Tag Archives: scifi writing prompts

Writing prompt: Old rock day

(It’s the new year and I going to restart my weekly prompts! Hooray! I slacked a bit this fall, which means I’m chock full of inspiration, right?)

Time: 10 minutes plus a 5 minute edit. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Old rock day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

After I went to an exhibit on Mars rocks, I was determined to find my own chunk of Mars. I dropped $1500 on a Pocket Geology GC™ Field Testing Kit. The Pocket GC could vaporize a small chunk of rock and run it through a tiny analyzer. Based upon the composition and structure, it could access an online database and tell you how the rock formed, where it was from, and how old it was. Crowd sourcing meant better data every day. If you really needed to be sure, you could send it off for authentic geological testing by certified scientists… for a price.

Only a handful of Mars rocks have ever been found because most rocks just look like rocks. Peering into their history isn’t something human eyes were made for. But since the Pocket GC hit market, the number of samples had grown by 50%.

I drove throughout the southwest. I studied the circumstances of other rock finds. I kept looking. I kept failing, but I was keeping busy, which is important, right?

I found it, appropriately enough, in City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico. It wasn’t a Mars rock; it was something else. I only went there for the scenery; the rocks there are way too young to find a Mars rock. But, so accustomed to fiddling with my hands, I tested an unassuming chunk of rock.

“Origins: Unknown, age: unknown,” my phone displayed, followed by a mess of chemical data. The Pocket GC didn’t return “unknown” too often these days. Sometimes scientists in the lab with new substances stumped it, but after 5 years of crowd supplied data, it had seen almost everything. So I had found something wonderful: a puzzle. I knew I should send it in for the extra testing. But I decided to keep it intact for a few days as a trophy. It was almost a compulsion, I couldn’t stand to hurt it more than I already had for the testing.

I set the rock on the bedside table as I went to bed that night. In the morning, I woke tired. The dreams crept up on me slowly over the next few nights.

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Writing prompt: bald and free day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“bald and free day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

I opened my eyes. I reached up to feel my head. It was smooth and hairless, slick and fast. Then I realized my fingers were different too. I lowered them and inspected them. They looked slightly blurry, but they were wider, flatter. Webbed.

“You’re completely hairless, now,” the technician said. “This new body has a number of modifications for your new lifestyle. You have more subcutaneous fat, to deal with the water temperature. You have a dorsal fin. You might notice your vision is a little blurry. That’s from the extra eyelid. It’ll help you see underwater.”

Across from me sat a motionless creature covered in hair. It’s tail hung limp. The last vestige of my last adventure. I had run with the wolves. Well, human-wolves. I wasn’t actually interested in hanging out with real wolves. Too much violence, not enough conversation. But since Ed had dumped me, I got tired of wolves quick. Finally I wanted to explore my first love, whales.

I’d always been fascinated by the sea. But the ocean is still not fully tamed. It’s intimidating. You have to sign a lot of wavers to do the whale experience. A lot of whale people never come back home. They don’t know if it’s by preference or if they die. They made me get a GPS chip, for tracking. It sounded undignified to me, but that was the only way.

“Where will I sleep?” I asked. My voice sounded odd. I wondered if that was due to modifications to my voice or to my ears.

“Your new body is modified to mimic sea mammalian species. Part of your brain will always be awake. This brain sleeps in shifts.”

“That sounds unhuman.”

The tech shrugged. “Isn’t that the goal?”

Another tech rolled my wolf body away. I knew from past adventures it would be mulched. My tech rolled my chair out of the room. I realized my legs were fused into one. Now it was real. I was going to be free.

Writing prompt: race your mouse day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Race your mouse day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

“Ladies and gentlemen and the rest of us, the mice are being shown on the track now. Place your bets before the bottom of the hour! Look there at Thumbelina, a whole foot taller than last year! They must have discovered another variation for the Am-te-1 gene. And Fivel Goes Sonic is following. Yes, there have been some creative designs this year!” The announcer droned, though few listened.

