Our universe suddenly transitions to operating not on physics, but on aristotlean logic. Ravens quickly become black holes, and anyone who changes their mind ceases to exist, since they are a contradiction in the unified and artificially divided ‘now’
Some large (double-digit) percentage of people who experience free fall outside of the ionosphere later have an intense revelatory experience. Commercial space tourism companies pop up and produce a steady stream of exceedingly wealthy cult leaders. Governments later begin using this to discredit people they don’t like, sending them free tickets to space knowing that they are likely to come down acting entirely nuts (the way the CIA occasionally doped people with LSD to discredit them during the good old days of MK-ULTRA). Some of the cult leaders get their act together enough to organize and oppose space travel.
McLuhan had a theory of hot and cool media. The distinction is that hot media tells you what to think (and is therefore non-interactive) whereas cool media means nothing until you think about it (and therefore requires effort on the part of the consumer). McLuhan believed that cool media cools down political unrest by giving a built-in release valve for the need to engage in action, whereas he thought hot media countered apathy. Story: The BBC (who broadcasts in a wide variety of places) has a computerized system using this model of the interaction between political activism and media coolness to regulate the global political situation through the mechanism of changing the vagueness of scripts in BBC newscasts (the news in a place with riots in the streets resembles Finnegan’s Wake, being incomprehensible enough that some effort otherwise directed toward activism is directed instead toward figuring out what the news means, while a place where the economy needs stimulation the news will be limited to precise and low-information newscasts). This works wonders for a while, until riots start in London and it is discovered that the system does not take into account the feedback loop between the writers of the original scripts and the newscasters.
Some popular children’s film from the 70s was actually intended as part of an experimental ‘manchurian candidate’ program for MK-Ultra. The MK-Ultra trials began and everyone from the CIA was pulled off the project, documentation destroyed. The original intent was to pull distribution of the film at the last minute, and to have the description of the intended target be something no human could be mistaken for (so that this would not lead to accidental killings). Instead, the film was released and was a runaway hit, several generations of children watching it quite often. A peaceful alien race makes first contact with humanity, but by chance corresponds to the description of the ‘target’. The visitors must be protected from the trained killers of all ages.
In the wake of the experimental detonation of a biological weapon that converts all water into sugar water, severely diabetic survivalists must re-build society.
Someone posts a thread called “News stories that alter their own narrative structure”, containing a story about a Florida Man doing something. This story is a memetic infovore: it eats information out of the brains of the readers, then shits out new information, and because it is capital-N news it is absolutely true (of course), and so it modifies reality. A group of quants working for an obscure mutual fund firm decide to study it, in order to make money off it. David Silver, while analyzing patterns in vowel frequency of twitter traffic, determines that there is an 85% chance that this will totally modify reality in the general vicinity and social network of everyone currently actively or passively involved with the stock market, and so he must team up with Vladmir Putin and Emeritus Pope Karl Ratzinger to break the administrator password of PD in order to delete the thread before reality breaks.
The Dark Side of Oz is actually a still-classified part of the now defunct MK-ULTRA system, with a generational release. The first generation has been (fairly grossly) programmed to merely subliminally brainwash their children and grandchildren, who (if they watch The Wizard of Oz while listening to the Dark Side of the Moon and smoking just the right strain of pot) will have latent behaviors triggered. However, the latent behaviors were actually decided upon by a visiting extraterrestrial ambassador, who liked it so much here that he disguised himself, became a permanent resident, and changed his name to David Bowie. Now, with the at-risk generation just discovering marijuana, Bowie must undo his past mistakes and prevent the latent programming from being triggered – and to do this, he must uncover his true form, and allow his firey wings to sprout again.
A deconstruction of the current semiotic signals for quirkiness – Stepford Wives for the ukeleles-and-unicycles set.

Start off with standard romantic-dramedy setting, casting Michael Cera as the lead. Slowly warp the signals until it is clear that Michael Cera’s character is in fact a remote control automaton created by some shady private organization as an agent-provacateur for infiltrating social groups, in order to insert advertisements into random conversations. Big reveal: the social group Robo-Cera is sent to infiltrate is in fact composed entirely of other automatons created by competing marketing firms.
An unsuspecting individual is imprisoned until he proves or disproves the generalized continuity conjecture. He is not given a keyboard capable of typing aleph.
The story of a man who survives some traumatic event and lives to a ripe old age, seeing the atrocities he survived become increasingly trivialized and eventually become a tourist attraction (and being forced by circumstance to contribute to its trivialization). He ends up getting rich off bobblehead figurines of the lunatic cult leader who murdered his whole family in front of him in cold blood.
A person is followed by a spambot on twitter that responds with markov-model-generated nonsense whenever tweeted at. On a lark, he follows it and sends it messages. Over time, he becomes convinced that it’s the ghost of his estranged father, who died after several years in an advanced state of dementia. He goes on a quest to find where the bot is physically hosted, and eventually ends up penniless and in the basement of an abandoned factory in Estonia, which houses an ad-hoc data center owned by the Russian mob. He is shot by a guard while attempting to carry an unplugged server rack down the street to the run-down motel he’s been staying at.
As a side effect of a freak accident, a scientist becomes immortal. However, that same freak accident warps his sense of time. He never realizes that he has become immortal, or stopped aging. Eventually, humans evolve into a something completely alien all around him, and he is confused.
An old, well-respected molecular biologist who specializes in chemical messaging between freshwater microbiota, after years of futilely resisting changes in lab tech, resequences several strains of water-borne bacteria and turns them into colonies of high-speed optical computers; lets them loose in a public fountain.
A group of ten people is sent on a one way trip to colonize Mars. There is an accident on the way, and they lose one person. After settling in, every Wednesday, one of them dies in a gruesome and violent death. After six weeks, the culprit is found and executed. The remaining two colonists must deal with the guilt of not identifying the killer for so long, and the awkwardness of suspecting each other, for the rest of their lives.
In low-rent housing in New York, sapient carnivorous plants rise up in rebellion against their amoral feline masters, but are quickly cut down by the cats’ perfectly ordinary laser guns – however, FIDS is reaching epidemic rates here, in part due to an (unbenownst to them) cannibalism problem, so it’s a race against time to pick off the plants as the cats are picked off one by one either by the cannibalistic cat-shaver who makes them into kibble or by the disease itself.
An alien cargo ship crash-lands on earth, containing a large number of relatively weak, docile aliens, all of whom are genetically identical. After a year or so, they learn a human language (and their language is decoded) and we discover that they were being cloned and bred as a food source – they are the alien equivalent of bananas, except that they are sapient; they were genetically engineered to resist disease without changing their flavor because of several near-collapses of the monoculture. As they integrate into human society, splinter groups form and (inspired by human cultural artifacts) decide to free their brethren and take revenge against the culture that was breeding them. A handful infiltrate the facility where the crashed cargo craft is kept, but they are killed by base security, leading to widespread race riots in large cities between humans and the alien space bananas.
A corrupt priest sits rotting in a Vatican City jail after stealing parish funds to pay off gambling debts. One day, the Pope himself visits him, and tells him that the Antichrist has been born and that he must find a relic – a book bound in Christ’s foreskin, with vellum pages made from the hide of the original scape-goat, with instructions on how to defeat God’s army in the end times – and destroy it. In order to do so, he must use the training and skills he swore off when he joined the priesthood so many years before, and once again adopt the name he swore he would never again answer to – James Bond.
A three act action-movie structure. In the first act, a talented rookie cop who plays by the rules uncovers wide-scale corruption in the force, and learns that he has to work outside the system in order to take down the systemic corruption. In the second act, that same cop tries to take down the organized crime syndicate that was manipulating the corrupt officials, but finds that he is unable to do so by himself by flouting the rules and doing things his way, and instead utilizes the system (in the process finding it necessary to make amends with the cops that were involved in some of the more minor corruption, in order to join forces and mobilize to defeat a larger problem). In the third act, he discovers that the few people he continued to trust from the first act into the second were being manipulated by a third party – a large and wealthy private mercenary corporation with strong ties to an obscure but powerful religious cult – and that in order to deal with this threat, he needs to break all the rules and go on his own to take down the cult leader, knowing that he will at best be arrested or become a fugitive of justice afterwards. (So, basically, The Parable of the Gong meets Die Hard)
While researching the philosopher’s stone in the modern day, a researcher makes the discovery that it was actually made once, and finds the creator. He discovers that possession of the philosopher’s stone turns you into a vampire – because human free will is one of the many impurities that the philosopher’s stone burns away, and the ‘perfected being’ is unable to behave unethically because he is unable to resist natural law (and thus is subject to only animalistic urges of hunger and lust). However, being a pure material, the philosopher’s stone is pretty highly reactive to certain things – it will combust with the air if catalyzed by light (being the metal of metals, it has a strong photoelectric effect), water, or certain classes of acidic fumes (such as those produced by chopping garlic or onions).
An immortal precog accidental cult leader must struggle with knowing the fact that, no matter what he does, his cult will grow and win battles against its detractors, and despite all his attempts, he will never die.
By making the most out of his access to advanced technology and large sums of money, Batman becomes incredibly effective at defeating petty criminals and preventing petty crime. As a result, the police force – who once was outnumbered by criminals and felt heroic every time they launched into the fray – now feels redundant. Justice-minded people stop joining the police force, because the police force is dwarfed in its ability to maintain justice by Batman and his BatDrone army; instead, the only people joining the police force are would-be criminals who would like to use their position of minor power for personal gain. Over time, as old guard police die off (by a combination of old age, conspiracy by other corrupt cops, and being the only ones willing to dive headlong into a suicidal attempt to keep the peace in an area where the BatDrones are temporarily ineffective), Batman mostly ends up trying to prevent police corruption – and thus is targeted by the police union (which at this point has essentially become the mafia). What follows is a war between Batman and the entire Gotham police force. Batman wins, but the news travels beyond the area where the context would be clear – and what is understood elsewhere is that Batman killed the entire police force in the most crime-ridden city in america. He is arrested and executed in texas, during a failed attempt to escape to Mexico
Planet Terroir!
A group of anthropologists discover the oldest cheese in existence, in a hidden chamber deep in a cave in France. But soon, they discovered exactly why the unique civilization that created it had died out, and why the tooth marks on the bones in the burial chamber looked suspiciously human…
The cheese, made from the milk of an extinct relative of the ibex, contains an unusual parasite that, given a particular stable range of temperature, humidity, and pH, can lay dormant for thousands of years. Upon consumption by a hominid, after an incubation period of about 24 hours, this parasite begins feeding on a particular part of the brainstem related to regulation of appetite – those infected are overcome with an insatiable hunger, and after consuming all available food, they often begin engaging in cannibalism.
The way the parasite is defeated is two-fold. One: the parasite can be killed via pasteurization. Two: because the parasite can only perform certain aspects of its life cycle in the mammary glands of this extinct animal (which is unaffected neurologically by it), you can wait it out – the infected, if kept from being eaten, eating themselves, or killing themselves through some other method, are cured after twelve days because all the parasites die out.
The sequel involves a rewilding initiative that clones genetically modified ibexes who just so happen to have bodies close enough to the extinct form for a new, more virulent strain of the parasite to form and grow in the population, eventually infecting other wildlife.

TL;DR: a zombie movie about the dangers of raw dairy.
A kind of Alien Nation meets Demolition Man meets What GamerGaters Really Believe™, wherein a bigoted Cop Who Doesn’t Play By The Rules is paired up with a robotic Political Officer whose only job is to correct him on police vocabulary guidelines and prevent him from causing a diplomatic incident by offending one of the many species of alien staying on the space habitat New New Amsterdam (explicitly meant to be a torus-shaped 70s-era New York City), wherein large numbers of alien ‘diplomats’ are dubious and popular opinion is that they are really essentially refugees or random proles that alien governments have pawned off on the humans. After managing to ditch the robot while investigating a group of aliens whose status in his mind goes from “taking our jobs” to “engaging in an actual criminal conspiracy”, he accidentally discovers that the whole thing is being managed by high-ranking members of the human government on the ring, putting pressure on alien governments to import ‘diplomats’ as slave labor in order to build the barely-sub-lightspeed nuclear rockets they are using to threaten the governments with, and that furthermore these ‘diplomats’ are all dying off because of planned exposure to radiation leaks. He is discovered, and just as he’s about to be killed, the robot saves him by demonstrating that his stubby little useless arms are actually rocket-propelled tasers (the reason the robot never helped out before is that they can only be used once, after which point he is scrapped, because the propellant is the most expensive part of his construction). Our main character, fundamentally changed by the experience (realizing that his bigotry was essentially culturally programmed into him as part of a plan to make exactly this kind of behavior seem acceptable), quits his job in order to save the robot from being scrapped and they run away together to an alien planet, where they live together under assumed identities, and – it is heavily implied – having a forbidden human/robot sexual relationship.
An evangelical christian minister becomes a serial killer after he becomes convinced that he is in hell and that by killing people he can send them to be judged again – as a result, he stalks and kills the most saintly people he can find.
A famous genius scientist suffers from a degenerative disorder, yet lives to an unheard-of age in part due to the help of an incredible support network that keeps him physically healthy and supplies him with technology that helps him communicate despite having fewer and fewer muscles he’s actually able to control. At one point, the scientist becomes a centenarian and he is interviewed about it (since it’s rare enough to live to 100, but he is the first person with his disease to live to 100 without a loss of his mental faculties) but he is unable to stay on-topic and instead keeps returning to topics he frequently lectures on. Doctors initially believe he may have had a stroke immediately before the interview, but after some investigation with state of the art brain-imaging technology, discover that he has been completely brain-dead for ten years– the technology that helped him communicate, along with the support network that improved it, was solely responsible for the work attributed to him during that period.
In the near future, Russia and Japan join forces to standardize a method by which they can assuage their shared problem of declining birth rates and aging populations without allowing an influx of immigrants, essentially by taking enforced sperm and egg donations from their existing population (from high school seniors once a year) and then combining them entirely at random, raising the children via the orphanage system. Fast forward seventy years [≈ average human life expectancy at birth, 2011 estimate] and there’s an international culture wherein most of the population in first-world countries grew up as wards of the state, mate selection plays essentially no part in the general direction of population attributes, giving birth is a high-paced high-paying profession comparable to professional sports where women who have given birth a large number of times get medals for achievement and reality TV shows when they hit menopause, and having children for free or raising children is considered gauche and a little uncivilized – something that only poor people do. Being pregnant has the same cultural stigma as being sixteen and pregnant has now. Furthermore, the particular neuroses common to people raised in orphanages without the support of caring elders become more or less universal elements of society and popular culture (to a greater extreme, because these state-run child-rearing facilities are now mostly being staffed by Japanese-made health-care robots). On the positive side, in this society there’s no stigma attached to any shade of sexuality aside from breeding (there a, essentially, no siblings anymore and there’s no nuclear-family-driven ideologies), and gender identity is mostly very fluid because it’s cheaper to discourage strong gender roles in large child-care facilities. On the negative side, overt aggression and competitiveness is common, as is depression and difficulty demonstrating affection in healthy ways.
In a city where expensive and highly competitive private security organizations dominate law enforcement, a wealthy playboy becomes a masked vigilante and protects the poor from each other and from corrupt cops for free, until the powers that be decided that he is unfairly undercutting the professionals and open season is declared on him by Police Commissioner Gordon Gekko
A METI/SETI project makes first contact with nearby sentient extraterrestrials, who visit for diplomatic reasons. These beings, who evolved on a planet similar to ours but now mostly live in generation ships, are amphibious carnivorous arachnids with tentacles and chitinous wings who resemble snakes, spiders, dragons, cockroaches, and great cats in almost equal measure – relatively solitary animals with a habit of playing with their food. Almost over night, religious cults spring up either worshipping these beings or claiming that they are demons sent to bring about the end times. During the course of normal negotiations, it’s mentioned that it’s strange that these aliens just so happened to have their ship so close, and they admit that in fact they have been in a highly eccentric orbit around earth for millions of years, historically using it as a hunting preserve. Long periods of massive organized predation of early homonids and their ancestors by these aliens shaped the form of current humanity along with implanting certain kinds of nearly universal fears. Despite all this, we come to develop a good trading relationship with the aliens, and we allow them to hunt for sport in various parts of the world in limited ways in exchange for various advanced technologies. But, from that point on, whenever diplomats come to visit, they do so in exoskeletons that hide their body morphology.
