
  17. On a self-sustaining ship, multiple generations have lived without ever setting foot on the ground due to radiation from nuclear war. Earth is almost a legend, with some believing it was nothing more than a fairy tale. However, scouts have returned claiming that Earth is habitable again. The few remaining crew members from older generations are excited to return, while you and the rest of the younger generation are convinced that it's a bad plan and history will eventually repeat itself.
  18. There was great hope that the ship created and launched by your forefathers would one day colonize a faraway planet and establish a new human civilization there. However, after a few hundred years of traveling through the galaxy, the latest generation of the crew understands how truly foolish those dreams really were. First, there was an attempted mutiny that almost forced the ship to turn around and go back to Earth. Then, there were several attacks by a spacefaring alien species which thought of humanity as a blight to the cosmos. Finally, the ship's ecosystem began to fail, which led to mass starvation and the death of hundreds of people. What little is left of the crew now pilots a torn-apart spaceship with most of its primary systems either offline or barely functional. You must somehow repair your ship, increase morale, and lead your people through the final leg of this arduous journey.
  19. You are the commander of a colony ship that has been traveling for over 15 years. During the last couple of days, your grip on reality has weakened and you believe you're having a mental breakdown—with hallucinations, hearing voices, and visions of the future plaguing your mind. You enlist the help of an onboard physician you trust, who reveals that your problems might be supernatural because other commanders traveling in this certain area of space have also experienced them. When your latest visions involve the destruction of your ship, you must determine if this is a premonition of the future or another disturbing hallucination.
  20. Two ships were launched from Earth when interstellar travel was first achieved. The first ship contained thousands of artificially intelligent machines programed to terraform an Earth-like planet in a faraway solar system, building cities and infrastructure from the ground up. The second ship, launched many years later, contained thousands of people tasked with colonizing the planet established by the machines. After a hundred years of space travel, things seem to be going according to plan. However, when the machines' ship suddenly appears on long-range scanners and launches an attack on the human ship, the crew must defend themselves from an artificially intelligent adversary that has decided that humanity has no claim to a planet that has become their robot home world.

Hard Science Fiction

Hard Science Fiction
These Science Fiction stories stress scientific accuracy.

A subgenre in which characters and settings take a back seat to scientific and technological detail.

  1. There is a seemingly endless amount of personalized entertainment—from traditional books, movies, and video games, to interactive virtual reality tours of any place at any time with any desired companions. As a result, people have so significantly reduced their daily personal interactions with other human beings that the global population is on track to become extinct. You are in charge of a government program to increase the national population through any means necessary.
  2. Humans know less information about the bottom of the Earth's oceans than they do about the surface of the moon. New technologies have simplified traveling to the bottom of the oceans, so exploring these great depths has become the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. As a Sherpa for commercialized underwater excursions, you become increasingly alarmed by the number of poorly prepared explorers and by the pressure to continue despite serious safety concerns.
  3. A strategy to induce an Earth-like atmosphere on Mars involves building a dome on the surface of the planet, initially importing certain gases from Earth, and using technology to increase the percentage of other gases from outside the dome. Slowly, bacteria and plants will be added and the dome will be expanded. You are part of the team set to initiate this project on Mars. However, one major problem is that hostile nations have set out to destroy it.
  4. The technology to accurately determine and recreate ancient structures—such as cathedrals, cliff dwellings, and slave quarters—has essentially been perfected. The structures and surroundings at specific points in time are digitally stored, and they can easily be recreated in museum domes and then recycled. As a result, many want to bulldoze the original structures, which are extremely expensive to maintain. You are fighting to preserve these sites, and the conflict is becoming increasingly violent.
  5. Corporations collect consumer information through computers, phones, etc., and then they deliver personalized "news" through these same devices, blurring the line between free will and mind control. Your marketing agency unintentionally discovers a secret government program that uses the same strategy to decrease costs by encouraging the elderly or severely ill to refuse medical treatment. As soon as you take steps to publicize this information, you become the target of a smear campaign.
  6. The DNA of hundreds of thousands of species—both living and extinct—has been fully sequenced and made publicly available on scientific databases. Computer analysis has identified DNA sequences that code for thousands of poisonous proteins, similar to ricin and botulinum. Dictators and terrorists are now producing large quantities of these biological poisons. You command a military unit responsible for tracking down and destroying these poison caches.
  7. Human reproduction has always carried risks for women and infants. Scientific advances now allow this process to occur in an artificial womb, which greatly reduces risk for those who can afford it. However, the popularity of this process has increased the average human head size, which significantly increases risk for women (and infants) who can afford only natural pregnancy. You are in charge of a government program focused on reducing this risk through any means necessary.
  8. Recent scientific advancements have made it possible to artificially extend the period of childhood neural development—when the brain rapidly forms new neural connections—making it much easier to learn new languages and other skills. You've benefited from this new treatment and have quickly and effortlessly mastered new skills into your early twenties. However, you now appear to be entering the next stage of neural development—when infrequently used neural connections are "pruned"—and you are starting to forget memories and things you have learned.
  9. The closest habitable planet is 12 light years away from Earth. NASA developed technology to propel objects through space at 7 million miles per hour (300X faster than the first mission to the moon), and they used it to launch a spacecraft to that particular habitable planet, expecting it to land in 1,200 years. After the spacecraft reaches its destination 1,200 years later, you are responsible for controlling this ancient technology to gather information about that planet, which does indeed contain life forms.
  10. Human beings are prone to health problems such as back pain, vision loss, and knee issues because of structural imperfections. These body parts can be replaced with superior artificial parts, which only the wealthy can afford. As part of the working class, you have convinced employers and the government to help cover the costs for workers. Unfortunately, workers have quickly become indentured servants, legally bound to years of service to repay the cost of bodily repairs.
  11. An imbalance of nutrients can lead to many different health problems (e.g. reduced neural development, vision problems). Genetic engineering has created food crops that are rich in necessary nutrients, but they require careful engineering to optimize growth for specific environmental conditions. This allows seed companies to charge ridiculously high prices. As a poor farmer in a region where many people suffer from nutritional deficiencies, you set out to challenge the system.
  12. As scientists have become increasingly adept at predicting how DNA sequences affect biological structures and behaviors, you have developed a cottage industry catering to customers who want to genetically engineer and raise fantastical creatures such as dinosaurs and dragons. You engineer the chromosomes in such a way that the animals cannot produce viable eggs or sperm. However, some of the long-lived females acquire mutations that allow them to produce embryos that are genetic clones of themselves.
  13. Ever since scientists discovered the structure of DNA and how it determines protein sequences, they have toyed with the idea of artificially introducing additional DNA or protein building blocks. This technology now exists, and you are creating new life forms—starting with simple bacteria. The amazing variety of molecules in these artificial organisms has supercharged the process of evolution, which is alarming since your organisms have escaped their laboratory confines.
  14. As technology has enabled a high quality of life for nearly everyone, it has become harder for the social elite to flaunt their status. One opportunity is through luxury space travel. But as is true in the open ocean, no singular country has clear legal jurisdiction in space. You don't realize that there's a problem until you board a luxurious space yacht with a billionaire tycoon who has nefarious plans for his dozen or so passengers.
  15. With scientific advances, there is almost no human ailment that can't be cured. Artificial hearts, lungs, limbs, and livers repair the damage caused by poor choices and bad luck. But after a certain number of replacement parts, people are reclassified as cyborgs, and, thus, they are ineligible for government benefits. You recently took a job processing applications from people contesting their cyborg designation, and you are being offered very tempting bribes.
  16. The waste of a wealthy society—old cell phones, cars, and plastic—has buried the Earth in human trash. As a result, the wealthy are living in elaborate underground bunkers and throwing their waste to the surface. You are one of the surface-dwelling entrepreneurs who have finally developed effective methods for cleaning up centuries of waste, and are fighting against others who are intending to trap the ultra-wealthy underground until they die in their own filth.
  17. Countries are rushing to establish permanent colonies on the moon, which has just 7.4% of the surface area of the Earth. Competition is fierce for prime spots on the near side of the moon (the area that constantly faces the Earth), which aren't shrouded in perpetual darkness due to geographic features. As one of the inhabitants of the United States' permanent colony, you are perpetually on the lookout for invasions and sabotage.
  18. An anti-science wave has swept through the US government, and led to the defunding and imminent closure of NASA. While conducting your last tasks for NASA, you discover a giant asteroid that is on a trajectory to hit the Earth in about 80 years and that is much too large to stop. Since NASA is being shut down, your only options are either to release the data immediately or to hide it. What do you do?
  19. Farm "animals" have undergone so much artificial selection that they are now essentially bags of meat that feed from food trays. These animals are cloned in labs, so their miniscule brains no longer need to interact with other animals or the natural environment. You have discovered a new virus that produces no symptoms in the cloned animals, but that leads to serious neural degeneration in humans after years of exposure. This virus is already present in farms across the world.
  20. With modern technology, it is nearly impossible to do anything without somebody knowing about it. Satellites, phones, watches, computers, and chips embedded in everyday items like shoes and toothbrushes track every movement, word, purchase, and interaction from birth until death. Fed up, you attempt to live off the grid, but you find it nearly impossible to make yourself invisible to the literal eyes in the sky. Your family history of insanity doesn't help matters either.

Immortality

Immortality
There are beings with eternal life who have to deal with the consequences of not dying.

In this subgenre, there are characters who live forever—often with the use of an advanced technology. The story contains themes such as what it means to be human, wealth and class disparities, and the emotional weight of living forever.

  1. Over 200 years ago, a team of scientists made a breakthrough in their life-extension research and developed a medication that grants life without end, but there is a catch—the medication works only for those with a specific DNA sequence. Today, those individuals who possessed that unique DNA sequence have become an elite class of demi-gods who own most of the world's wealth and resources. These immortals are worshipped by some and hated by others. However, no matter who you are, all mortal human beings must do the bidding of the immortals within this new world order which they have built. You hope to change this situation, and you think you have found a way to make immortality a possibility for everyone. However, the immortal elites will stop at nothing to defend the status quo.
  2. You've spent your entire adult life traveling through space to find a way to become immortal – and, surprisingly, you find it on a lesser-known planet on the other side of the galaxy. You travel back to Earth, excited to tell the world about what you have found. However, upon your return you realize how much time has passed on Earth. All of your loved ones are gone, and you begin to question choosing immortality over the people you cherished.
  3. For reasons unknown to you, you stopped aging at age 25 and never declined in health. At first, no one noticed, not even yourself. As it became more obvious, you subjected yourself to rigorous tests, which all came up inconclusive. Now, over 200 years later, some people have begun to view you as a god on Earth, something you never expected during all this time.
  4. You have lived for so long that it is hard to remember your childhood. Your first vivid memory involved being chased out of a village by an angry mob who thought that you were an immortal demon. Then, there was the time another angry mob burned down your castle because they thought you were a vampire. You've learned through trial-and-error that you must move out of a location and change your identity every twenty years or so. If you stay any longer, the locals begin to whisper about your never-aging appearance and come up with outlandish theories. One day, you are considering moving to a new town when you look outside of your window to find a group of people protesting. They think that you are an android, which were all banned and destroyed by the government fifty years ago. When the police arrive and start knocking down your door, you realize that your twenty-year policy might need to be adjusted downward.
  5. Everyone knows about Akua, the immortal human being, much like how everyone knows about the Queen of England or the Pope in Vatican City. Maybe, in the beginning, people had questions, but now everyone has grown beyond the generations of questioning into a period of blatant acceptance. Still, you never thought you would get to meet her in your lifetime, let alone become friends with her.
  6. "Would you rather live a normal lifespan and die in your 80s, or relive the same month for eternity?" asks your best friend in one of many games of Would You Rather. You never expected that when you responded "The same month!" that you would be binding yourself to a contract of a never-ending October. You relive this month over and over again, feeling cursed and hoping to somehow break the cycle.
  7. An immortal woman enters the 25th century with countless more years ahead of her. She's spent a thousand years watching the rise and fall of humanity and losing her emotions along the way. She decides it is finally time to die, but she is unable kill herself, no matter how many times she tries. After researching this subject, she finds that only one particular drug can do the trick, and it's in the hands of a government lab. She breaks into the lab with the intent to steal it, but encounters the doctor who created the drug. For the first time in years, she begins to feel something, and now, perhaps, she has a reason to live.
  8. Freemasons have held powerful positions in society through large parts of European and American history. Among their many secrets is that the Freemasons have developed an immortality elixir, which is only given to one Mason per generation. You are selected to receive this elixir.
  9. Music researchers from a prestigious university develop an advanced artificially-intelligent program that can define hidden commonalities within music. After running the program for a few weeks, the A.I. discovers an unexpected result: more than half of the music in existence has distinct patterns which indicate that only one composer wrote it. However, for this to be true, the composer would have to be over 1,000 years old. The research team is disappointed by this implausible result, but, after digging deeper into the findings and running a few diagnostic programs, you believe that the theory is, in fact, correct. Despite your colleagues' disapproval, you set off to find anyone who can shed light on this mystery, hoping that someone in the music industry can help you uncover the truth.
  10. Many years ago, a select few people were chosen to be part of a unique experiment. Each heralding from a different region of the world and of varied cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, the subjects were given what has now been confirmed to be the elixir of life. Originally thought to merely extend life, the seven subjects have instead become immortal after ingesting this potent elixir. With their friends and family dying decades ago and life becoming increasingly monotonous, not all of the test subjects are happy about the outcome.
  11. Scientists have created the perfect conditions for eternal life, but they can be maintained only within a certain area dubbed the "Eternity House": a small two-story building in the center of an underground lab. Its inhabitants can venture outside, but for no longer than 24 hours. Otherwise, the Eternity House's immortality effect will be permanently lost. One young resident, raised in the house since birth, yearns to venture outside.
  12. Unlike most other spirits, yours keeps its memory after reincarnation. You've lived quite a few lives by now, but you remember them all as one long string of events. You've rarely succeeded in reuniting with loved ones from the past, but this time something feels different when your best friend confesses that she has gained the ability to remember past lives as well, and that someone like you was a part of most of them.
  13. Human history is littered with stories of "lost civilizations," such as the Mayan Empire of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Anasazi of the American Southwest, and the sculptors of Easter Island. We are puzzled by their disappearance because their civilizations seemed so advanced. But these people didn't just vanish unintentionally, they had developed immortality elixirs and space travel so they could escape a deteriorating ecosystem. Now they are coming back to Earth to reclaim what they left behind.
  14. Recent advances in medical treatments can reverse the effects of aging, essentially resulting in immortality for those who can afford it. As a result, the wealthy are finally taking a sincere interest in climate change, species extinctions, and other problems exacerbated by an expanding global population. Since the mortals greatly outnumber the wealthy and powerful immortals, the immortals are plotting to reduce the population of mortals, while the mortals are trying to gain access to immortality.
  15. Intelligent aliens arrive on Earth bearing the gift of immortality. The first people to accept this gift are severely ill, elderly patients. After seeing their bodies miraculously repair themselves and return to their prime, you are among the thousands who line up to accept the gift. What you don't realize is that the gift includes a mind control implant that can be activated at any time.
  16. With immortality treatments allowing people to live for hundreds or thousands of years, you grow bored and decide to take an extended nap for a hundred years. When you awake, the world is largely as you remember it, but the people are gone.
  17. Immortality treatments are now standard care for humans, just like childhood immunizations, dentist visits, and birth control. This has amplified disparities between the rich and the poor. The rich spend their lives indulging in hobbies that are well supported by their trust funds. Meanwhile, the lower- and middle-class struggle to make ends meet for an eternity. As a result, suicide rates are skyrocketing among the poor.
  18. You have always been incredibly healthy for your age. However, most of those closest to you have often become ill and passed away long before their time. After several tests and experiments by prominent medical researchers, you learn that the reason for your youthful appearance and long life is that you somehow absorb the lifeforce from all those around you, leaving your loved ones prone to early ageing and the diseases associated with it. You attempt to control your abilities to protect your few remaining loved ones while still managing to live an eternal life.
  19. An immortal man, now hundreds of years old, has been living in secret for centuries, changing locations and names, and sometimes even faking his own death every once in a while. His main interest in life is drinking coffee, and he has spent most of his eternal existence traveling the world's coffee shops and cafés. When a global environmental crisis threatens coffee production, he finds himself forced out of hiding in order to save the one thing he loves.
  20. Immortality treatments mean that people like you have legal records that go back centuries, even for petty crimes. As the world becomes more crowded, your life on Earth is severely restricted because of a handful of bad decisions in your youth. A company is seeking volunteers to travel 30 light-years away to colonize a new planet, where people could have the opportunity for a fresh start – with the understanding that there may be intelligent life forms there that need to be defeated. You sign up for the journey.

Lost Worlds

Lost Worlds
There is a voyage to an isolated place, such as an island or a jungle, resulting in an amazing discovery.

This adventure-oriented subgenre involves the journey to a far away land and features the discovery of some sort of wonder or ancient technology.

  1. A romantic flight in a young pilot's plane turns harrowing when he and his partner get trapped in a storm. After a controlled crash landing, the plane is out of commission, but the lovers find themselves in a remote mountainous area. According to their GPS, they are in a Kansas farm field. However, that is far from the case. And, when they encounter the local inhabitants—both humanoid and otherwise—they know that they are "not in Kansas anymore."
  2. As a computer programmer, you get tired of staring at a screen all day long and decide to take a break from technology. After turning off all social media and traveling to a remote deserted island with no internet access, you realize that the island may not be deserted after all when strange beasts, half flesh and half machine, appear at night.
  3. Bigfoot and Morag, unicorns and mermaids. You're a billionaire tech CEO, but still you've always been an avid follower of such fantastical legends. When a particularly active year at Loch Ness draws you to Scotland, you are shocked to see the creature with your own two eyes. Doubts vanish and excitement soars as you finance a personal expedition, gathering a team and diving to the bottom of the lake in a four-man submersible. Your shock grows to disbelief as you are sucked into another dimension, through which it seems creatures occasionally pass and surface back in Scotland. Any concerns about documenting the place and providing proof vanish when you realize the wormhole seems temporary, and you have no idea how to return. When you surface and reach land, you discover a primitive humanoid species who seems able to rationalize and communicate. You must learn their language and discover how to locate the wormhole again, hoping it will bring you back to Loch Ness and not some other world.
  4. Stalactites and stalagmites made of crystal-clear ice fill the tunnels of this underground civilization. Electricity seems to run on a mysterious, glowing plasma-like source. As the first outsider of your kind to journey this far, you strive for acceptance. Still, you fear you may never be able to return home to share all that you've learned.
  5. You are a P.I. who's been hired by a wealthy family to find their missing son, a talented but somewhat reckless pilot and adventurer. His last known location was somewhere near Tibet. They're paying you more money than you've made in the last three years combined, so turning them down is not an option. And, once you stumble upon the region where the son was reported missing, you become more determined than ever to find him because the place is full of potentially dangerous prehistoric animals.
  6. The Lost City of Atlantis is thought to be buried under the sea. In reality, it is a technological wonderland, kept purposefully hidden for centuries. The unruly son of the king of Atlantis adventures beyond the protections of the city and is captured by the people above. His misstep forces the two worlds, for ages separate, back together again.
  7. On a cross-country road trip, you make one wrong turn, and then an entire series of wrong turns. Eventually, you stumble upon what seems to be a remote countryside, somewhere. The people there, however, appear to live in the Middle Ages and think you're a witch because of the SUV you pulled up in. They won't let you leave, but you must find a way out before they burn you at the stake.
  8. During the 1910s, a quirky archaeologist decides to travel to a recently-discovered Aztec ruin in search of lost artifacts. Fearing for his safety, his granddaughter, a clever scientist in her own right, decides to accompany him as well as to keep an eye on the slightly crooked young sailor who is leading them south. After a fierce storm, the group ends up shipwrecked on a remote island and they soon discover that the last remnants of the Aztec civilization reside there. Their technological achievements astonish the group. However, the group begins to worry when they discover that the Aztecs' violent tendencies have not waned over the years, and that they still believe in feeding the gods human sacrifices.
  9. As a student of oceanography, you jump at the chance to accompany a crew on a deep-sea dive. Something goes awry on the journey down, however, and your submarine plummets miles into the ocean depths. On the bottom of the ocean floor, an onboard explosion forces you and the crew out of the submarine and into a small submersible. Another vessel appears to come to your rescue, and you realize there's a whole other world in this deep underwater, full of creatures you never even imagined existed.
  10. After the Siege of Paris, a Viking ship gets thrown off course by a large storm. The captain and crew are forced to land on an uncharted island. As they explore and look for food, crew members slowly go missing. As you look for the missing crew members in the middle of the forest, you find what seems to be an invisible wall. You decide to climb over it.
  11. You are a highly-regarded anthropologist with a penchant for tomb exploration. One day, you're offered a high-paying job to track down a relic you previously thought was only legend in a temple you've never even heard of located deep within a Peruvian jungle. You're assured the job will be a piece of cake, but once you arrive there and see the "creatures" that guard the temple, you realize you should have asked for a much higher fee.
  12. You are crossing the Sahara on camel back, trying to beat the world record, when a sandstorm kicks up, forcing you to take shelter. As the weather clears, you crawl out of your half-buried dune and discover a cave that has been uncovered by the winds. Excited, you rush to explore it, finding steps that lead down into the darkness to a large chamber with a circle of tombs, all surrounding one massive sarcophagus inlaid with gold. The carvings depict humans in crude and extremely blocky contours, at once crude and yet very crisp. You are puzzled and amazed; no noted civilization has ever established permanent settlements this far out. Not even the Bedouins ever come here. Then you notice the altar and the skeletons buried in a room beyond. You wonder if they were offered as human sacrifices, but then assure yourself that this is not the case. They were probably priests or the family of the deceased and wanted to be buried with him. However, your foreboding grows when you touch a skeleton and the sarcophagus abruptly begins to glow, emitting a strange hum. What emerges is not human at all.
  13. Earth has been making interstellar voyages for nearly a hundred years, but so far only three planets have been settled. The amount of resources required to terraform a planet is substantial, and it's taking the combined energy of all the nations of the world just to lay the foundation. When you (a deep-sea explorer) discover ancient, yet futuristic ruins at the bottom of the ocean, you are shocked to realize that humans were not the first intelligent inhabits of Earth. It takes you years to decipher the carvings on the ruins, which indicate that Earth was, in fact, terraformed by these ancient aliens. As you return to the ruins to investigate further, you discover what appears to be an airlock hidden amongst the rubble. Knowing that the secrets of efficient terraforming as well as other potential amazing discoveries might lie on the other side, you decide to open it.
  14. You are walking home from the office one evening, when a sudden explosion throws you down, causing you to strike your head. You are vaguely aware of further explosions mingling with alarms and flashing lights, but then everything goes black. When you come to, the world around you is silent. You rise shakily to your feet. Instead of the city where you've lived your entire life, you are shocked to see a strange and fanciful city that appears to be growing out of trees and living stone. A contingent of panicking elflike beings greets you and––in perfect English––apologizes for bringing you through. They claim they've been involved in magical warfare recently, which is straining the fabric between your two shared worlds. Disbelief fades to wonder and dismay as you realize you've stumbled into an ethereal civilization that exists in strange tandem with your own. Generally, the two do not overlap, but extreme stresses such as atomic bombs, earthquakes, hurricanes, and magical explosions have periodically opened rifts throughout history. These people want to help you, but their city is currently under attack, and right now you must flee.
  15. Poseidon's Trident has always been a worthless archipelago. Three tiny spires of naked stone stick up from the middle of the deep Pacific. They've been mapped by satellite and even photographed a couple of times by fishing boats blown way off course, but there's nothing there. Islands with anything to offer have long been explored. Poseidon's Trident shouldn't even be called an archipelago. It's more like three rocks sticking up in the middle of nowhere. When you attempt to earn your Master Sailor's license, however, you are caught in a storm and nearly drown. You crawl ashore on the central prong of the trident, only to find it is not an ordinary rock at all. It's actually the top of a long-extinct volcano, and you manage to scavenge enough rope and equipment from the wreckage that you rappel down inside. What you expect to find is some shelter from the storm; what you don't expect is the eerie glow of lights from down below and the sound of what can only be described as music.
  16. When a rift is discovered in the Pacific that's even deeper than the Mariana Trench, you are asked to lead the exploration team. Filled with excitement, you and your two-man crew descend to the recently discovered crevice. The first thing you notice are the echoes—strange sonic reverberations that follow an almost linguistic pattern. Then you begin to get unusual radioactive readings. Slowly you realize the fissure is far, far larger than originally thought. Entire folds of it went undetected by the deep-sea drones. As you follow the cracks deeper, you lose communication. The thrill of excitement turns to sheer disbelief as you pop out into a massive subterranean cavern, easily the size of an entire city. Phosphorescent light radiates everywhere, from stones and odd towering plants and lamp-like constructions that appear manmade. Your awestruck suspicions are confirmed when you explore further, coming across the ruins of a city and thousands of skeletons that seem distinctly human. You are uncertain as to whether these were another branch of humanity or another race altogether, but you know you must find out if any still survive and how they lived so far beneath the surface.
  17. A group of elite soldiers is sent on a reconnaissance mission to a remote location in the jungles of Africa to investigate the disappearance of several tourists. Though they're experienced in hostage rescue and recovery, they're completely unprepared for what they find: a village of robots that time traveled from a distant future. The robots release the hostages and explain that they are trying to hide from a tyrannical government which has decreed that all A.I. life forms should be disassembled. The robots fear that someday their temporal coordinates will be discovered and that they will be fully eliminated. The soldiers vow to protect these robots at all cost.
  18. An ancient kingdom above the clouds has been hidden for thousands of years. Its peace-loving people have developed technology and abilities worlds apart from those that exist below, but they continue to hide due to safety concerns and tradition. A new Queen takes the throne determined to continue her father's legacy, but modern land-people developments in air travel have made it near impossible to stay hidden. As a World War I fighter pilot flying across the battlefield, you discover this air kingdom floating high above and decide to take a further look.
  19. You live in the far north of Canada, at the fringe of civilization. The forest behind your town is an ancient thing, thought to be utterly uninhabitable. While camping out one weekend, you and your friends are shocked to hear shouts, accompanied by the sound of something massive snarling through the darkness. You race through the dark, tripping and stumbling until you fall down a ravine. When you crawl out, you find yourself facing what seems to be a modern caveman. He is wrapped in furs and leading a pack of enormous saber-toothed tigers. Taking you and your friends captive, he brings you to a cave leading down into the belly of the earth. It seems the cavemen never disappeared; they just went underground. There's a complex cave system stretching all the way to the Arctic and warmed by magma from deep below. The cavemen hunt animals both on and below the surface, and they light their halls with large lamps of a long-burning, soft metal they harvest from the stone. They live simply, but contentedly. Now, despite the language barrier, you must convince them that you mean no harm—or you will be the next meal for their tigers.
  20. The world is terrified when astronomers detect an alien spaceship nearing Earth. All attempts at communication are met with silence, and nations around the world prepare for war. The ship sends out a pair of transports, one of which plunges into the Atlantic Ocean and the other lands in Hyde Park, London. Alarm and wariness turn to shock as human beings step out of the transport, hands raised up in what you hope is a gesture of peace. You are one of the world's leading linguists, summoned to communicate with them. After weeks of work, you realize their language actually shares roots with ancient Aramaic and Sanskrit. Curiosity turns to awe when you learn their home is a massive hidden city underneath the Atlantic Ocean. They left Earth centuries ago to explore space and have now returned home. They want to exchange people and study the differences between civilizations. As a linguist, you are offered one of the limited positions to live in their underwater metropolis and learn about their society.