The stands were full and the elite had their plumage set to “ridiculous.” Holographic dresses made women appear to have 12 inch waists. There were hats 5 feet tall, but didn’t obstruct the views of those seated behind. A man cooed at his pocket-sized St. Bernard. The fabrics were inlaid with microthreads to calculate ever-changing fractals. The men displayed their bare chests, elegantly carved by nanobots into perfectly sculpted forests of bonsais. It was the day of the mouse race. The finest lab specimens from centuries past had been carefully genetically modified. Some were great hulking beasts 12 feet tall. Others where lanky and narrow, but highly optimized in musculature. The mice had to contain at least 99% of the genetics of a Sprague-Dawley lab rat from the year 2000, but some of these beasts would have been difficult for humans from that time to recognize. Some of the humans might have been hard to recognize, but they weren’t modified in any genetic sense. That would be obscene.

Writing prompt: cousins day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Cousins day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

(author’s note: I am not a biologist, so all the biology in here is just fun and spitballing!)

The Tasmanian Flu wasn’t a type of flu at all. No one knew then, sixty years ago. It was an engineered disease that got lucky enough to absorb a favorable mutation from a wild bacteria. It didn’t develop in Tasmania. We started calling it the Tasmanian Flu after no one would admit to the disease, but it was everywhere. Well gosh, it must’ve come from Tasmania. That’s where devils come from, right?

Either you were susceptible to TF, or you weren’t. A mother would catch the disease, then all her children, but not her husband or her in-laws. Quickly, they isolated the genes responsible for susceptibility. The fear was, if it infected enough people, it would absorb another wild mutation and gain the ability to infect anyone. After Putin died of the illness, conspiracy theorists speculated that it was a targeted assassination of the Russian despot gone awry.

That didn’t to the Cousins.

That’s what they called us. They rounded up those susceptible, the Cousins, and they put us in bio-containment camps away from everyone else. We had good care. They tried to keep the infected isolated from the merely susceptible. But it didn’t work, and TF has a 50% fatality rate even with novel treatment. Then there were the side effects.

I know 200 digits of pi. I didn’t try to remember them, and before TF I had no head for numbers. With minimal training, I found I could make sense of complicated geometries and had inexplicable intuitions as to the solutions of complex systems.

For 60 years, we made up for the loss of our cousins with our gifts. There are fewer of us than there once were. And now, some whisper that perhaps TF could be useful.

Writing prompt: Stay out of the sun day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Stay out of the sun day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

“This will be one your first exercises,” the leader wiggled his antennae sternly. “It might seem like a trivial one, but 15% of recruits fail this test.”

Ix’xin sat nervously in his seat. Everyone knew about this test. They were working to develop genetic tests to identify the trait and lower the loss rate, but until then, the best thing to do was place every recruit in a separate vehicle and only give him the opportunity to take himself out.

“We will be launching you into space shortly. Most of your experience will be exactly like your experiences in the flight simulators. Except one. You will feel drawn to fly into the sun. Most of you will be able to resist, but not all.”

Ix’xin’s wings were strapped to a sensitive interface.The interface detected small muscle movements and translated them into the motion of the ship. It was almost like flying back home.

The sun was bigger and brighter than he could have imagined. In his mind, it felt warm and inviting even though with all the shielding he didn’t feel any difference. Several seconds passed before he realized he was flying straight toward the luminous sphere. With compound eyes, he saw the twinkling of other pods travelling as he did.

He continued toward the sun.

Writing prompt: I forgot day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“I Forgot Day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

She didn’t know the face in front of her eyes. She reached out and touched the cool glass surface of the mirror. She didn’t know her own face. When had this happened? She realized she couldn’t remember her own name either. In neighboring apartments and out the small bathroom window, she heard screams and wails. She didn’t feel like screaming. She felt numb and confused. She wandered out of the bathroom into the rest of the apartment.

It was comfortable yet alien. Pictures of her unfamiliar face adorned the wall, often accompanied by a young man. The bookcase was full of books; many of them looked interesting. Pleasant music played over the speakers.

“Who are you?” it was the young man from the pictures. He wore pajamas. He looked angry.

She pointed immediately to the pictures. “I don’t know. But we know each other. You can’t remember anything either, can you?”

He looked away, acknowledging. Those screams must have been other people, lost, frightened.

A voice boomed from the sky. “Do not be alarmed! You do not remember anything, but this is for good reason. You must unlearn to relearn.” The words were mechanical, like a voice navigation system or translation. It was the most frightening thing that had happened yet.

“Please exit your domiciles in an orderly fashion in order to begin relearning.”

She exchanged a wild glance with the man. She knew that he didn’t intend to obey the big voice either.