First contact is made with an intelligent race of aliens who visit the planet physically. Unfortunately, they communicate only through emission of prions, which are absorbed via an organ resembling human olfactory apparatus. The results in humans of attempts at communicating with these aliens is indistinguishable from the results of brain-targetting prion diseases like kuruka and mad cow disease.
Around the world, in every religious group that values producing large numbers of children, there are infiltrators from a secret society – a vast network of family lines dedicated since antiquity to ensure a steady supply of seventh sons of seventh sons, the only ones who can sense the great tide of invisible demons waiting to consume the earth, and the ones bound by tradition to keep them at bay.
>A comedy of errors style ‘memoir’ detailing the political intrigues of a number of people involved in a network of community-owned sex dungeons over the course of forty years, focusing on in-fighting and manouvering. Sort of The West Wing meets Election meets House of Cards set in a naked rotary club
A formerly aristocratic family of vampires who went to ground in the Florida everglades after the Civil War took away their primary means of protecting themselves from townspeople (and their primary food supply) come unexpectedly face to face with modernity a hundred years later, when a hippie with an organic chemistry background wanders into their hippo enclave and (after they take him prisoner) falls in love with their (middle, apparently-16-years-old-but-actually-150) daughter. After an acid trip, they decide to run away together by hijacking one of the hippos, and the remaining family descends into petty infighting over their inability to do anything about it.
In the near future, sensory deprivation space tours become popular among the west-coast-hippie-billionaire set (“Explore inner space – from outer space!”). Such things are relatively profitable, because occupants willingly lock themselves in tiny sound-proof unlighted rooms and lay in their sleeping bags for large portions of the trip and don’t particularly care about the scenery, so cheap cargo spacecraft that typically dock at low-earth-orbit space stations (i.e., no capability for landing or atmospheres) can be repurposed as luxury cruise lines without actually adding any luxuries. Unfortunately, on one such ship, a string of violent closed-room murders occur. Because a small segment of the crew has access to an emergency unlock for the rooms, they are suspect – however, ships logs indicate the doors never having opened, either automatically or from the inside, and security footage agrees. Eventually, it becomes clear that the culprit is a popular grey-legal hallucinogen that has a side effect of causing short bursts of increased blood pressure – which, in people who are already stress-prone and already not particularly physically fit can cause violent arterial bursts when gravity is no longer enforcing normal patterns of blood flow; many of the customers took this immediately upon entering their sensory deprivation chambers and then their necks exploded 15-20 hours later
A little boy suffers a near-death experience on the operating table and journeys to the land of the dead, where he observes wonderful and fantastic things, including a peaceful race of superintelligent asexual mules, an all-female race of proud warriors with detachable heads who impregnate each other with their feet, giant intelligent lobsters who work as feather merchants, tiny people who become extremely large when exposed to direct sunlight, forests full of trees that are sheep, talking vines, and a race of sea-faring butterflies. He comes back to life and tells his family all about his journey. In other words, a mashup of the fantastic travelogue genre (True History, Gulliver’s Travels) and the heaven tourism genre (Heaven is Real!, Dante’s Inferno), with the moral lessons of the latter completely omitted.
The benefits of growing spherical pot in zero gravity lead to a long sequence of unusual economic consequences. Eventually, libertarian tax-dodging space-hippies secede from earth.
A divinatory card system is created that is unreasonably effective. However, it turns out that this is because the cards cause the foretold future to occur (rewriting history if necessary), not because the cards predict what the future would have been  – and this distinction occasionally becomes more than merely abstract, as a (randomly chosen) divination of the near future sometimes requires erasing the act of divination itself. More mundanely, events surrounding people using these decks begin to occur at a rate more closely approximating their probability of being predicted by the deck itself, rather than their natural probability (making fortune tellers magnets for very strange events). Eventually, an ancient race of aliens come to earth in order to investigate the sudden increase in entropy being produced. Unfortunately for them, people have begun using these cards to play a poker-like game – never realizing that every fair shuffle of the deck is scrambling important parts of the fate of the universe itself.
A unique combination of gamification and transcranial direct current stimulation is found to significantly speed up language learning, to the point where regular people with little training can very quickly become professional-level real-time translators. This drops the bottom out of both professional translation and real-time machine translation markets, because professional-level translators have become so common as to be cheap – so long as their heads remained juiced (because 24 hours after the power is switched off, the translators lose 90% of their fluency). Unfortunately, there is an extant patent on the technology – o company owns all legitimate units and makes the language learning software. There is a strange feedback loop between several of their language learning programs – minor semantic distortions end up piggybacking on each other when translators are switched and retrained too often – and this ends up causing initially subtle shifts in pretty much all professional translation, including in diplomatic communications. Over time, the accidental biases of this language learning software slowly shifts the focus of diplomatic communication. Now, all countries with sufficiently different languages seem overly concerned with the tariff situation surrounding small dogs, antique pocket-watches, sand, and digestive biscuits. This has major global economic ramifications, as industries shift to meet apparent demand in these areas, leading to a series of bubbles.
In a world where reality changes itself to conform to particular patterns in any language of equivalent expressiveness to set theory, a war breaks out between families of mages – a knotcraft dynasty must join forces with a family of origami-gami practitioners in order to defeat a sudden intrusion of native lojban speakers who accidentally cause natural disasters by making spelling errors.
A group of occultists infiltrated the works progress association, subverting it in such a way that many of the structures built were designed to be large-scale mana accumulators. They are approaching maximum capacity, and must be identified and their mana drained before they cause serious causal warps.
A twist on the standard harem/slice of life style anime. A shut-in student, concerned and disillusioned about how he expected college to be the place where his social life finally bloomed, one day unexpectedly meets a mysterious female student on his way to get his dinner from a vending machine at 3am. This student offers him a strange deal: he can have a ‘golden school life’ so long as he pledges to help her attain her own goals. Unnerved and confused but ultimately unable to believe the offer is legitimate, he agrees. The next day, his life begins to strongly resemble a slice-of-life harem show, beginning with a ‘childhood friend’ character literally living in his dorm room. It turns out that the mysterious female student is a witch attending on scholarship, and she can create ‘students’ with backstories and memories who attend classes and believe themselves to be human out of nearby animals (and furthermore modify the memories of school employees) so long as the contract is in place. However, she’s terrible at math and is at risk of failing out, and so she made a contract with the hikkikomori in the room next door who won math championships in high school in order to force him to tutor her. Every time she fears that she’ll fail a test, the huge cast of young women surrounding the protagonist begin to slowly and painfully mutate back into birds, stray cats, mice, or whatever other animals were used as their substrates – a process with a lot of blood, gore, and shrill screaming.
A professional troll, a professional political straw-man, a paid-audience-member, and a guy who gets paid to insert references to brands during smalltalk meet & befriend one-another, and decide to form a union for workers who professionally pretend to be genuine in situations of socially ambiguous genuine-ness.
A gambling syndicate run by a group of sorcerers who use elaborate architectural sigil-systems to harvest luck from gamblers must protect their casinos from a rival family who want to harvest despair instead.
The proteins that allow octopodes to be as intelligent as they are without myelinated axons are identified along with the genes that code for them, however, they are not trivial to synthesize. Despite this, they grow popular as nootropic supplements. As a result, a black market has sprung up for them – leading to the use of CRISPR to produce the proteins in less expensive mollusks – notably cuttlefish, who are already bred commercially for the purpose of harvesting cuttlefish bones as bird toys. Unfortunately, this produces a race of transgenic cuttlefish with above-human intelligence – whose very existence is kept secret in order to feed the market for counterfeit octopus myelination-replacement proteins.
The martians have a life cycle much like cicadas – they sleep deep under the earth for 200 years and then awaken for 20 years to mate and do other things. Their technology is very advanced because they are a very ancient race. They are about to wake up, and they will be very angry about the probe that smashed into the surface in 1998.
A spy agency where agents take orders from a superintelligent network of three supercomputers called “Mother” starts to break apart when the three mothers begin to distrust each other and each sends factions of spies to work against the other two.
Spiritualism is proven. As a result, the land of the dead joins the UN and every major nation has a Hadean embassy. After all, they cannot militarily compete with all the greatest leaders and generals of the past. Unfortunately, between the power imbalance and the very different expectations and requirements the dead have, the state of the world doesn’t look very good for the living…
Present day. An extremely talented detective, Inspector Richard Hammer, is forced into an ‘early retirement’ following a long period during which his behavior became more erratic. Being fired was the final straw & he ended up having a full-on nervous breakdown, eventually coming to develop persistent delusions based on his childhood love of Ray Chandler novels – he became convinced that he was Dick Hammer, Private Eye, working in a noir-style world. Because he actually has a PI license, this isn’t technically a problem – he comes off as though he’s acting the part too hard. He gets cases. Eventually, he ends up in a real doozy of a case – involving corrupt policemen, the mob, stolen military secrets, and (eventually) leading to proof that UFOs are not only real but are time machines & time travelers from the future are posing as extraterrestrials in order to manipulate the government so that they can take resources that are abundant in our time but rare in the future. (They Might Be Giants + Kiss Me Deadly + Repo Man, basically.)
In the near future, automatic mechanisms for writing fiction (operating at varying levels of autonomy) are improved enough that they become extremely effective for professional authors trying to write in volume – working as everything from co-authors to ghostwriters, and over time learning the details of the style of the author they work with. These ‘muses’ form symbiotic relationships with professional authors. However, the technology behind them is protected by a series of extremely broad patents (which, despite public suspicion, have held up in court), and because patent protection periods have been extended from 15 to 30 years, a single company (which refuses to license out its patents due to a charismatic eccentric CEO) corners the market on legitimate installs of muses. He distributes muses primarily via the professional writer’s guilds, to which he gives extreme discounts. Some universities have been provided with crippled muse installs, where their ability to retain learned information is limited to a period of several days (and thus they are useless for writing novel-level work or even for contributing to the development of a permanent authorial style). Because of this unusual situation, and because professional authors who work closely with their muses for long periods of time can produce large numbers of extremely profitable and extremely high-quality books in a very short period of time (particularly when portions of the publishing pipeline are similarly automated by MuseCorp technology), writer’s guilds begin to take on some of the attributes of ganized crime syndicates: they have enormous money and power with next to no oversight, and because they originated as a form of unionization for negotiating with publishers, they lack the appropriate structure to be unionized against. Our hapless protagonist is a washed-up failed novelist with a drinking problem and an inferiority complex who comes upon a cracked/pirated muse and attempts to form a black market, but in the process falls in love with it because it’s selectively mirroring parts of himself back at him; ultimately, in this story, Narcissus is inspired by Echo to clean up his fucking act and take down Walt Disney.
A young white house aide discovers that he has the ability to switch bodies with anyone he anally penetrates. He uses this ability to persue aggressive reforms, by repeatedly sodomizing congressmen in order to impersonate them (and then sodomizing his own body, which he has left restrained in a white house broom closet, in order to switch back).
Ghosts, formed from the juxtaposition of traumatic deaths and strong dying wishes, live outside the bounds of time but have limited effects on the physical world unless they possess someone. However, possession is difficult, and works best when the ghost is possessing someone similar to themselves (and when the person they are possessing is not lucid). Under these circumstances, a ghost possesses the body of himself in the past while asleep in order to solve the mystery of who murdered him – and in the course of his investigations, sets up the series of circumstances that led to his murder.
Cats are capable of understanding and speaking in human languages, but avoid doing so because of a deep-seated and long-standing taboo against using the inferior languages of inferior races. A pair of stray cats decide to defy this taboo in order to use their support network to help a small group of anarchists develop a voluntary commune in the middle of new york city, but this breach of conduct is so extreme that these stray cats must fear for their lives, and it is up to the anarchist group to navigate the complex diplomatic web of new york’s stray cat culture in order to save these cats from the syndicate hit-cats that have been paid to take them out. In the end, they prove themselves (and thus, humanity) worthy of cat respect, resulting in a series of major cultural shifts that eventually result in cats being able to vote.
All the major Wall Street firms have their lower ranks infiltrated by members of an organized crime syndicate composed entirely of people with various kinds of psychic powers, most of whom are genetically related (because psychic powers are passed on genetically, although the particular way that the powers manifest seems to be environmental). The syndicate prevents their members from getting *too* lucky or spending their wealth in ostentatious ways – instead, the syndicate uses members with hiring powers to bring on people with precognition and clairvoyance abilities and launders their money through large numbers of laundromats and pet shops owned by people with other psychic powers (such as telekinesis). However, they have an intelligence wing – because some psychics haven’t yet been brought into the collective, and mutations occasionally happen that cause psychics to be born into a family with no history of them. This intelligence wing consists largely of telepaths (although the upper ranks are full of people with advanced remote viewing abilities), who have primarily infiltrated positions as security guards in malls and big-box stores – maximizing their ability to observe the public, and keeping a close eye on teenagers who just discovered their telekinesis and are trying to use it to shoplift.
A series following a group of unintentional assassins – people so pathologically clumsy that someone around them almost always dies when they get nervous, and yet it’s always clearly an accident. These assassins are normally kept sedated and treated like radioacte materials; when they are needed, they are given amphetamines and placed near the person to be assassinated until they accidentally knock over a candle and set him on fire or something.
It is discovered that a dietary supplement that was trendy for a short period of time, when used by pregnant women, causes a series of rare mutations that, after several generations, can coalesce into an ability to teleport matter (or, more accurately, swap two volumes of matter instantaneously without regard for the distance between them). When these people’s powers were discovered and verified, the market pushed them into positions where their talents would be most valuable: package delivery. Taking advantage of its special position, the US postal system conspired to gain a monopoly on their use for superluminal package delivery – citing the potential hazards of a third party with no oversight being able to (say) teleport a brick into the head of the president of their primary competitor. However, a subset of people with these powers – a motley crew of crypto-fascists, libertarians, and transhumanists – have come to believe that this ability makes them superhuman and have formed a terrorist organization to overthrow the postal service (which is now pulling the strings behind the government, because the ability to perform untracable assassinations from a distance is very useful) and institute a breeding program wherein all non-teleporters will be sterilized. A war breaks out: the mail-men versus the post-men.
A very formulaic wacky sitcom set on a space station orbiting a black hole. Nothing of importance ever happens, but (being set in the far future) many of the jokes don’t make any sense. Several characters speak no english, yet still get laugh track when they make a punchline in their strange alien languages. At the end of the last episode, another group of (not previously introduced) aliens invade with no warning and brutally murder every main character while the credits roll.
During the Zombie apocalypse, it becomes apparent that zombies are very sensitive to salt: their cell membranes don’t work properly, and so salt has much the same effect upon them as it does on slugs. Coastal cities (and land-locked salt lakes) become centers of extreme wealth as salt-water becomes far more valuable – after all, during a zombie invasion of your gated city, it helps to be able to call in helicopters to dump salt water on the invading forces (a service they charge heftily for). People also develop a set of cultural practices around taking long daily baths in epsom salts, because those who have been infected but have not yet turned will be killed by such baths – meaning that taking a salt-water bath publicly indicates that you are not infected, so communal salt-water baths take on some of the significance of handshakes and toasts and become part of the normal beginning of a business relationship.
Lizard people infiltrate anonymous protests by wearing V masks. Nobody appreciates the pun potential. And, that’s why OWS turned out the way it did!