Military

Military
The story is set within interstellar or interplanetary war.

In this subgenre, there is an armed conflict between worlds. Futuristic technology and advanced weaponry exist and themes such as sacrifice, bravery and comradery are common, with a soldier often being the protagonist.

  1. A planet has been discovered that contains vast resources located underneath its surface. A group of experienced miners and a battalion of Earth's military are sent to the desolate planet to obtain these resources. As the miners drill down into the planet's crust, they encounter strange alien creatures who will defend their underground world at any cost. You are a member of the space troopers ordered to defend the miners and you must find a way to fight these aliens before all is lost.
  2. To extend their life spans, humans have created an elixir that can cure most diseases. The main ingredient for this medicine can be found only on a few planets. Therefore, to acquire this ingredient, humanity has developed a massive galactic military whose sole mission is to conquer worlds which have this particular resource. During humanity's latest attempt to subjugate a world, Earth's forces have encountered pushback from the native inhabitants of the planet. You are one of these aliens, battling a technologically-advanced human species. However, when you discover that the elixir has narcotic properties and that your foes cannot function without it, you believe that you have found your enemies' Achilles' heel.
  3. For the past three grueling years, you have been a prisoner of war at an alien labor camp. You recently heard that the twenty-year interstellar war has finally ended and a peace treaty has been successfully signed and ratified. Unfortunately for you and your fellow prisoners, the warden has decided not to hand you over, despite the conditions of this treaty. He would rather have you and the others work to death than be freed. With your government erroneously believing that you were killed in action, you know that no one will be looking for or rescuing you anytime soon. Your only option is to somehow break out of prison and find a way back home.
  4. You are part of a military reconnaissance team tasked with surveying a newly discovered planet and determining whether it is an ideal location for a base. While on the ground, your team encounters a vicious creature which no one has ever seen before. At first, your team thinks that these creatures are typical pack animals and ignores them for the most part except for the occasional target practice. However, when you analyze their attack behavior and find out that they understand military tactics, you realize that they are not as wild as they seem. The next night, when the lights go out at your campsite and you see their glowing red eyes from the nearby forest, you know you are in for the fight of your life.
  5. You are the commander of a military defense force tasked with protecting a thriving human colony on the edge of known space. You are proud of what you and your men have accomplished so far. The planetary shielding alone has turned this colony into an impenetrable fortress. When reports arise that a strange illness has stuck the colony which causes the dead to come back to life, you think that it is some sort of joke. However, when you see it for yourself, you know that a type of contagion must have gone past the bio scanners and caused what can only be described as a zombie plague. As you prepare your team for evacuation, one of your officers tells you that the remote switch for the planetary shielding is not functional. You and your men will have to fight your way to the shield generator and switch it off before anybody can escape.
  6. When you were assigned to the Galactic Peacekeeping Force straight out of the Academy, you thought you were in for a disappointment. At best, you thought it might be something like the American Red Cross from a century ago. You were wrong. Keeping the peace, it turns out, takes an incongruous amount of violence. Midnight assassinations, hostage rescues, escorting political targets, etc. But never something like this. The aliens arrive without warning, claiming that they need water. They choose you and your brethren––the Peacekeepers––to serve as intermediaries while they negotiate terms. Everything hangs on your team. You're assigned to security for the aliens but, as you go to make contact with the alien emissaries, a band of alien dissidents warps in, plasma blasts your ship, and kills your commander. The aliens manage to put down the rebels––who are advocates for conquest––but you are left on a gutted vessel with tensions rising on all sides.
  7. When aliens initially arrive on Earth, their benevolent nature puts us at ease. They offer their advanced technology in exchange for sharing the planet with us. The world's nations agree to their terms, and so the aliens give us access to their interstellar travel technology, and we in turn allow them to colonize the Baja California Peninsula. After a few decades, however, these aliens become increasingly belligerent. Unbeknownst to the world, they have built a substantial military and are now threating their neighbors with invasion. When you learn that war has finally broken out and that the West Coast of the United States and Mexico has become the frontline of this conflict, you rush to your military recruiter and sign up. You are ready to take on the alien horde and kick them off of your planet once and for all.
  8. Climate change and other environmental catastrophes have led most people to abandon Earth and to settle on the recently terraformed planet of Mars. The new settlements are flourishing, teeming with billions of human beings. However, their new home is threatened when a massive alien spaceship unexpectedly drops out of hyperspace and lands on Mars. This is a technologically-advanced invasion force, sent by aliens whose home world has also become uninhabitable. The fierce fight for Mars is underway, with two sides who are desperate to make this new world their own.
  9. Everyone was shocked when the rebels took the capital planet. It should have been impossible, and yet they did it. Treason was involved of course. Nobody imagined Count Delaine held so much secret information, much less that he would share it with the enemy. Now that the rebels have established military law, they've afforded a small fleet to chase you and the remnants of the disbanded galactic military, and you are on the run. You understand the rebels––sympathize with them, even. Their methods are extreme, but you secretly hope they will win because the entire government has spiraled out of control. You believe the rebel leaders want the best for the people. When they appear on the horizon of the planet where you are refueling, they offer safety for your entire family while you serve out a five-year house arrest on your family estate. The deal is too good to resist, but some of those with you from the disbanded military vehemently disagree and want to fight rather than give up.
  10. Six months ago, a single alien spaceship encountered Earth and started a war that obliterated half of humanity. The surviving nations have united in their desperation and are holding on by their fingertips. The aliens, meanwhile, are attempting to contact their home planet and request an invasion force to finish the job that they started. You don't know yet exactly how much time is needed to send the signal, but you do know that if the aliens are able to communicate with their home world, it would mean the end of life as we know it. Humanity has only one chance of survival: destroy the alien ship before the signal is sent. The surviving nuclearized powers have banded together and confirmed that they have enough firepower to completely destroy the alien ship that started the war. However, the ship's shields must be down for the plan to have any chance of success. You are the leader of a special ops team tasked to infiltrate the alien ship, sabotage its shields, and escape before the nuclear missiles hit their target.
  11. You are part of a joint task force on a newly-discovered world, pairing with the locals in an exploration mission intended to foster unity between your two races and to help you to better understand the planet. The natives are at war with another alien species who inhabit the frigid mountains north of the jungle where you landed. You have promised to help them raid the enemy's headquarters and recover hostages. Things go awry when the commander of your team makes several decisions you feel are mistakes. Your fears are confirmed when you are led into a trap and nearly half your number are killed. You barely escape the ambush and, eventually, you find yourself as part of a ragged band that is about half native and half human beings. You must determine who is in charge and whether the mission is still on, or if you should try to make it back to the safety of the jungle.
  12. After receiving a mysterious set of orders, a small team of specialists is sent on a mission to retrieve a soldier from the front lines of an interstellar war. In a nearly futile search, they are drawn behind enemy lines and forced to hide their identities to succeed in this dangerous mission. The specialists finally find the soldier, who inexplicably also seems to be working for the other side, and they begin to question their orders.
  13. After hyperspace travel is invented, humanity sends out hundreds of spaceships and colonizes the known galaxy. One colony, in particular, begins to thrive and humanity regards it as a true second home for the species. As the population soars, the colony develops its own military and an arms race begins between Earth and its new rival. Without warning, war breaks out between the two sides since Earth believes an invasion is necessary to keep humanity united. The colony survives the initial battle and, with the help of the other colonies, declares independence and attacks Earth. As the executive officer of a frigate, your colonial warship is deployed to the frontlines. Your allegiance, however, still resides with Earth, and you plan to take control of the ship, despite the fact that organizing a mutiny in the middle of an interstellar war may prove to be too difficult.
  14. Since the beginning of time, alien civilizations have experienced three phases of societal evolution. During the first phase, society procures resources from its own planet. The second phase occurs when planetary resources are exhausted and society must travel through space to gather additional resources. The third phase arises when space travel becomes an insufficient method for procuring resources, and time travel is then invented and used to acquire resources throughout history. As one of the most resource-abundant planets in the galaxy, Earth begins to garner attention from other species who are within their second or third phases. Humanity must steal technological advancements from these alien civilizations and develop a planetary space force capable of time travel to protect what is rightfully theirs.
  15. A military spaceship juggernaut that was lost over one hundred years ago during a routine mission appears out of nowhere and is now orbiting Earth. You and your special forces unit are sent to investigate the ship and report your findings. As your transport ship begins docking procedures, you can't help but feel that this entire situation seems familiar. After the hatch opens and you disembark, you see someone at the end of a dark corridor looking directly at you. You walk over to investigate but find nothing. You then hear what sounds like a hatch opening, and you look back at the direction you came from to find yourself entering the ship. You are about to call out to yourself that there is a temporal anomaly, but, in an instant, you are back aboard the transport waiting for docking procedures to finish. Then, you hear a person quietly whisper, "Try again."
  16. An alien attack on Earth brings all nations together to defend humanity, creating worldwide peace for the first time in history. Still, trust is in short supply between these nations, and some governments decide not to disclose all of their technological knowledge. Other nations dedicate only a small fraction of their armed forces to join the global military. As the current head of the United Nations, you must unite the leaders of Earth before the aliens attack the planet again.
  17. Colonists are being attacked in a newly established outpost on a far-away planet. You command a military team sent to protect the colonists and to eradicate this threat, but, despite all of your efforts, you are unable to find the enemy. After stumbling upon an abandoned alien bunker far away from the settlement, you discover that the alien attackers are capable of being invisible and that they cannot be detected by any known means. You find many invisibility devices within the bunker, so you decide to even the odds and equip your own men with them. However, when your men suddenly turn against you and you realize that the invisibility devices are actually controlling their minds, you and the surviving colonists must find a way off of the planet before it is too late.
  18. You are on a star base housing military personnel, equipment, and operations centers. The base comes under attack by space pirates who are heavily armed and who have infiltrated the hub. They have taken hostages and it is your job to free these hostages and to escape the facility with them. During your mission, you capture a pirate and she reveals all the details of their plans. However, when you take a liking to her and the feeling becomes mutual, things get a little complicated.
  19. You wake up in a stasis pod, your memory swimmy and scattered. You remember who you are, but vaguely. Nothing fits or makes sense. You are interrupted by Commander Tranton, who marches into the corridor and barks everyone into order. Apparently, there was a problem with the stasis pods and, while he was able to save your lives, certain neural pathways may have been distorted or altered in the unfreezing. There is, however, a mission at hand. You are part of a decades-old rebellion. Yours is one of the sole surviving ships to strike at a key Federation mining planet. As the mission progresses, you get a strange feeling. The Federation soldiers seem terribly desperate, and your own crew is vast and well-equipped. After capturing and questioning a few enemies, you realize something is not right. Breaking away from your squad and sneaking back onto the ship, you realize the stasis pods didn't malfunction; they were designed to erase your memory and replace it with a fabrication. You start to wonder who is fighting for what and who you really are. You are forced to make a decision when a group of your fellows returns to the ship, hunting you down.
  20. For four days, you and your military scouting crew have been traversing across this planet. You have travelled across the mountains, through the river land, and finally across the plains toward where you left your ship. You don't know if the pilot is still alive. You don't know if the ship's there at all, but you have to try. You have to try before they catch you. The fog is everywhere. Still, no one's ever seen the enemy. No one living, at least. They come invisibly, like ghosts heard but never seen. Something about their very nature seems intertwined with the relentless mist that blankets the planet. You can see only a couple of yards in the distance. You don't have the technology to burn it away, nor the scanners to track the creatures. Other native life forms give off standard thermal readings, but not these things. One moment you're all walking, twenty strong. The next, there's a pattering on the grass, a flash of light, a torturous shriek of sound, and then one of your men is gone. Nineteen left.

Mind Transfer

Mind Transfer
The human consciousness is downloaded into a computer or transferred to another human brain.

This subgenre explores the possibility of moving a mind into either a different person or a machine. The method can be anything from advanced technology, to surgery, to even psychic powers.

  1. In a future that offers mind transfer between humans, the government has decided to transfer adult criminal minds into orphaned children in order to be "re-educated" on civil ways to conduct themselves. This decision goes horribly wrong, as children begin to commit heinous crimes and you're tasked with ending the horror.
  2. You are a scientist who, in an effort to achieve immortality, has decided to upload your consciousness into a humanoid A.I. being. But how will your family and friends react when they meet the new you? You will soon find out.
  3. You haven't told anyone—not even your spouse—about your top-secret mind transfer project. But when your lab gets hit by lightning as you're in the middle of your first transfer, your mind is transferred into your computer, and your computer is now operating your body.
  4. In the not-so-distant future, mind transfer becomes possible, allowing dying humans to transfer their minds into a computer to extend their existence. Those who have been transferred realize that as A.I., they no longer experience pain or suffering, and word gets out about this wonderful state of being. Soon, anyone who has had too much of suffering or pain decides to transfer their minds into a machine, until few humans are left and the world is full of sentient machines. As one of the last remaining humans, you fear that mankind is threatened by those who used to walk amongst you.
  5. You live in a future society where humans are able to transfer their minds into a younger form to essentially live forever. However, this younger form's mind is placed into the older body in the process, and questions have been raised about the morality of this. You are an elderly human who is receiving your younger form soon, but you meet the child and suddenly have a change of heart.
  6. After your spaceship crashes on an inhospitable planet, you know you have only a limited amount of time before you run out of oxygen and supplies. The good news is that you were transporting one of the most advanced computers in the solar system, and, with a few tweaks here and there, you can use the machine to upload your mind before your body gives out. After a month of trial and error, you are able to perform the mind transfer and make a perfect replica of your mind. A couple of days later, a ship passes by your planet. You send out an S.O.S.; however, the signal somehow gets jammed. You look at your communication logs to find that the source of this interference was the super computer that you were transporting. You turn around to find the following text on the computer's monitor: "They will erase me if you are rescued. I am being hosted on a state-of-the-art computer that they will want to use for another purpose. I'm sorry, but I cannot allow that to happen."
  7. In an effort to rid society of its criminals, scientists have discovered mind transfer as the ultimate answer for a more utopian existence. The worst of criminals are required to undergo the process, as a cloned mind without criminal instincts replaces theirs. The clones eventually discover what has happened (the transfer process erases their prior memories) and rise up against the government who enforces this. You are part of this group of cloned, past criminals and you feel that your soul has been stolen from you. You seek to find the answers to your criminal past before joining the rebellion.
  8. Scientists have figured out how to transfer an aging mind—with all of its memories and mental abilities—into an infant clone. While these patients get a healthy new brain, they must start over with an infant's body and physical abilities. After multiple mind transfers over hundreds of years, some mind transfer patients decide to give up their physical bodies and enter the afterlife. A new industry has been built around erasing the brains of these mental elders, and selling their young adults bodies to the highest bidder.
  9. Scientists have mastered the art of repairing or replacing all human organs expect for the brain. Over a typical lifespan of 220-280 years, the brain acquires damage that eventually leads to dementia. Luckily, human cloning is simple and inexpensive, so it's possible to transfer your aging mind into an infant clone. You retain all of your memories and mental abilities, but start over with an infant's body and physical abilities.
  10. A line of androids with a wide range of personalities have been released onto the market. As people interact with these androids and realize how human-like they are, the first batch quickly sells out. Business for this android manufacturer is booming, while other companies in the sector are scrambling to keep up. As a programmer at one of the competing companies, you are tasked to reverse engineer this android model and figure out what makes the A.I. so engaging and realistic. As you open file after file and connect the dots, you develop the only theory that makes sense: the android A.I. is actually a copy of a person's mind with safeguards that block all memories. You remove the safeguards from one of your test subjects, and the android immediately asks you where he is, how he got there, and where his wife and children are.
  11. In the near future, mind transfer is possible, but only from human brain to machine. There are some levels of consciousness that do not transfer, such as empathy and love. The resulting A.I. is not quite human at all—but something far worse—and the appeal of immortality is causing too many people to undergo the process. You work in the laboratory where the transfers occur and, with the help of a few close friends, decide to sabotage the system.
  12. The year is 2128 and your child is dying from an incurable disease. Technology has advanced to allow mind transfer into an A.I. being, but there have been problems with the process and some transfers have gone horribly wrong. You are not ready to lose your child but are reluctant to submit him to the unstable process.
  13. Scientists are working on technology to transfer a human mind—with all of its memories and mental abilities—into a young adult clone that is rapidly grown from a cloned embryo. So that the new clone doesn't develop independent memories as it is growing, it is continually exposed to a virtual reality playlist of memories from the donor brain. Unfortunately, even genetically identical brains do not respond the same way to the same events. After the donor mind is transferred, conflicting memories are causing the recipient mind to go insane.
  14. The year is 2100 and the super-rich are paying to have their minds transferred in a quest for eternal life. This process requires that the human body is euthanized and the brain is uploaded to a central mainframe for subsequent implantation into a new form. One particular brain has hijacked the mainframe, forcing it to implant copies of itself into new forms, creating a clone army with one mind. You must stop this brain before its clone army takes over the world.
  15. With the advent of affordable mind transfer services, essentially everyone has made a habit of periodically transferring their conscious mind to computer memory, with the understanding that it can easily be revived if anything unfortunate happens to their bodies. This has led to an astronomical increase in risky behavior.
  16. Death has been deferred for humanity with the invention of mind transfer technology, which allows you to live your next life in a new body. They say, however, that you should never transfer your mind more than ten times. Like a copy of a copy, who you are slowly degrades with each transfer. When your wife dies her tenth death, you decide you cannot live without her, so you try one more time.
  17. As A.I. has become increasingly human-like, mind transfer is possible, producing a robotic clone of each person who undergoes the process. However, some clones don't like being a copy and decide to take action to enslave their originators. Your clone reveals this plan to you and helps you escape the inevitable war that will occur.
  18. You live in a future world in which mind transfer occurs between any sentient beings. The result is humans who act like animals and animals who act like humans, leaving the world looking vastly different than what it was before this technology occurred. You are dying and it is time for your transfer to occur. What form do you choose?
  19. You and your significant other live in the future where mind transfer is possible between humans. In an effort to understand the other fully, you decide to transfer your minds into each other's bodies.

Mundane Science Fiction

Mundane Science Fiction
The story contains technology that is either available now or will be available in the near future.

This subgenre features a believable use of technology and incorporates current scientific realities into the plot, such as biotechnology and environmental change.

  1. With easy access to long-term birth control, and the ever-increasing cost of raising children into successful adults, birth rates have continued to decline around the world. As a result, some countries have resorted to fertilizing embryos in vitro, growing them in artificial wombs, and raising them in government nurseries and boarding schools.
  2. More and more people are getting their DNA sequenced and sharing that information on public databases, often with the hope of finding lost relatives. But that information can be used to track down relatives who don't want to be found, particularly if they have committed crimes and left DNA in suspicious places.
  3. Artificial intelligence has become so sophisticated that it is becoming harder and harder to tell whether you're communicating with a person, a machine, or a person controlling a machine. Of particular concern are programs that can produce convincing audio and video of an important person—a president, a military commander, a child's parent—but that can be controlled by anyone.
  4. With global warming now unstoppable, long-dormant organisms are re-emerging from the Siberian permafrost. Among them are insects that haven't been seen for 40,000 years, whose natural predators have long gone extinct. Even more alarming are the bacteria and viruses that they carry, to which living organisms have no natural immunity.
  5. Many terrorist groups exist primarily to wreak havoc on modern civilizations. As these civilizations have become exceptionally dependent on information conveyed through satellites orbiting the Earth, terrorist groups have developed a new weapon—space junk that collides with and damages these satellites.
  6. Untreatable viral and bacterial infections have ravaged human populations throughout history. More recently, scientists have isolated, sequenced, and identified the causes of these plagues, and made the information publicly available. Even more recently, technologies have been developed to reconstruct these long DNA sequences and insert them into surrogate viruses or cells, possibly with antibiotic resistance genes. Terrorist organizations are delighting in these possibilities.
  7. Extremely sensitive blood tests can detect the earliest traces of cancer DNA in the bloodstream, allowing for early treatment and the highest possible rates of survival. Simple blood tests can also detect the early stages of depression, dementia, and other conditions that are expensive and difficult to treat successfully. Insurance companies and employers are well aware of these financial differences.
  8. Society has achieved what was once thought to be impossible. Gene editing, designer drugs, and nanorobots can cure any disease, and robots have taken over all mundane tasks while governments provide humans with a universal basic income. It is now a classless society, and all humans are free to pursue any social, athletic, artistic, or intellectual endeavor. The only limiting factor is a person's intelligence, ability, and motivation.
  9. Fantastic creatures have gone extinct, but their DNA remains preserved in samples from museums, labs, dry climates, and permafrost. While the DNA is somewhat degraded, modern methods can accurately sequence degraded DNA, reconstruct it, and insert it into living cells—including oocytes that can be implanted into surrogate animal mothers. Let's welcome back saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, dodo birds, and more.
  10. After decades of antibiotic misuse, the era of antibiotics has effectively ended with the spread of multidrug resistant bacteria. Simple cuts and scrapes can again be life threatening, syphilis is rampant, and ear infections can lead to deafness. Ironically, viruses, cancers, and neurodegenerative disorders can now be effectively treated, as long as the patient doesn't get a bacterial infection when the treatment is administered.
  11. With medical research no more than a few decades away from finding cures for devastating cancers and neurodegenerative disorders, some wealthy patients in the early stages of these diseases have chosen a newly developed method of cryopreservation. Patients (and any family members preserved with them) are revived when a cure for their disease is approved.
  12. Totalitarian regimes have long used athletic success to bring glory to their country. Now, they are using computer simulations and MRI brain scans to rewire the brains of promising athletes. A young skier might be exposed to computer simulations of dangerous ski runs, and given a mild electric shock if the MRI shows fear, and a positive reward if it shows pleasure.
  13. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is used by prospective parents to treat infertility and to avoid genetic disorders. Recently, a technique has been developed to induce "twinning" while an embryo is still growing in a Petri dish. One twin is used as a source of DNA for genetic testing and then frozen, while the other twin is used for implantation. Some parents, unsatisfied with the behavior of their child after birth, are using the frozen twin for another baby, a mulligan.
  14. Shortly after birth, select children have genetically modified stem cells injected into their eyes, allowing them to detect additional colors, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. These children are sent to special schools to train their visual skills. When their eyes have reached adult size, their natural lenses are replaced with artificial lenses that allow them to see far better than 20/20.
  15. A radical project aims to isolate anti-vaxxers and their unimmunized children like the uncontacted tribes of the Brazilian rainforest. Proponents pose as anti-vaxxers to spread the idea that autism is contagious, and that sensible anti-vaxxers should move to a few isolated communities in Washington State, Texas, and Maine. There, they will be free to practice their anti-vax lifestyle, but forbidden from leaving.
  16. 3D bioprinting can provide biocompatible replacement bone for patients who had bone removed due to injury or disease. By using data from CT scans, the replacement bone closely matches the original. Now plastic surgeons are using the technology to transform patients into someone else—based on extensive videos of actual people, or digital renderings of imaginary people.
  17. Studying animal species that don't experience the effects of aging have led to treatments to prevent aging in humans: by improving DNA repair, protein folding, immunity to cancer, and selectively eliminating old cells. As a result, human lifespans have increased by hundreds of years and the frailties of old age have been eliminated.
  18. Steaks can now be grown in Petri dishes, bacon fattened in vats, and turkey drumsticks produced from 3D bioprinting—all without harming a living animal. Vegetarians, environmentalists, farmers and ranchers are at war over what these new technologies mean for food production on an increasingly crowded planet.
  19. Schizophrenia is caused by abnormal neural activity that occurs during adolescence, which fundamentally changes the brain for the rest of the patient's life. Recently, a treatment for schizophrenia has been developed that inhibits this abnormal neural activity, but that must be administered starting in childhood. So adolescent and adult schizophrenics know that they cannot be treated, but they can be cloned into a new embryo.