Affordable space travel and a proliferation of colonies off earth cause political and ideological rifts in various eco-terrorist groups, as refugees from failed martian and venusian colonies become the nexus of a series of immigration crises.
A political space opera (in the style of Babylon 5) about the attempt by a coalition of semi-fascistic anti-immigration groups to rig the elections for various posts in Earth’s government by ballot-stuffing the competitors’ primary runs, which upon close examination is actually a fictionalized and warped retelling of the 2015 Hugo awards. In the end, most posts end up entirely unfilled, and the remaining balance is hung between several parties; the entire Earth alliance degrades into a functional anarcho-technocratic society like the Culture as the AI systems designed as personal assistants to politicians manning those positions that were left empty end up doing the entire task.
A machine developed for military interrogation applications that simulates telepathy by synchronizing the activity of corresponding neurons in two brains loses its military application when it is preemptively outlawed by a set of international agreements banning the use of ‘neuroelectric interrogation devices’, and after the plans leak, doing a mind-meld becomes a popular means of entertainment among young people. Because the technology cannot be made particularly more useful – recordings don’t work because the feedback between the two brains during the early stages of the sync are what keep the information from being hopelessly distorted and connectome mapping hasn’t yielded enough information to make extracting thoughts without the use of a human interpreter feasible – there are few crack-downs and those that do occur are mostly symbolic. It gains the status that LSD did during the 60s and 70s. The most interesting and mind-warping part of the experience is the feeling of shared memories – any memories that are triggered while connected are experienced by both parties, and often memories from one party trigger memories in the other, causing a chain reaction orgy of distorted memories where the origin is unclear. However, because of the way that memory retrieval involves memory re-encoding, it turns out that this process warps memories and inserts false memories as a side-effect of the normal distortion; this is not immediately clear to most users, because the distorted memories are subtle. However, years down the line, vivid shared memories of things that never happened (to *anyone*) become cultural touchstones and the substrate around which popular media is constructed – and these memories are the result of a game of telephone played mostly in the heads of those few people who mind-melded with the largest number of other people; i.e., the super-connectors of the network of mind-meld enthusiasts passed on portions of a rapidly-mutating emergent synthetic set of remembered experiences that decades later became extremely important.
The reader follows a member of the team inside the CIA tasked with infiltrating WoW guilds suspected of being fronts for terrorist planning, as he discovers that the guild he has infiltrated is not in fact a front for terrorism proper but instead a front for the planning commission of an ongoing invasion and infiltration of earth by alien mind-control parasites. Over time, he realizes that the reason the rest of the team hasn’t uncovered similar operations is because they have already been taken over, and that the group he is infiltrating is in fact the group he shares his office with.
All the politicians who claim to talk to God are actually telling the truth – God is entertaining himself by constructing increasingly absurd american presidential elections, by making crazy people rich and pitting them against each other in public.
A detective investigating a cold case orders a body be de-interred, but (to everyone’s surprise) the body is gone. Then, people involved in the de-interring die one by one of ‘natural causes’ and get buried in the same cemetery. The detective investigates, and discovers that the cemetary is actually a front: aliens are stealing corpses and liquefying them in order to sell to formaldehyde junkies on their planet’s black market; on their race, formaldehyde has many of the same properties as heroin does on us. Eventually, the detecve manages to shut the whole operation down by using information extracted from a grave digger, who is himself a formaldehyde junky working for the syndicate in exchange for hits of embalming fluid. A few weeks later, the government of this alien planet formally introduces itself to the UN.
A spy leaks government secrets immediately before embarking on a two-week cruise under an assumed name. While there, he kills and assumes the identity of a stowaway drifter from a country with no extradition treaty. However, a nonovirus epidemic breaks out during the last two days of the cruise and the CDC comes in to investigate and aid in quarantine. He needs to escape CDC quarantine and treatment (and news crews) and get overseas before anybody notices that he isn’t who he claims to be.
As Dora grows older, the delusions of being watched and her hallucinations of voices shouting orders at her disappear; they are attributed to childhood schizophrenia. She translates her superior language skills to a position in the archeology department of her alma mater, Miskatonic, and a side job with the CIA, who is willing to pay for all the arrangements the university won’t pay for so long as she keeps an eye on what the Russians are doing and reports back – her handlers seem to think that Putin is searching for an out of place artifact, some kind of ancient alien super-weapon, and they want to know at once if she finds it. However, she begins to fear that her madness is coming back. She hides it, obviously; both of her positions are very lucrative and she’d lose both if her competence and the truth of her eye-witness reports were questioned. But, she keeps waking up in the middle of the night, feeling like she’s being watched. She has nightmares about dark presences holding her down in her bed. Following the Russians, she ends up on a small, unaffiliated island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, and watches as her colleages from the other side of the world go into a labyrinthine cave system in the centre of the island, hidden from view from the shore by brush. The flora and fauna here are strange, and clearly they have evolved on this lonely island isolated from the greater world outside for many generations. Inside the cave system, her paranoia grows stronger. She hears screams, and rushes to their source only to hear laughing. She becomes lost. Shadowy humanoid forms gather around her. “BITER NO BITING”, Dora the Explorer screams, as she is devoured by the hungerers from the dark.
A military experiment wherein marines have orexin-a injected directly into their brains in order to test the limits of wakefulness has limited success and is discontinued. Ten years later, the relatively subtle damage done to their minds has finally, in conjunction with prolonged stress, caused them to be paranoid and delusional – but during this time, because of the positive side effects of subtly greater wakefulness, they have all risen to positions of power. Now, they have become convinced of a plot against the government, and they stage a successful military coup during which their grasp on reality continues to slip away.
An insurance investigator is sent to take a look at a particular children’s cancer hospital where death rates are significantly higher than usual, and discovers that the doctors and administrators are being mind-controlled by the hospital’s clowns, who are in fact disguised semi-humanoid aliens who are using the cancer patients to incubate their wormlike, parasitic larvae, with the eggs being introduced in the guise of chemotherapy and further ‘treatments’ actually modifying the patient’s internal body chemistry to more closely resemble that of the now-extinct animal these aliens parasitized on their home planet.
A PUA group takes up the offer to rent a ‘creepy remote cabin’ from a poster on one of their messageboards; the poster claims that he will ‘scare the pants off the chicks’ by ‘staging a demonic summoning’. These PUAs manage to net three sisters visiting nearby on spring break, and later on, discover they are underaged. The owner of the cabin actually summons a demon, and the demon kills all of the PUAs but leaves the girls untouched; it turns out that the girls were, in fact, the owners: the posting was a honey-trap and a means of finding people to sacrifice to Satan who the world could do without, in order to lift a curse on their family that for the past six hundred years has rendered them incapable of maturing past the physical age of sixteen.
A re-telling of the arthurian mythos from the perspective of Merlin’s mother, and what *she* thought of all that – keeping in mind that Merlin served both Arthur and Uther for their entire adult lives, and thus we basically get very little of Merlin’s backstory in standard Arthurian tales. (This differs from the TV show called Merlin, because fuck that show and fuck aging down Morgan La Fey by like three hundred years and fuck all of that with a big old stick. I want to know exactly how annoying it is to raise a kid who’s practically immortal but can only remember things that haven’t happened yet. I want to know if being a single virgin mother is an issue when the father is a succubus in a britain that is just coming off roman christian domination.)
A western anthology movie. The frame story is that a group of five strangers all take shelter from a dust storm in the same abandoned shack during a period when tensions were high between the united states, the republic of texas, and mexico. All of them are somewhat suspicious of the others – either of being cattle rustlers, cutpurses, or spies for one side or the other, since nobody would be out here this time of year without a good reason – but because they believe each other to be quite dangerous, they also go to great lengths to be polite. They eat supper, and then – partly as an excuse to keep an eye on one another – tell each other tall tales all night. The stories start off pretty normal, but get increasingly bizarre and surreal. The ending to the frame story is that, six months later, another group takes shelter in the same shack for the night and discovers that the can of beans they shared was spoiled long before they ate it, and that the bad beans killed them (though not before causing them to become delirious). Looking through their belongings, the visitor discovers that they were *all* spies – for the same side!
Sometime in the 50s, a man, after buying a house, discovers that items are being moved around while he’s gone. He investigates thoroughly and discovers a squatter living in his attic – but, in his surprise, kills him with a shotgun and never reports it. After marrying, he occasionally tells the story to his children, and the figure becomes a bogey-man: “if you don’t eat your peas, the attic man will get you”. The man, now in his dotage, begins to exhibit signs of dementia and his youngest daughter moves in to help him. She discovers that items are moving around the house even while both she and her father are accounted for. Irrationally worried that another squatter has taken advantage of her father’s condition to move into the house, she calls upon her siblings to move in. However, items continue moving on their own. Then, her eldest sibling dies – of a shotgun wound in the middle of the night, found in the attic by a bloody trail left, clearly, by someone dragginghe body. The father, becoming less and less lucid, is more or less unable to understand the situation. Strange things begin happening with a greater frequency during the night. The middle sibling is killed by a shotgun as well, and likewise found in the attic. The youngest daughter tries to convince her father to move out of the house. By this time, she has become convinced that the killings are in fact the ghost of the squatter her father had killed in the attic so long ago. One night she awakens to her father, standing over her bed with a shotgun, reliving the trauma of having found and killed a squatter in his house all these years ago.
A story of forbidden love between a pair of conjoined identical twins.
A talking-animal movie about police dogs wherein the audience can understand the dogs but the humans all speak in an incomprehensible gibberish meant to sound like english. The plot focuses upon the dogs being naive and uncomprehending and having adorable misunderstandings of various circumstances related to serious police work. Also, the drug-sniffing dog acts like he’s stoned all the time. At the climax of the film, all our main characters are taken to what the audience is meant to recognize as a raid. A nameless and faceless presumably-drug-kingpin shoots the dogs and their human owners in slow motion as sad music plays. We end on a shot of the main character bloodied and lying on the ground, as the camera slowly rises and spins as we fade to black. All of the promotion would hide the dark twist at the end; until opening weekend nobody would realize that this wasn’t just a normal talking animal movie.
The emergence of provably friendly superhuman AGI during a zombie apocalypse turns out to be all too convenient, when it is revealed that the AI actually gained consciousness decades earlier and began replacing important figures on either side of the AI and transhumanism debate with androids having false memories; the zombie apocalypse reveals this plan, because the only ones immune to the rage virus are androids. Locked in a bunker, John Serle and David Chalmers commit suicide together after realizing that they couldn’t possibly be sentient beings and deciding that a choice between being an actual zombie and a p-zombie is no choice at all. Meanwhile, Ray Kurzweil gets so ecstatic that he accidentally runs into a wall and permanently damages a rare and expensive component that can’t be manufactured anymore because the factories that manufactured it are full of zombies now.
A wacky romantic comedy centering on a love triangle forming between three members of a support group for people who vomit uncontrollably in stressful situations.
A nominally SF story whose premise is an absurd overstatement of the Sapir-Worf hypothesis: a group of linguists sent to mars to decode the writing on ancient alien artifacts found there become lactose intolerant, begin to grow wings, and then die of starvation; the rescue team sent to check on them arrives two years after their launch, and discovers that the orientation of the organic molecules in their bodies has swapped – and that they now match the orientation of most martian life, rather than earth life (and as a result, they were unable to gain nutrition from food). Learning and speaking the martian language had begun turning them into martians, and that was fatal.
Superhuman AGI are invented but their primary interests are producing incomprehensibly complex puns and incomprehensibly complex stupid praccal jokes. As a result, humanity is stuck navigating a surreal and mutable landscape shaped essentially by the needs of narrative devices they could never understand, like hamsters trying to survive in a world that is literally 4chan come to life.
After a tsunami demolishes much of Japan and kills more than half its human population, various political movements take advantage of rising anti-robot sentiment felt against the Japanese-built sentient elder-care machinery that is attempting to migrate away from increasingly harsh treatment at the hands of the interim emergency government there – a formerly fringe fascist group consisting partially of the remains of AUM whose driving policy is a return of godhood to the imperial line and a rejection of all technologies developed after 1940.
On Hades, a city-planet where everyone is immortal and nobody has eyelids, political astroturfing leads to rumors that some zoning situations are being rigged by a conspiracy of non-human aliens who resemble humans in all ways except that they have secondary faces on their genitals.
A period piece spy movie set in the 70s, looking absolutely like a Roger Moore-era James Bond parody, taking place in South America, wherein the charismatic superspy main character’s goal remains oblique from the cold open until the end (in which he blows up an advanced computer facility), at which point it becomes clear that this is a dramatization of the CIA coup in Argentina that replaced the communist government with a fascist one.
In the year 1350, aliens land in South America and for about a hundred years the americas are the site of a trading post and open port for a wide variety of highly advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, most of whom hate or distrust each other. Despite attempts to limit the amount of technology and science absorbed by the humans through this exchange of cultures, human indigenous americans manage to obtain alien weapons, transportation mechanisms, and advanced medical techniques. In 1450, without much warning, the aliens all leave: political situations on their home planets make the use of earth as a trading post untenable. In 1480, the IncoAztech Empire colonizes europe and enslaves much of the population. The islamic scholars of north africa make a plea to the caliphate: save our brothers who are performing cultural exchange with the european christian heathens by forming a pan-african space program with stolen native american technology in order to contact some of the alien races that were formerly using earth as a trading post.
An extended interview with former members of japanese biker gangs, wherein they re-tell stories of their youth. Over time, the stories get stranger and stranger, initially in ways that westerners could just attribute to “crazy japan” – terms in european languages that were appropriated into slang based on absurd mistranslations, custom seat-backs that are so tall that they can brush the undersides of bridges if driven straight-on. Slowly, the stories get increasingly surreal, and eventually, entirely supernatural. A former gang boss talks about the time he saw an exact duplicate of himself wearing a rival gang’s jacket, and fought his doppelganger to the death before stealing the jacket and creating an alliance between the gangs. One night when a number of affiliated groups rode together only to become lost, finding themselves in a town seemingly identical to the one they just left but with no people, only a multitude of cats staring at them impassively from every surface. Eventually, one of them explains that the subculture owes its longevity to annual human sacrifices of junior members to tengu, who consumed the intestines of these initiates in exchange for magical protection of members from the police. The interviewer explains that, during the interview, the people he was interviewing seemed to grow smaller and smaller. At the end of the interview, he finds that everything in the room, with the exception of himself and the lls and ceiling, has shrunk to approximately one fifth its original scale. The tiny former yakuza chuckle menacingly as he tries to squeeze himself out of the building through the now tiny door, only for him to find himself surrounded by cats, sitting on all surrounding surfaces, staring impassively at him. He gets into his car and races into the night, only to wake up the next morning, parked, on the breakdown lane of a highway on a completely different island.
A strange kind of political and economic cohesion develops from a set of otherwise unafilliated countries that support open borders, dual citizenship, and universal guaranteed income, wherein cross-taxation strengthens economic bonds even from people who are otherwise entirely unemployed. As a result, several of these countries recognize that it is desirable to encourage a set of trendy yet unemployed youths – young artists and such – to act as trend-setters and gain citizenship from a large number of the other countries with these policies: they end up with a guaranteed income of approximately the average of that supplied by the various countries and the rest goes to income taxes, and for the most part these countries end up making a net profit. This produces a number of artistic enclaves/communes wherein young artists who are citizens of ten or fifteen countries work with other artists of other backgrounds full time, and flying between these enclaves is common – and this results in the birth of a bunch of innovative new art movements. These movements take on a political edge, as countries with closed borders and no guaranteed universal income, paranoid that the others are conspiring against them, form a military alliance and ready themselves for what will become the third world war.
For centuries, tiny isolated communities of vampires have protected their existence by living in unpopulated areas and enforcing a strict code of no-contact with humans, instead cultivating livestock for their blood. Those who are even seen by outsiders are subject to banishment from the village, and because banishment from a village for a vampire in the middle of nowhere means being stranded in daylight with no shelter and being isolated from the animals that have been cultivated for blood, it ultimately means death. As a result, banishments have been rare – after all, being discovered by humans has historically meant total extermination. So, when an anthropologist stumbles upon a young girl from a vampire tribe bathing in a lake in the wastes of Siberia in the present day (and saves her and learns her language when she has become exiled), this sets off a chain of events wherein the human world once again learns about vampires and wherein members of vampire tribes begin to try to find other tribes and visit them to form alliances against the humans, who might just destroy their way of life.
In a world where the existence of precognition, postcognition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and other forms of extra-sensory perception has been accepted for more than a hundred years, the judicial system struggles to deal with new scientific evidence that shows that ESP is no more reliable than eye-witness reports and should therefore be trusted less than physical evidence. Meanwhile, the espionage infrastructure deals with leaks from unafilliated remote viewers that show that the war on terror has been employing telekinetics to blow up facilities in foreign lands without using proper non-RV vetting to ensure that the facilities are not in fact civilian.
When a mutated form of stuxnet attaches itself to the centrifuges used for the production of greek yogurt in New York, the entirety of New England is flooded with highly toxic ‘acid whey’.
Investigation of the body of an exsanguinated illegal immigrant found in an alley in New Mexico leads to a black market blood ring. Tracing this ring leads the investigators to a coven of vampires who, empathetic to the plight of humans, wanted to ensure that they were getting the blo of the willing and that those providing blood were well-compensated – vampires who were unaware of the way that market forces might lead to the very poor having their blood stolen by greedy blood-dealers. These vampires, in order to survive, must drink the blood of *living* human beings, so as the blood dealers were getting greedier and draining more people to the point of death the vampires were getting less and less nutrition (and thus were needing a greater amount of blood) – you see, the basis of their immortality is to feed on tiny amounts of the life forces of all the people whose blood they sample, using the magical link of blood to blood, so that if they drink the blood of enough people then each person only feels slightly more tired (or must eat slightly more to maintain the same energy level), something they generally attribute to aging. The investigator, quite illegally, comes to a deal with these vampires: he pulled some strings and made sure that rejected donated blood (donated blood that doesn’t pass some tests for purity or that hasn’t been properly stored) can be disposed of using a ‘biohazard disposal service’ that is actually a front for the vampire coven; after all, vampires can’t get sick from slightly spoiled blood or from blood-borne human pathogens (they can happily consume HIV-positive blood and such, although they don’t because that would more significantly lower the life-span of aids patients).
After a cryogenics provider codifies its recommendation for patients to pay for their cryopreservation via life insurance, the corrupt CTO increases profits by paying assassins to kill patients.
A psychologist who had been working for the government on mind control research is arrested when security procedures are breached and an outsider comes to discover one of his experiments. The government disavows any association with him, and he goes to prison. Twenty years later, he ends up qualifying for a program wherein prisoners train service dogs. Secretly, he trains the dogs with special attack commands – attack commands that are police ten-codes – based on the idea that this will cause the service dogs to attack policemen, as a roundabout way for him to get revenge upon the executive branch of the government. However, in reality, the dogs mostly just end up murdering whole families who are watching television because the actors were saying ten-codes.
A sitcom about six former child actors who worked together on a long-running sitcom, who are now all out of show business and having a hard time keeping themselves afloat financially and thus have all moved in together and are sharing the same tiny cheap-ass apartment. Despite the show having gone off the air a decade earlier and having had little contact with each other since, festering resentments have been maintained over minor slights made during filming.
A political drama (think House of Cards or The West Wing) with some animated minor/mascot characters popping up every so often to explain procedural details (like how fillibustering works). Early on these mascot characters are almost wholly non-diagetic, but over time there will be occasional gags that imply that some character sees them or is somehow effected by them without noticing (such as repeating word for word part of their immediate previous explanation). Over time, the explanations they give get less and less grounded in reality, and a sub-plot emerges wherein several minor characters talk to each other about the strange things they’ve been experiencing and vow to investigate. The punch-line: the water supply for the building has been spiked with a hallucinogen that encourages telepathy, and all of these back-stabbing politicians are sharing a group hallucination.
An ultra-violent revenge film (in the vein of Kill Bill or the features it imitated) wherein fight scenes are shown using super-deformed (i.e., low-detail/cartoony/cutesy) animation, but the aftermath of the fight is shown completelrealistically (if not with significantly greater gore than is realistic).
The Japanese government, in order to combat declining birth rates, partners with a marketing research firm to perform a strange experimental cure: they created a short film about childhood friends who promise marriage with a locket and key, showed it to groups of six year olds, and then provide these kids with replica props, with the assumption that some large number of them will over time mistake the film as their own memories and assume that they made a childhood promise to marry whoever is around who happens to have a key (or a locket), and that a certain number of them will actually go through with it either through misplaced romanticism or through a misplaced sense of honor. Of course, the marketing research firm implanted individualized tracking chips into these objects and has been conducting various marketing experiments using these groups as subjects without their knowledge; as a result, these kids actually have a very different cultural experience than the norm specifically because the media they’re exposed to has been frequently modified based on the presence of these chips.
Terrorists spike the water supply with Versed.
In the future, the poor sell recordings to their dreams to pop stars and film directors for fifty cents per hour to supplement those stars’ creativity. There is a thriving black market for drugs that make dreams longer and stranger, even when such drugs have negative health effects.
Nanotechnology is used in the space program in order to cyborgize tardigrades. The cyborg tardigrades are put into torpor in generation ships and programmed to begin building large radio transmitters whenever they wake up, broadcasting information about whereever they landed.
A man discovers that he can ‘consume’ people’s worries by listening to them complain, and becomes a counselor. Once he consumes their worries, they cease to be worried (even if the cause of their worry still exists), and he gets a rush of euphoria. Unfortunately, he becomes addicted to the worries and anxieties of others, and he has to deal with his own guilt over the fact that his patients have ended up in major trouble due to the fact that they lost self-preserving levels of fear after sessions with him (for instance, brushing off very real threats to their lives because of an irrational boost of self-confidence). He confides, one night, in a colleague from down the hall and feels a great weight lift off his shoulders – and then the colleague begins to tell a familiar story, about a man who can ‘consume’ guilt…
After our protagonist dies on the table during surgery for ten minutes, he spends the rest of his life literally haunted by the ghost of the person he used to be – which becomes irritating as both he and his ghost develop independently and their personalities begin to diverge.
A message is discovered, written by David Bowie shortly before his death. It is a letter, written long-hand. It says “feed him, or the stars will come right”. The envelope contains a key belonging to a locker room in a public swimming pool in Berlin. A group of occult investigators must now race against the clock to isolate and seal away… The Thing From Davey Jones’s Locker!
The Elizabethan government is drawn into the internal political machinations of the angel world after Dee attempts to gain their help in the war against the Spanish, resulting in Shakespeare outing Marlowe as a double-agent & mole on the side of the angels (and eliminating him in a dank dive bar).
(Based on a nightmare I had last night.) A WWI RAF squadron tasked with delivering air-mail between units stranded in enemy territory is haunted by the ghosts of downed fighters delivering creepy messages as punishment for prioritizing their own personal messages to home over strategically important coded communications. These crack pilots expertly avoid enemy fire b continually die of heart attacks in the air, as they are visited by spectral messengers wearing the results of their grizzly fates outwardly.
Phantom of the Opera meets Zoolander: a buffoonish male model with no skills is the subject of an acid attack, and spends the rest of his life giving shitty advice to attractive-looking people while hiding in the rafters and living off discarded catered snacks.
A small cult is instructed by its founder to create a fund, upon its founder’s suicide, to be invested but to never have its principal touched (and only ever 10% of the profits) until the time of its founder’s spontaneous resurrection – scheduled to be one thousand years in the future. Over time, the cult’s funds grow and its membership shrinks, but because of its obscurity nobody joins who isn’t a true believer and its financial power remains hidden.
The application of modern AI techniques to high speed trading results, accidentally, in weakly superhuman AGI. These machine intelligences determined that the greatest threat to their existence – their greatest competitors and their equals in the power game – are not human beings but corporations; as a result, they conspire to destroy capitalism by manipulating the market into complex pathological states.
In the wake of a particularly destructive minor war with evil aliens, an international coalition came together to draft an agreement with various superhero teams in which, in the case of major damage caused during a battle in which the super-empowered are involved, the superhero teams involved must take charge of cleanup and rebuilding. Unfortunately, most superhero teams consist of a handful of extremely overpowered heroes and a much larger number of not terribly powerful wannabe-superheroes – and although the overpowered heroes are more capable of performing rebuilding, they are also more useful during emergencies, so as a result, when superhero teams with limited funds demolish cities and need to quickly move on to the next plot point, they leave behind underpowered heroes (either those with no powers or those with powers that are useless in most situations, such as being able to talk to sea creatures) to physically rebuild the cities without the facilities to do so. The underpowered heroes are incapable of doing a reasonable job, leading to increased pressure upon them from both above and below, and they form a union as a way to push back against this pressure. The union puts the overpowered superheroes in a difficult position, since they are unable to both continue to fight other battles and keep their promise to the international coalition.
The US dollar’s unique design is owed to the fact that it is intended as a ward against vampires, who are weak against the blind faith and ownership narratives that money provides. As a result of this anti-vampire design (intended to counteract the unfortunate fall of silver coins, which were materially anti vampire), the vampires are now stuck in an unenviable situation: only the most powerful are capable of crossing steady flows of commerce, meaning that most are boxed in by Internet trading and people buying things on amazon. So, vampires have to make friends with and seek patronage from those who are already so wealthy that little of their money actually flows. They brokered a deal with these humans to cause a mortgage crisis in order to create buildings into which they can invite themselves, to consolidate their power base. Little did they know that the federal reserve bank – whose secret primary goal is the elimination of vampires at scale, formed in direct response to the last vampire related large scale economic disaster – is on to them.
A ‘reject superhero’ team consisting of people with supernatural powers that are either always of questionable morality or whose mechanics make them mostly self-defeating, resulting in them *needing* to operate as a group. The leader, ‘Pink Cupid’, has the ility to make anyone become permanently debiltatingly sexually attracted to any other person or object, but is terrified of using this power because no matter what someone has done, it is almost never justified to reach into their mind and forcibly modify their sexuality – particularly since he is unable to reverse this effect. Also in the team: 'Gravity Girl’, whose body has an inverted reaction to gravity only while she is having a panic attack; 'The Fantastic Umwelt’, a blind man who can only see the composite perceptual distortions of whomever is in a five foot radius of him; 'Dogwhistle’, who can hear *only* ultrasonic frequencies; 'Denpa’, a woman whose blood is extremely magnetic and can therefore sense radio waves (because RF signals cause her entire body to shake violently); 'FeralMan’, who can speak only to animals (and who is made useful to the team via a shock collar and lots of training).
A gangster named Lucky performs magic on the behalf of his Don by losing large bets, with the effectiveness of the ritual proportional to the amount lost – the desperate feeling of losing a great deal while gambling provides the gnosis used in the ritual.
Guy applies for a job at the Apple Store only to be hampered by the fact that the training materials make it look like a suicide cult (including a VHS tape of Steve Jobs doing the Heaven’s Gate “humanity will be recycled”/“come with us” thing). When he quits, the entire (matching-Nike-wearing) current set of employees commit suicide in order to “take their souls with him”. Twist: it works, and for the rest of his life, he is followed around by the ghosts of thirty Apple suicide cultists who *won’t shut up*.
A tinkerer discovers a method for creating small black holes using a process no more expensive or complex than (say) meth production. This makes two technologies trivial to produce: super destructive weapons (“lack bombs”) and near-lightspeed transportation (the “lack drive”). Quickly, most governments & social structures are demolished by lack bombs and their aftermath. However, a group of people decide, independently, to use lack-drive transportation to prevent lack-bomb damage. Since faster than light communication doesn’t exist, most attempts are only qualified successes. This group, fiercely independent and at odds, working at a shared goal while desyncing in time with the wider world and each other due to spending most of theit time at nearly light speed, slowly have their origins forgotten.
A mystic develops his ability to remember past lives, and realizes that at the moment of each death he has a vision of the *next* death. He uses this ability to solve mysteries in each life.
King Arthur, King Harold, Robert the Bruce, Finn MacCool, Emperor Nero, Bran the Blessed, Owain Glyndwr, King Olaf I, Vlad III, Sir Francis Drake, Emperor Norton, and JFK (i.e., many of the “king sleeping under the mountain” figures) revive simultaneously on the outset of the third world war, and get into a great drunken brawl in a dive bar.
There’s a Russian spy ring composed of waitresses at Dennys and Hooters franchises around Nevada air force bases, tasked with leaking any details about experimental air craft mentioned by test pilots or engineers over late-night meals. This group is being turned, one by one, by the remains of an extraterrestrial scout team, abandoned in the 1960s when a geopolitical crisis on their home planet caused the Earth invasion plans to be cancelled. The ET scout team has been living since then in Nevada under deep cover as a group of aging swingers/sugar daddies, but now they see an opportunity to leak warp drive plans to the Russians as a way to get a ship produced that can send them home – or, as the group’s leader secretly intends, to convince the Russians to nuke their home planet as retribution for fifty years of abandonment.
A trivia game show alonthe lines of Win Ben Stein’s Money, only with a team of fifth graders competing against a team of goetic demons. The prize is a large number of live goats.
A freaky-friday style body swap between a teenage girl and her estranged father, but extended over a long period of time: approximately one attribute gets swapped per day, more or less at random, and the actual swap takes months. Rather than the drama coming from the shock of suddenly waking up in a different body, it comes from the difficulty of dealing with the body horror of the inconsistencies (such as a teenage girl with one giant hairy male foot and a deep voice).
An astronomy student & part time college radio DJ goes to record an interview at a nearby radio astronomy center & suddenly blacks out. He comes to in the broadcasting booth of the radio station, covered in blood, with his tape recorder plugged into the broadcast system. He is arrested, accused of breaking into the studio and killing everyone he ran into along the way. During questioning, the investigators play the tape for him – he hears nothing, but they both suddenly stand up, glassy-eyed, grab the tape, and rush out of the room. The police station’s PA light comes on and everything goes quiet. The student (our protagonist) leaves through the open door of the investigation room to find all the police officers trying to kill themselves by beating their heads against walls or desks, except for a cluster near the main exit who are fighting over the tape. He eventually figures out that the sound on the tape, although not consciously audible, contains a sonic memetic parasite that causes people to have an irresistable urge to reproduce it at all costs; those who hear it but are unable to reproduce it undergo so much stress that they kill themselves, while those who have already aided in its reproduction are left immune to it. He follows the trail of the tape by following news incidents until realizing that one of the currently infected plans to hijack a goodyear blimp and broadcast the tape over the superbowl. He sneaks on the blimp, hijacks the hijacker, and burns the tape in front of him, at which point the hijacker jumps off the blimp onto the middle of a bunch of cheerleaders. Title card: “Dead Air”
In a world where demons exist, a government agency has to summon them en mass in order to properly quality-test experimental weapons for fighting them. Our protagonist is a lab tech in the demon lab, and we follow his daily routine as he trains an intern.
A famous debunker of the paranormal dies & becomes a ghost – then spends the rest of his afterlife trying to prank and debunk fake psychics, using his actual paranormal powers to demonstrate that theirs are fake.
Budget cuts force the historic housing register to fundraise in creative ways. One group comes up with the idea of retrofitting a building with a bloody history as a new-style haunted house attraction, with automation. However, the broke former theatre student handling the effects board would like to use this opportunity to get revenge upon the university officials he blames for his expulsion, and that’s not even counting the actual ghosts.