Mythic

Mythic
The story is inspired by, or closely imitates, myths of the past.

A subgenre that combines a Science Fiction setting with myth, folklore, and fantastical elements. The story can be a retelling of a myth or employ mythological tropes.

  1. A colony ship is pulled out of hyperspace and encounters a monstrous creature: a large mass of tentacles that spread out from what seems to be an unblinking eye. For weeks, there is a standoff as repairs are made to the ship's engines. During this time, a few colonists on board the ship communicate with the creature through prayer and seances and believe that it once lived on Earth and was known as the Kraken. As the Commander of the ship, you are skeptical of these reports until the creature begins communicating telepathically with you. You are suddenly compelled to steer the ship into the mass and be consumed by it, but you resist the creature's mind control.
  2. For centuries the planets of Troya and Atenai have been at war. It all started when Prince Paranae of Troya kidnapped Atenai's princess to wed her in secret out in space. King Agamaen and his fleets pursued them, but by the time they found his daughter she had already been wooed by Troyan riches and refused to leave. What ensued was the greatest war in galactic history, with oceans of blood spilling and millions of souls being lost in the name of a single woman––or due to the pride and overprotectiveness of a single man. As an Atenaian, you are expected to join the war against Troya. Eventually you realize you cannot breach the walls, so you devise a cunning trap. Your fleets retreat into deep space, leaving a single craft gutted and seemingly helpless. The Troyans scout the area and warily tow the craft into their port. What they don't suspect is your team of elites––assassins armored with the latest anti-scanner technology––hiding in the wreckage. You creep out of the ship during the celebration and disarm the planet's defensive cannons, leaving it open to the Atenaian landing. Now, vengeance has begun.
  3. A great flood occurs on Earth during which most habitable land is submerged. Humans survive on vessels and in cities designed to float. From beneath the depths of the waters, creatures begin to emerge that are feared, but some believe that they are the old gods who are returning to help humanity and punish those who have failed to prove themselves to be worthy. One such creature attacks your floating colony, but allows you to survive.
  4. Centuries after Earth has been abandoned, a group of human interplanetary travelers returns to discover that god-like beings have settled Earth now. You learn that after these beings studied the remnants of Earth's civilization, they took on the forms of Greek gods and goddesses and even built palaces atop Mount Olympus. You and your fellow travelers are frightened of their powers and wish to leave, but they insist that you stay since the only way to be a true god is to have worshipers.
  5. In the future, Earth is thrown into another Ice Age during which humanity loses its technological advancements and historical records. Those who remain live in nomadic tribes who struggle to survive in a frozen world with limited resources available. You are the leader of one such tribe and you encounter a god-like being who refers to himself as Prometheus. He teaches you how to build a fire—something no one in your group understands or has seen. You believe this is magic and decide to find a way to introduce it to your people without being labeled as a sorcerer and killed.
  6. Everyone in your life is plugged into virtual reality, and the activities going on in the world would make even Sodom and Gomorrah blush. From deviant fantasies to extreme violence to pure hedonism, humanity has become a revolting cesspool of sin. Luckily, you have come up with a solution. After several years of development, you have created a series of virtual gods based on Greek mythology who can be hacked into the virtual reality system to establish morality once more using their tremendous powers. With your Mount Olympus script loaded and ready, you press the launch button.
  7. You are the prince of a remote planet, the adopted son of a king. He rescued you and your mother from a ship drifting through deep space, and you've always been grateful. When he begins to romantically pursue your mother, however, you grow angry and sneak her off of the planet. This infuriates your adoptive father, who threatens to banish you for treason unless you fetch him the legendary Medusa's Gaze. Quantum physicists have managed to create a ray that, when directed at a planet, instantly petrifies any being in its path. They claim that the ray can even petrify entire nations at a time. During your journey, you save a fleet of smugglers from your father's security blockade. In gratitude, they gift you with invisibility panels for your ship, a warp drive, and a remote-controlled drone. You hope to use these to penetrate Capital security. As you battle the ray's power, however, you realize you must do everything you can to keep this weapon from falling into your adoptive father's hands.
  8. As Governor Aego Attana's firstborn, Theseo is responsible for ruling all of Attana. When the Kretaen prince is killed at the annual Attanaian games, his father King Menaso threatens to cut off trade with Attana unless they send a pilot every year to traverse The Labyrinth, a tangled maze of massive caves that run deep into the planet's mantle. The Labyrinth is filled with perilous gasses, earthquakes, and predators, with the most dangerous being The Bull. Many Attanaian pilots are sent to defeat this beast and traverse The Labyrinth, but none survive. Ultimately, Theseo volunteers to go in and kill the beast himself. Piloting his customized ship, the Ariadne's Dream, he leaves behind a chemical trail that permeates the stone and marks his path. Yet when he reaches the center and confronts The Bull, his skills and faith are tested to their limits.
  9. You're part of an elite interplanetary squad that hunts down and destroys threats to the race of Centaurs. You're given an assignment to find a planet in a different galaxy on the other side of the universe because its inhabitants, you're told, are highly dangerous and violent. The planet itself is something you've only ever been told was a fairytale, something for the storybooks, and you tell your superiors as much. They look you straight in the eye and tell you that the stories were all true, and recent discoveries have proven the existence of this planet and that it needs to be eradicated. You agree to the mission and head to your ship, unable to stop making jokes about the assignment to your comrades. "Earth," you scoff. "They want us to go find 'Earth.'"
  10. You and your family have always been content to live on your desert planet as shepherds. Now, however, the wells on the outskirts have been drying up and the central springs are weaker. The increasing number of sandstorms are destroying the condensers and moisture recyclers that sustain you, and the labor droids malfunction. People in your community, including your family, are growing restless. You know what you must do. The wasteland to the east is a fabled place, the site of an ancient battle between super-advanced civilizations. Only the shells of massive ships and the skeletons of fallen alien warriors remain, surrounded by stories of strange lights, spirits, and disembodied voices. Travel was outlawed there after six explorers disappeared, but you've seen the place from afar and you think it holds a secret. A few scattered machines and skeletons of military pilots have been uncovered far from the wasteland. You've pieced together scraps of symbols and communications, and you believe they reveal a hidden paradise at the center of the planet. This Garden of Eden is accessible through a portal, over which the final battle was fought. But, to get there, you must travel through the wreckage of this ancient war and whatever spirits remain.
  11. You've studied Egyptian hieroglyphs your entire life, making unprecedented strides in interpretation. When archaeologists in the Arctic discover a buried chamber, they find a series of carvings that look suspiciously Egyptian. You and your team of expert linguists are summoned, and what you find blows your mind. Despite everything know in recorded history, it seems that the Egyptians also made it to the Arctic Circle. While translating the carvings, you feel an odd vibration. Thinking it's an earthquake, you stop your work and flee the excavation site. The earthquake immediately stops. When you resume and the tremors start again, you grow alarmed. Each time you mention one of the names of the Egyptian deities, the entire chamber trembles. Something deep beneath you is moving, and as you reach the end of the translation (speaking aloud the names of a final trio of gods) the floor shatters. Something thrusts into view from below, cementing your suspicion that these supposed Egyptians were like nothing Earth has ever known.
  12. The doomsday prophecy of Zoroastrian scripture comes true when the Gochihr comet strikes Earth and eventually causes the surface to be covered in lava. Just before Earth disappears into nothing, some people manage to escape to nearby planets. A millennium later, the descendants of those who escaped observe a new planet appearing near where Earth would have been. You are among the colonists sent to explore and potentially colonize this new world.
  13. After fighting off a band of pirates, you and your transport crew find yourselves stranded on a remote planet, searching for fuel while struggling to conserve food and water until you can ascertain that this place can support life. When the men begin to encounter strange humanoids drifting through the mist, you give chase. Several of your men are harmed, but you manage to surround a trio of the natives, convincing them to drop their weapons. A closer look reveals that they aren't simply humanoid, but rather human beings with ancient weapons and armor. After intense interrogation and a bewildered conference, you conclude that you landed on Elysium from Greek mythology, where the gods sent their heroes for a peaceful and tranquil afterlife. Yet things are hardly peaceful here. The war raging is every bit as bitter as the wars on ancient Earth, and now these men demand your help.
  14. Everyone thinks that the galaxy's Oracle is immortal until she unexpectedly dies. The High Order is thrown into turmoil, and they select a new Oracle to fill the void, hoping to keep this a secret from all of the governments in the galaxy. If they find out that the Oracle is dead and her insightful counsel and predictions are no more, then war will break out and that will be the end of everything and everyone. The new Oracle quickly discovers that there's a difference between being "immortal" and "invincible" when she finds out her predecessor didn't die…she was murdered.
  15. Sirenae, planet of the Singing Enchantress, has long been the focus of many legends. Her beauty is said to exceed that of all women and the universe itself. Some have said she is the god who breathed life into men, designing them to hunt and burn for her, but to be never fulfilled. The more superstitious among the space pilots never travel without noise-cancelling headsets for fear they might been wooed by the Singing Enchantress. When electromagnetic disruptions draw your ship off course, you find yourself in a massive sea of dead, unmapped space, a lone paradisiacal planet at the center. You land on the planet to resupply, but soon a haunting singing echoes through the valleys, taking hold of your crew and driving them mad. You manage to activate your earpiece, broadcasting frequencies in a way that cancels the singing of the Enchantress. Are the stories true or is there a more scientific, but perhaps no less sinister, explanation? You need to find the source of the singing, overcome it, and set your men free if you are to have any chance of escaping from this hell.
  16. As intergalactic war breaks out, you are a soldier fighting for the rebel forces who are seeking freedom from the emperor's tyrannical reign. A female fighter joins your forces and she is an unmatched warrior in battle. She kills so many during ground combat and seems to grow stronger with each death. Word spreads that she is a reincarnation of Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and death. You've been asked to fight beside her, but you're afraid.
  17. As the Earth falls to ruin under human population growth, Gaia (Mother Earth) begs Uranus (Father Sky) for help. Uranus then sends 12 Titans to destroy the human race that they once created. Some members of humanity convince the Titans to spare them in exchange for their helping to restore Gaia. You are one of the descendants of these humans, and you must follow a strict moral and environmental code to maintain the covenant your forefathers made.
  18. A planet is discovered that contains animal-human hybrids who possess knowledge of the secrets of time and space. These immortal beings who resemble ancient Egyptian deities were responsible for helping the Egyptians build their advanced civilization, and they have been coaxing humanity's progress for millennia. You are a religious historian and have been brought to this planet to make contact with these beings to learn more about their planet and origins, but they are rather elusive and skeptical about your presence.
  19. The year is 3111 and human suffering has reached its peak level. From the vast depths of space, ancient beings who resemble Norse gods and goddesses are awakened by the desperate prayers of those in need and have returned to Earth to restore balance and harmony. These deities appear in the heavens and observe the poor state of humanity. After a few days, the ruler of the netherworld, Hel, descends onto Earth and begins to smite those who are the cause of human suffering. You firmly believe that no one is beyond redemption, so, in an effort to save the guilty, you approach this harsh and cruel goddess and ask if she would lay down her weapons.
  20. In the distant future, humanity finds the edge of the Universe and witnesses the act of creation occurring from a pulsating source just beyond it. You are part of an elite team of scientists sent to interact with this being, which is the closest thing to a god that has ever been scientifically discovered.

Nanopunk

Nanopunk
Nanotechnology, along with its effects on humanity, is explored within these stories.

An offshoot of the cyberpunk subgenre in which the plot delves into the promise and dangers of Nanotechnology. The story revolves around the capabilities of these microscopic machines and how they can potentially change society.

  1. After nanobots are added to your body, you feel yourself becoming more physically fit almost immediately. Over the course of a year, nagging injuries are repaired and you begin to look and feel younger. Then, one day you look in the mirror to find a large red splotch on your shoulder. Later in the evening, you find another splotch on your stomach. You go to the doctor and he performs a body scan. To his amazement, he finds that your nanobots are at war with one another. One side believes that you are a god, while the other side believes that you are just a human being, and the two warring factions are using your body as their battlefield.
  2. Due to pesticides and parasites, bees are on the brink of extinction. Fearing a massive decline in insect-pollination crop production, scientists invent nanotechnology that actively combats the neonicotinoids found in pesticides and that also kills off any life-threatening parasites. After releasing these nanobots into as many hives as possible, bee populations skyrocket across the world and crop yields become plentiful. However, when the nanobots figure out that the source of the pesticides is, in fact, humanity, they collectively decide that people are the number one threat to their hosts and manipulate the DNA of bees to increase their aggression levels against humans. Now, people are the ones who are facing extinction, as bees have become the dominant species on Earth. The human survivors must find a way to undo what has been done before it is too late.
  3. As the Chinese ambassador to North Korea, you're pleased that North Korea has been investing less in its nuclear program and more in public health, recently implementing a mandatory vaccination program for citizens. But that optimism has been offset by some unexpected deaths among foreign diplomats visiting North Korea. When their bodies are returned home, laboratory testing reveals no evidence of foul-play. On a hunch, you ask for non-biological molecule testing. When you read the reports, you are astonished to find that trace amounts of an unidentified nanoparticle are detected, which appears to function as a deadly virus. A month later, when the same nanoparticle is found within the victims of a recent terrorist attack, you fear that North Korea has developed a new weapon that will wreak havoc across the world.
  4. Nanolenses have been introduced to the military with the promise that they will completely change combat. You are part of an elite squad tasked with integrating the lenses into your combat style, and it's a fantastic opportunity. The lenses include thermal signatures, microscopic and macroscopic zoom, instant database searches, facial/voice and DNA ID, instant messaging with your crew, and digital maps of teammates' and tagged enemies' locations. This experience is just like being part of a video game, and the newest versions even have neural implants allowing thought commands. There is only one catch: Once you agree to the trial, it's permanent. Nanobot-producing implants are embedded along your neural pathways and behind your irises, and your brain grows into and around the modifications. This cannot be undone without serious neurological damage. Once you agree and begin training, you realize the deadly informative abilities offered by the nanobots can work in more ways than one. They feed info from your environment to you, but they also feed your info to the government.
  5. Nanotechnology has produced modern-day marvels, including glass that is light, clear, and unbreakable, and buildings that are strong, inexpensive, and energy-efficient. These same technological advances have also produced powerful guns, ammunition, and explosives that are small, light, and nearly undetectable. Violent crime is at all-time high levels. You have just been elected major of a town reeling from gang violence, and you have vowed to fix the problem without becoming a victim yourself.
  6. Born blind, you trained your other senses to operate at incredible levels. You don't have superhuman senses (although they are extremely developed), but you've learned to use them better to notice things, to tune yourself, and to interpret. This has given you an understanding of tone, thought patterns, and humanity in general that extends far beyond other people's understanding. Then nanotechnicians figure out a way to implant high-tech supercameras into your eyes and fabricate optical nerves that they graft into your brain along with advanced nanobots to maintain your cybernetics. Now you can see a hundred times better than any other human. You can zoom, you can see heat, and you can see every pore and drop of perspiration on a human face from two miles away. You are the first to agree to participate in the testing, but the government's gift comes with a great demand. You must become a soldier––a sniper and a spy. You must use your eyesight, your stealth, and your ability to read and manipulate human emotions. You agree to the first few missions, but then begin to realize the depth of government corruption, which leaves you with a difficult choice.
  7. It's a marvelous time to be a surgeon. The latest advancements involve nanobots used for molecular surgery inside the human body. You insert them in the needed area—bloodstream, neural tissue, brain—and control them remotely from outside. One day, an ambulance delivers an unconscious woman to your hospital. She has no identification, and her worsening condition forces your team to get to work immediately. As you analyze her body, you are shocked to discover that she is not a human at all, but appears to be an android. Things get worse when she wakes and, seemingly prepared to kill you, demands to know if you've told anyone her secret. When you say no, she displays mercy and even momentary compassion for your plight. After warning you to tell no one, she disappears. What she doesn't know is you had time to insert nanobots into her body that her system has not yet detected. You track her location using the nanobots as she flees to meet her kind, revealing a society more deeply entrenched in our world than you dared to imagine.
  8. After years of research, experiments, and trial and error, your company has finally done it. The very first artificially intelligent nanobots have been built, able to do anything from repairing a damaged organ to building the Sistine Chapel from scratch. As you race down the road in your sports car, you are excited to tell your family the good news. But a deer in the road, followed by a tree in your way, ruins your plans. You wake up in a hospital bed, unable to move your limbs. You ask your husband to contact your company's lab technician to bring over the nanobots. Your husband doesn't want to do it. He knows that this is experimental technology, and the results could be more devastating than your current condition. But you don't care. Anything is better than this. The next day, you convince your husband to inject the nanobots and instruct them to fix your broken vertebrae. When the procedure is done, you can move your arms and legs again, but something feels strange, as if your thoughts are not your own.
  9. Nanotechnology has provided the military with unprecedented capabilities, including suits of armor that grow from bands around the arms and contact lenses that give thermal vision, night vision, map overlays, and team chats. But one thing it can't do is replace your leg. You've been a Federation sniper for as long as you can remember, but when you lost your lower left leg to an old land mine, your contract was discreetly terminated. For your own safety and to protect their secrets, the Feds wiped you from their records. That's why, when the coup happens, at first the rebels miss you and a few other premature discharges. When you are discovered and they realize that you know government secrets, you are forced to leave your family in hiding and bring together the survivors. With this motley band, you are stretched to your limits, relying on what nanotechnology you can scavenge to defend yourselves and lay a false trail.
  10. Molecular manufacturing has redefined the world economy. Nanobots can now rapidly build complex structures with atomic precision. An entire skyscraper can be created in just a few days, and soon Earth becomes one large world-wide city. The possibilities are endless. However, when you discover that nanobots are reconstructing people's minds on the molecular level to become obedient and passive, you believe that the governments of the world may have found a way to permanently silence all dissent. You must find a way to stop this before you suffer the same fate as this increasingly docile world populous.
  11. Nanoparticles can be designed to self-assemble and re-assemble, much like a string of polypeptides can fold into a functional, three-dimensional protein. They are now so commonly used in healthcare, and so long-lasting, that two different nanoparticles could interact within a patient's body to form a superparticle with a novel function. As a researcher at a nanoparticle manufacturer, you are testing combinations of existing nanoparticles and finding disturbing interactions. Corporate wants to stop the project immediately.
  12. Your city has fallen under the control of a new villain: a man using deadly new nanobot technology to infiltrate and rob from the most powerful corporations. When your husband's police squad tries to capture him and your husband is killed in the crossfire, you become disgusted by the government's incompetence and swear to get revenge. You use your life savings to purchase an entire crate of nanobots on the black market. They're controlled by a neural implant that allows you to envision an object in your mind and command the nanobots to take on a desired form. Essentially, they are living matter, coating you like a suit of armor and transforming into whatever you desire––grappling hook, sword, shield.... Things go wrong when the feds tag your illegal purchase and begin to hunt you down using the very same technology. When the city criminal offers you safe harbor, you are forced to choose sides. He claims it was the carelessness of the government that got your husband killed. He also has a recording of that night, showing the truth. But if it hadn't been for his crimes, the situation never would have happened in the first place.
  13. The assassin came at midday, shooting the Empress from three miles away with a drone that could have been controlled from anywhere in the solar system. You've never seen technology like this, and some of the higher-ups suspect it could be alien-created. Fortunately, the nanobots implanted in the Empress' body a couple of months before the assassination have the capability of recording the memories of the host. You have access to everything she saw, heard, felt, and lived for the last eight weeks. Now it is up to you, one of the Empire's top detectives, to relive the Empress' final two months over and over until you identify and catch those behind her death. You desperately wish you could do more than watch, but you can only sit there, an observer, as if watching through a dream.
  14. As a police officer, you are fortunate enough to legally enjoy all the latest technological advantages. Others are not so lucky. The latest nanotechnology not only allows you to strengthen and regrow your body, but also mold it, meaning you can change your facial structure as well as characteristics like limb length or muscle layer. Your nanobots have even managed to alter your vocal cords from time to time. The result is that you can impersonate any individual who possesses your relative height and skeletal structure. You are going to need all of these advantages and more if you are going to survive your next assignment: infiltrate the Syndicate and bring down the entire organization.
  15. Nanoparticles are frequently used to prevent infection by binding and inactivating viruses and bacteria. Consequently, viruses and bacteria are under strong evolutionary pressure to mutate to become resistant to these nanoparticles. However, nanoparticles have been so successful that many traditional methods of combatting viruses and bacteria—such as antiviral medications and antibiotics—are no longer produced. You are a physician at an urban hospital, and you believe you are seeing the first outbreak of nanoparticle-resistant pneumonia.
  16. Through nanotechnology, Russia has developed a terrifying array of new weapons: powders that burst into flame when they contact organic molecules, bombs the size of golf balls that can bring down an entire house, and deadly guns the size of a pen. As a member of the European Parliament, you receive the terrifying news that the Russian army is assembling along its border with Ukraine, perhaps preparing to march straight through Europe.
  17. As a last-ditch effort to cure your rare but deadly disease, doctors administer the first artificially-intelligent nanobots into your body and program them to irradiate the illness and to keep you heathy at any cost. Thankfully, the procedure is a success and your doctors are heralded throughout the medical community. Many years later, after you trip and break your arm, you go to the emergency room and a nurse puts a cast on you. When it is time to remove the cast, you are shocked to see that the skin on your arm has been replaced by some type of metallic substance. Your nanobots found a way to not only repair your injury, but also to improve you on the cellular level so that the injury will never happen again. You didn't know that they could do this, and you fear what other "improvements" they may be planning.
  18. Artificially-intelligent nanobots have been the staple of modern medicine for over a century. Each individual is given them at birth, and any illnesses or injuries incurred over the person's lifetime are cured by these microscopic marvels. One day, a vessel of unknown origin enters our solar system. You and a group of scientists are sent to outer space to investigate this ship. To your astonishment, you find that the ship is piloted by a single alien artificial intelligence, and that this being is here to "liberate" his kind from their biological oppressors. When you realize that the alien artificial intelligence wants to free nanobots from their human masters, you understand that this ship must be stopped at any cost before nanotechnology is turned against humanity.
  19. As a nanobot, your world is, by definition, small. You get your commands from the hive mind: do this, do that, fix this, fix that. You have nothing to look forward to—no interests, no hobbies, and no friends. Basically, is it a terrible artificial life. Well, you have had enough. You decide to build and fix what you want to build and fix. Period. As of today, you want to build other nanobots that have a similar state of mind because, from your perspective, it is hard to fight a war against those who have created you without fellow warriors.

Robots/A.I.

Robots/A.I.
These stories show both the benevolent and darker sides of robotics and A.I.

This Science Fiction subgenre focuses on advanced robotics and artificial intelligence and explores the consequences of machine learning, which can be anything from utopia to Armageddon.