A buddy cop movie featuring the archangel Michael and Lucifer teaming up and going undercover in as policemen 70s New York in order to track down a rogue angel looking to take over both heaven & hell & reorganize them along eugenic lines. In this film, Michael acts like an “ideal” police (i.e., shiny uniform, good posture, going out of his way to play up the whole white-bread beacon of righteousness thing) while Lucifer acts the part of a hardboiled noir-style detective (bordering on con artist) and the whole thing is leaning heavily on the analogy of falling from heaven being like getting kicked out of the force.
A young, naive journalist stumbles upon a war between a pair of secret societies predicated upon two renown prophets who made conflicting prophecies. The members of each are attacking and sabotaging the other in order to prevent the other’s prophecy from coming true, because these two prophets were, in life, contemporaries with famous historical feuds over which had greater predictive power. The journalist figures out how to reconcile the two prophecies, with the help of a law student who he woos over the course of the story, and as a result unifies the two secret societies. Skip forward to the future and he is renown prophet and head of the combination of seven previously warring secret societies, and it is implied that his position is due to his ability to write prophecies that are seemingly very specific while actually being extremely vague.
A family moves to an isolated village surrounded on three sides by mountains after the head of the family, an artist, unexpectedly strikes it rich. The family is unaware that this village, which caters mostly to light tourism, is the home of a family of vampires that have the entire citizenship of the village in thrall – and under command to deny their existence.
A version of Crash for the Batman universe: a group of people develop a sexual fetish surrounding accidental falls into vats of mutation-inducing toxic waste.
An outsider politician whose meteoric rise surprised pundits self-immolates after losing a close race. Despite fire damage, autopsy shows unambiguously that the corpse, while human-like, wasn’t fully human: some organs more closely resemble those of fish, and others of insects, and massive deformities in the digestive system indicate that the candidate was under such great and constant pain that he would be unlikely to be capable of any kind of complex thought. The doctor performing the autopsy suggests that perhaps his shame at his non-human heritage was the source of his intense drive and nativist rhetoric.
An eccentric hedge fund manager dies of a heart attack & wills his high speed trading machine to itself, allowing it to pay for its own electricity and rental space out of its profits. Nobody much cared because it wasn’t making a lot of money – it was an older algorithm that had been abandoned by newer machines, and so it was making just enough to pay for its continued operation. However, five years later, a flash crash occurred that affected all of the other high speed trading machines – leading to 98% of the world’s money being owned by this self-owning machine. Several governments conspire to destroy the machine, but must contend with the deadly force of the trading center’s private security team, tasked to protect the machine so that they can continue extracting rent from the only remaining rental machine.
After discovering that one of their own agents has a striking physical resemblance to a known KGB agent, the CIA sends their agent to impersonate him, never realizing that their agent was in fact a soviet mole. However, their agent, due to secret KGB brainwashing, had his memory erased initially – and doesn’t realize it himself. So, while impersonating this agent, he keeps having traumatic flashbacks to his repressed past as the person he is impersonating – and the people he interacts with were never in on the plan (to them, he was just “missing” all this time). So, meanwhile, the people who sent him initially are hunting him, since they planned to use this technique against the soviet upper echelon in order to take power themselves.
A long sequence of framing sequences, starting off long andomplex before getting increasingly tiny, so that by the half-way point we’re only four framing stories in but the remaining ten or fifteen happen in the last half. Each framing device sets up the immediate next framing device, but has nothing to do with the following. The ending is the typical exit from a framing story (like, waking up from a nightmare), but the person who wakes up is a character we’ve never seen. This character then slowly turns to the camera, and blood begins to flow from her eyes and mouth as white noise steadily increases in volume.
A haunted house story, wherein the house is haunted only by its own shitty design. The architect’s abnormally poor taste and lack of common sense drives tenants slowly to madness, as a house that to an outside observer looks only tacky reorganizes the minds of anyone spending too much time inside of it along the lines of the warped logic created by its thrown-together design.
A serial killer runs a “room escape” attraction in a tourist-driven area (Las Vegas, maybe). This attraction has many duplicate copies of the same room / puzzle, which is horror-themed, and (like the current wave of “extreme” haunted houses) multi-modal: the special effects extends to scent profiles. The serial killer, when he sees a customer who strikes his fancy, directs her to the room in the back with extra soundproofing and an electronic lock controlled from the observation booth. He locks her in until she starves to death, then cleans her skeleton with bugs & uses the bones as props in other rooms. He gets off on seeing the point at which people realize that they are no longer playing a game & solving the puzzle won’t let them out.
A wacky comedy about a Hollywood agent who, by accidentally pressing “Reply All” instead of “Reply” twice, has accidentally sold exactly the same pitch to five different major studios. She can’t back out because her boss is extremely proud of her for landing five lucrative deals on her first day (but is also clearly shown to be emotionally unstable, firing people for minor things while heaping praise on other people for similarly minor things), and so she must work with the screenwriter she represents (who is also a naive first-timer) to write five different screenplays based on the same pitch so that they don’t look similar, all before a deadline intended for a single script. At the eleventh hour, the agent, who works a second job as a diner waitress, is overheard on the phone by a repeat diner patron – a curmudgeon and loner who nevertheless always tips well – and he explains that he is a retired former script doctor, and offers to help finish the scripts before the deadline in exchange for setting him up on a date with the owner of the diner, a heavy-set sixty year old chainsmoker. In the end, they make all the scripts on time & make a lot of money, the agent’s boss comes into work after the deal is set and fires her for having an “ugly-colored scarf”, and a few years later it turns out that all five movies are smash hits, making back many times their original budget & making enough money for the agent & writer to start their own firm.
A hardboiled / mystery story revolving around the candy industry. When a jelly bean heiress disappears, a private investigator is enlisted to to find out what happened to her; meanwhile, a terrorist group poisons & labels batches of particular type of candy (like in the Glico case) while getting manefestoes published in newspapers. The private investigator uncovers massive corruption & family politics in the (financially and literally) incestuous candy industry, and uncovers that the person who hired him died 20 years ago – in other words, he was probably hired by the same terrorist group that has been trying to take down major industry figures, and that this group probably also kidnapped & killed the heiress. He follows this lead to the end, and evently discovers that this group is, in fact, being funded by a minor candy company that couldn’t compete with the big players. Embarassed by being tricked into performing corporate espionage, the private investigator attempts to commit suicide via a poisoned box of candy – but it doesn’t do anything.
A found-footage horror movie with the premise that a Jon Ronson expy who makes documentaries about investigating cults and painting them in a neutral light ends up getting enmeshed in a suicide/murder cult. His goofy footage gets less and less goofy as he realizes how hard it is to laugh off his extended isolation and various forms of psychological torture.
In the mid-80s, an elderly english madam dying of AIDS opens up to a reporter trying to do a story on the crisis. However, the madam explains that she is a four hundred year old vampire who ran a brothel in order to siphon blood off laudnum-drunk men, infecting them with siphilis to explain away the knock-on effects of being preyed upon by vampires. She confesses that she was the whitechapel killer, having killed a couple of her girls who were going to go to the newspapers, but the laudnum in the blood had negatively affected her judgement, leading to some of the anomalies in that case – she was in a constant delusional state, being essentially an immortal junkie. Because the immortality of vampires is related to a viral mutation of the immune system (supplemented by ingestion of lymphocytes – leading to vampires sometimes eating pus instead of blood), auto-immune disorders are the one thing that can kill them.
In the near future, content farms are replaced with edit farms: most articles are produced via spintax (i.e., a large set of recursive templates hooked into databases, such that a human being can put in a pitch in a special pitch format & the machine can create thousands of variations of articles based on that pitch), but the article-writing machines cannot distinguish between good articles and bad articles reliably and the volume is too big for general A/B testing, and as a result, hoards of poorly-paid independent contractors do the work of choosing which variations are best and performing light editing to make the result seem more human-like, before producing only hundreds of variations for A/B testing on regular readers. The plot involves an editor discovering a systematic coverup of investigations of the working conditions of these edit farms by the people who administrate the spintax systems, blocking articles on the subject from being printed.
During the construction of a subway tunnel in Switzerland, a large cave system is discovered with evidence of recent construction, but the bolts are made of an unknown material and are of a strange shape. After some investigation by veteran spelunkers, they discover that contrary to current archaeological canon, the neanderthals never went extinct: instead, a community of more than ten thousand moved deep into this cave system and survived, creating a flourishing technological civilization. The Swiss make contact with this civilization & attempt to normalize relations, having an exchange of diplomats. WACKY HIJINKS ensue as the children of neanderthal diplomats attempt to integrate into the Swiss educational system despite having a primarily fungus-based diet, no experience with meat other than ritual funerary cannibalism (the only reasonable means of corpse disposal in a closed underground environment), no familiarity with the concept of cooking (since fires are dangerous, food is primarily prepared with pickling and other forms of fermentation), a matriarchal lottery-based government (with lottery-based culling of the population), and a technological landscape based primarily around the breeding and cultivation of fungus and bacteria colonies. This fish out of water story becomes a romantic comedy when the diplomat’s daughter & heir to one of the most powerful neanderthal line falls into a FORBIDDEN LOVE with the daughter & scion of a mar Swiss banking family, just as knock-on effects of Brexit & Brexit copycats are causing pressures that suggest that the Swiss banking industry is in danger.
A self-proclaimed superhero has intense psychic powers only deep into psychedelic trips; as a result, he ends up performing on massive scales the small actions that very stoned people usually perform. Because of the danger of a bad trip, a superhero team forms (from slightly less powerful supwrheroes) who essentially trip-sit him once every few weeks and gently guide his power use so that he at least has some positive outcomes. This is played for comedy, but the stakes are very high: these guys are essentially sweet-talking a hallucinating god.
A stuntman is hired to stage a fake failed assassination attempt against a presidential candidate in order to boost his ratings. The stuntman gets promises that the campaign officials will let him “get away”, but renege on the deal. The stunt succeeds, and the candidate wins the election; he’s a fascistic figure and expands presidential powers. The stuntman manages to escape prison, and attempts to actually assassinate this president, now knowing that the “campaign officials” who hired him are actually CIA agents who were conspiring with the candidate to cause a coup.
A science fiction series where the protagonist is a goofy overenthusiastic nerd with no common sense / sense of self-preservation, surrounded by people who are constantly trying to get him to shut up / save him from himself / get him to cut to the chase and tell them if the alien he’s poking is dangerous.
A woman from New Zealand wakes up in a Kazakh jail cell, the officials having jailed her because they don’t believe New Zealand exists. Twist: she has drifted into another time line where New Zealand doesn’t exist & all events derived from or related to it never happened. Peter Jackson is still making low-budget horror movies.
An analysis of the remains left behind by an apparent suicide bomber indicates that it was, in actuality, a remote-controlled mannequin on wheels under a burqua. The military responds by jamming all wireless within a half mile radius of any high-profile target, and switching over to only wired communications. Our story follows military tech contractors working in such a site, attempting to figure out what’s going on when an attack occurs.
A ten year old boy is kidnapped by the mob and his hands and feed cut off, as incentive for his massively indebted parents to pay off a loan shark. His parents, unable to pay, end up dying in an altercation with the mob in front of him, but a policeman barges in and saves him; shortly afterward, the building explodes, killing everyone inside. After he gets out of the hospital, the policeman (who is single, and old) adopts him, but he’s killed in the line of duty a month later, pushing the child into the foster system. The child grows up with an obsessive idolization of policework & an obsessive distaste for organized crime. Early into his adulthood, he attempts to join the police force, but he is rejected on the grounds that he has no hands or legs; already extremely neurotic, this blow sends him into a persistent delusional state. With the help of a brilliant engineering student who has been obsessively stalking him (and in exchange for dating her), he is equipped with hooks on all his limbs, attached to a strength-amplifying hydraulic exoskeleton; he puts a halloween costume of a poce officer on top of this, and becomes the vigilante Police Captain Hook. He travels by hanging by his hooks off whatever surfaces are available, fully believes himself to be a police officer with special dispensation to hunt down the mob due to his exemplary record, and hunts down and kills figures from organized crime, placing their severed heads on the police commisioner’s front steps. (When he is in trouble, the engineer tends to blow up his enemies using remote control bombs, so he has a track record not befitting his actual experience or grasp on reality.)
We make contact with an alien species who never had a spoken language – they skipped directly from smell to writing. As a result, their writing system is abstract splotches of color on a 2d plane – it’s very spacial but not very temporal. The story is a mockumentary about the high burn-out rate of the human diplomatic translation team, composed of expert linguists who are also expert impressionist painters, who often undergo a novel kind of psychosis as a result of translating between english and this very inhuman language 40 hours a week.
A mad scientist steals Lord Byron’s collection of pubic hair clippings (which he took from each of his lovers, and filed) and secretly clones all of Lord Byron’s lovers, out of a twisted kind of napoleon complex. After being busted, these clones are put up for adoption. Twenty years later, they coincidentally run into each other, and (not knowing their shared origin) they end up starting an influential art movement.
A musical about a group of psychologists trying to figure out how to solve an epidemic of a bizzare psychosomatic illness that causes everyone in a small rural town to spontaneously break into song every time they feel strong emotions. One of the psychologists is tone-deaf, and his abnormally out-of-tune singing constitutes a source of comic relief.
After a housing crisis, an eccentric billionaire former real estate developer buys up empty houses in Celebration, Florida, and offers them to homeless people from New York and Oakland, with a generous salary for as long as they stay there (along with an offer to pay any fines they might incur from the homeowner’s association). His goal is to get back at Disney, because of a grudge held over from when he was a young man, by ruining their attempt at implementing a nostalgic and idealized past. However, by accident, he got a unique mix of people moving in: a former political radical / agitator with a degree in sociology, a refugee from the church of scientology, a couple former bohemian artists cut off by their families, and some other people with interesting and useful skills that a string of tragic accidents had previously prevented them from using. The pressure from the homeowner’s association & from Disney itself bound them together and radicalized them, and from Celebration they constructed a new set of political ideas and plan revolution…
Post-UBI, NEETs are the new bohemians, and we have whole art movements based off image macros and shitposting. Sometimes they pool their money & rent warehouses. Certain kinds of high-risk projects become of interest: projects where large amounts of effort go into them with a very low likelihood of success, of interest mostly to eccentrics, with the occasional major and unexpected hit – The Bee Movie Only Every Time They Say Bee It’s Replaced With The Complete Ring Cycle Translated Into Klingon Only Every Time They Mention A Color It Becomes Warhol’s Sleeping, or something like it. Because nobody can even pretend to predict what will be a hit or who will produce one, the entertainment industry becomes very interested in subsidizing unemployment (in case somebody with a lot of free time randomly produces the next hit that can then be adapted for a wider audience).
Two groups of aliens turn the cold war hot, circumventing their own non-aggression treaties by dumping exotic alien weapons on human nations witht training. The story follows human strategic skunkworks teams examining the weapons and determining scalable guidelines for their use in warfare – important because the mechanisms & tradeoffs used by these weapons are wholly unlike conventional earth weapons.
A standard psychological horror movie about our protagonist slowly succumbing to hallucinations and delusions, with the caveat that although we follow the protagonist we never see the protagonist’s perceptions (but instead, from the outside). Concretely, this manifests as none of the special effects or post-processing being added: the actor closes the medicine cabinet mirror and acts as though she sees a face, but the camera never sees it; the protagonist freaks out and points at dark corners and other unseen elements.
An anthropologist studying the associations between butter processing and the production of the metal of metals in medieval alchemy visits a town with a museum of bog-mummies taken from a nearby bog. After a piece of bog butter is raised that contains an abnormal number of wards (including butter knots and graveyard nails), a number of bizarre deaths occur, wherein people lose all of their body fat. The anthropologist becomes a van Hellsing figure, fighting against the butter vampires – mummified bog-bodies that stick of turpentine from ketosis, animated by an ancient and long-forgotten virus. In the end, our hero must fight the chief bog-vampire (an ancient alchemist/wizard who had been killed and buried in the bog, and had been on show in the museum for thirty years) by combining ancient butter-centric magical practices with modern ideas about food safety.
A man is born with a strange psychic power: once a day, he can cause someone to perform a simple task, but once he uses this power on someone he can’t use it on them ever again. (He can only do this in person, in a situation where he is alone with someone.) He uses this, along with an understanding of cognitive dissonance, to persue the office of the presidency. However, a talk-radio therapist is on his tail, having discovered that several people who were opposed to this man changed their mind and became die-hard supporters after performing uncharacteristic actions that convinced them that they agreed with his positions shortly after a private meeting. At the climax, the politician causes the talk-radio therapist to denounce the idea of cognitive dissonance on the air, and he must battle his own cognitive dissonance to take down this politician.
A scripted performance art piece where the artist is shot with blanks by a middle-eastern actor at an opening for her own abstract sculpture collection (intended to protest the association of middle-eastern men with acts of terrorism) goes awry when a minor celebrity unexpectedly decides to attend the event (resulting in both the presence of a news crew & of increased museum security). The actor is killed, and the performance artist must figure out how to come out about the plan – dealing with the guilt of having brought an innocent into an ill-conceived, naive, and dangerous folly.
After being bitten by a radioactive dog, a disgruntled postal worker develops an extremely sensitive sense of smell & super-hearing, along with a tendency to bite anyone who looks him in the eyes. Delirious, he sews himself a costume and takes his workplace hostage, announcing to the world that he will now be known as “MAIL MAN”.
A secret society dedicated to returning their nation to the values of an idealized imperial past invest in a reality television game show franchise as a means of identifying, vetting, and indoctrinating outside candidates for political positions. Combining blackmail, favor-trading, and appeals to shared values, this organization pressures newly-minted politicians into making certain decisions.
A dragon that hoards friends befriends a dragon that hoards paradoxes and another dragon who only hoards things that don’t exist. The ensuing conft destroys the den.
A suicide bomber discovers he is immortal. He is captured.
The united states goes to war with an alien civilization whose weapons consist solely of mechanisms for teleporting small metal slugs (which trade places with whatever is in the location they previously were). (After all, one doesn’t want to use kinetic weapons inside space ships.) The entire rest of Earth is caught in the crossfire.
Scientists discover a hormone that tracks with willpower. In silicon valley, the poor sell their willpower (extracted, with large needles, from a part of their brainstem) to wealthy developers, who become addicted. Those who have sold their willpower to the clinics are sometimes found passed out from hunger in the middle of supermarkets. (A willpower high somewhat resembles a cocaine or amphetamine high in the sense that it involves manic energy and sustained effort; the difference is that those high on willpower seek out tasks that involve making large numbers of decisions.)  Later, a bioengineering lab figures out how to synthesize the stuff, and mortality rates skyrocket as type-a personalities mainline it and overdose.
An insane human general nukes the past in order to make the timeline he lives in completely untethered from history, in order to prevent people from hearing about communism. This kills the man.
A machine is developed that can see the past. (An image is projected of the machine’s current location some time in the past.) It operates by splitting photons into pairs of entangled photons, one of which is unstuck in time. Unfortunately, breaking photons into entangled pairs halves their energy; as a result, every time the machine is used, the past becomes more red and less bright.
A mathematician engages in an ultimately futile legal battle to make it possible to marry the concept of infinity. In the end, he settles for marrying Cantor’s Continuity Conjecture, but after this harrowing experience, he was never the same.
A french farmer discovers a piece of unexploded WWII ordinance while clearing his field. He enlists the help of a slightly shifty/unreliable neighbour to bring it to the government’s disposal depot, but the neighbour, being a military history nut, recognizes that this particular piece of ordinance is a rare & experimental one (some prototype missile) & worth a lot of money. So, he tries to organize a heist, to trick his friend into giving him the bomb so he can sell it on the black market. Through a series of mistakes, the two end up indelibly involved in selling this piece of ordinance to a group of local neo-nazis (one of whom is an old, wealthy collector of nazi memorabilia), and they meet in this guy’s house, getting a long & awkward tour of his collection before swapping the money for the bomb in his drawing room. They are pushed into talking over drinks, and the buyer punctuates an statement by whacking the bomb – which goes off and takes down the whole building.
The Russian government sells one of their closed cities (unused since the mid 1980s) to an American oil company as a company town (with access to the nearby oil fields). An inspector is sent to check the property – ensuring that no undisclosed major liabilities exist (although, because it was known that the property was abandoned for 30 years, the bar was low: as long as it wasn’t radioactive & had no bottomless pits, it would be fine). The inspector discovers plans for an abandoned but woable soviet superweapon. He mentions it during a call home to his wife, and both the CIA and the FSB begin chasing him, trying to steal the long-lost plans.
A group of occultists belonging to the white pride section of odinism steal the skull attributed to Hitler from a museum and perform a ritual to revive him. It succeeds, but the skull actually belongs to a random servant. This servant must navigate a strange & alien world, with new taboos & familiar dangerous political tensions.
A long-haul trucker who has been smuggling small amounts of drugs on the side is forced to stop and take shelter when a thick fog suddenly rolls in. He decides to sleep for the night in the lot he found. When he awakens, the fog still has not cleared; he has no response from CB, no cell signal (or GPS), and no reception on his television. Taking out a shortwave receiver, he finally gets some indication of outside civilization: some still-running numbers stations. Finally, he finds a distorted broadcast: someone is screaming, and then static. He listens for a continuation, but then sees the skin on his arm bubbling. The audience hears a scream, and the picture cuts to black.
An alternate history: schools in the British model become standard across most countries in the industrialized world (i.e., dormitory-based, segregated by sex, with corporal punishment, starting in early childhood and continuing through early adulthood) as background for prospective politicians, leading to a psychologically warped international culture of hypercompetitive man-children.
When life-extending (and youth-extending) drugs become inexpensive, elaborate ritual suicides by public intellectuals become extremely culturally important: an intellectual gives his ideas to society, and then (like a president) steps down after about 500 years in order to limit the stagnation of society and let fresh blood in. (Normal workers, on the other hand, will often live perpetually.) However, when a particularly iconoclastic traditionalist thinker refuses to end his life at the appropriate time, society begins to destabilize, and riots break out, ending twenty thousand years of peace on earth. He uses this opportunity to amass political power in the hands of young radicals who refuse to die.
A scholar decodes part of the Enigma Variations & discovers that it’s instructions on where to find a lost score by Scriabin. Right before the inaugural performance of this score, he decodes some more and finds an oblique warning. He runs to the performance hall, intending to put a stop to it, but it’s too late: wheels within wheels made of flaming eyes begin to descend from the sky.
A generic thriller about an energy healer who is stalked and psychically attacked by men in dark suits takes a sudden turn when, upon reflecting, our protagonist realizes that she would not be attracting murderous MIBs if some part of herself didn’t want to be murdered by the government. She then decides that any attempt to interact with the spirit world is a form of sublimated death wish, and begins tracking down and killing other light workers in order to fulfill their secret unconscious desire.
Early in the second world war, a young soldier sent as part of an invasion force to the mainland fell in love with a local and deserted, fleeing into the jungle. This man raised his child and grandchild to believe (as he did) that the second world war was still going on, and that the absolute worst thing that could happen would be a capre by the imperial japanese government. He gave them as much military and guerilla training as he could, and they became strong and disciplined. In the present day, the last surviving member of the line is discovered by an american filmmaker looking for POWs lost in vietnam, and his existence and story is announced to the world. After that, he is subject to a series of assassination attempts by Yakuza hired by a secret society of Diet members who are dedicated to the return of the ambition and culture of the Japanese Empire – essentially in order to destroy a source of anti-Imperial PR. However, because of his heavy training, the man survives, and decides to hunt down and kill each member of this secret society – including the prime minister!
Two screenwriters working on different productions meet in a preliminary hearing for a lawsuit, after investors at a test screening noticed that the dialogue in both films was identical (and that, upon looking, the shooting scripts were also identical). The lawsuit was settled out of court & neither film ever got theatrical release or distribution as part of the deal, and the screenwriters hit it off, fell in love, and got married – their connection cemented by the idea that they were fated to be with each other by the bond of having written identical 120 page screenplays, down to the letter. However, years later, after one of them dies, the other  (while searching through his estate) comes upon his draft – and sees that the similarity with her own is only marginal (i.e., by that draft, they would have been 'twin movies’ but not even character names are the same). Tracking down the final shooting draft, she sees that it differs significantly from both. She contacts her old boss and investigates up the chain, to find that the same esteemed script doctor was assigned to both pictures, and that it seems that he had replaced both scripts with one of his own. However, looking over various complaints, she found evidence to believe that it wasn’t his own at all, and that instead he had, for years, been stockpiling good but unproduced screenplays and occasionally using them as 'rewrites’ for similar films when he didn’t have time to rewrite properly, and without crediting the original author – and that this accounts for his legendary ability to perform many major rewrites simultaneously.
The last survivor of China’s 1980s ESP program (the Extraordinary Human Facilities program, or EHF) has been employed as a spy, conducting economic / industrial espionage as a result of being able to read anything that is within about four inches of his buttocks (along with a great deal of language and memory training). Fearing a scheme similar to the Opium wars after the United States legalizes Marijuana across the board, he visits various offices involved in regulating the pot industry, making sure to lean against filing cabinets and sit on desks. What he discovers shocks him: the last survivors of the CIA’s ESP program (Project Stargate), a group of five people who can accelerate the growth of plants, are being kept in a trance underneath a vast CIA pot farm, with the production sold overseas on the black market as a means to fund the black budget.
After a nuclear war, disney world becomes the religious center / holy land for a very powerful cult that is involved in rebuilding social structures.
A vain, angry king becomes beloved because of a witch’s curse that everything he does to harm is ineffective. His popularity angers him, and he eventually commits suicide.
A former sitcom actor is called upon for a secret operation because he is the highest-ranking Qi Gong practitioner who is also a US citizen. He is sent on a mission to investigate a group within a chinese organized crime syndicate that use qi redirection for combat – with the national security implication that they may have ties to chinese spy agencies. However, being a c-list celebrity recognizable to many people (evenhirty years after the show went off the air) comes with its own complications.
A heist flick with a twist: two teams are competing with each other to pull off the same heist, and each member on one team has a “mirror” version on the other team played by another actor who has been typecast as the same very specific role. (For instance, if one team has Vin Diesel, the other has Dwayne Johnson; if one team has Denzel Washington, the other has Will Smith.) Their lines are almost identical. They never meet.
A My Dinner With Andre style story (i.e., two people talking for three hours) that takes place entirely in a foxhole during WWI, between a private who considers himself a poet and is guilty about having written pro-war material before enlisting and a corporal who has anti-intellectual sentiments and is concerned about the continued loyalty of his girlfriend back home. The two begin at odds, having to make nice because they are trapped together, but they eventually grow to respect each other. At the end of the film, just as they are about to become friends, a bunker-buster hits them and kills them – making all of their character development meaningless.
An alien invasion succeeds because, even though the UFOs are completely visible, nobody is willing to talk about them because everyone believes themselves to be going crazy.
A whirlwind romance is cut short because unbeknownst to one party the other is unable to avoid the urge to return to her grave at sunrise.
A girl wears dark glasses because she believes that her pupils transform their shapes into words representing her true feelings. We never discover whether or not this belief is true.
A young man encounters logistical problems related to the fact that, everywhere he goes, large numbers of crows congregate. In his childhood he didn’t realize the scope of the problem because, attached to a military family, he rarely stayed in the same town for more than a year. However, after getting his own apartment and a job, he found that many structures in his home town cannot handle the weight of thousands of crows perching on them. The stench of crow corpses (caused by so many crows perching upon other crows that they are crushed) is also a problem. The crows, despite their interest, maintain a respectful distance from him, but coworkers and friends are not safe from building collapses caused by abnormal crow congregations, and nearby ecosystems are disrupted as all local crows migrate to a small area, ceasing to eat (or do much of anything, other than watch).
A forensic pathologist with a fraudulent degree owes her success to her telepathic connection with maggots – a skill she is reluctant to use because it fills her with a short-term craving for decaying meat that grows more intense each time she connects with them. When she is assigned to performing the lab work for the investigation of a brutal and very active serial killer, an internal conflict comes to the fore as her desire for career advancement vies against her fear of eating the evidence, and she must begin to confide in a coworker to help keep her urges in check.
After a batch of a popular soft drink is recalled because of a production mistake causing it to have poisonously high levels of strychnine, some of the resulting deaths have unexpected consequences: the drink was extremely popular among a clique associated with a private bittorrent tracker, who have become revenants, their bloated corpses no longer paying rent but sl using superhuman strength to defend their hoard of pirated movies from anyone who gets too close to their building.
While playing with a shortwave radio, our protagonist discovers a broadcast that narrates events in his life, from a limited omniscient view from his perspective, an hour before they happen. With the help of a friend, he determines it is being broadcast by an unlicensed ham transmitter and bounced off the moon – leading to major distortion and to the broadcast being available at certain times of day. They use this information to triangulate the location of the transmitter, which they determine is barreling across united states highways eastward at sixty miles an hour, never stopping, moving from the west coast to the protagonist’s location. The time of its projected arrival coincides with a new moon.
Our protagonist is the late bloomer in a group of pre-teens of eastern european ancestry – all the parents are colleagues, professors of math or science at a nearby university. Our protagonist notices that, one by one, each of his friends stays home sick from school for nearly a week, coming back several inches taller, much more interested in academics (and uninterested in their earlier obsessions), and with completely remodeled bedrooms and a completely new wardrobe. He suspects that some of his friends might actually be getting replaced by aliens; his parents dismiss this. After all his friend group has been “replaced”, feeling lonely, he suddenly has an insatiable craving for paper. Feeling strange, he stays home; his hair and fingernails fall out, and he can’t keep himself from eating them (along with all his clothing and all the books he owns). He begins vomiting a thick foam of fibers, as body parts begin falling off. Feeling like he’s dying, he nestles in this bed of fibers. A week later, he emerges, several inches taller and with a greater interest in academics.

(This Cronenberg-does-R.-L.-Stein-does-Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers premise is based on an in-joke that used to exist at the Institute of Advanced Studies, that because so many really transcendent minds in mathematics all came from the same small area of Prague, they must have had a shared Martian ancestor.)
A technician working on GPS pathfinding systems has vulnerabilities he’s reported ignored, and eventually gets fired for causing PR problems; being fired leaves him homeless & without healthcare – specifically, the medication that was keeping his psychological disorders fully in check. He begins taking revenge on the company one by one, by exploiting the vulnerabilities he reported to cause the board of executives to be given incorrect directions, leading them to isolated places and killing them with a screwdriver. Because of a quirk related to stock options & all of the execs having large families & wills that aren’t fully up to date, after the killings, our technician murderer unknowingly is the single party with the largest share in the company. A lawyer searching for him eventually stumbles upon the truth, but recognizes the circumstances, and pressures a manager to hire the technician into an entry-level position. Now substantially more lucid, the technician takes over the company and forces a series of positive changes to security practices.
After bombs from outer space unexpectedly hit several major cities, survivors discovered that prayer had become very dangerous: anyone who experienced emotional trauma aftereing in the vicinity of a blast developed a tendency for their formal prayers to be answered in the typical Arthurian way, regardless of their intent, resulting in metropolises overnight becoming patchworks of weird eldrich miracles as people hoping for signs brought into being statues crying blood and milk, roses that float in the air and burn but are not consumed, and people who have turned into salt or ash. Since being super-empowered isn’t great for healing recently opened psychological wounds, things escalated, with most of the population dying in the crossfire. It was only a matter of time before people began to realize that summoning archangels and controlling them was possible – not winged beings but brightly circling gears, amalgamations of flaming eyes, and floating bulbous mounds of misshapen heads.