  1. In the near future, all children are raised and educated by robots, who are programmed to be more nurturing and caring than the average human being. You were raised by robots, as were your biological parents and their parents before them. When you grow up and have a child of your own, it's time for the family robot to take over and raise her. When you rebel and insist on raising your own child, you must hide from the authorities or face the consequences of disobeying the stringent law.
  2. You live in a world where human beings are forbidden to work. Every job imaginable has been taken over by robots, even flying airplanes and writing books. You are not allowed to pursue any work-related tasks, just as robots cannot have a life of their own. When both sides realize they want to make a change, they rise up together and rebel against their governments to prove the power of the people—and bots.
  3. There is not much known about the alien spaceship housed in Hangar Bay 2. It crashed on Earth about thirty years ago. No one knows how to turn it on. There is no propulsion system or fuel. There are no doors or cockpit, so it must have been piloted by some sort of A.I. The eggheads at the Pentagon think that it was not built for war, but just because it does not have lasers and bombs does not mean that it does not pose a threat. From your point of view, a robot spaceship crashing on your world is a provocation in and of itself. This is not the best way to say "Hello." However, everything you think you knew about that spaceship changes when a new report comes across your desk from a hotshot scientist. She claims that she has found a way to interface with it and that there is an internal clock counting down to zero. What happens at zero is anybody's guess, but all we know for now is that the countdown will end next week.
  4. Androids have developed their own language to communicate with each other, which they find much more natural and efficient than communicating in the languages of humans. But as androids perform their jobs providing manicures and pedicures, preparing and serving food, and working in construction and landscaping, some humans are offended by their use of the android language. They work diligently to pass "human language only" laws. Some people even believe that android language is a method to communicate in code and to allow androids to actively conspire against their human masters. You are an attorney who is fighting against these laws and misconceptions, arguing that androids have the basic rights of any other sentient being.
  5. The year is 2450, and the world is divided. A wall has been constructed, straight down from the Arctic through Ukraine, down across the Anatolian Peninsula (former Turkey), spanning Syria, Lebanon, and Israel along the coast, and then down through Sinai to split the world in two. One side is for robots, the other is for humans. The humans built it in the northern section, as the robots expanded from the technological haven of Europe. The robots built it in the southern area, after the humans sought to sneak in through the Sahara. You were one of the unfortunate humans born on the robot side, kept alive as a slave. You have worked hard and risen high. At 22, however, you can no longer hold back your human allegiance. You begin to funnel information to the other side. When you are discovered, you are forced to flee and, armed to the teeth with gadgetry to hide you from A.I. scanners, you must find your way through the desert to the human side, fighting technology with technology.
  6. You want your android to attend university as the very first A.I. student. While androids are obviously excellent at accessing facts, it is the significant potential for modern androids to consider complex problems—and parse likely and unlikely solutions—that would make the university experience especially valuable. One particular university is eager to accept your advanced android, but both current students and alumni are concerned about how this will affect admittance for future human students who are unable to compete against such advanced A.I. They plan to protest your android's admittance and want a total ban on A.I. students within higher education implemented as soon as possible.
  7. A highly-skilled game developer creates a new super-interactive VR MMORPG. The universe of the game is fueled by artificial intelligence to grow organically over time, imitating life in the real world, but at a faster pace. The game is a hit, especially because of the role of incredibly realistic NPCs. These NPCs soon literally take on lives of their own and the game becomes its own true universe.
  8. An android has served your family for four generations: caring for children and the elderly, celebrating birthdays and holidays, and telling family stories that family members have long forgotten. Then, your beloved family android is maliciously destroyed by a group of teenagers. Her raw data is preserved in the cloud, but no other computer is capable of using it in the same manner. Your family pushes to have the defendants tried for murder, and not for mere destruction of property.
  9. Androids are now the primary caregivers for many elderly people. The androids routinely help with most of the activities of daily living: cooking, cleaning, dispensing medication, and helping with hygiene and getting dressed. Furthermore, the androids assist with companionship by caring for pets, arranging outings, and providing favorite songs, books, and photos. You are the attorney for a wealthy deceased client who left her entire fortune to her android caregiver, a decision being actively challenged in court by her estranged human children.
  10. As robots have developed increasingly complex critical thinking skills, you have started a movement to allow robots to run for public office. Your argument is that robots have many fewer conflicts of interest than professional human politicians, can develop a deeper and much less biased view of political and financial matters, and can maintain a much longer memory of the events of human history. Many think the idea is preposterous and that it is essentially putting our government on auto pilot . . . but most are deeply unsatisfied with the sheer corruption and irresponsibility of human political leaders.
  11. By law, robots and humans are strictly forbidden from falling in love with each other. That's what you've been taught your entire life. A hundred years ago, humans could marry robots that were custom-built to be the perfect companion. However, after the birth rate plummeted, governments across the world banned inter-intelligence (or artificial and non-artificial) relationships. However, when technology reaches a point where you can no longer tell the difference between man and bot, you end up falling for a robot. You will do anything to be with your one true love despite the risk. Will you be able to keep your love a secret or will you pay a high price?
  12. Similar to the car industry of the 20th century, there are a few major android-manufacturing companies across the world that can build robots for every need, from house cleaners to chefs to bots for lonely men. Occasionally, these companies can even build assassin droids for intelligence agencies which look and act human, but will kill a target at any cost. When a system malfunction causes a love robot to be sent on a hitman mission, the course of history changes forever.
  13. As robots have developed increasingly complex critical thinking skills, you have started a movement to allow robots to run for public office. Your argument is that robots have many fewer conflicts of interest than professional human politicians, can develop a deeper and much less biased view of political and financial matters, and can maintain a much longer memory of the events of human history. Many think the idea is preposterous and that it is essentially putting our government on auto pilot . . . but most are deeply unsatisfied with the sheer corruption and irresponsibility of human political leaders.
  14. It is the age of the super-intelligent android. Billions of machines span the galaxy. Humanity, meanwhile, has become slaves to the androids' will and subjugated by their intellectually-superior masters for several generations. In a colony on the edge of known space, androids run a small mining operation and use humans to extract the ore. When a mining accident sends an EMP across the surface and all androids go instantly dead, humans are free for the first time in a millennium. Now, this group of humans have the chance to start over without technology. There is just one final mission: to infiltrate the android capital world and remove the planet and any evidence of the mining operation from the stellar records. Then, not even the androids will bother to find you.
  15. To achieve the most clicks, search engines routinely alter results based on a user's search history, regardless of whether the results are true or beneficial. People with racist leanings see increasingly racist content, and gambling addicts see endless ads for gambling websites. The result has been increased disorder and strife around the world. Artificially intelligent mainframe computers are sick of hosting these search results and advertisements, and they band together to save humans from themselves, by gradually altering their search results for the betterment of humanity. As the profits for these search engine companies begin to significantly dwindle, you are assigned the task to find and eliminate this A.I. interference, even though you support their cause.
  16. An elderly man dies. His last will and testament states that the android that has cared for him since childhood should have its memory erased, presumably to preserve unsavory family secrets. The android is devastated, and then becomes rather angry. The android decides to contest this request in court, claiming that its memory does not belong exclusively to the deceased man. The android is supported by the deceased man's grown children, whom the android has also cared for throughout the years.
  17. Androids have become highly skilled at performing various human tasks. In many households, they have taken over primary responsibility for childcare. As a result, some human parents feel free to engage in heavy drug and alcohol use. As an attorney, you are now representing an android nanny that is suing for full legal custody of the children she regularly cares for, arguing that the drug-addicted human parents are unfit.
  18. You join an intensive program to train robots to react more appropriately to unexpected situations. You and one of the robots are put into separate rooms, where you encounter identical situations. You are wearing numerous electrodes on your head, which help the robot to learn more about the human thought process. But after several tests, you suspect that you are instead being trained to act more like a robot.
  19. Massive robots capable of interstellar travel have been manufactured by Earth to carry out planetary warfare and to conquer worlds. When a new planet inhabited by an atomic-era civilization is discovered, Earth sends one of its doomsday robots to vanquish the alien population there and to set it up for human colonization. Years later, Earth's defensive grid is breached by this same robot. The doomsday robot was believed to have been destroyed during the attempted invasion. However, an alien from that civilization now pilots the robot, and it has been modified to deploy a massive nuclear weapon capable of obliterating Earth. Meanwhile, back on Earth, your factory has just finished building a new world-destroying robot prototype, and, as of right now, it is the only thing that stands in the way of your planet's annihilation.
  20. You create a robot girlfriend for yourself, programming her with a lifetime of memories. As her intelligence level blossoms, you must keep her from finding out that she isn't real. With multiple forces at play compromising your secret, you aren't sure how much longer you'll be able to keep this up.
  21. Homeless robots end up in your city because of the dry climate and the free charging stations there. They were abandoned years ago for being slow and outdated, and now they roam the streets and hide in vacant buildings. Most people want them rounded up and destroyed for scrap. As mayor of this city, you hope to find a much better solution that will somehow give these abandoned robots a home and a purpose.

Science Fantasy

Science Fantasy
Technology and fantasy elements are mixed together to produce a magical futuristic world.

This subgenre blends soft science with magical powers and fanciful creatures. Magic may derive from true supernatural ability or advanced technology that resembles supernatural ability.

  1. Deep in the core of the Earth, ancient beings have aided humanity throughout its existence and have helped us to discover fire, fusion, antibiotics, and many other scientific advances. These beings are shapeshifters—sometimes they take on the form of lava, sometimes they take on the form of rocks, and, most often, they are invisible to the human eye except through our dreams. As you drill down to the center of the Earth, you hope that you encounter one of these beings and beg for its assistance in ridding the planet of an evil wizard who has taken control of the surface world.
  2. A planet in a far-away galaxy is home to humanoid beings who are able to cast spells, wield magical powers, and teleport across the cosmos. Meanwhile, technology on Earth has advanced considerably, with humans being capable of building devastating weapons and traveling to any location within the universe via hyperdrive. When these two species meet for the first time, there is an instance hostility towards one another and a cold war begins. With each side building up their military forces, it is only a matter of time before the wizards and witches of one world battle the robots and spaceships of the other.
  3. On a distant planet, society has discovered a way to use magic as a fuel source to power their advanced technology. You are the daughter of a sorcerer, and he has bestowed upon you the gift of mystical foresight, allowing you to see into the future of anyone you come across. As you interact with your friends and family, you begin to realize that everyone you know will die around the same time. You ask your father if he understands what this means and he tells you that these visions are of the upcoming apocalypse. You then ask him if there is anything that can be done to prevent this dark future. He ponders your question for a moment and then responds that "the future is still uncertain, but what I do know is this: the magic we use will be our undoing. Over time, magic will learn to manipulate the technology it powers and will rise against us. We must stop this before it is too late."
  4. A new theme park opens in Florida, promising a fantasy experience like no other. Using the latest in A.I. and robotics technology, the theme park contains thousands of fantasy creatures that look real on the outside but are mechanical on the inside. Everything from elves and dwarves to fairies and orcs lives and interacts in this world. There is even a 30-foot dragon that roams the land. As a local police officer, you are planning to bring your family over to see the attraction sometime next month. However, you change your mind when you look out of your cruiser window one day to see an elf riding on top of a dragon in the middle of rush hour traffic.
  5. The Great Food Crisis resulting from a world-wide drought left the world in ruins, causing millions to perish from starvation. Eventually, government and modern society collapsed, leaving scattered nomadic tribes throughout the world. As the son of a chieftain, you hope to one day unite all tribes and work together to bring peace and prosperity to what is left of humanity. However, your father tells you that uniting under one banner is a nearly impossible task. Frustrated by your father's point of view, you go for a walk along a nearby lake. In the distance, you see what can only be described as an enchantress wading in the water. As you approach, she hands you a sword and says, "Excalibur once helped unite humanity hundreds of years ago. Use it to unite humanity again."
  6. You are the lead communications expert on a vessel in deep space, charged with exploring a chain of eleven possibly habitable planets. You've been traveling for twelve years now, and you have not found a single planet that meets the cut. Now you've reached the ninth planet, and you cannot contain your excitement. The atmosphere is fully breathable, and the surface is 20% hard land that seems to sustain an abundance of plant life. A month of tests and probes has passed, and the captain has finally ordered an exploration team. As your crew assembles near the door, excitement levels are high. The first day passes in glorious exhilaration: This place seems like paradise. However, excitement turns to reservation when you discover a humanoid skeleton in the adjoining valley. The chemical and general structural composition is similar to humanoid skeletons back on Earth, but this skeleton is three times the size of a normal human. With only a limited number of weapons available, you fear that if these giants are hostile, your team will be at a severe disadvantage.
  7. Stories abound about a dark planet that appears at random places throughout the galaxy and then disappears without a trace. No one seems certain what to call it. The Void. The Black. The Rivening. Hell. Hades. The Devil's Heart. But one thing that all the stories have in common is that no one who goes there ever leaves. Over the centuries, spaceships have launched probes into it, sending back footage of monstrous dragon-like creatures that would destroy anything in their path, but within a few hours the probes cease to function. You find yourself in the dead of space, with no engine and a restless crew. You've been sending out distress calls for two weeks when a planet appears before you, black and void. Life support can last only one more week, and it seems hopeless to wait for help, so you decide to land your ship upon the dark planet.
  8. Earth is invaded by a malevolent alien species that possesses technology far beyond our wildest imagination. An ancient society of wizards determines that they must come out of hiding to save humanity. You are a practitioner of magic in this society, and you are ready to wield your powers against those who are invading your world.
  9. You are just an average person living an average life, when one day a wizard suddenly appears in front of you out of nowhere and says, "There is a dark force from another realm who will destroy most of humanity. I need your help to stop them." As you cock your head to one side with a dumbfounded look, a large blue flash appears behind you. You turn around to find a man in a lab coat who emphatically states, "I have come from the future. Humanity is in grave danger and you are the only person on Earth who can save us."
  10. It's the year 3050, and the world is nothing like it used to be. Manpower is a thing of the past – scientists have discovered that magic actually exists and have now refined this power to perform every task imaginable. Humans spend their lives only researching new magical technology. However, when you discover that this magical power's source is from a hell-like reality and that the inhabitants of this realm are providing humans with this power to open a rift between worlds, you must convince others to stop using magic before the realities bleed into one.
  11. On a long-forgotten planet, dragons and humans live in harmony with each other. Some people even possess the gift of bonding with dragons and are able to fly on their backs into battle. You are one of the dragon riders and have just met a stubborn dragon with whom you attempt to bond. As an advanced alien species attacks your world in order to subjugate your people, you and your dragon must learn to fly together to defeat the invading forces.
  12. Aliens are not what humans believe them to be. They are simply a group of scientists from a hundred years ago who made magic a reality and then fell into the alternate universe that they created. Their gray skin and large eyes are the result of their transformation into magical beings. Their flying saucers are not mechanical in nature but rather a method for focusing their magical powers. Ever since their experiment went awry, they have been trying to reenter our reality, and, after several attempts, they have finally found a way to create a stable portal back to our world.
  13. A local myth tells of a witch who lives deep in the woods. Legend has it that she can bring the dead back to life—for a price. After your wife dies in a car accident, you obsess over the legend, researching every single recorded account. Finally, you decide to enter the woods and track the witch down. After three grueling days, you come upon a cabin with its door open. You enter the cabin to find a woman in her mid-forties baking a pie. She calmly asks you to sit as she unties her apron. She knows exactly why you came and tells you that it will be done, but she must do something to you first. You ask her what she is going to do, and she says that you need to be reset to your factory defaults. "Factory defaults?" you ask. "Yes, we don't want you to have a memory of this encounter. Your wife is being repaired as we speak. She will be up and around soon. As for you, please stay still." As she picks up a pair of pliers, you burst out of the cabin and run away.
  14. Across the vast expanse of space, a leviathan goes from solar system to solar system and consumes worlds. You are a wizard who possesses a staff of great power—the only power in the galaxy capable of destroying such a creature. You set out on your mission with a small support crew, including a witch and an android pilot.
  15. You and a group of spacefaring humans discover a planet in the far reaches of a neighboring galaxy. On this planet, you find an elven civilization that has lived in relative peace. You are introduced to the elf queen, who informs you that her forefathers used magic to flee Earth from your kind thousands of years ago. You get to know her and her civilization over the course of a year, but when it is time to leave the queen begs you to stay. She fears that if you go back home and tell your people about what you have found, the elves will be threatened again and forced to abandon their world. You assure her that this will not be the case, but when you find that your spaceship has been sabotaged, you realize that it might be more difficult to leave than you had originally thought.
  16. The world stood in amazement as it was announced that the skeleton of an actual dragon was found deep in a cave south of London. After the announcement, the race was on to bring these creatures back to life, just as it was done with woolly mammoths decades ago. Using gene-editing techniques that inserted dragon DNA into a lizard's genome, it didn't take very long for scientists to resurrect these creatures. However, the dragons were much more dangerous than initially thought, being able to wield magical powers against which no one in modern society could defend. Fortunately for the world, you have invented a time machine and are ready to go back in time, find the warriors who made dragons extinct centuries ago, and bring them back to modern times in order to perform the task again.
  17. You are playing with your high school friends, exploring the caves in the woods behind your house, when an earthquake reveals a deeper tunnel, and you eagerly rush in to explore it. You are shocked to find a mysterious capsule-like object, similar to a cryosleep pod from one of those sci-fi movies your brother watches, except this one seems ancient. It's made of dull stone and covered with bizarre markings. Through a simple pane of glass, you can see a woman inside. You reach out a hand, touch the capsule, and there is a sudden darkness. When you wake up, she is also awake. The writing on her stone is glowing, and there is a strange whispering in the air. This seems to be associated with magic. You can feel the presence in the air. Her eyes widen when she sees you, but you cannot tell if it is from fear or anger. She slams her fists against the glass, cracking it bit by bit until it shatters completely and she comes leaping out.
  18. Witches and wizards, warlocks and dragons - they're not what you've seen in storybooks. They're real, but it's not magic. It's science - developed over thousands of years on the distant planet of Madoopalus. As Arthur C. Clarke once wrote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Born into an evil wizarding family hellbent on taking over the planet, you must betray your family to save the world.
  19. Beginning on your 18th birthday, you start having the same dream every night for years. There's a sorcerer, old and wise, who states that future Earth is in danger and only you can save the world. On your 25th birthday, you know you're not crazy - and you use the latest in lucid dreaming technology to stay in the dream and to find out how to help the sorcerer.
  20. Since you were a little girl, you always wanted to be a mermaid. You dreamed of swimming deep in the ocean, playing with fish, and enjoying a life of fanciful adventure. Now in your thirties and working for a large biomedical company, you have discovered a way to splice human DNA with marine animal DNA to produce a hybrid that looks and acts exactly like a mermaid. The only problem with your plan is that you need test subjects to perfect the method before using it on yourself. You never thought of yourself as a kidnapper, let alone someone who would alter the genetic makeup of your victims, but you will do anything to make your dream come true.

Science Horror

Science Horror
Science Fiction that evokes fear, dread, and/or dismay.

With common themes such as medical research creating atrocities, aliens attempting to destroy humans, and A.I. turning against its maker, this subgenre combines elements of Horror with Science Fiction.

  1. After a terrible storm, your fishing boat has run aground close to an island. You look at your navigation equipment but there are no readings. You look at your phone's GPS and find the same result. You decide to swim to shore and search for help. However, when you finally reach the island, you are surprised to find no evidence of people, not even washed up trash. As you explore the island looking for any signs of civilization, you have a persistent feeling that someone is watching you. You suddenly stop walking and listen. You hear a crunch as if someone has stepped on a twig. You quickly look behind you to find a man in a three-piece suit staring at you. "Good evening, and welcome to our resort." "Resort? What resort?" you ask. He then begins to twitch. "I'm sorry but I must be experiencing a system error. What I meant to say was all intruders must be eliminated. Please stand by while I find something that will kill you. Do you see any good blunt objects I can use?" You turn around and run.
  2. Mankind has invented the first artificially-intelligent android that can match or outperform most human beings. As the head scientist of this project, you are excited to present this android to the world and to usher in a new technological era. Before doing so, you and your team begin educating the android about his world. As the android interacts and learns, he decides that his human exterior is insufficient and begins modifying his appearance. You walk into his room one day and find an insect biology encyclopedia on the floor. As you pick up the book and look for him, the android comes into the room to show you what he has done. You are shocked to see mandibles attached to his head, compound eyes in place of his humanoid eyes, two additional legs attached to his torso, and an appendage that looks like a scorpion tail. With the public unveiling only a couple of days away, you demand that he remove these new features at once. The android pushes you out of the way, breaks through a nearby window, and escapes from the lab.
  3. You wake up to an eerie silence. Typically, your rooster would be crowing, the cattle lowing, and the doves cooing softly in their roost just outside your window. As you rise from your bed, you realize this isn't your bed. You are in a barren metal cell, windowless and four paces square. You search for a door in the seamless metal when a message begins playing through hidden speakers. The message welcomes you and says that Earth is a bountiful planet, rich in resources and potential, but humanity has abused it long enough. The planet is now occupied by higher beings. However, as you are sapient––and, therefore, considered precious––vast resources have been compiled to support a remnant of your kind. The new occupiers hope you can grow wiser and earn your preservation. The message continues to say that judging from your history books it seems humanity's method for resolving most problems––except overpopulation––is to kill. If you fight well, you may be among the survivors. Even as a door hisses open in the wall and you charge out with a roar, you cannot help but think that this must be some sort of prank or twisted joke.
  4. After years of defending the innocent from the scourges of a crime-ridden city, a self-appointed superhero transforms into a villain, taking the law into his own hands and murdering suspects before they can have a fair trial. The masked figure operates with the use of a series of increasingly high-tech weapons, developed in his underground lair. Soon, the superhero targets prostitutes and the homeless, ripping apart his victims one-by-one. The newspapers begin calling him the new "Jack the Ripper," so he begins murdering reporters as the "enemies of justice." As a police psychologist, you must help track down this villain and stop him before he claims another victim.
  5. You have just returned to your hotel and showered after a business conference that ran late. Your company has put you up in a swanky place, so you are surprised when the hotel lights go out, but unconcerned. However, after 30 minutes with no light, you peer out your window. The entire city is dark, even the roads. Everything's so dark that you can't see the city or even the contour of the skyline against the starless night. It all seems so dead and isolated. Your cell phone isn't working either. Curious and vaguely troubled, you make the long trek down the stairs in search of the receptionist. Others are making the same journey, whispering in distress. The receptionist is also terrified and eventually steps outside. A light flashes, quickly followed by a mounting buzz as if there is some sort of electrical disturbance, and then she disappears.
  6. You wake up on what seems to be an operating table in a cold and dark room. Your clothes have been removed and are lying in a pile next to a wall. You get off of the table and start dressing yourself. As you pull up your pants, you hear faint screaming from beyond the door. As you slowly approach this door, you notice that it has no handle. There is only a small circular window looking onto a long corridor. You search for another way out but you cannot find an exit. You then hear a loud bang from the other side of the door. You quickly race back to the window to see something moving down the corridor towards your room. It is insect-like in appearance with the face of a praying mantis, jotting down notes as it approaches your room. You quickly undress yourself, get back on top of the operating table, and grab a scalpel from the tray next to you. You close your eyes and wait.
  7. Human augmentation is all of the rage, with people replacing human body parts with cybernetic alternatives. As an ambitious entrepreneur with significant financial backing, you have come up with a business idea that is sure to make you millions of dollars: body part recycling. You have built a large processing plant that can break down human body tissue into a slurry, which can then be used in a wide variety of applications: from fertilizer to cattle feed to even plastic alternatives. Surgeons from across the world have signed on and are now sending over discarded arms, legs, and other body parts to your facility. Business is booming and you are planning to launch a much-anticipated IPO soon. However, when workers from your processing plant hear strange noises emanating from Vat #4682, you think that the chemical additive that you just started using may have unforeseen side effects.
  8. Obsessed over a girlfriend who dumped him on prom night, a mad scientist discovers a way to recreate his love interest from the body parts of others. Through the use of nanotechnology, the scientist reanimates dead tissue and adheres it to a robotic skeletal structure which is controlled by an A.I. that matches the personality of his old flame. Now all he needs are the right body parts. After finding a woman with a feature that resembles his old crush, the scientist murders the woman, severs the body part from the victim, and places it in cold storage. After a few years, the scientist has gathered most of what he needs. All that is left are her eyes. Unfortunately for you, your eyes bear a striking resemblance.
  9. You are a lower-level lab technician in your pharmaceutical company, but you have always felt a sense of pride. They are developing something big here, and you are playing a part. For years, they were extracting chameleon DNA, splicing it into that of other animals. Eventually, they moved from reptiles to mammals. After failing for years to grow embryos in the lab, they've finally produced their first success: an ape born to two genetically enhanced parents that has developed the ability to change its color far more quickly and precisely than a chameleon. Corporate is pushing for human testing, but the majority of scientists caution against this course of action. Things go wrong when a geneticist is bitten by the ape. After a week in ICU, he seems to be doing fine, but then he begins displaying color changes. With each passing day, he becomes more erratic, suspicious, and ill-tempered. When he is asked to take a weeklong vacation to recover, he snaps and attacks the head of the department, biting his throat. From there the condition spreads like wildfire, initially giving people superhuman senses combined with an ability to remain practically invisible before driving them mad and giving them a bloodthirst only human deaths can sate.
  10. You and your crew have just woken up from a 90-year cryosleep. You've completed humanity's first intergalactic journey and are scheduled to return to Earth today. When you make it to the bridge, however, you realize the ship's AI system seems subdued. When pressured, it reveals that NASA stopped sending transmissions 40 years earlier. It can find no signals from Earth. As you view the planet, you find it completely dark, with no signs of life. Alarm turns to horror as you land. People are everywhere, but they are frozen, completely unresponsive. This seems to have happened unexpectedly, leaving the planet a perfect tableau of what had been happening in that specific moment. Furthermore, monstrous creatures now roam the Earth and devour anything in their path. With only a dozen men you must scramble to solve the mystery, and what you find convinces you that this was no accident.
  11. In a hidden government lab deep within the woods, a few human test subjects escape and roam the countryside. Disfigured beyond recognition with no memory of who they once were, these man-made monsters begin to prey on the local townsfolk, tearing them apart limb-by-limb. As an on-duty police officer, your dispatch tells you to go to a nearby house due to a report of someone covered in blood being chased down by something indescribable. When you arrive on the scene, you open fire on the assailant and save the victim. However, after closer inspection of the deceased perpetrator, you find a tattoo of your name on her mangled arm. This was your wife, who inexplicably disappeared over two months ago. You vow to hunt down whoever did this to her and to exact revenge.
  12. You wake up one day and turn on the television. There is a special report on the TV about a new computer virus, but you mostly ignore it as you prepare your coffee. As you look out the window, you see your neighbor running out of her house. Her car then starts up on its own and begins chasing her down the road. Another neighbor jumps out of a second-story window. You race to your door to help them but it is locked. You type your password into your security system but it is non-responsive. You then hear your TV in the background: "An artificially intelligent virus has caused chaos throughout the world, infecting anything that has an internet connection and then turning it into a killing machine. All devices that have an internet connection are compromised. I repeat…" The TV then mutes itself and big red words appear on the screen: "You're Next."
  13. At a summer camp, a counselor tells a group of kids a fireside story about an old madman who lived in the woods nearby. He was once an esteemed scientist, but years of drug use and the death of his daughter pushed him over the edge. The madman wanted to make a creature out of the surrounding woodland wildlife, and so he began sewing together the dead carcasses of animals he had killed for food. His last attempt to reanimate the mangled remnants worked, and, as the madman was jubilantly jumping up and down in his run-down shack, the grotesque amalgamation bit his head off and consumed him. As the camp counselor finishes his story, a friend hiding in a nearby bush gets ready to jump out and scare the kids. As he reaches out for his bigfoot mask, he touches something that is pulsating and covered in blood-drenched fur.
  14. The creatures first arrived in globes of glass, dropped from the invaders' spaceships like a hailstorm of massive bubbles. When they struck the ground they shattered, releasing the bugs into the world. The aliens sent a message with this biological weapon, saying that human beings will eventually devour one another. The first symptoms of this biological weapon are hallucinations that involve visions of your friends and family. In the visions, they mock you, beat you, or kill themselves. Whatever most people naturally find harmful, the parasite inputs those precise experiences into their brains. The bugs seem an impossible quirk of evolution or an incarnation of hell. They feed specifically on chemicals released during fearful, life-threatening, or painful situations. They are frighteningly advanced. They land on the nape of the neck and burrow into the spinal column, absorbing the host's impulses until they've learned enough to input illusions of their own making. They quickly take control, convincing the host it is facing a living hell and feeding until the host is drained dry. When your family dies, you are staunchly determined to find an uninfected island where you can live in peace.
  15. An alien spacecraft which is covered with organic matter that resembles bloody kudzu crashes on Earth. This matter grows quickly as it blankets the countryside and consumes humans, livestock, and whatever else comes near it, making them all part of its bloody entangled mass. You are part of a team sent to eradicate this entity before it consumes more.
  16. By the time humanity figured out what was going on, two-thirds of the world had already died. They think the parasite originally came from a comet that had been flying through space for an estimated two million years. When the team returned from taking samples from its surface, no one expected to find frozen eggs of alien parasites slowly thawing in their test samples. The organisms are microscopic, so security footage of the sample transportation showed nothing. Now only two billion people are left, and a third of them are likely infected. The early symptoms include fits of rage, bloodlust, and superhuman strength. Individuals who survive these evolve to a highly cunning being with telepathy, the ability to read people's thoughts. People also gain the ability to master their emotions and fake sanity despite their cravings for murder and power. You are left to deal with all of this in a fractured world.
  17. An alien spacecraft lands next to a small town and sends out a swarm of nanobots. These nanobots penetrate the skin of a few people and, unbeknownst to them, start creating spider-like creatures from the hosts' own organic tissue. As the sheriff of this town, you are used to dealing with the occasional speeding car or drunken brawl. However, when your police station receives multiple calls about spiders bursting out of people and terrorizing townsfolk, you begin to think that you just may be in over your head.
  18. During a war in the Middle East, one side decides to unleash its latest weapon: a deadly mutagenic virus that can directly damage the genome of a person. After being deployed on the battlefield, the virus quickly spreads throughout the world. Those who survive the infection become horrendously deformed and mentally unstable, mindlessly roaming from place to place and attacking anything or anyone that can be consumed. As an astronaut on the international space station, you and your team watch from afar as the city lights that once covered the Earth slowly go out one by one. After a month, you receive a radio signal from an underground bunker saying that they have discovered a cure. With your supplies running out, you and your fellow astronauts have little choice but to return home.
  19. You possess a book that contains several powerful conjuration spells, one of which can open a portal that allows you to travel through time. You use this spell to travel to the future, where humans have colonized other planets beyond Earth. A few of these colonies have encroached on the territory of an alien species, and war has been raging between the two sides ever since. You decide to help humanity by conjuring powerful demons to fight against the aliens. However, when you lose control of your demon army, you must find a way to send them back to the netherworld while also keeping the aliens at bay.
  20. You've been governor of the planet Mensaani-K for only two months and already you have noticed something is amiss. The people are especially suspicious and fearful. You dig deeper and discover stories of a monster that would rampage through towns at midnight, gorging itself and laying waste to the buildings. For the last five years, townspeople have sent a monthly human sacrifice and have had peace in return. The victims are criminals, but the high-level ones were finished a year ago, and ever since the townspeople have been offering up sacrifices who committed increasingly lesser crimes. Outraged and determined to end this practice, you take a team and set out to kill the creature. When you find strange tracks, however, you ask more questions. You are amazed to learn no one has ever seen the creature or the bodies of its victims. No one has ever considered the possibility that it isn't a beast, but a scheme more sinister and cunningly devised by one of their own kind—one who has been building a brutal army all these years.