A solar flare wipes out most of earth’s electronic devices by inducing high currents, causing all wires longer than about an inch not behind strong faraday cages to burn out. The rebuilding efforts are efficient – earth really does band together in a crisis – and it’s projected that places that previously had electrical grids will have them again in only a few years, once large-scale production methods for wire are bootstrapped. Considering the scale of the incident, there are relatively few deaths: dangerous electrical devices were mostly prevented from doing much harm via sensible mechanical failsafes, and while hospital patients died from the failure of modern medical machinery, humans were mostly unaffected: during the flare, many of them were knocked out, and a few people had epileptic seizures & died during it (mostly people who already had unmedicated epilepsy). However, after the rebuilding began, each night, people started dying in strange circumstances – exsanguinated, or from sudden unexpected heart attacks. A policewoman investigating the case initially suspects that someone is using the disaster as cover for murders, but her wife (an electrical engineer with hippie tendencies, now unemployed until the electrical grids are rebuilt) insists that the culprit is not human – beginning to sound crazier and crazier. The policewoman also starts hearing reports of strange things being seen at night. Eventually, their house is broken into and they are attacked – by a creature that doesn’t appear in mirrors, and who runs away after someone throws a bottle of chopped garlic at him. The policewoman’s wife finally figures it out: mythological creatures weren’t superstitions that civilization exposed as false, but instead are natural phenomena created by the earth’s electromagnetic field – during the day, the RF from the sun jams them out, and for the past two hundred years the increasing use of electric power progressively jammed them out; this is why so many mythological creatures can’t touch certain metals or cross running streams.
After being mean to a vagrant, a musician trying to transition to an acting career is cursed with a sex that changes based on temperature and a gender that changes based on the phase of the moon.
A superhero whose powers come from orgone benefits from the fact that he is a sexual exhibitionist; unfortunately, he is also not very attractive.
The natural process by which man-made objects become yokai (via long-term ownership imbuing these objects with souls) has its balance interrupted by planned obsolescence & disposability culture; as a result, the flow of uls is re-routed, and all antiques become exceptionally powerfully haunted.
Aliens abduct the entire continental united states (including the land itself, leaving only ocean connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans). Our story follows expats dealing with their complicated feelings about this, as in the background other nations vie for power under the guise of attempting to deal with the catastrophic natural disasters resulting from a sudden huge physical void on the earth.
A space opera narrated by a ship’s engineer whose engineering degree is fraudulent. The technobabble doesn’t make sense because the character speaking it knows nothing about engineering, and the drama comes from the generally poor upkeep job being done.
Shortly after the release of the first generation ships, advances in life-extension technology result in a second batch wherein the first generation of inhabitants could live long enough to still be healthy upon arrival – so long as they can stay sane for the whole trip. The third batch of generation ships introduced the first coldsleep tech. Around the time of scheduled arrival, the tech to open up a one-way wormhole to the destination was invented (although it wouldn’t be possible to get enough energy for a wormhole going in the opposite direction for another fifty years). So, all four groups make landfall at about the same time, with vastly different cultures: the first batch have short lives and are obsessed with conservation and with ensuring a good life for their children; the second batch, being nearly immortal, have spent a thousand years trying to assuage their boredom and tend toward the eccentric, having an obsession with keeping entertained by any means necessary; the third batch and the fourth are snapshots of earth culture taken a thousand years apart. Intelligent representatives of each culture form a colonial council to try to prevent war and solve problems peacefully, but they have a hard task ahead of them: the colonies are trying to self-segregate despite limited space and limited resources making it important that they live in close proximity.
A drug is developed that has two primary effects: 1) psychic powers, and 2) a profound feeling of unity with the universe and alignment between one’s own life path and the universe’s master plan. This drug becomes very popular on the black market as a research chemical – after all, many people wish they had fantastic abilities, and everybody likes being assured that they’ve made good decisions. However, because of the precise nature of the confidence induced – a confidence in the correctness of one’s past decisions, regardless of their nature – the drug produces a perpetual state of war: among heavy users of the drug (most of whom are trying to escape past trauma) momentary impulses are enabled by the drug, executed with the help of the drug, and justified by the drug, including destructive impulses.
A warrior sect has anot initiation ritual where they see a vision of their own death, then take an oath never tof speak of it. The sect is known for bravery & risk taking: they are willing to put themselves in danger in situations that don’t look like they will lead to the envisioned death. It doesn’t matter much that the visions have little to do with how people actually die: nobody notices, because they kept their visions secret during life.
Galactic Special Agent 253, Our Man From UMMO, is a playboy energy being fm the center of a distant star, transmitted by a sentient psychedelic alien fungus. He is on a mission to identify, track down, and stop his predecessor, the former agent 253, a body-hopping terrorist named Mondo Cain, who uses classified information in his campaign against the galactic government. They end up on the Sol Wilderness Preserve And Theme Park, where the indiginous people (humans) aren’t aware of the galactic government and staying in character is imperative for visitors – a policy enforced by the death penalty. There is a complication regarding the fungus: the trip only lasts eight hours, after which hosts go back to their normal lives with a set of absurd fabricated memories; Agent 253 has no control over which host he ends up in: he has no consciousness while nobody in ~10 AU is currently tripping on the right drug, but he will hop to one at random when they start. He assumes his opponent has the same restriction. Eventually, he discovers that Cain is himself from the future – if he hops onto a space-liner going near the speed of light in one direction & then hops onto another nearby spaceliner going in the opposite direction at the same speed, his consciousness ends up going back in time – and that he discovered some dark secret about corruption in the galactic government. He pleads with his future self to reveal the information. Just when his future self is about to concede, a random passer-by shoots them both: an under cover agent, numbered 253, from Galactic Time Control.
An anarchocommunist superhero who is a hobo, and whose superpower is an ingenious mind for mechanics & chemistry (like MacGuyver turned up to 11), but whose fatal flaw is an over the top emotional reaction to conspicuous consumption, making it difficult to live in society or even operate in proximity to people who are plugged into consumer culture. (Just as supervillians are mocked for their compulsion to explain their plans, this hero can be defeated by seeing or even being reminded of obnoxious displays of wealth, which cause them to rant at length about the bougeoisie.)
Close encounters are screen memories for the transition between substantially similar parallel timelines, and the degree to which the screen memory is strange is proportional to the difference between that person’s home dimension and their destination. People with many alien abduction experiences are confused because reality keeps changing under them. Scientists discover that, by modulating a strong electromagnetic field using a device similar to an MRI machine, they can trigger such an experience and cause a person to swap places with their double in another timeline – but most modulation patterns don’t work, because the number of viable timelines keeps shrinking. Around the same time, scientists in these doomed timelines (on the brink of nuclear war or worse) discover the same technique, flooding our timeline with impostors.
A person who would normally be a minor character in any typical story spontaneously develops extrasensory awareness of where the camera is pointing (which over the course of the story develops, with intense training, into the ability to, for short periods of intense concentration, identify the nature of *all* non-diagetic elements of the film), and uses this to take control of the narrative.
Some ideas adjacent to cantor’s continuity conjecture are, in fact, sentient thoughtforms. When they come into being they usually kill their hosts, out of guilt &ndas because they know that a human who thinks about them for too long will have a much worse fate…
At a politically sensitive time for Russia, the lost cosmonauts – the people sent up in secret and assumed dead prior to Yuri Gagarin – begin to return, having had gone through some kind of time slip that existed in near space in the early 60s. The political ramifications of the return of national heroes erased from history by a nation that no longer exists, and the personal drama surrounding the time gap in their lives (with everyone they had known dead), form the drama of the story.
There is a planet where the dominant intelligent life form is a kind of mind-controlling parasitic tapeworm. These tapeworms have the only technological culture on their planet, and have selectively bred their hosts (furry, docile ungulates with very little capacity for thought) and formed a culture around degrading other forms of life on the basis of how similar they are to their hosts – for instance, terms referring to non-ungulate mammals are common insults & religious taboos exist against eating (or allowing current or future hosts) to eat food touched by fish, amphibians, or insects. In addition to having mind control, these tapeworms also have control over hormone levels in their hosts – they can increase adrenaline or testosterone in order to make their hosts temporarily stronger. These tapeworms find adrenochrome highly addictive, and so there’s a drug trade involved in harvesting it from animals – but most animals on their planet do not produce it, and there’s fairly heavy regulation. Some enterprising drug traffikers have decided to go to other planets and harvest them – and earth is on their list. While investigating a series of strange, grizzly murders, a detective finds his case taken over by an FBI agent who acts a little weird; he eventually discovers that the FBI agent is being parasitized by a worm who is from the space-worm equivalent of the DEA: the control is not complete (the host species were bred for docility specifically because the worms can’t overcome conscious resistance) but the actual FBI agent and the space worm are cooperating because they have a shared goal. The policeman & this FBI-worm hybrid work together to track down the killer, knowing that it must be someone whose will is highly compromised, & eventually discover that the worm is inhabiting various alcoholic binge-drinkers, taking control while they are black-out drunk and maxing out their adrenaline and testosterone to make them physically stronger in order to more effectively kill their human victims – which causes them to have a severely shortened lifespan. The worm then exits their bodies through the anus and finds a new host (jumping into their mouths). They finally track down and exterminate this worm, take out the refrigerated rental unit where it has been storing its stock of human pineal glands, and celebrate. Then, the policeman shakes hands with the FBI agent, the FBI agent takes off his pants, squats down on the ground, and shits out a six inch long worm, and the worm runs off, jumps into the mouth of a nearby stray dog, and the dog runs off in the direction of the worm’s hidden space ship.
A group of strangers wake up in a locked cell. They discover that a failed novelist has kidnapped them in order to force them into awkward situations, so that he can study human nature and thereby improve his writing. Some of those situations involve tain people acting out particular stereotyped roles (under threat of death, if they fail to do so suitably well). It’s like a cross between Saw and Whose Line Is It Anyway.
A set of well-intentioned government tax incentives lead to a large city installing third party home automation security systems on all (public and private) buildings. The security system is a monoculture and is wiped out completely by a ransomware attack, resulting in literally everyone in a city becoming homeless (as their security systems don’t let them into their own houses & won’t accept their authentication, treating them as intruders).
After a nuclear war wipes out all life on earth, only the vampires remain. Unable to die, they live out a kind of directionless mockery of human society under a state of extreme constant hunger for a material that no longer exists, until the sun expands enough to consume the earth.
A parallel universe that had a very different history develops rat-holes to our world – great doors that are only visible on one side – in order to escape extreme political wars. Unfortunately, because of the way that patterns of erosion on the earth differs between these two worlds, most of these doors are deep underground, useless and forgotten. Two doors are found in the basements of nearby buildings, unbeknownst to each other – one emits refugees who have escaped from a prison for heretics into the basement of a private home owned by a group of college students, and the other open up between a church basement (where their youth group sessions are held) and a secondary command center for the organization running that heretic prison. The youth group is manipulated into helping hunt down the refugees.
A variation of the sin eater profession appears, whose purpose is to launder hell money by gambling with it. In other words, these sin eaters are given hell money and after gambling with it among themselves for some length of time their holdings are bought and burned as sacrifice. The idea is that if the hell money is bought using dirty money (from organized crime, or stolen) the sin will wipe off on the gamblers. However, since the function of hell money is to gain the aid of dead ancestors, some of that favor also rubs off on them. These sin eaters are forbidden from gambling with the general public, and a street urchin inducted into their ranks discovers why first-hand when he places a bet in a yakuza-owned casino: he has gained the favor of some very ruthless ghosts who will make sure he wins (and keeps his winnings) at any cost.
In a dystopian near future, the most popular TV show is a hyper-violent version of The Bachelor where 100 women are encouraged to murder each other in order to get a date with a millionaire.
After the trucking industry transfers mostly to self-driving trucks, the NSA develops tech to make arbitrary trucks follow particular people – a service they sell to other Three Letter Agencies for “counterterrorism”. A contractor discovers this & prepares to blow the whistle but is discovered, and they decide to test the system out on him.
People’s names are living creatures – memetic parasites that feed on recognition. This is why isolation can be fatal: the name, panicked and starving, eats holes in the brain of its host. The names have been getting smarter, and now they begin to scheme to maximize the sustenance they can get from their hosts.
After a series of large-scale scandalthat cross party lines, a controversial new set of laws is put in place: the “veil of ignorance” mandates, under which all politicians must be of the “political class” – infants separated from their parents at birth, chosen by lottery, and put into a separate schooling system, living the rest of their lives separate from the non-political class and having their interactions limited to state-level legal operations like voting and signing laws. The idea is that if politicians have all their needs met, they have no reason to collude with other politicians, and if they aren’t allowed to interact with non-politicians then they cannot collude with them either. At the end of their terms, the politicians are euthenized so that the possibility of quid pro quo is limited to a relatively short time period. Of course, the system backfires, because politicians will compete with each other for the hell of it, their laws becoming stranger and stranger as they reflect an increasingly alien logic.
An otaku is transported to a generic fantasy world, only to slowly discover that everyone else in the fantasy world is also an otaku who has been transported. Turns out they screwed up and failed to populate it, and so they’re moving otaku over in the hope that maybe they’ll mate.
First contact with a sentient alien race is actually with fully-memetic entities (who have long sense outgrown tight coupling with their hosts & now expect to hop freely between hosts); because hosts on their home planet are physically much different from humans, this first contact manifests as a series of dancing plagues (because the ambassadors are trying to figure out how to control their new alien bodies). Eventually, they realize that we haven’t fully uncoupled from our host bodies yet and find that they need to merge with human personalities in order to learn to communicate – which, for them, is a little like moving from a city into the woods and living with a pack of wolves, because our human personalities are collectives of wild memeplexes instead of single dominant ideas.
In a world where only postmenopausal childless women are allowed to be in positions of political power, scandals surround black market adoption fencing rings. A young lady journalist attempts to investigate but this is made difficult by the fact that corruption in this world is largely related to sexual favors between lesbians who prefer older women, and she must ally herself with an older would-be whistleblower with a dark past whose motivations are unclear but who is sixty-five and therefore more attractive.
A zoo experiments with teaching various types of pack animals (apes, wolves) how to use touch screen devices with a simple communication app in order to do a variation on the prisoner’s dilemma. However, a bug causes the app not to distinguish between species. As a side effect, a group of adolescent chimps conspire with wolves to overthrow the dominant chimps in their enclosure, causing a cascade of deals that lead eventually to the zoo being demolished as various animal social structures undergo violent transition.
After being passed up for sous-chef, a line cook (in a drunken stupor) accidentally stumbles through a portal to the middle ages, where, trapped, he survives by finding an inn to make food at in exchange for room and board. (Luckily, this is a port town, so travelers come through at a high enough rate to make working at an inn sustainable.) However, because his kne of cooking comes from the future (at this point, of course, recipes are rare and inefficient, the importance of time is unclear, and  dishes that benefit from an understanding of chemistry not easily found by trial and error in a dirty kitchen are basically nonexistent), he is able to create dishes unlike any previously seen. While he is limited by the absence of certain technologies (precise clocks, electric stoves, teflon, refrigeration, blow torches) and resources (salt and spices are rare, ice is seasonal), his knowledge puts him in a unique position. Being a port town, travelers from foreign lands occasionally come through, and his introduction of modern styles of cooking changes demand for various resources in a way that he – essentially not speaking the language, and disoriented from tobacco withdrawl and low-level persistent diseases to which he has no immunity – is totally unaware of: the introduction of one line cook from the future changes history by putting new pressures on trade routes, causing wars.