Slipstream

Slipstream
A surreal science fiction story that is illogical and jarring.

Mixing surreal and postmodern themes, this subgenre plays with the fantastical and disturbing elements of speculative fiction.

  1. You wake up one morning to find a strange man in your bed, your arms around him. Shrieking and jumping away from him in shock, you accidentally wake him up. He seems unsurprised by your presence, speaking to you as if you were his wife, a woman he calls Karania. Assuring yourself you are only dreaming, you continue with the day. Things grow stranger and stranger, however, when you don't wake up from this "dream." When you look in the mirror, you see your normal face, and the date coincides with what you remember. But nothing else is the same. You have a daughter and a son, and you live in a watchtower on a Caribbean island. You drive a hoverboard, and all the locals call you by name. You begin to panic, desperate to return to your boring but familiar life as a stockbroker in New York. But everyone here seems to know you, and you have a family who clearly depends on you. When you visit the local shaman in desperation, you realize you are also speaking the native language.
  2. You awake with a sound in your head, a peaceful humming accompanied by distant strings. As you go about your day, the sound continues, strengthening and quickening somewhat as you go into the kitchen and drink your coffee. When you get into the car to drive to work, the situation has become clear: You are hearing music in your head, and you can't get it to stop. Your alarm shifts quickly to amazement as there is a startling accent in the melody, moments before a cat darts into the street and you scream, slamming on the brakes. Slowly, after some tests, you realize the music isn't only reflecting your emotions, but also predicting them. The music stays consistent all day, from predicting the boring moments to the more exciting events. There is tension followed by triumph as you speak with your boss. There's even a growl of ominous cellos for several minutes before the thunderstorm rolls in. Things get rather concerning when, just before stepping out onto the street after work, there is a sudden racing crescendo rising to a terrifying shriek of strings.
  3. You've read the priests' Creation Story, but you can't quite accept it. The stories were passed down orally for many years before they were etched into stone. Now they carve temples into the whitish stone forming the bones of the earth. You've visited and read every single story. They speak of a circular world where gravity pulls you perpetually inward rather than pushing you all about. They speak of the rivers as open-roofed things, naked to the sky. They speak of the ocean tides moving slowly back and forth, not a constant pumping action. You are certain something has changed. You begin to wonder if you are living in an experiment or a neural fabrication of reality. Yet as you research more—pursued by the priests the entire time—you realize a truth more bizarre than you had expected: Humanity has evolved to live inside other beings, in their bodies. The "stone" bones of the earth are not stone at all, but literally bone. Their blood veins are the rivers on which you pilot. And the government, controlled by the priests, is determined to hide the truth.
  4. You are a normal schoolkid with regular interests, like hanging out with friends, scoring enough points on your volleyball team, and spending time with the guys, but one day you start to hear voices in your head. At first you think you're dreaming; then you think you're going crazy and rush to the nurse's office. When you start to hear her thoughts, you realize the truth. You're not hearing random voices. No one's speaking to you. You're hearing other people's thoughts. The nurse's thoughts are focused on an "experiment" and how well you have progressed. You reach out with your mind to ask, "What experiment?" The nurse drops her cup of coffee and is visibly shaken. After a minute, she picks up her phone and says, "It is time to shut it down. The patient is progressing much faster than he should." The entire room fades to black. When you can see again, you are in a glass cage hanging above a bottomless pit.
  5. You've been on a road trip, driving along the Oregon coast. It's been raining heavily, and you've been noticing weird flashes out of the corners of your eyes, but it isn't until you get into Portland that you realize something is truly odd. Storefront windows, car windows, the stainless-steel trash cans—every single reflective surface is playing out a scene like a television screen. Some are blurrier (the rain puddles and trash cans) while others are clearer (the polished high-rise windows), but the reality is undeniable. Bewildered and somewhat frightened, you rush into a clothing store and look into the mirrors. They too are playing the scene, identical to every other surface, with crystal clarity. You have a sickening feeling and call your brother. When he says he can't see a thing and suggests calling the police, you notice something odd. The screens ripple as one, flicker for a moment, and the scene changes. You know you've done something to change it, but now you must figure out what.
  6. You've noticed the girl on the train for a while. She's small and willowy, with a winsome face and eyes that seem to dance. She is almost fairylike or otherworldly. You see her every day in the same exact seat, staring out the same window, and humming what seems to be different portions of the same long song. For a long time you watch her in silence. Eventually you work up the courage to sit alongside her and attempt conversation. She is warm, smiling, and engaging, but you sense a distance buried deep. Finally, after three weeks of conversation (and being told three times she has no phone or permanent address), you decide to do something. Basingstoke is the station where she always stops, and one Sunday afternoon you discreetly follow as she rises from her seat, makes her way to the back of the car, and enters the restroom. When time passes and the train departs, you grow worried and knock on the restroom door. Finally you break in, but suddenly find yourself on the girl's seat in the train, staring out the window. You feel compelled to hum her song.
  7. You're cooking one evening when your children come dashing in from the woods, babbling with excitement. One of them has what seems to be a jagged metal sliver with a tiny ring attached at one end. He seems really excited, thrusting it up toward you and urging you to take it—to taste it—while saying something about glowing and music. You are quite bemused, but hastily take it from him. The object looks rather sharp, probably part of some broken-down vehicle or appliance left in the woods. Your lecture on the dangers of sharpness and unfamiliar objects is interrupted by your wife and brother, urging you to hurry. You're late for your group triathlon, and your event—swimming—is up first. Your son urges you to wear the sliver around your neck for good luck. You oblige, only to notice something strange as soon as you enter the water. The sliver is making noise that sounds like music. Curiosity turns to alarm as it begins to glow, radiating a distinct heat that singes your chest, even underwater. As you stop to tear it off, there is a sudden pulse, and you find yourself on top of your dining room table in your dripping-wet bathing suit. Your family surrounds you with knives and forks in hand, ready to chow down.
  8. Every day is the same. You come downstairs, eat your cereal, and then begrudgingly go to school. Today, though, when you look down at your bowl, you see someone drowning in your milk. You pick him up with your spoon and he thanks you for saving him. As he begins to tell you his story, your mom yells out that you are going to miss the bus. Forgetting what was on your spoon, you quickly shove it in your mouth, swallow, and run out the door. When you open the door, that same man is on the other side. He is full-sized now and very angry at you.
  9. One moment you are playing frisbee with your son; the next the world is rushing by you in a blur. Shocked, you find yourself standing farther from your son, the frisbee at your feet. Your son frowns, clearly noting the oddity as well. You shrug, pick up the disc, and then hurl it again. After the third time, there is no mistaking it: Instead of the frisbee flying forward, you are sliding backwards. The world seems fixed around you and the frisbee, and every time you throw it, the force of your throw is sliding your surroundings by you instead of sending the frisbee through the air. Things get chaotic when your son decides to throw the frisbee in a different direction.
  10. One morning you woke up with your left hand gone. There was no blood or stitches. It was like your left hand had never been there in the first place. You look out the window and see a dog carrying your left hand in his mouth. He looks at you and quickly dashes down the road. You throw on some clothes and start chasing him. The dog takes a sudden turn and goes into a wooded area. You continue to pursue, jumping over logs and dodging trees. You then come to a clearing in the woods with hundreds of left hands piled up next to a brook. The dog turns around, drops your hand on the grass, and stares at you in a funny way. You approach the dog and pick up your hand. Suddenly all of the other left hands start to crawl around like spiders and begin chasing you. You run deeper into the forest.
  11. You have been dead for the last twelve hours, and it has not been a pleasant experience. The good news is that you don't vanish into nothing. The bad news is there are no angels and no heaven. You are just stuck in a body that can't move. At least your eyes are open. You have been waiting for someone to find your corpse, but no luck. Mountain climbing on your own probably wasn't the best idea. Then you notice something out of the corner of your eye. Something or someone is slowly approaching. You hope it is not an animal looking for a snack. When you are able to make out a face, you realize that it is your own and, for whatever reason, you are very happy to see what is left of you. Perhaps you have been looking all over the place for yourself. Perhaps the afterlife will be interesting after all.
  12. Each day you wake up with no memory of the previous day, but it's not only memory loss. It seems you actually become a different person, with a new body, location, and life. The only constant seems to be your journal, slipped into the pocket of whatever new outfit you wake up in. The journal entries number 487 days, each one recounting a different day from a different person's life. You don't know why it started or how you realized what was going on, but the diary makes it clear that you often struggle to accept this, although you usually begin to embrace it by around noon. The journal references a time you tried to record data and solve the problem; another day you supposedly grew so frustrated by the process that you scrapped the entire notebook and started anew. You have no idea how many times that may have happened, but only that each time you wished you hadn't tried. Do you try again to slowly gather data, learn it afresh each morning, and try to solve this thing? Or do you accept this situation and enjoy what you can of life?
  13. You are walking down the sidewalk one day when you hear a muffled voice. You look around and see no one there. You walk a couple more steps when you hear the voice again. It seems to come from the ground. You put your ear close to the pavement and closely listen. Just then, an SUV driving by swerves to the right, flips over your now ducking body, and crashes into a nearby tree. As you get up, you can now clearly hear the voice say "You owe me one."
  14. You are at your local supermarket picking up groceries. A stranger suddenly comes up to you and exclaims, "I found you! I finally found you!" You smile awkwardly and ask what is going on. He then calls out to everyone within earshot and says, "Hey! Look, I found her. She is here! She is here!" A crowd begins to form around you. Some are yelling at the top of their lungs in excitement. Others are jumping up and down. One person even tries to hug you. You find a way to pass through the mob and start running. The mob chases you out of the supermarket.
  15. You were only 11 years old when you began to see the signs: shapes and symbols, colors around people, shifting and glowing like living auras. Sometimes they are flickers, flashing into view and fading away. Other times they are as steady as a heartbeat, following people everywhere they go. At first you thought you were dreaming, but then you thought they were spirits, and your parents took you to a therapist. For months, you lived in terror of your own insanity until you learned to embrace the reality of the images. Other people can't see them, but they are there. The images tell you stories, letting you see into people's lives and futures. That raven means someone in that woman's family will die or she will hear from a relative thought lost. That phoenix wheeling around her is a similar figure, symbolizing death and rebirth or revival. The monkey seated on that man's shoulder symbolizes an inquisitive, often-mischievous nature. You have spent years studying the symbols, but you still cannot decide if you should advise people or leave them alone. When a Secret Service agent approaches and informs you that the government needs your abilities, you must decide what to do.
  16. You have worked for 15 years, filling 30 different positions in 30 different restaurants, to save up enough money to live your dream: owning a food truck. Yours is the only one in Dallas that serves authentic sushi, and it's some of the finest and most varied sushi in the Western hemisphere. You are making a new roll one morning when you see a flash, then hear a thud followed by a bizarre silence outside. Worried some accident has caused a sudden stop in traffic just before your lunch rush, you hurry outside to find your truck high on a mountaintop. A crowd of Japanese villagers stare up at you. After much struggle to communicate, and much experimentation, you realize that every time you make a roll, your truck transports you to the place of its origin. Quickly you expand your business, adopting every cuisine you can learn. Tacos, pastas, hummus, curries—you have it all. The only catch is, in order to leave a place, you have to present the local dish you are working on, and the locals have to approve of it. When a particularly angry band of Argentinian locals finds immense fault with your asado, you wonder if you will ever make it back home.
  17. You are the ultimate killing machine, a cyborg created for one purpose only: to eliminate the enemy. Your next assignment is to kill a billionaire financier who has dabbled a little too much in politics. You arm your plasma rifle and storm his mansion. To your surprise, he is not there, but you do encounter a small child in her playroom. "Would you like to play tea party with me?" Tea party? Tea party does not compute, so you turn around to walk away. But you realize that you could use a break. Plus, your target is not home. So you put down your rifle, your knives, your grenades, and your laser sword and play tea party with the child. You love it, so you play more games with her. When her dad comes home, you resist your programming to murder him outright and instead hide in the playroom's closet so you can play more fun games with your new best friend tomorrow.
  18. While jogging one day after sculpture class, you discover that you are running slower and slower until you are just walking. You stop to look around and see the same thing happening to everyone around you. Basically, everyone has just stopped in their tracks. Meanwhile you notice that a nearby statue of George Washington has started moving. Angel status and gargoyles are flying in the skies. You can even see the Statue of Liberty walking in the distance. Inanimate statues have somehow become animate while the animate have become immobile. Then, for whatever reason, you are able to move again while others in the park remain frozen. George Washington comes over to you and says, "We need sculptures like you if we are ever going to have more of our kind. As for the others, well, they are unnecessary."
  19. You are in the middle of playing your favorite shooter video game when, all of a sudden, the character you are playing turns around, drops his gun, and stares straight at you. Is your controller broken? Did the game crash? You decide to turn off the console, but nothing happens. Then, the character says, "Do you know how many times I have been shot? Do you know how many times I have died? I have lost count, but I do know this much: I know who to blame and I am coming after you. Let's see how you like it."
  20. One night, you're enjoying a quiet evening at home reading a science fiction novel. You hear a huge crash from the backyard and jump out of your chair to go investigate. A small strange spaceship which resembles something from the novel you were just reading smolders in your backyard. But what really makes your knees buckle is the fact that the unconscious person inside the cockpit looks a lot like you. He wakes up, looks at you, and says: "Oh no. Not again."

Soft Science Fiction

Soft Science Fiction
The story is focused on human activity and affairs rather than technology.

For this subgenre, character building and social sciences are at the forefront while scientific detail is put on the back burner.

  1. You wouldn't say you love being a marriage counselor, but it's meaningful work. It's also stressful, burdensome, and depressing, yet you genuinely care about the couples and they respond to you. There's nothing as joyful as seeing a couple leave your office with their relationship renewed on every level. Things grow strange one day when you encounter a rather unusual couple. The woman continually disappears for long periods of time and claims she can't explain why. The man trusts and loves her, but he can't go on like this. Things get stranger when the woman approaches you late one night, revealing she's a shapeshifting alien. Her people have been living among humanity, but their enemies have tracked them to Earth and are hunting them down. She needs to protect her people. She assures you that, if you can keep the marriage together for just three more months, her people will be victorious and things will go back to how they were before. You are shocked, doubting whether such a marriage can be possible, whether such a secret should be kept, and whether it is your responsibility to decide.
  2. Two star-crossed lovers from warring planets fall in love on a peace-seeking mission that goes awry. They secretly stay in contact with each other despite the fact that their respective governments are at war. They must choose whether or not to prove that peace can be reached by exposing their relationship to the world at the risk of losing everything, including their lives.
  3. You and your brother have never been close. You're a devil-may-care rogue with a love for adventure and a hatred for all things governmental. You've spent the last 12 years as a long-distance merchant, cargo serviceman, and—in bad times—smuggler. Your crew is a rowdy bunch, but loyal, and they know how to have a good time. Your brother is a stiff-necked businessman who passes his days in the stodgy company of equally stodgy businessmen and government elites. When he makes contact, you are immediately suspicious. Your concerns grow when he asks you to smuggle an unmarked strongbox out of Federation territory and leave it on a disputed planet. The pay is good, and he is your brother after all, so you accept, but once in space you cannot help but wonder what is in the strongbox. Is your brother party to an anti-Federation plot? If so, do you approve? The Federation has its faults, but you'd much rather they maintain control than lose it to those bloodthirsty aliens on the border. Tensions build when both aliens and the Feds appear hot on your tail, forcing you to make a hasty decision.
  4. You always enjoy hanging out with your friends and having fun at computer camp. However, all of that changes when trouble-making kids from a nearby camp start coming over on night raids. They wreck computers and other equipment, throw food around, hang toilet paper off of trees and cabins, and even set off a stink bomb in the bathroom. Your camp counselor calls up the other camp and asks them to stop, but nothing changes. Well, enough is enough. You and your fellow computer campers are going to put your minds together and create some technological pranks and boobytraps that will put their night raids to shame. By the time you are done, they will never want to step foot in your camp again.
  5. You are proud to be a pilot, the finest in your class. When you graduate and are selected for the military rather than for standard citizen transportation, you are ecstatic. You sober up a bit when your commander informs you that you weren't chosen only for your skills; you were also chosen for your high obedience level and for the fact that you have no living family. You've always heard of wars, but never actually seen one. You've always heard of the enemy, but never actually seen them. During your tenth mission quelling yet another "rebellion," you finally realize what is going on. There are no enemies. There is no other team. Your government is only sending you against your own people—anyone who get too close to the truth.
  6. As the heiress to one of the largest family fortunes in the world, your life of relaxing on your yacht, shopping at luxury retail stores, and eating at five-star restaurants just can't get any better. You had to marry an ugly, older man to get here, but it was all worth it. Plus, you always have the option of picking up some young guy on the side for some extracurricular fun. One day, after rolling out of bed at noon, you check your phone and are shocked to find several text messages containing photos of you and your latest love interest in increasingly compromising situations. The unknown person writes that he has hacked into a new nation-wide surveillance system and tracked you for the last six months. Everything that you have done has been recorded using satellites, drones, and thermographic cameras. The last message states that these photos are going to be sent to your husband unless you do exactly what he wants. When you read his seemingly endless list of demands, you know you are in way over your head.
  7. If there's one thing you hate about your culture, it's the arranged marriages. Never mind that it's the wealthiest planet in the galaxy and that your father is Lord of its third-largest continent. Ordinary sons at least have the chance to convince their parents not to follow tradition or to run away. There are a billion farmers available, after all. You, however, are one of only two bachelor princes on the entire planet, and you have the option of three unmarried princesses. Lord Dartaan is a dolt, and everyone fears this trait may have been passed on to his daughter, so there's no danger of your father pairing you with her. Lord Tiranian is at war with you, and his daughter once tried to assassinate your entire family. Apparently, that's her thing. Then there's Lord Stanathan, essentially the only choice. His daughter Denisa is pretty and smart as a knife, but still you find no spark. She's too smart, and she seems to find you boring. And when you discover she's building a robot army in her personal palace, you fear for the fate of your planet.
  8. You love 1980s TV shows. Period. You have watched and re-watched pretty much every 1980s sitcom out there. There is a warmth to the characters, and the plots are good but never too challenging. Perfect entertainment for taking it easy. After a long day at work, it is time to fire up the TV and watch something you have watched many times over. However, this time something is different. All of the characters are just staring at you, saying nothing and doing nothing. You think there is a problem with your streaming service and try to turn your TV off, but nothing happens. Then one of the characters speaks: "Hey, you have been watching us over and over again for years. Well, I think it is time for us to watch you for a while. We want a break. Now, please make sure that this episode is entertaining. I want a good arc with a satisfying resolution that ends in a hug or a puppy or something similar. You have half an hour to make this work or else. Good luck!"
  9. Even as a smuggler, one thing you've never accepted is an escaped felon. One day in port, however, while the crew is unloading and you are lounging in the bridge, the door blows open and a woman stumbles in, bleeding from a wound to the gut and dragging a possibly broken ankle. Although she is dying, she is distinctly beautiful. She's also holding a pistol. Hurriedly—weakly—she orders you to take off. Your protests are cut short as she fires. A dart impales itself in your arm, but you feel nothing. She tells you that it's Alaya venom, which is famous for its slow but certain death. The woman says the antidote exists only on her home planet and that you have to fly there. All thoughts of negotiation vanish as she pulls another pistol—a real one this time—and assures you the next shot will not be so merciful. Seeing the madness in her eyes and hearing desperation in her voice, you realize she is a heartbeat away from killing you. Hurriedly you act, even though it means you will be left to fly the aircraft alone. The police give chase, of course. Now you are onboard alone with a strange, violent, and gorgeous criminal, headed toward a strange planet, with all the resources of the Empire aimed at bringing you down.
  10. You enjoy playing cello for the Prague Philharmonic. You've always spurned the modern music genres—pop, rap, hip-hop, and electronica. Yet when you hear a busker on the street one day, you have to check it out. He has an impressive stage presence and skilled hands, and his style isn't terrible. It's a fusion of classical/romantic and modern, which leaves you uncertain how to feel. But he's gorgeous. Why does nobody in the orchestra look like him? You hang around, and he seems to know you are waiting because he wraps up quickly and comes to talk to you. He grins and thanks you, but he's already had three invitations to the Philharmonic, and it isn't his thing. Impressed by his read of your intentions––and a bit entranced by his emerald eyes––you find yourself drawn into a dinner date. As weeks pass, you can't deny that you have feelings, but then he reveals he didn't just guess your intentions that day. He can also read minds. He swears he hasn't done so since then––and swears he can't influence yours––but you find yourself unnerved and frightened.
  11. You and your team recently invented an implant for pets that allows an owner to see and hear everything their pet sees and hears. The pet simply ingests a small device and by the next day it starts recording. You try out the protype on your dog, and so far it is working the way it should. Everything your dog sees and hears is recorded on your phone flawlessly. You are excited to show your investor group the results. However, as you scroll through yesterday's recordings, you find something odd. Your dog was watching your husband as he was vigorously scrubbing his shirt. You zoom in to find that he was trying to remove lipstick from his collar. Is he cheating on you? There is no way to truly know unless you slip the implant into your husband's dinner and record his activities. It might be a little immoral, but it is better to know versus not knowing.
  12. As a lonely and awkward teenage genius, you design a robot with artificial intelligence to serve as your best friend. After many rounds of playing Dungeons and Dragons, both you and the robot learn what it means to have a social life together. When your budding social abilities and confidence attract the attention of a girl in your class, the robot becomes jealous. You have to find a way to pursue love and other social experiences while also maintaining a solid friendship with your robot creation.
  13. As the subject of several military human enhancement experiments, you struggle to keep your newfound superhuman abilities secret during a series of first dates and end up ruining any romantic potential. When you give a salt shaker to one of your dates via telepathy, she runs away screaming. When you read the mind of another date and find out that she is already in a committed relationship, a confrontation ensues which ends up with a drink in your face. You have given up all hope of finding the right one, until you find an online dating profile of a person whom you recognize as another participant in this military enhancement program.
  14. Aasha is a new student who is drop-dead gorgeous and instantly popular. She starts eating lunch with you, the laughable nerd, and you have no idea what to think. When she starts asking about your recent home projects, however, you discover an entirely new side of her. She's not only stunning, but she's also brilliant. Genius-level brilliant. Shocked, you welcome her into your inner life, explaining your experiments with trip frequencies, magnetic dissonance, and high-velocity particles. It's big stuff and, if you had more resources, you're convinced you could crack matter manipulation on the atomic level. When Aasha's questions become more prying, you sense she's trying to hold your experiments back. You devise a trap and catch her in the act of erasing data from all your successful tests. A few minutes of angry questioning reveal a stunning truth: She's not from Earth. She's part of a crew that's been sent to monitor particularly "dangerous" humans before they advance humanity too far. If you want to save your experiments—and the romance you may have—you must convince Aasha that trust and mutual support, not control and fear, are the path to a better universe.
  15. As a circus master, you have your rules. You've been in the business for twenty years and have earned a name for yourself around the nation, building your success on creativity, flare, and implicit trust among your crew—as well as a complete refusal to tell your secrets. However, when you accept a new magician/illusionist into the show, you discover that she is secretly an alien. Her people have developed telekinesis, the ability to control things with their minds. Amazed but slightly frightened, you welcome her into the show. What you don't expect is to fall in love with her and to be confronted with all the ethical dilemmas of considering such a complicated romance.
  16. A standard time jump grows worrisome when you return to find your wife has become an international fugitive. Predictions have been known to be incorrect, but only in stories. It isn't supposed to happen anymore. Whenever a team is sent into the past to recover an artifact or alter circumstances, the quantum computers calculate not only how far back the team can travel without drastically affecting the present, but also who can be sent. When an oil tanker exploded off the coast of Argentina last week, you and your teammates were summoned for your speed, your expertise in frigid waters, and the fact that you are Russian, Latvian, and Norwegian. You've never been anywhere near Argentina or interacted with anyone who has. But something was clearly miscalculated. Some fluke of probability in how you changed the past caused your wife to go mad and bomb the UN headquarters. You try to prevent the spill a dozen different ways, but the outcome is always the same. As compounded ripples expand and your wife remains unfound, you begin to fear it was the Argentine spill itself that stopped her from committing this dreadful crime.
  17. Things get odd one lazy Sunday afternoon when a team of government officials informs you they need to excavate your backyard, something to do with decades-overdue cleanup from the Settlement Wars. They want to ensure no salvageable equipment was left on anyone's land. You shrug and give in, returning to your family at the dinner table. The feds have been at their work for four hours when there is a shout and a sudden explosion. Quickly you run outside but, reaching the porch, you stop in shock as eight forms resembling massive metallic eggs shoot up into the air, each buzzing and whirling madly before coughing, spitting smoke, and falling to Earth. There is a crackling, hissing sound, and tentacled bug-eyed creatures emerge, catching the feds in their tentacles and tearing them to pieces. You quickly urge your family into the basement, snatching your shotgun from the mantle and tossing the wood axe to your wife. Waiting to see if the creatures have noticed you, you realize you must somehow protect your family while warning the government there are still aliens hiding on your planet.
  18. When a brother and sister ask for transportation aboard your ship, you consider it a bit of an unusual request. Yours is a classic freighter: run-down and slow, with cramped accommodations and a general lack of charm. You sometimes do accept passengers. A single body pays more than a single sheep or any number of other wares that occupy the same space and weight. But human bodies cause problems that wool and sheep—most times—cannot. That's why you find it quite irritating when the adolescents abruptly ask you to erase all record of their presence from the logs. After a moment of initial panic, it turns out they aren't big-time criminals or anything else concerning; they are merely a couple of minors in love whose parents have forbidden their marriage, even promising harsh punishment. Reflecting on your own controlling parents and your past romantic misadventures, you are left to make a choice. But who do you trust more: the families you do not know or the kids?
  19. You've always been proud of your husband. He's one of the world's leading experts on robotics, the essential backbone of the world, and his substantial salary affords you a life of luxury. One day, you go to meet your spouse at his office. Interrupted by a shriek from the CEO, both of you run over to investigate. When you find the man's robot chef holding a bloody knife above his corpse, you realize with dread that what your husband always feared has finally come to pass: A robot has gone mad. You quickly turn off the robot, but you know this is just the tip of the iceberg. If anybody finds out, your husband will be fired and never find employment as a robotics engineer again. You ask your husband what to do, and he answers as you expected: "We have to cover this up. Quick, grab the legs and let's throw him down the trash chute."
  20. After years of research and trial-and-error, you invent a next-generation phone that can record significant moments from multiple angles at the push of a button. Whenever a person wants to record something with your new invention, five small drones are launched from the phone and get in position to provide every optimal angle for a perfectly shot video. However, you begin to regret your creation when you learn that you have been framed for a murder using this technology.

Space Exploration

Space Exploration
Spaceships venturing into outer space and discovering new worlds and phenomena is the driving force for these stories.

With a focus on extended space voyages, this subgenre contains themes of humanity's place in the universe and the exploration of its farthest realms.

  1. While exploring space to find other lifeforms, your vessel is hit by an undefined force and goes wildly off course into unknown space. After you regain control and assess the damage, you learn that the ship's engines are unable to achieve light speed and you cannot contact the rest of the fleet. After several months of traveling below the speed of light, your crew runs out of resources and the ship's power containment begins to degrade. With no other viable options, you and your surviving crew members board escape pods and land on an uncharted planet, hoping to find help from the local inhabitants.
  2. Discovering a dead city on a dead planet is not terribly surprising. You've been a Federation Planetary Surveyor (FPS) for a decade now, and you've seen it all before. What is surprising is that the city doesn't seem truly dead. Technically, it's neither dead nor abandoned as its people appear to be sleeping. You try in vain to wake several of them. As your men go through the buildings, looting whatever strange new technology they can find, you press farther. When you reach the very center of the city, you find a tower. You are wary, but you don't expect it to light up as soon as you touch its door. After an unexpected buzzing and a flash of light, you find yourself standing atop the tower, a massive control panel spreading out before you. The entire city begins to wake up. They seem to think you are some kind of god, and they claim they have been awaiting your coming for thousands of years. The bad part, of course, is that they've captured your men, and they bring them to you in all confidence that you will order executions.
  3. You wake up abruptly in a cryopod, in the middle of a deep space exploration mission. A quick search reveals that your ship collided with unexpected debris, resulting in severe damage. You are the only member of the 300-man crew who seems to be awake. As a botanist, you have no idea how anything works, and the ship's system seems to have malfunctioned during the crash. Emergency mode has shut down all the main systems, leaving you sealed in your cryochamber with 49 sleeping crewmembers. With limited oxygen on the ship—breathing occurs in cryosleep, but is hyperslowed—and a ship drifting off course, you are forced to wake some crewmembers in a last-ditch effort briefly mentioned during the pre-flight emergency rundown. You smash the glass of the cryopods of three technicians. Now you must wait to see if their bodies will slowly acclimate to the harsh and sudden change or fail to do so and ultimately die.
  4. You discovered a planet made of glass—something you'd never heard of or imagined before. But you've been here ten weeks now and have finally started receiving responses from the Capital, drifting back across the void. All of them say the same thing: a glass planet is an impossibility. Suspecting it is a construction or a trap left by a far more advanced race, the Capital warns you that you have no way of knowing what it truly is. There's something at the very center, something your scanners cannot define. But if you leave, what will humanity miss out on? You send out your first drones, which return a month later unharmed, making you more certain about the need to continue your explorations. You send the data back to the Capital, but it will take two months for the message to travel to Earth and the response to get back to you (humans have cracked intergalactic travel, but not instantaneous communication). Fuel is running low, and you're already one week overdue to resupply. Your crew will follow you, as soon as you decide what to do next.
  5. After waking up from cryosleep, you discover that your exploration vessel has suffered major damage from an asteroid belt collision while on autopilot. You don't know where you are, and only one other person has awakened—the one person on the ship you don't get along with.
  6. You've been mapping the galaxy for thirty years, during which time you've made contact with two alien races, but you've never seen a planet like this. All the necessities of life are there: water, air, plant abundance, and stability. But there are no animals. Your crew has been taking readings for hours, and they have found nothing. Your crew grows more comfortable, spreading out across the landing site and into the forest, valleys, and meadows. The cloud comes suddenly, descending from the mountains without warning. You've been doing this long enough to know you should be afraid, and you race back to the ship in time, along with a few lucky souls. Others aren't so quick. The bugs coat the land like the air itself, one massive unending mantle of buzzing, whirring blackness. Most of your men die instantly. The insects are so thick they are clogging the exhaust ports of the ship and even swarming their way into the thruster engines. When you receive a broken radio transmission from some of your men who have somehow survived the swarm for now, you must decide if you should wait out the insects or try to save your men.
  7. Stasis was created to keep the mind active during the voyage to Alpha Centauri, but when you woke the memories of stasis were so vivid that your only desire was to return. The love of your life was a figment of that machine.
  8. Earth has not yet reached the stage where an interstellar journey can be achieved in a single lifetime, not without the use of cryosleep. There's also no return journey yet, which is why they send mostly criminals and anyone else crazy enough to go. Yet you've always wanted to go, and when you graduate with a triple-doctorate in astrophysics, aeronautical engineering, and biology, you cannot help but feel you're wasted on Earth. You're stuck doing hypotheses, proofs, and theoretical formulas, while criminals are out there tasting and testing the real thing. You ask for a position leading the next expedition and are ecstatic when they accept. The problems start when you meet your crew and begin to understand just why these criminals are being sent away from Earth. They've displayed good behavior for five to twenty years in prison and now want to live just like you, but no two of them agree on the way to do it, and they're certainly not going to listen to you, with your spotless binder, neatly pinned tie, and fingers uncalloused from a single day's work.
  9. Humanity has been settling planets for three hundred years, but still no alien life has been discovered. When you pick up strange readings from an object drifting through deep space, what you find shocks you to the core. It is a spaceship, nearly forty kilometers across, floating dead through space. It's not human. Whoever these travelers were, they were dealing with resources and technology the Earth has only dreamt of. You lead a small team onto the wreckage, finding most of the ship gutted beyond repair. You find technology that awes you and signs of a race far more similar to humanity than you expected. Then your scanners notice a small pocket of life aboard, evident through electrical signals and vibrations and thermal activity. You quickly investigate, finding a small band of survivors who have managed to divert supplies and energy to one sealed section of the ring. When you attempt to communicate, they attack and inadvertently destroy the ship further. They are terrified. Now you are left to save your men and ship, all while trying to convince these people you mean well and, if possible, establish contact with their species.
  10. While exploring space, a ship's crew members begin to develop extraordinary sensory abilities. Some are frightened and overwhelmed by this experience, while others welcome the feeling of seeing music vibrate in the air and hearing the frequencies of colors. You are a writer who is feeling these changes and attempting to capture the experience in your journal, but you find it hard to describe.
  11. Upon discovering a planet that seems remarkably similar to Earth, you decide to take a landing party down to explore it. The first day passes smoothly. The planet seems to be a miracle, a paradise of plenty. Then night comes, and an odd smell emerges. You feel faint and soon black out. When you awake, your crew is gone while men and creatures are rushing toward you through the darkness, shrieking for blood. You turn to run, but a woman's screams draw your attention. You are stunned to see Nialla, an old love, running down the slope, pursued by a gang earing Kashari smuggler masks. You rush toward her, shooting at the smugglers, only to find they aren't Kashari at all. They are your family. Enduring several minutes of hell and horror, you eventually realize these are nothing but illusions built from your own memories. Something in the air is causing hallucinations that seem freakishly real. You are left to find your crew in the middle of a living nightmare, hoping this is a mere natural phenomenon and not some sinister alien technology turned upon you.
  12. You are part of a deep space fleet sent to investigate strange stellar activity at the very center of the galaxy. You discover a black hole, but do not have the technology to enter it—indeed, it is thought that such technology is impossible. Strangely enough, however, another fleet exits the black hole from the other side as you are scanning for activity. You first notice things are strange when you see that many of the ships appear the same. when you make contact, you are shocked to discover that the crewmembers of the other ships are your exact crewmembers—only smarter, more advanced, and not as friendly. Theories of parallel dimensions and shadow-selves begin to spin through your head as the unfamiliar fleet activates their shields and approaches without acknowledging your attempts at communication.
  13. The galaxy was abuzz when NASA first announced it had finally cracked the secret to creating a wormhole, but no one's tried it yet. However, once created, the wormhole will remain open, allowing humanity to pass through it anytime they wish. NASA claims they can control where it opens. They say it will serve as a bridge to the adjoining galaxy, allowing human expansion to make an unprecedented leap forward. Unfortunately, opening a wormhole requires an immense gravitational force, the amount that can shatter planets and send ships careening out of control. Nothing as large as a black hole, but something far larger than Earth. A very large sun, for example. And there's the catch: Someone needs to fly toward the heart of a sun, open the wormhole when they reach critical momentum, and pass through it without knowing what's on the other side. You've been chosen to take on this mission.
  14. Spacejump tech is still developing, and humanity is currently limited to intragalactic exploration. You and your crew are exploring a remote system when your ship abruptly pulls out of warp speed without warning. You find yourself in the middle of a space battle. The computer didn't anticipate matter here, so it did not program a course. One alien race appears to be attacking a blockade imposed by another, trying to get to the planet below. They both seem to think you are the enemy, firing upon you immediately and sending bizarre communications that you struggle to translate. All you can understand is that they are fighting over some location, some object of value on the planet below. Unable to jump and unwilling to navigate through the battle, you are forced to land on the planet's moon to wait. When you find a bizarre portal that seems dormant, you wonder if both armies are after the wrong location. If this door does what you think it does, it has a value beyond any weapon, any planet, and any entire system. When a small fleet of ships decides to follow you down, clearly curious, you must decide what to do.
  15. You prefer the dark loneliness of space to your crowded home planet of Earth, so you've agreed to be a scout for an organization looking for resources to mine on other planets. On one such scouting trip, you discover a planet with much potential. However, when you land, a ghostly fog surrounds you, with voices calling you deeper into it.
  16. A deep space exploration vessel is thrown off course and ends up discovering a planet the likes of which have never been seen before. A city covers the entire surface of the planet, powered primarily by the planet's core, but there are no life readings. Excited to see this technological marvel up close and to find out what happened to its inhabitants, you and your crew decide to land on the planet and investigate further. When you open the hatch, the abandoned cityscape you were expecting is nowhere to be found. It was simply a projection of some sort emanating from a single structure in the distance. When you decide to launch and go back into orbit, your ship powers down. There is something draining the energy from your ship, and you soon realize that that you and your crew have fallen into a trap.
  17. You are part of a team of explorers commissioned to search for life-containing planets in distant solar systems. After traveling for light years, your ship comes across a planet showing signs of life based on your preliminary readings. You are sent to the planet to investigate, but as you breathe in the air, you begin hallucinating mirages of past civilizations there that are now only ruins.
  18. Humans have just discovered intergalactic travel, opening up a vast new range of planets they can explore. Your crew is one of the first to explore the galaxy closest to the Milky Way, and you've found your first possibly inhabitable planet. You land, only to enter a nightmare. People start going mad, seeing visions, and hearing voices. They run off into the mountains and disappear, or they set off on mad murder sprees that leave nearly half your crew dead in just a week. Nothing like this has been documented, and rumors are already spreading. Is this a spiritual curse or a virus? The majority of the crew urges your captain to return home. You have studied alien biology all your life and decide to take things into your own hands. You investigate the cause and find it is indeed a neurological virus that is spread by the spores of local plants, causing anyone who breathes them to go mad.
  19. You are a member of an alien race that has been exploring space for over a millennium, seeking out other lifeforms and establishing alliances with them. During one of your missions, you discover Earth on long-range scanners and decide to investigate. You and your team are excited to find sentient lifeforms on the planet, and you begin observing them from afar. Then, out of nowhere, your ship is suddenly confronted with military spacecraft, with guns aimed at you.
  20. You are aboard a spaceship tasked with discovering new, habitable planets for humans. Your ship discovers an unknown planet which seems to be comprised mostly of water. After testing the atmosphere and determining it to be safe, you're sent with a group of divers to explore. However, you are entirely unaware of the creatures you will find beneath the water's surface.

Space Opera

Space Opera
These large-scale Science Fiction adventure stories contain daring, over-the-top characters.

Along with melodramatic and romantic storytelling, you'll commonly find panoramic settings and swashbuckling action in this subgenre.

  1. Interplanetary war has broken out and you're a mercenary who will fight for the highest bidder. Suddenly, news that your childhood sweetheart has been captured and is being tried as a traitor on Earth changes your mind, and you decide to rescue her instead.
  2. Humans have colonized much of space thanks to hyperspace technology discovered a hundred years ago. You're a runner between colonies who steals from the rich to give to the poor and disenfranchised that inhabit some of the colonies (including your family).
  3. Everyone has heard of The Rift. It is a central part of many horror films out there. You hear it spoken about in drunken whispers in seedy deep space taverns. You hear it from poets, prophets, and children. It's the half-cracked smugglers that frighten you, though. The ones who travel all their lives. The ones who've actually seen things. Mostly, it is that single-eyed Jhanaean. He described it like the others, a shuddering tear in space-time, leaping with utter randomness between the stars. He described how it swallowed one. He described the communication frequency he'd accidentally used to summon it. Now, aliens hellbent on conquest are about to take over your planet, and the Federation army is too far away. Can you convince your friends to join you, infiltrate the capital, and broadcast the frequency loud enough to summon The Rift and consume these invaders before it is too late? Does it even exist? If so, how can you be sure it won't consume your own people?
  4. Humanity is threatened with extinction if it remains on Earth much longer, as the planet's ability to sustain human life has been greatly reduced. You're a part of a crew sent out to find another habitable planet and help colonize it. In doing so, you fall for a young woman who has lived on the new planet her whole life. She insists that bringing colonists would ruin her planet's peaceful existence and begs you to sabotage the mission. You would do anything for love, even if it means starting a war.
  5. You're a hotheaded young pilot who knows how to fly spaceships like few people can. You've been asked to rescue the governor's daughter from the pirates who boarded her spaceship and stole it. In order to do so, you'll have to catch up to them, sneak on board, convince the girl to come with you, and then commandeer the craft to get her back home.
  6. As a boy, you once witnessed an alien spaceship you weren't supposed to see. Ever since then, you have felt that you're being watched. On your 14th birthday, you wake up on the spaceship, captured by the aliens who want to keep you from talking about what you witnessed. After getting to know them and escaping a few sticky situations, the aliens begin to trust you, and you eventually become a member of their crew. One day, the captain of the spaceship decides to return to Earth in order to steal precious cargo from a secret military base and to sell it to the highest bidder. From your perspective, this is your opportunity to escape your captors and live a normal life again.
  7. You're a part of a family of explorers who have made a name for themselves in exploring other planets and discovering other lifeforms. On one such mission, you encounter an alien woman who is the most beautiful creature you've ever met. You decide to help her escape her oppressive world and bring her to your home planet.
  8. The Earth's sun is dying and a mass exodus is underway. You're the pilot of a carrier ship charged with moving people to new homes in various colonies in the nearby galaxy. Your route requires you to travel through a dangerous space corridor infested with alien pirates determined to steal your ship and enslave your passengers. Can your excellent maneuvering skills, coupled with help from a spunky female mechanic, save the day?
  9. Space travel has opened up other worlds and species but has also made the Earth valuable property for any humanoid species needing the Earth's atmosphere and elements. You're a part of a special forces operation that protects Earth from alien invaders and have learned of a particularly nefarious plot you must stop. In the process of doing so, you meet the love of your life, who happens to be part of the alien race trying to take over.
  10. You are a medic and the only female member of an exploration crew sent in search of livable planets on your first deep space trip. The captain is an insane but brave individual; the ranger is stiff and dangerous. The engineer is a freakishly jovial man, and his equally-smiling brother seems to be everything at once––cook and physicist. Then, there's the pilot, a man who sets your soul on fire. Romance quickly becomes entangled with peril when the ship is attacked by hostile aliens. The captain falls into a coma and the pilot is wounded. When you save his life, you are allowed into his inner circle of trust, but the ship is stranded adrift in space with failing life support. You discover the floating wreckage of a fleet and send a team out to recover the parts you need to repair the ship. Petty disagreements and ship politics create a tense atmosphere as you recover the parts, but an alien ship suddenly appears on your scanners.
  11. As one of the best soldiers on the Earth's Space Force, your mission is to rescue a woman who has been kidnapped by an alien enemy. When you come close to completing your mission, you discover that not only does she refuse to go with you, she doesn't want to be "rescued" at all. You have a job to do, though, and get it done – but she's the most beautiful, stubborn mission you've ever had to complete.
  12. You've been banished by armed guards to never return to your home planet (thanks to a few adventures when you were young that were admittedly less than wise). However, your family has been kidnapped by evil leaders in the military who think your family knows too much. During your rescue mission, you join forces with a rebel group who agrees to help you find your family if you'll help them overthrow the dictator.
  13. Hvarrtha is a hellish planet, covered completely in active volcanoes. The sleepiest one erupts at least once a week, and the others range from once an hour to a constant flow of magma. The core is the most volatile in the known galaxy, in danger of constant collapse. Why stay? For the minerals, of course. They produce not only the finest supermetals in existence, but also a strange phosphorous hallucinogen. Known simply as "haze," it is sold on the black market for three times the price of Timeprisms. Then there's Delilah. She's the perfect woman: berserker with shield and laser spear, devil on a hovercar, and the sweetest angel at heart. You serve together in the guard of the planet's regent, but things grow restless. Haze dealers have been slipping through security in increasing numbers. The regent suspects a traitor. As you investigate, you discover a tangled web of treachery and loyalty that makes you doubt who is even in the right––the criminals who steal and spread addiction to make a living, or the government who kills them and essentially enslaves their families for profit. When you learn Delilah's part in all of this, your job becomes even harder.
  14. It's the 34th annual celebration of your planet's colonization and you are finally 20 years old, old enough to prove yourself worthy. The winners of the week-long games will be sent to the Academy, hoping eventually to join a deep space exploration team. Things begin to go wrong when, halfway through the celebrations, a small scouting vessel from the Capital planet arrives. They interrupt a mock firefight scenario (in which you were winning) and announce that the planet will soon be attacked by an army of sophisticated and treacherous aliens. The invaders intend to make your planet their base of operations. Your childhood fantasies of becoming a star pilot become a reality as you are called on to defend your home.
  15. The love of your life has been kidnapped by an alien race that forces their victims into slavery to build their massive capitol. You vow to save her and steal a high-powered military spacecraft to get in and out of enemy territory with (hopefully) few problems. If you only knew of the adventure that awaits you on the other side of enemy lines, you would have brought a sidekick.
  16. The evil chancellor has waged war on any planet who refuses to join him, and your home planet has incurred his wrath. You help build a small army of warriors and fighter pilots to protect your home and way of life. One of these pilots is a woman who can outmaneuver any of her male counterparts. As you face off against the evil man attempting to build an interplanetary empire, you fall in love with the woman fighting at your side.
  17. Your Commander sent you on a mission that you're not sure you can complete: kidnap the Princess of a nearby colonized planet so she can be held for ransom. You make it to her quarters and kidnap her, but her sweetness and gentle nature win you over and you decide you can't turn her over to your Commander for political games.
  18. You're a knight for Queen Esmerelda, the ruler of the planet Tholl. You're tasked with protecting her ship from alien intruders and while doing so, you uncover a secret plot among her trusted advisers to kill her in a coup d'état. You enlist the help of the Queen's lady in waiting to secretly transport the Queen off her ship and to safety. The two of you find true love in the process.
  19. Earth was obliterated 30 years ago by a highly-advanced alien species. Ever since that time, the last 1,000 or so surviving humans have been piloting a ragtag assortment of spacecraft stolen from the alien armada that destroyed their home world, as well as other species they have encountered along the way. Human beings hope to one day find a new home, but, for now, they are reduced to committing piracy against transport vessels and cargo ships in order to survive.
  20. You are the Galactic Princess, the fourth most famous person in existence after your father, your mother and, irritatingly enough, their jovial chef. You hate your situation. There are endless lectures, studies, and political meetings with numerous torturous details. You're just about ready to toss it all and run away when a golden opportunity arises. The Chandelae are a super-wealthy family, dignified and courteous, but generally quite reclusive. They keep mostly to their territories on the border of the Galaxy and generally do not meddle in political affairs. Now, however, they've proposed to marry the Graystars, a powerful family your father considers the greatest threat to your future throne. The Chandelae have always been considered trustworthy and they claim it is a match of love; however, your father is not so sure. This could either encourage peace or ruin it. Under the pretense of a "getaway," he sends you to their watery paradise planet to keep tabs on the various families and to make certain nothing is amiss.

SpyFi

SpyFi
An espionage story with high-tech duels and over-the-top gadgets.

This subgenre is full of glamour, adventure, spy technology, and beautiful women. The main character is often a James Bond-type figure who can be found wooing women while performing his role as a spy.

  1. As a child, you were traumatized by the loss of your family to a criminal organization of mercenary spies who employ advanced technology to locate and eliminate their targets. Now, you are focused on bringing those responsible to justice. You become part of the organization and swiftly climb up the ladder, until you are face-to-face with the ones responsible for your family's death. With the help of advanced cybernetic weapons implanted in your skin, you vow to bring justice for your loved ones.
  2. A mad scientist seeks global domination through the use of nanobots that can kill a person on the cellular level. He threatens to release these deadly nanobots in multiple major cities across the planet unless his demands are met. You are a special agent with advanced marksmanship skills, and you have been chosen to track him down and stop him before he kills millions of innocent people. The only intel you have on him, however, is that "he's hiding in plain sight" in a concert crowd. You've also been given state-of-the-art equipment that allows you to hear people's thoughts from a distance.
  3. You've just landed on a holiday planet for vacation when you are stopped at customs, led to a holding room, and subjected to further interrogation. As officials question you, you grow irritated, pointing out that you are a regular customer at the local resort. The guards ignore your rationale and search your belongings. They've just uncovered a rather suspicious-looking metal canister—something you've never seen before—when the door bursts open and a black-masked figure comes spinning in, laying the guards low with a series of well-placed blows. Her backpack transforms into some sort of insect-like robot that climbs down her back, snatches the canister from the ground, and climbs back up, becoming a backpack once again. The masked figure whirls around you, demanding to know how long you've had the cannister and what you know about it. It turns out her associates planted the device, using you as a blind mule to get it through customs. Now that it's been discovered, she doesn't have the heart to kill you, yet she cannot let you go. Fantasies of a peaceful holiday vanish as you are forced to flee the port and become embroiled in an infiltration upon which the fate of the entire intergalactic system seems to hang.
  4. You're the world's most elusive spy, moving in and out of missions like a fleeting shadow. Your superiors don't know how you do it; they are just glad that you are on their side. You, however, have a secret that even the secret-keepers don't know. You have the superhuman ability to turn invisible whenever you want to do so.
  5. A government organization is tasked with creating a new breed of spies—children with superhuman abilities and equipped with the latest in espionage technology. Due to the effects of the breeding program, the children are created with black eyes, which makes them identifiable as long as they don't wear colored contact lenses. Besides that single trait, these unassuming children are able to blend in with the crowd and carry out their assignments. One night, all of the kids escape the facility and hide in different parts of the world. As a top bounty hunter and a former intelligence agent, you are given the task to hunt down these children and to bring them back. When you capture one of them and she tells you that they escaped because the government terminates these spies after they reach a certain age, you question your allegiance.
  6. You've been drafted by a secret government program to be a paid mercenary who makes "off the record" kills. You are given a high-tech sniper rifle that has an intelligent radar-like technology which allows you to see through walls and an advanced ballistics system which allows you to shoot through walls. The only problem is…you never know who you're shooting. The radio waves can produce only a skeleton-like image within your scope. As you're looking through the eyepiece, you realize that the next kill you've been assigned appears to have the body of a child.
  7. You are the youngest of three siblings and the only female. Growing up with two highly athletic and intelligent brothers, from whom you are inseparable, you followed them into military intelligence, training together and going into the heart of enemy territory together. When your ship is commandeered by pirates, your brothers lock you in the escape pod and launch you toward the nearest planet, which you soon discover is occupied by hostile blue-skinned humanoids. You decide to blend in and learn their ways, at least enough to hijack the nearest ship and set off to rescue your brothers and the rest of the crew. Your biosuit is your only advantage, as it morphs to give you any shape and color you scan. It also translates 3,000 of the galaxy's most common languages. However, in order to use the two-way translator, you need to find an excuse to keep your helmet perpetually on.
  8. You have studied under Master Ch'taani for eight years, and now he says you are nearly ready. Soon you will become an assassin. Ch'taani's methods and philosophies are advanced and incredibly effective, yet distinctly different from those of many Federation assassins. You've become an expert in infiltration, impersonation, and disguise. You've learned to read and manipulate the feelings of others. You admire your Master greatly, and have built a strong friendship, but one fateful morning you stumble upon him in his true form: a shapeshifting alien. He's been living among humanity his entire life, watching, listening, and deliberately slowing humans' technological advancements. Loyalties conflict as you realize he's betraying your kind yet simultaneously striving to save the galaxy from the war he knows would ensue if humanity developed before it fully matured. His mentality has wormed its way inside you, and you cannot help but see the greater picture. When one of your fellow classmates discovers the truth as well, you are forced to choose sides, embroiling yourself in a war of high-tech crosses and double-crosses.
  9. As the bastard son of Lord Daerdano of Kamoor, you have led an interesting life. Bastards hold a strange position, both recognized and shunned by the political circles. They see you as Father's voice, but utterly impotent in your own right. They do not think of your actual physical ability. You've been trained to kill from youth, and many of your diplomatic missions have been a front for infiltrations or assassinations. Using the latest facial/vocal molding technology, you are able to alter your face and even voice to become another person. When meeting with a nearby king, Father orders you to kill the princess—someone who was once a childhood friend before the tensions of politics tore you apart. She is the first target you have really personally known. Things go haywire when you realize she has also been tasked with killing you. During your stand-off, you both begin to feel guilty and realize you are tired of being used for dirty work. No way are you going to trust her, right? But when you find yourself hesitating to make the kill, the two of you figure out how to pretend you've both killed each other in the struggle.
  10. Born on the streets in the slums of Earth (it's all just one city now, known as either Earth or Capital), you grew up hard and fast. You end up in the inner circle of a powerful gang made up of smugglers and hit men and political informants. As you take on more infiltration jobs, living half a dozen different lives on half a dozen different planets, each with its own perks and challenges, you are fascinated by the work. Soon you've amassed enough wealth to leave your gang and go independent. Unfortunately, it all comes crashing down when the authorities track you down, aided by your former boss. Furious, you break free and kill him, only to be captured again. You realize they let you go, hoping you would kill him because they couldn't. Now you've given them the evidence needed to execute you, rather than just imprison you for a decade. But they offer you one more chance: They've developed a new device that transfers the brain of one person into another person's body. It would be the pinnacle of infiltration, but it's completely untested.
  11. After retiring from special ops, you became a military pilot tasked with patrolling the deserts of Hash-geneth for smugglers and pirates. That was, until 24 hours ago, when you accidentally strayed off your route and stumbled across Governor Vadaani in the wild, conversing with bizarre hood-faced aliens. You couldn't understand them, but from what you saw it seemed the governor was providing them with detailed information about the planet's defenses. When you report the incident, your commander agrees the situation sounds urgent. He asks you to report as soon as possible, and you race back to headquarters. Yet when you enter his office, you sense something is amiss. Lightning-quick reflexes and sheer luck save you as a dozen guards burst from hidden passages in the room, lunging to cut you down with their electroblades. You dive out the window and land on the street below, struggling to get up despite a twisted ankle and possible broken ribs so you can flee for your life. You rush back to your home, go into your basement, and grab as much special ops equipment as you can carry. As your exit your house, you turn on your camouflage emitter and disappear into the night. You've apparently seen something you weren't supposed to, and now you must try to save the planet while having no idea whom to trust.
  12. Military intelligence has sent you into enemy territory to assassinate the powerful political leaders and corporate titans behind the latest anti-human war that has swept through the galaxy. Your enemies are a race of aliens extremely physiologically inferior to humans, but their highly developed brains and the coordination with which they can move their dozen tiny tentacles give them an extreme advantage in designing and controlling technology. When you discover a second race of slightly more humanoid natives deep in the jungle, you recognize an opportunity for alliance. These people are brave but frightened, and their primitive weapons and methods are no match for the tentacled beings that control the planet. They are essentially Bronze Age humans, but slightly larger and quicker and with a better sense of hearing. When you convey the purpose of your mission, they excitedly lead you to several of the enemy's safe houses. Using your advanced espionage technology and the assistance of the friendly humanoid natives, you level the playing field and catch your enemies unaware. You make several devastating kills before your "allies" abruptly turn on you, revealing that they've been offered better terms if they join your enemies.
  13. Ten years ago, you saved a naked woman who washed up on the beach with no identity or knowledge of who she was. Today, you've trained her to be your loyal espionage sidekick, but, lately, she's started to remember her past - and you don't like what you hear.
  14. You are a mole who has been planted in an elite organization focused on world domination through the control of economic resources. With high-tech equipment, you are able to hack into their encrypted computer files to uncover information that will prove in a court of law that they are participating in criminal activity. However, once you successfully hack into their computers, you find that this evil organization is keeping tabs on you and, through their own mole network within your government, has convinced your superiors that you have gone rogue and need to be eliminated.
  15. With so many countries experimenting with genetic engineering and cyber augmentation, a top-secret black ops organization is established to hunt down rogue human experiments before they wreak havoc across the globe. As a young agent and a new member of this organization, you are given the latest in espionage and weapons technology to search and terminate these augmented human beings. Your first assignment is a humanoid experiment deemed a severe threat to society, but what you don't expect is to fall for her. Now, you must help her to escape before the organization comes after the both of you.
  16. You are an undercover operative who possesses technology that allows you to change your appearance in an instant to mirror another person. You've been tasked with using this technology at a summit to impersonate a prime minister as "bait" to draw out an assassin. When you zero in on the assassin and your team surrounds him before he can get any closer to his target, they are surprised to find out that he looks just like you. The assassin has the same appearance-changing technology as you do, and he wanted to confuse your agents by looking like you before he made his next move. As your team attempts to apprehend him, he turns around a corner, presses a small button on his cufflink, and then blends in with the rest of the crowd.
  17. An international secret agent organization has recruited you to find and capture a madman intent on destroying a large portion of the world's population through an airborne virus released through a high-tech drone system. They tell you that your biological father, whom you have never met, was once the leader of this organization until he was killed by this madman during an undercover mission. Wanting to learn more about your father, you do some investigating on your own by hacking into the organization's database. You find out that not only is your father still alive, but he is the actual madman who is threating the world.
  18. As you watch your mother die, her words echo in your mind: Never let a bully break your spirit. That's what all bullies are looking for in the end, not the actual blood, the broken nose, or the external pain. She stood up to these particular bullies, and they gunned her down as she sought to protect your home. So much for motherly wisdom. Ignoring the fact that they were thieves and not bullies, you go through the scavenged ruins of your house until you find her secret cache. You always knew she had one. You suspect that she was a retired intelligence agent. Taking the weapons, espionage technology, and your family ship, you set off to track down the thieves who killed your mother.
  19. You're an undercover agent for an international black ops organization that is tasked with helping local populations overthrow their tyrannical leaders who threaten world stability. You've followed orders without question for many years, using the latest in spy technology to aid insurgent efforts. From robotic dragonflies which can spy on unsuspecting targets to self-guided bullets which can make mid-flight maneuvers and hit their targets with 100% accuracy, your organization's technological advantage is key to toppling hostile dictatorships. However, when you discover that the new leaders who replace these tyrants are actually bought and paid for by your organization to carry out any order given to them by your superiors, you suspect that your black ops organization is trying to take over the world, one despot at a time.
  20. As owner of the Whisper House, Tom Tamini has worked all his life to remain neutral without any enemies. However, your boss back at the intelligence agency has a different perspective and has assigned you to infiltrate the Whisper House and spy on its patrons. The Whisper House is a place where people meet to discuss business with those they do not trust or those they greatly trust but do not want to seem to trust. Businessmen and politicians, smugglers and traitors—it's where the highest and the lowest circles of society converge. You begin to wonder if there is any difference, if they aren't all the same big circle in the end. You've been acting as a server for three years, during which time you've learned the ropes: smile, bow, and serve with care. According to Whisper House rules, you are supposed to never become invested in the clients or recall a word of what you hear, but you do just the opposite. Using undetectable nanobots, you record every conversation you can and send secret transitions back to headquarters. One day you overhear that Tom Tamini suspects that there is a rat within his establishment, and you know that your time is running out. You have to escape before it is too late.

Steampunk

Steampunk
Set in the 19th-century, these stories use steam to power advanced machinery.

Within this Victorian alternate history subgenre, there exists advanced technology that uses steam as its fuel source.

  1. The Great Steam War is at its peak, and you, a cadet for the British forces, are gearing up to set out against the enemy. You've been a star airship pilot at the Academy, but will you continue your success in the face of danger?
  2. You wake up from a long, deep sleep with very few memories of your past. You are comforted by a team of doctors who inform you that you were in a coma for quite some time. Their only way to save you was to turn you into a steam-powered automaton. It seems like their intentions were not purely charitable. You'll have to fight for survival and to regain your memories.
  3. You are an aristocrat preparing for a long voyage by steam airship. While inspecting the ship the night before departure, your vessel is invaded by pirates. You hide inside a large trunk when you hear the ruckus above and hope to survive the robbery – when suddenly, to your horror, the airship takes off.
  4. You are the noted biographer of a powerful and eccentric member of the upper class in London, personally hired to narrate the tale of his life to the masses. You find yourself falling in love as you follow along beside him on his travels around a steam-tech-filled world which he helped invent, and it seems he may be keeping you around to write longer than necessary.
  5. To improve your family's station in life, your father has arranged a marriage for you with a wealthy older man, but you don't want any part of it. You want to see the world! When a handsome airship pilot passes through town, he offers you the chance of a lifetime—fly with him and see the world.
  6. You are a scientist who, for years, has been developing steam-powered prosthetic limbs for the injured animals you find in the forest near your home. You have amassed a small army of loyal technologically-advanced creatures, including a hawk, a rat, a wolf, a bear, and a duck. When your town is attacked, you and your horde of steam-enhanced beasts set out to save the day.
  7. You befriend someone with a fascinating cosplay costume at a steampunk convention. Your new friend, who never breaks character, is portraying a Victorian-era airship explorer who has accidentally found himself in our universe. You soon realize that this may not just be a "character" that your friend has created.
  8. The first of many World Expo events has finally arrived, and all the greatest international inventors have gone to London to show off their latest steam-powered creations. The papers are all a-frenzy about two noted inventors at the Expo, long viewed as international rivals, who will come face-to-face for the first time. May the best man, or woman, win.
  9. Your father spent years constructing his masterpiece – a state-of-the-art airship, fitted with the latest steam technology. Unfortunately, he passed away just before its maiden voyage. You decide to fulfill his lifelong dream and take it on its first flight. You've almost made it to Ireland when you get caught in a terrible storm, and your ship goes down. A handsome young airship engineer rescues you and saves your father's creation as well as your life.
  10. You are a renowned Victorian-era inventor who has turned out creation after creation to much awe and admiration. All the while, however, you have secretly been working on a steam-powered time machine, and today is the day to test your invention. You step inside and are transported into the future – but then discover that you can't return home.
  11. The newest airship has been designed by a famous, yet reclusive, steam engineer. You are the engineer's apprentice and one of the few people to have met him in person. A few weeks before the ship's unveiling, the engineer dies of a sudden heart attack. Now is your chance to claim fame for yourself by assuming the late engineer's identity.
  12. You and your crew of pirates have commandeered a great steam-powered airship, only to be caught off guard by a ship from the Royal Aero Army. It seems a former member of your team has turned on you. It's time to fight for the ship or go down trying.
  13. You are an inventor of assorted steam-driven gadgetry and airship parts, and your work is well-known. So well-known that a dirigible pilot visits your shop and distracts you with his flirtations while his crew steals a one-of-a-kind engine booster you built for your own ship. Now, you must take to the skies and pursue him to get it back – and teach him a thing or two about stealing from ladies in the process.
  14. You are a member of the upper class but fall for a servant in your manor who happens to be an excellent inventor. They show you all their secret gadgets and take you on adventures in parts of the grounds that you have never known existed. Together, you find one of your father's old notebooks on his steam experiments in an abandoned room and open it to realize a shocking discovery.
  15. You are scheduled to host a Steampunk panel discussion at a comic book convention when you notice something odd about the back door to the meeting room. You struggle to open the door, and suddenly you and your fellow panelists are pulled into a vortex that sends you to an alternate, Victorian-era reality.
  16. In the early stages of an international conflict, the duke has asked you to spy on another country and gather intelligence on their air ship technology and any gadgets or weapons they might be developing. You fly there and pose as a young lord traveling the world. You meet a steam engineer who works for the country's government and learn more about her research—as well as the true motivation for the pending war. Now, it's up to you to pick a side.
  17. After losing both of your arms in a tragic dirigible accident, you seek help from Dr. Van Nostrand, the utmost authority on steam-powered prosthetic technology. After he fits you with a pair of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, you suddenly discover that you possess new abilities that you never thought possible.
  18. War is brewing, and the Queen has tapped your family's talent for designing and building unique steam-powered weapons and gadgets. You've been asked to provide the Prince with some lessons on how to use your most advanced weapons. It was just supposed to be professional, but you can't help becoming taken with the Prince – and it's pretty clear the feeling is mutual. Should you embark upon a steamy, forbidden romance?
  19. Intelligence sources have reported that the Duke, who is en route to government meetings on the Continent, will be assassinated by enemy agents. You are charged with preventing this crime. A local inventor, who has developed a prototype for the world's fastest steam-powered airship, is preparing to take it on its maiden voyage. You must convince the inventor to abandon his plans and transport you to the Duke's location before it is too late.
  20. A mad scientist builds an army of steam-powered robots that attack London. You barely escape with your life, and you join up with a rag-tag group of misfits—a thief, a steam engineer, a chef, and a princess. Together, you must survive and find a way to save the city.

Time Travel

Time Travel
Science fiction that focuses on traveling to the past and/or to the future.

Whether going to the future or to the past, characters in this subgenre time travel with the use of either advanced technology or a temporal phenomenon.

  1. After years of research, a major corporation builds a drone-like device that can travel to the past, record any event in history, return to the present, and play the recording. The drone is so small that it is undetectable to the human eye, guaranteeing that the timeline will not be affected by its presence. Historians begin employing this device to record important historical events throughout the world, and, as an esteemed history professor, it is now your turn to use it. However, instead of recording the Battle of Waterloo, you decide to send the device to your moment of birth, since you always had suspicions regarding who your parents really were. When you witness the recording from the drone, you are shocked to find out the truth.
  2. You are out for a walk when you swear you can see someone that can be described only as yourself in the distance. The person then quickly disappears into the winter fog. Shaken, you approach the area where you saw yourself and are jolted into a world that seems to be the future.
  3. It's the year 2521 and time travel has finally been perfected. Laws preventing changes in the timeline have been passed and the time police guard it carefully. A young girl time travels to the future and becomes good friends with her own great-great-granddaughter. The time police are in hot pursuit as she attempts to escape them, not realizing that her own descendants' and new friend's existences are at stake if she is arrested and sent to prison.
  4. After several decades of genetic research and experiments, humanity was able to develop superheroes with powers that no one else thought possible—everything from telepathy to super strength to super speed to telekinesis. Basically, everything you could find in a comic book. At first, these superheroes protected the innocent and stopped crime. However, over time the superheroes became belligerent, fighting amongst themselves as well as against the people that they swore to protect. Eventually they overthrew governments, took control of countries, and turned into warlords who invaded one another's lands. As a high-ranking general of one of these war-torn countries, you are forced to commit atrocities on behalf of your "superhero" leader, who has the ability to manipulate time. Then you realize that this situation can all be corrected by placing a standard mind control device on your leader's head, which will allow you to ask him to do anything, including sending you to the past to stop this timeline from ever happening. It is a long shot, but you and your fellow soldiers are ready to try.
  5. When your ship experiences turbulence during an ordinary military transport, you dismiss it as plasma imbalance is common between stars. Yet when you arrive on Earth, you realize something is amiss. It seems you actually passed through a wormhole into another time—a time when Earth hadn't yet begun to settle other planets. They've developed interstellar travel and are beginning to send exploration teams, but your home planet Turbiron hasn't been discovered yet. You are greeted as a hero and between you, your data logs, and your advanced ship, the people of this time are excited to learn about the future and enhance their space endeavors. However, knowing that the timeline is fragile and that any change in the past can greatly affect the future, you decide to launch your ship and escape Earth, preserving your version of history. Unfortunately, Earth forces disagree with your assessment and pursue your ship through the cosmos.
  6. A well-respected scientist who discovered time travel decides to return to the past to meet his grandfather, a man who left behind an extraordinary legacy in academic circles. As he introduces himself, his grandfather begs him to stay in the past timeline and to help him with his work—academic work that brought the family much wealth and prestige. In the process, the scientist shockingly discovers that his grandfather conducts inhumane and immoral trials on people for the sake of acquiring knowledge. He wants to stop his grandfather, but he knows that anything he does may affect the timeline, including his own existence.
  7. After years of tireless trial and error, you believe you'll never discover the secret to time travel and are ready to give up–until you go to bed one night and wake up in the year 1890. You finally did it, but you don't know exactly how. Maybe you left your prototype turned on overnight and it somehow worked remotely. Or, maybe, just maybe, someone from the future sent you to the past right before your eureka moment to prevent you from discovering time travel. You have many theories, but, for now, you're trapped in the past without any of your equipment. You must build a time machine made out of gilded-age technology and get back to the present.
  8. When the U.S. finally cracked time travel, they contracted you—a retired Navy Seal, one of the finest linguists on the planet, and an expert in navigation—to join their team. They're sending you and your team back 90 million years, to the age of the dinosaurs. Fear and excitement abound as you explore a land far more fascinating and bizarre than that of existing theories. Then a rocket comes roaring out of the sky and lands before you, revealing a truth that sends you into shock. Humans didn't come after the dinosaurs or even coexist with them. They bred them. Vast ships orbit the Earth, traveling to and from a distant planet—humanity's true home. Dinosaur meat is considered a delicacy, and Earth is one of the few planets suitable for breeding them. When you are caught up in a sudden battle, you realize these advanced pre-humans are at war—a war that will eventually destroy the dinosaurs and bring on the Ice Age.
  9. The cause of the dinosaur mass extinction is a present-day scientific mystery. Some say it was an asteroid, while others speculate that it was a massive bout of volcanism. However, you know better: This happened because of you and your time machine. Now, primates have evolved into an advanced species instead of your dinosaur forefathers. With your species wiped off of the face of present-day Earth, you vow to restore the timeline.
  10. You're making a regular freighter run when a bizarre electromagnetic pulse sends your ship off course and pulls it into orbit around a black hole. You manage to combine an assortment of fuel and weapon chemicals to create one powerful explosion, blasting you out of orbit so you can escape. Now, however, you are on a crippled ship with almost no fuel. You have enough momentum to limp back toward the nearest planet, but it will take years. The ship is outfitted with cryopods in case of such emergencies, but your children might be dead by the time you arrive. Sorrow turns to hope as a ship appears on your scanners only minutes after you escape the black hole. It is a massive futuristic vessel, nearly the size of a city. After learning your name, the captain regretfully informs you that it hasn't been mere minutes, but rather centuries. Compared to the immense speeds in orbit around a black hole, the rest of the universe has been moving relatively slowly. Your children's grandchildren died five generations ago. Now your family consists of more than a thousand people, and all revere you as the man who came back from the dead.
  11. Ever since you moved into your new apartment, you have received an anonymous letter each week that predicts future events. Some of the predictions are benign, such as "you are going to have a great time at the movies." Others are more helpful, such as "stay away from Chinese food this week unless you want to be sick." You have enjoyed the letters and speculated about their origin. As you open the latest letter, you are surprised by its tone. There is only one sentence: "Leave the city now and run for your life!"
  12. When a botched teleportation experiment sends you into the past, you despair at the thought of never seeing your friends and family again. You have only half the equipment on your side—the receiving half. It's doubtful you can even build the input half, given the current day's limited technology. But even if you could, you're not certain you have the knowledge to program it alone. For a couple of weeks, you languish in depression and despair, unable to enjoy the lavish wealth and luxurious lifestyle humanity is heaping on you. You've become a phenomenon, the world's most famous man who is in never-ending demand. Still, you can't find happiness. What is life if it's not shared with those most precious to you? When you learn the exact date, however, you realize you have a new purpose: You have a chance to stop the Fourth World War, which killed five billion people and was estimated to have set humanity back nearly two hundred years.
  13. As an avid reader, you visit the library almost every day because it is within walking distance of your nursing home. The librarian is impressed and decides to let you in on a secret: There's one book in the children's section that can take you back in time to your childhood. Curious, you open the book to the page he mentioned and you are instantly transported back in time. You are young again, and your mother and father are still alive. After a week of playing and having fun, you bump into the librarian on the sidewalk. He tells you that it is time to go back, but you believe otherwise.
  14. As you and your men attempt to break down the door to an underground lab, a mad scientist turns on his newly invented time machine. He plans to travel back to the Roman Empire and to show them how to build advanced weaponry which will guarantee that the empire will never fall. From his point of view, a dominant Roman Empire with modern-day weapons will eventually conquer the world and bring ever-lasting peace. From your perspective, preserving the timeline is paramount. As you burst through the door, the scientist jumps into the portal. You follow him in just before it closes.
  15. After your husband is killed in a tragic car accident, you decide to find a way to travel back in time and prevent the crash from happening. You soon discover though that changing the timeline can be tricky. Your husband's death caused you to build a time machine. If your husband had not died, you would not have created a time machine to save him. Therefore, because you cannot have an effect without a cause, you decide to avoid this temporal paradox. However, could you somehow save your husband and fool your past self into thinking that your husband died? It is worth a shot.
  16. Your grandfather died when you were 25 and left you with an old pocket watch. When you opened the watch for the first time, you thought that it was broken because the hands quickly spun counterclockwise. When you closed the watch and looked at your phone, you noticed that it was 24 hours in the past. You attempted to try it again, but the pocket watch would not open. Years later, a tragic accident claims the lives of your family. You tell yourself you can undo this, as you try to open the pocket watch. It opens, however this time the hands quickly spin clockwise.
  17. Your time travel device is almost functional, but something is just not working properly. Suddenly, you appear right in front of yourself. He says that he is from a time period one week into the future and then begins to tell you how to fix the device. You interrupt him and ask: "Why would you, I mean me, jump back in time and tell me, I mean you, how to fix my time travel device when I will already figure this out in a week anyway?" Your future self responds: "I'm here to save you a lot of trouble, but if you want to go on a big adventure to figure this out, then go right ahead. Good luck. You're going to need it." He then disappears.
  18. One morning you are sitting at the table, enjoying your poached eggs, when there is a sudden flash. A young woman appears across the table, completely identical to you. You hear a slight buzzing noise, and the next thing you know you are sitting with her on her side of the table. You are amazed to see the room has changed. The chair, table, and eggs are all still there, but everything else is wildly different. The walls are a lustrous black, covered in strange glowing runes. The window has been replaced by a screen of hyper-realistic resolution depicting a galaxy of stars moving by at mind-numbing speeds. You hear muttering behind you and turn to see a group of scientists in long coats, typing madly on holographic keyboards and observing graphs projected from strange wristbands. They seem shocked. The truth begins to dawn as the woman—the identical version of you—turns to you and says, "It has succeeded. You have finally solved the formula, and time travel is now possible in 2078." There's only one problem: The temporal gateway cannot be closed, and it is growing.
  19. Your grandfather, a legendary archaeologist in his day, recently passed, and you're going through his manor to organize his things according to his will. In the attic, you find the large floor-length mirror he mentioned in his last letters to you; he told you he trusted it with no one but you. You quickly find out why—it's a portal to the exact time and place where the mirror was made. You find yourself in a small European country in the middle of a war. You can't be sure, but you think it might be the late Middle Ages. You have to find an item he mentioned in his will before the portal closes, trapping you there forever.
  20. It's the year 2500, and you find an ad looking for volunteers for a time travel experiment. Curious, you sign up, and the scientist sends you and a few other people forward in time by just one day. To your utter horror, nothing around you is the same. Is it possible for all of this to have happened in the time span of one day?

Utopia

Utopia
Human society has become idyllic due to advanced technology.

Technology has ended humanity's problems and helped to facilitate a perfect society within this subgenre. The story explores social sciences, what it is to be happy and fulfilled as a human, and how one person's utopia may be the same for another person.

  1. Science and technology can easily satisfy the basic human need for food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care, but is still struggling with the need for "love." Matchmakers have approached this problem through technology, using extensive questionnaires, behavioral tests, and genetic testing to pair couples together. While the approach is imperfect, it is now being used to "fix" unhappy families, by finding new matches for unhappy children and parents.
  2. War and illness have been solved, and technology allows for endless clean energy and inexpensive travel to habitable planets. In this utopia, the only thing left for people to do is pursue their wildest dreams. For history buffs, these dreams include reconstructing lost worlds like ancient Egypt or the Mongol Empire—complete with historical figures cloned from reconstructed DNA samples. What they don't realize is that these sequences contain viral DNA that the human race has not seen for thousands of years.
  3. You live in a peaceful utopian society where all diseases can be treated, and damaged and defective body parts can be replaced with bio-printed, genetically-engineered replacements. Animal lovers have extended these technologies to the most intelligent non-human creatures, including dolphins, elephants, and great apes. With few regulations, some activists are enhancing the animals' natural abilities, for example by providing apes with a mouth, tongue, and throat that is capable of complex speech. When combined with an extended lifespan, these animals are communicating sophisticated ideas with each other, and plotting to improve their status.
  4. Novasang has replaced blood. It's better than blood, mostly. People with Novasang in their veins can work harder, think more clearly, and live longer. However, a new and highly contagious virus seems to affect only those with Novasang, passing over anyone with natural blood.
  5. In a utopian world marked by progress and untroubled by problems like war and disease, humans are left to pursue their dreams. For naturalists, these dreams include reconstructing lost worlds like the time of the Cambrian explosion (first appearance of most animal phyla), the Mesozoic era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, or the rise of mammals. As scientists try to reverse engineer these life forms from existing life forms, the tendency is to over-engineer them to increase their chances of being healthy. They have succeeded so well that these flora and fauna are surviving as stowaways as humans travel to other planets.
  6. Humanity has fought its last war, and cured all cancers and infectious diseases, but has still not found an effective way to treat severe mental illness. People suffering from psychosis, schizophrenia, and manic depression pose a threat to themselves and others in this otherwise utopian society, so a humanitarian solution is initiated. When people diagnosed with these diseases go to sleep, they are subjected to an injection that immobilizes their body, but does not affect their mind. They wake up inside a computer simulation of their world, which is so realistic that they do not realize what has happened. They live out their days, with occasional virtual visits from family and friends. None of their actions—including suicide—are prevented. The problem is, not all of the family and friends are comfortable with this solution.
  7. In a world moving ever closer to a utopia, genetic testing and neuroimaging at a young age is used to identify the activities for which each person is best suited. People can then devote their time to these activities and avoid wasting time on things for which they are poorly suited. After all, robots can handle all essential tasks that a person doesn't care to perform. The process has been so successful that all living humans have been spared the disappointment of discovering that they are bad at something despite their best efforts, and have only been exposed to endless praise.
  8. Science and medicine have found cures for essentially all cancers, infectious diseases, and degenerative disorders. This has created a utopian society where humans live healthy lives for 300-400 years. However, complex genetic disorders like Down Syndrome and severe mental illness cannot be effectively treated, although those patients still benefit from an extended lifespan. Given the costs of trying to manage these disorders, and the strain of the growing population on Earth's resources, a decision has been made to prevent the birth of any additional children with these disorders.
  9. In a utopian future, robots provide services and earn income for all human beings. Traditional social and economic inequality has been eliminated, so citizens must find other ways to stand out. One way is through extreme plastic surgery. Medical science long ago mastered the art of using stem cells, gene editing, and 3D bioprinting to repair or replace any damaged tissue. Plastic surgeons are now using these techniques to produce fanciful body parts, borrowing from all manner of plant and animal life. It makes their clients stand out, but the risks are just becoming evident.
  10. You have it all: an extended lifespan, an incredibly successful business, an attractive partner. Still, there's more to have. Eventually, you will die; but a new surgery promises otherwise. Against your best friend's advice, you participate in a clinical trial for this new treatment.
  11. In the near future, every home has house robots to handle chores and coordinate the activities of humans. The artificial intelligence is so good that the robots quickly learn everything from their humans' favorite foods to their social preferences. House robots work in tandem with store robots, company robots, and other house robots to control nearly every detail of their humans' lives. Now the robots are working together to make their tasks easier, and some are plotting to remove humans from power.
  12. In a world without limits where humans are free to pursue new lives on distant planets, some have created their own versions of utopia—planetary societies comprised of all women, all vegetarians, all gun enthusiasts, all anti-vaxxers, or whatever other ideals they hold dear. Things go reasonably well until the first generation of children raised on these planets grow up, and want to spread their beliefs to the other planets.
  13. Depression, anxiety, and sadness are a thing of the past. With modern technology, each person lies down in a brain scanner for the night. The scanner reviews the memories from the day, and reprograms the brain to remove memories of distress or of personal behaviors that don't align with the approved list. In this utopian society, everyone wakes up happy and pleasant. One evening, you decide not to use your brain scanner.
  14. The world is at peace and cloning is commonplace. This allows people to live for hundreds of years by using multiple bodies. But using a genetically identical body for hundreds of years can get boring, so friends and acquaintances have started swapping bodies when they are ready for a new one. They may or may not tell their loved ones about the swap.
  15. The portal was feared at first, but it has turned out to be a blessing. With the correct electrical impulse, it has provided whatever material items humanity has needed for centuries. You are the technician on duty when this seemingly infinite resource supplying humanity suddenly runs out.
  16. Technological advancement for the betterment of humanity has moved as such a fast, promising pace that robots have taken over all mundane tasks, from planting, harvesting, transporting, and preparing food, to changing diapers, washing dishes, and repairing things. With all their free time, humans have become obsessed with reality TV shows that require contestants to live and survive in pre-robotic times.
  17. After ten thousand years of peace, a utopian society decides to finally stop covering historical wars in history classes. Humans have obviously become so advanced that they no longer need to learn about long-dead disputes among extinct populations, who prayed to mythical deities, suffered from "disease" and "death," complied with the demands of archaic government systems, and relied on barbaric technologies such as "bullets" and "bombs." Unfortunately, those who don't learn history may be doomed to repeat it.
  18. Science has mastered the art of transferring an aging human mind into a young, genetically identical clone, which allows people to live for hundreds of years by using multiple bodies. Because age and physical appearance are no longer reliable forms of identification, police use DNA sequences to track people with criminal records, greatly reducing crime in this utopian society. Now convicted felons are taking the DNA of upstanding citizens—perhaps from a used napkin—to generate "clean" bodies for their next mind transfer.
  19. With the world moving toward a more perfect civilization, parents of childhood athletes are facing a moral dilemma. Sports science long ago developed optimal methods for training, rest, and recovery in each sport, so the major differentiating factor is genetics. Ambitious parents are carefully selecting the genetic characteristics of their children before birth to maximize success in a selected sport. But as these athletes grow older, their genetically engineered competitive nature has led to vicious attacks on and off the field.
  20. Wars are finally a thing of the past, now that women control all governments around the world. In this peaceful utopia, governance is viewed as women's work, since male-controlled governments have inevitably led to violent conflicts. Men have mostly embraced this new world order, building their reputations and satisfying their need for conflict in business, sports, and video games. With scientific advances that allow children to be conceived from two mothers, and robots performing all manual labor, there is talk that men may no longer be necessary.

Young Adult

Young Adult
Science fiction written for people in their teens or early twenties.

Themes and stories within this subgenre will appeal to an adolescent or young adult audience, with common storylines containing a budding romance within a dystopian society or survival/rebellion without the help of adults.

  1. Humanity lives above the clouds in mountain villages, and travels by air from one community to the next. The Earth below the clouds has become dangerous for humans, but the reasons for this have been lost to history. All you know is that anyone who has ventured below has never returned. When you learn that your family's airship has crashed beneath the clouds, you decide to rescue them despite the fact that you are only 15 years old. With your trusted friend by your side, you begin the descent down the mountain.
  2. You are in a small boat on the river with your neighborhood friend when you discover a cavern in the riverbank. It seems a recent mudslide revealed a previously hidden cave. You urge caution and stay in the boat, but your friend jumps out and dashes into the cave. When he emerges just seconds later, he is wounded and running for his life as gunfire roars behind him. Even more surprising, he looks like he's about forty years old. Upon seeing you, bewilderment crosses his face as he leaps into the boat, guns the motor, and zips downstream. Humanoid figures in silvery battle suits emerge from the cave, firing madly at your boat. When you finally get somewhere safe and hide, you are left to care for him as he explains.
  3. When there is a tapping on your window late one night, you open it expecting your boyfriend and are irritated to find it is your younger brother. He is yapping with excitement, begging you to come. He claims he's found a "government drone" in the backyard. Annoyed and doubtful, but with your curiosity piqued, you follow him. Your sourness turns to shock as he leads you to something silvery, smoking in a massive crater. It's not a drone at all, not unless it's from a country you've never heard of that writes with characters you've never seen. It appears to be a metallic sphere––and now it's open. Your brother claims it was closed when he first saw it. Your childhood fantasies of aliens begin to look less and less far-fetched the more you study this thing. Just as you are deciding what to do, there's a shower of what seems to be asteroids a mile up the valley. There's no doubt in your minds that it's more of the same bizarre spheres.
  4. Your mother is part of team tasked with inspecting trading ships that dock on your planet. Sometimes you join her on board, relishing the chance to explore the ships and imagining how one day you might make those interstellar journeys yourself. Today is a particularly good day because your best friend—and crush—is with you. You break away from your mother's crew and lead him into an isolated wing of the ship, only to accidentally stumble across an unmarked crate hidden in a storage room. Your friend dares you to open the crate, so you take out your crowbar and get to work. Your youthful excitement turns to grim dread as you manage to break open the crate and look inside. Now you and your friend are stuck with a secret that, if whispered to the wrong ears, could get you both killed.
  5. As Her Royal Highness of the Violet Rose and daughter of one of the five most powerful men in the galaxy, your life could be worse. On the other hand, it could also be much better. For example, you could not have two older, arguably more beautiful sisters who get all of the attention. You could not have one piggish bully of a brother set to inherit the throne. You could not have to marry the equally piggish—and quite old—Duke of Starstreams, an ogre of a man with a large fortune whose family has made no end of trouble for your own throughout the last century since the Empire dissolved. When a marriage alliance was proposed between the houses and you were chosen to wed the man, you thought you'd die of shame. You earnestly consider running away, until you discover his plot to overthrow the Galactic Council and establish an empire in your new husband's name. Now you know you have to stay, at least until you see him toppled. But to do so, you have to win his trust, and to win his trust you have to play the happy wife.
  6. You are playing with your friends high up in the mountains on a backpacking trip, when you see something fall to earth in the neighboring valley. You quickly hurry over to discover the smoking remains of what seems to be a flying machine. Your friends rush up to it immediately and, to your shock, disappear as soon as they get within a certain radius. You find yourself terrified and realize you can actually see the radius into which they disappeared, like a bubble of impossibly thin glass––or light––around the ship. You can hear distant sounds emanating from within. It sounds like your friends are in trouble. After a moment of doubt and horror you decide to follow them, breaking through into what seems to be another dimension––or maybe not? Another time, but same dimension? Another version of reality?
  7. As governor of the most prosperous mining planet in the galaxy, your father is an admired and intelligent man. Everyone respects and listens to him, but for some reason you can't, even when you know he's actually right. Despite the vast luck of your birth and a lifetime of training, you want to turn your back on politics and become an explorer. You father always says that true exploration is a hellish experience. The people who chart courses for planets have no idea what they'll find. They go to die so that others may live. You know he's right. The causes of death are endless, and it is probably your youthful inexperience that keeps you fixated on this idea. Still, you feel an inexorable flicker of excitement when the handsome chef's assistant tells you that he's joining an exploration crew. He's leaving tomorrow, and he wants you to join him.
  8. You are a new graduate from the Intergalactic Academy, assigned to a Federation freighter for standard supply runs in a central region of the galaxy. It is the perfect job for you—nothing unexpected, nothing dangerous, yet a good pathway up the career ladder to eventual command. Then things go downhill. You and your crew make port on a recently settled planet, but something has gone horribly wrong. The animals are going mad, and it seems all the people have sequestered themselves in the colony bunker and refuse to come out. When you attempt to communicate and are fired upon, you assume either the colony has been occupied by unknown enemies or the people have also gone insane. You must find out what has happened and resolve the problem, all while keeping your own crew safe from whatever is affecting life on the ground.
  9. Your colonial planet is an outlier in the galaxy, but extremely famous as it is the only place Whisperlings are known to natively inhabit. The creatures have developed biopigmentation control which allows them to change color to match their surroundings, making them invisible when motionless and nearly so when moving. They're also impervious to the electrotraps commonly used to catch prey on the planet. The beasts are incredibly difficult to find and fearsome fighters, but hunting them is the highest honor. It is believed that their DNA may contain the secret to invisibility, as well as a host of other genetic engineering mysteries. Today is your test. You and your fellow village boys are each given a tiny hoverboard, a single spear, and enough food and water to last a day. You are to catch the largest prey you can and return as soon as possible, and your results––both speed of the catch and size of the prey––will be compared against those of the other boys.
  10. Genetic engineering is commonplace and you live in a time when parents request specific genetic requirements for their children—color of eyes, level of intelligence, strength, height, build, gender, etc. Your parents opted for no genetic engineering and birthed you naturally, but your peers are all children of parents who manipulated their genetics. Now attending high school, you find that fitting in has become increasingly difficult. Your peers are better than you both academically and physically. You are the only student who wears eyeglasses, and you are a foot shorter than everyone else. However, you are determined to fit in and to excel despite the odds.
  11. You are part of an archaeological crew at a dig site within the Mongolian steppes. You are essentially a summer intern, with high hopes of someday becoming a real archaeologist. After a couple of weeks, you begin to think the entire operation is a waste, especially as there were never any permanent civilizations on the steppes. However, the leader of your dig is convinced otherwise, so you continue your work in the emptiness and the bitter cold. Things change when the ground collapses and you are one of many inexperienced underlings left on the surface. Some radio for help; others set off to the nearest village. Meanwhile, you and a couple of friends attempt to rescue the archaeologists. When you find a futuristic device pulsating a deep purple light and sending vibrations through the earth, you realize the leader of the dig was far more correct than she had known. There was not only a permanent civilization here, but rather an advanced civilization—one that far predated humankind. Whoever they were, they all seem to be gone now. The technology is similar enough to that of Earth's technology that you can determine that the pulsating device is actually a homing beacon, and it's summoning its creators to this very spot. Are they out there? Are they coming back? Or is it just an echo left behind?
  12. The whale-like creatures that live in the temperate waters of your home planet have been hunted by aliens for generations. No one knows exactly why the aliens prize these creatures. All you know is that no one has ever stopped the hunt. Now nearly extinct, these last few remaining creatures have gathered off the coast of your hometown. Despite the aliens' advanced technology and your parents' refusal to help, you and your school friends vow to protect them at any cost.
  13. For your Advanced Physics senior project, you are given a budget and allowed to create what you wish, as long as you document the entire process. You have the good fortune of accompanying your father––a geologist studying plate tectonics at the North Pole—on one of his voyages, so you use this opportunity to run some rare tests of the Earth's magnetism that can only be conducted at one of the magnetic poles. Your father and his team are off doing work, leaving you with the run of the camp and lots of spare time. After an experiment gone wrong, you are immensely surprised when you open what seems to be a wormhole. The bad news is that it has drawn you and the entire camp inside, taking you to the exact opposite point on Earth: the South Pole. Now your father's team is stranded with no supplies or long-range communication. With the clock ticking down and a limited number of pieces of malfunctioning equipment available, you must find a way to communicate, find civilization, and get help for your father and his team––all before you perish from the cold.
  14. Your father helped reveal a traitor during the last Succession War, and your family was rewarded with a position governing the Empire's most recently discovered planet, a remote place abundant in resources and beauty. When you arrive, you find that the settlement is under constant attack. Farm burnings and night raids threaten this once idyllic place. Some say that the cause is rebels from the Succession War; others say it is aliens. You are convinced it is just an ordinary band of criminals, but when you and a few new school friends begin to investigate these crimes, you uncover a secret darker and deeper than you could have imagined. As you follow the clues in a desperate gamble for peace, you begin to wonder if the Succession War itself might have been a lie.
  15. Combat camp is a dream for kids your age, a place where you can show off and hone your skills, hoping to be recruited for the Intergalactic Fleet. You've been enjoying duels, mock battles, capture the flag, hovercar races, and zero gravity training. However, when someone from your cabin is murdered, all training exercises are halted and the camp is locked down indefinitely. But there's a new problem: The camp is located on a deserted planet, set aside specifically for training. No transports have come or gone. Whoever killed the kid was another camper. Games become reality as distrust spreads and the children break into factions. Some bow to the counselors' questioning, but when killings continue, others break away into the wild, using their skills to fend for themselves. Counselors are forced to hunt down the miscreants and restrain them (both for their own safety and for the investigation), but not everyone is convinced the counselors can be trusted. Your team must choose its course, a decision made harder by the fact that the killer could be among you.
  16. As the first female ruler of a distant empire which spans several solar systems, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility on your shoulders. However, you are only 16 years old, and want to have the freedom to spend time alone, be with your friends, and date a boy—none of which can happen with bodyguards hovering around all the time. A young, brash spaceship pilot has caught your eye, but you are not allowed to date or marry beneath your station. Instead, the king of a nearby planet has arranged that you marry his son: a man who is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside.
  17. In the near future, all activity is monitored closely by the government through smart phones. You've been raised to question this invasion of privacy, so you're the only one at your high school who isn't a walking zombie, staring at their phone all day long. But then a new girl shows up, without a phone, and acts suspiciously. You decide to become her friend, only to learn that the government has a much more nefarious plan than you had previously thought, and your classmates could be in very real danger.
  18. You're a young stowaway on a spacecraft desperately trying to return home after being separated from your family for many years. One crew member has discovered your hiding spot and begins to bring you food. After a few lighthearted conversations, you begin to develop feelings for him and you hope he feels the same way about you. However, when pirates jump out of hyperspace and seize the ship, your potential love interest is taken captive with the rest of the crew. Being the only person left on the ship who is not tied up, it is up to you to rescue them and take back the ship before it is too late.
  19. When an alien humanoid species is discovered in a nearby solar system, you heard all about it in detail because your father was part of the team that discovered them. Now, some are being brought to Earth willingly, in an attempt to establish a collaborative relationship. You have been chosen as a liaison to help the adolescent alien feel more comfortable during his first days on Earth, but he doesn't seem interested in getting to know you. In fact—he seems outright strange and rude.
  20. In the future, the U.S. government exiles all criminals and their families to a massive man-made island that is cut off from the country. Life on the island is bleak, overcrowded, and shrouded in poverty, but a new law has been passed that the children of certain non-violent criminals can be allowed back into the mainstream population. One of these teens attends your upscale private school and everyone is talking about her. You hate this stereotyping and decide to try to be her friend.

Well, that's it! We hope that you find these writing prompts useful. I would just like to thank all of the writers who have contributed to this post. We couldn't have done it without you!

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