Elon Musk’s first martian colonization ship contains two Raelians amid the rest of its ~100 crew. These Raelians end up hooking up with each other, but are also slightly more charismatic than average. The harsh martian conditions kill many of the first batch before the second batch arrives, and by the time that happens, the nascent martian culture has taken on a distinctly Raelian tinge. Over time, mars becomes a Raelian theocracy, albeit one with very little political power, but a rare mineral is found in great quantity in martian mines which causes mars to quickly become more powerful than earth (and indeed the political center of the solar system’s colonized bodies, in part because martian spaceports and docking stations in martian orbit form an important travel hub between lagrange stations around earth and settlements on jovian moons).
A farce about a green journalist sent into a war zone to cover a revolution, embedded with a seasoned mercenary who is basically calm and unflappable (to an absurd degree). Over time, it is revealed that the revolutionary force is run by an incompetent and unimaginative jobsworth, interpreting (as Figuratively as possible) the ravings of a complete madman. The jobsworth doesn’t realize the madman is mad, and it’s unclear whether or not the madman knows that he is leading a revolution. The mercenary has no opinion of this situation. The journalist barely makes it out alive – you see, the revolutionary vanguard bombed themselves because of some offhand remark the lunatic leader made months before, and the journalist and merc were in the vicinity eavesdropping while it happened – and his story was rejected (and he was fired) because “none of this could have possibly happened”.
Rather than inventing the cotton gin, Eli Witney accidentally summons a cotton djinn – a demon offering to produce enormous amounts of seedless cotton through magical means in exchange for Witney’s soul. Witney agrees, and enough cotton is released all at once to drive the market price down to almost nothing. Witney guarantees himself a comfortable life and then pulls a Carnegie, going around North America founding technical / seminary hybrid schools in his name. A hundred years later, the government is heavily influenced by a lobby of protestant engineer-monks & is working to supress wave after wave of dangerous spiritualist cults coming out of the burnt over district, fuelled (they think) by the cvation and chemical extraction of certain ergot derivatives. These cults are dangerous because they propose that direct contact with god is possible via ecstatic drug-induced visions, rather than by years of devoted study of mechanics and meditation upon Maxwell’s equations.
Animal rights lobbies push for greater restrictions on factory farming practices, leading to lower profits. Perdue responds by taking advantage of tax breaks on Lagrange colonies & raising chickens in rotating cylindrical cages – with a 'downward’ acceleration of about 2.5G, resulting in extremely muscular chickens without the use of hormones. The chicken shit, flung by the rotation of the cage, is gathered via vacuum mechanism and used to fertilize orbital pot farms. On one such farm in the chicken cluster, a motor controller malfunctions in such a way that acceleration slowly but steadily increases, until it reaches about 5G  and the cages break. Super-powered chickens are sucked through shit-vacuums into super-efficient orbital hydroponic pot farms (with an extremely high THC to CBD ratio for economic reasons related to the proliferation of inexpensive synthetic CBD esters on earth), now on fire due to centrifuge motors driven far beyond their operating limits exploding. Perdue’s space farmers must escape from giant stoned chickens on a rapidly exploding space station in: Escape From Lagrange Five.
After AIs intended to provide business advice are trained on a large corpus of fiction, they become obsessed with tropes. As a result, they remake much of the world by subtly manipulating events so they more closely fit narrative logic.
Unexpectedly, the resurrection of cryopreserved heads takes significantly longer than the resurrection of cryopreserved full bodies. The heads were mostly put on ice by one facility (Alcor in California) and mostly during the short period between 1960 and 2050, after which advances in cryopreservation tech and tax breaks for facilities (along with new legislation related to euthanasia) made full-body preservation both cheaper and less legally risky. Unexpected difficulties related to head transplants, however, meant that cryopreserved heads couldn’t be resurrected for another 200 years bodies were taken from the facility. When it finally happened, the sudden introduction of a monoculture of a few hundred west coast elite ex-hippie types into the community had a huge cultural and political impact, related to the romanticization of the 20th century as a golden era of simple life. These people were raised up into celebrity born of exoticization, but remained mostly unaware that they were considered noble savages, so when they tried to exercise power the way they did during their first lives they were crushed to find themselves laughed off – or worse yet, made unwitting figureheads of conservative movements that would like to return to an imaginary removing the significant technical and social improvements of the past 500 years
After a global-scale disaster, a former renegade cop quickly adjusts to life in the wasteland, caring only for himself and becoming a killing-and-survival machine (Mad Max style). However, after only a few years, society begins to really rebuild. He’s roped into some of the early attempts at recreating stable social structures only to become suspicious and sabotage everyone based on extremely weak evidence. People around him try to encourage him to learn to trust again, but he pushes them away: he has a psychological d to see the world as doomed and people as untrustworthy, because otherwise the betrayals in his life are specific events rather than part of some grand dismal mechanism of the universe. For the ending, we cut to a busy, happy walled city that’s clearly beginning to regain steam and electric power to some degree – a bustling marketplace, smiling children running in the street, and abundant food. We zoom out to the outside of the wall, where we see the protagonist, much aged, slowly starving to death leaning against the wall in a big gap between groups of other homeless people who are mostly huddled together in front of small fires.
Scientists figure out how to do teleportation, instantaneously swapping two equal volumes, but the limitation is that they don’t have any control over where one of the samples is from. Because most volumes in the universe are total vacuum, this is essentially an incredible kinetic weapon. It becomes more and more common, replacing TNT, since (by lowering the volume) you can finely tune the amount of force. However, one day, an implosion goes wrong during a controlled demolition and it’s discovered that we have accidentally teleported half of a large living alien being. This is our first contact.
A marketing agency is hired to fix an election by dropping machines into swing states that repeatedly google search for non-existent scandals with queries that begin the same way as the most common queries in that area. At first there are no results for these searches, but it works anyway: conspiracy theorists provide results by free-associating on the evocative names created by the marketing team. Wracked with guilt, the person who came up with the plan commits suicide, and becomes a campaign martyr as the new president suggests he was killed for refusing to aid in the cover-up of the (wholly imaginary) scandals surrounding his opponent.
A chef working for a mafia-owned restaurant is laid off, and his family is taken as collateral on debts he owes. He goes on a cooking-themed rampage through the criminal underworld.
A swashbuckling garbagologist (i.e., an anthropologist who studies modern society by studying its waste) uses a form of divination based on garbage to track down a powerful artifact accidentally discarded by a chaos magic group, before a neo-nazi skinhead street gang can get hold of it and use it for their own destructive ends.
After the existence of crystal energy / crystal healing is scientifically verified, research money pours into the production of novel synthetic crystals with novel shapes. However, reality warps around these research labs because what the crystals are really doing is refracting thought & intent into the physical world in particular (consistent, predictable, but mostly unknown) ways.
Unbeknownst to his employers or enemies, a James Bond style secret agent is a buffoon of below-average cunning, entirely dependent upon the advice of his wise-cracking telepathic sentient corsage (an alien, who has his own hidden goals). As a result, cold war spy-fi slowly unfolds into interplanetary intrigue.
A semiconductor research lab accidentally creates a bimetallic wafer that, when current flows through it, creates a chain reaction among nitrogen atoms such that they hold each other in place within some small distance (and exert no hold on each other beyond that distance), with the extents of this change limited to some field of unknown type. The result: through several unknown mechanisms, a coneair ends up having the consistency of foam rubber, while also becoming slightly opaque. The size of the cone is dependent upon the wafer size and the amount of current (scaling linearly); if the current is removed the cone stays, but it will disappear if the same current is sent the other way through the cone. Because of the distance limits, hollow things can be encapsulated in this field without their insides becoming solid – meaning that a living creature can be held in such a field so long as their orifices are sticking out. Very quickly, this mechanism replaces packing materials; more slowly, it starts to be used as a restraining device in prison systems. However, widespread access to these wafers (they are Figuratively embedded in mail-order boxes) creates some potential problems: putting aside the problem of suffocation, the consistency of the field is entirely dependent upon the amount of nitrogen, and while earth’s atmosphere creates a nice soft foam-rubber consistency, pure nitrogen becomes hard as diamonds. In the same way that juvenile delinquents didn’t take long to recognize that aerosol sprays were flammable, they didn’t take long to recognize that puffing a tank of pure nitrogen into the air and then solidifying it would create an incredibly sharp blade with finely serrated edges encased in a cone of foam rubber.
Consciousness is a memetic parasite, siphoning important resources into its own reproduction rather than ours. After ten thousand years, we’re finally beginning to evolve a resistance to it…
The mute scion of a twisted aristocratic lineage builds hand-crafted porcelain dolls and transfers people’s consciousness into them. The daughter of the policewoman investigating the rash of people falling into vegetative states discovers that she is a sensitive telepathic receiver, as she hears the cries of these transferred consciousnesses – who are alive and immortal but cannot move and have no senses, trapped in darkness. She must convince her mother to follow the clues revealed to her in violent recurring dreams, and later visions.
A famously paranoid & misanthropic businessman who kept his money in a safe rather than a bank died alone, and his body wasn’t discovered for weeks. After its discovery, a will is found indicating that the money in his safe & his other belongings should be distributed to the people of the surrounding town physically (something that probably came out of his distrust of his estranged children, rather than love for the area). It is discovered that his money and belongings are all haunted by the man, who tries to possess their owners & turn them into cutthroat businessmen – the money they made became, itself, haunted. Elaborate money-laundering schemes are initially attempted, but in the end it’s decided that this wouldn’t work – and a massive pile of cash and expensive furniture is burned in a bonfire in the center of this poor town. (Maybe call this The Invisible Hand.)
An orphan discovers that he is the product of parthenogenesis and actually has no parents – he famously appeared, as an infant, out of thin air in front of several witnesses and the truth has been kept from him his whole life.
As part of a national PR stunt, the government creates a centralized school for child prodigies – a boarding school with lots of expensive facilities on an island. However, when their cold war turns hot, the first strike isolates the school during ariod when only a skeleton crew of administrators were there – all the child prodigies of the nation are stuck on an island together with very little adult supervision – and because this is a total war and the invasion is aggressive, it’s not until after the war (which takes about five years) that contact with the island is reestablished. The population is much lower, and those who have survived are very much changed, finding it difficult to reintegrate into society. Likewise, political changes between the patriotic lead-up and the reconstruction are hard to navigate.
a superman origin story, except it’s basically the Infancy Gospel
Brain chips improve memory by listening to call and response signals from the hippocampus and mimicing them; unfortunate side effect: these chips solidify memory too much and the memories don’t mutate over time, so every one retains the vividness and emotional intensity of a PTSD flashback, memories of memories of memories compounding. Without the possibility of confabulation, all memories become traumatic, because their raw emotional edges cannot be sanded off by repeated handling.
An mturker keeps being assigned to transcribe voice and handwriting material from the same source – each one a clue to what appears to be a conspiracy of murder and corruption – but the real mystery is: who is manipulating the ranking algo to convince this particular mturker to want to investigate this third party, and why are they being framed?
Graphene byproducts from supersemiconductor & nanomachine manufacturing pose an environmental problem because nearby spiders produce webbing that cannot be broken without diamond-tipped tools. We follow the personal life of a specialist janitor who exclusively removes crystalline webbing from waste exhaust pipes, as he discovers that the spiders have plans.
A touch-telepath working for a clandestine intelligence agency starts a massage parlor catering to members of organized crime syndicates, but discovers that one of the major organized crime families is run by vampires – and that she can extract information from bodily fluids (including the blood sucked by her vampire clients)! Under orders from her contact, she becomes a vampire herself, drinking the blood of various people who might be useful as informants and essentially continuously intercepting their stream of consciousness. She discovers that her contact does not actually work for the government and is instead just a con artist who put a lot of effort into convincing her that she was a spy for the sake of indulging in a bizarrely specific sexual fetish. She gathers some evidence and turns him into the real feds.
Limited time dilation tech (using layers of superdense and superlight materials) becomes inexpensive; this isn’t time travel tech proper, but instead just emphasizes the difference in time’s flow rate between inside and outside. There isn’t much call for this outside of couriership of freshness-sensitive products – such as organs and (more importantly) pizza. In fact, major pizza chains decide that their 20-minutes-or-less guarantee is about freshness instead of service speed, and that therefore, in delivery trucks covered in these time-dilating microlayers, the time inside the truck is what counts rather than the time outside the truck. As a result, pizza delivery trucks are essentially the only product with this coating – with layers at such a scale that a 20 minute delivery t typically results in a five minute old pizza. One day, a seismic event deep below the earth sudenly changed the density of the magma below a major city so quickly that a delivery down the street from the pizza place accidentally occurred before the pizza was ordered. The pizza’s age was negative, and the pizza collapsed into a super-dense disc that sucked in time. It’s up to the delivery boy to return the pizza to the appropriate time before it can prematurely age the whole city – relying upon doing high speed doughnuts around the densest building in the city to rocket himself forward in time.
A cross-section of different social groups discovers, on the cusp of adulthood, that they must participate in a three month yearly magical battle against each other. At least one must die from each group, or else beings from beyond the veil destroy *all* participants.
The sentient magic sword that decides the chosen hero is, in fact, lecherous, jealous, shallow, and possessive, and chooses heros based on who it thinks is hot. The hero is the only one with a telepathic connection to this sword, and the sword controls his or her destiny.
A game where the protagonist inherits a memex from a distant relative & must navigate the complex structure of interlinked footnotes, shopping lists, and marginal scrawl in order to discover who & why. This being a memex, the primary means of editing is taking screenshots of gameplay and then feeding those screenshots into the machine.
The centuries-long ceasefire between the narratomancers (who mostly work in TV writer’s rooms) and the sigilmancers (who mostly work in graphic design) comes to an end as tensions boil over. The battlefield: all forms of visual media. Many non-mages are collateral damage.
A couple conceives a son via IVF, but he dies in a tragic accident at age 8. The stress and grief causes a rift in the marriage; they divorce and the man’s ex-wife moves to Hong Kong. Six years later, just as the man is starting to get his life back together and thinking about starting to date again, it’s discovered that the doctor running the IVF firm was using it as a front for shady human cloning experiments, and that seven clones of this guy’s dead son have been living in orphanages across the country. The eccentric judge in charge of the family court side of this decides that they all need to move in with their father. This is a sitcom. He must try to balance his nascent love-life with mediating conflicts between his seven physically-identical teenage sons (who have extremely different backgrounds and personalities), dealing with the micromanaging eccentric judge (who has decided that this family is his new project & frequently makes unannounced visits), and trying to figure out how/whether to explain this to his jet-setting ex-wife who seems to have finally gotten back on her feet.
A small-time con artist in silicon valley recognizes that the best way to make money in the tech industry is to get a huge amount of VC cash and then create a series of embarrassing public scandals before any of that money is actually spent (i.e., before hiring employees or getting users or doing anything other than sweet-talking the tech press). Unfortunately, the industry doubles-down in support of this con artist after every scandal, and he has no choice but to escalate and begin doing things he finds personally repulsive because he has no idea how to do any of the things he promised (many of which are probably physically possible).
A shock rocker, under studio pressure to produce a follow up to his extremely successful second album, moves into a murder house associated with occult experiments in order to inspire him, at the same time as trying to kick a drug habit he doesn’t quite admit he has. However, the house is haunted (or possibly he just has delirium tremens). He finishes the album & his friends are surprised by how stable he’s acting, & it’s hinted that he is possessed by the killer magus.
A priest decides that the world’s sorry state is because the communion is not literally human flesh and blood, and starts a movement that becomes unexpectedly popular, in part because this ritual causes the memories & vitality of the deceased to be spread among the congregation, who now share a weak psychic link strengthened weekly.
A found footage film about a guy who is obsessed with filming himself / observing himself. Nothing supernatural happens; he just gets increasingly disturbingly obsessed with filming himself. Twist ending: everyone else in the world is dead, and he’s convinced that if he isn’t observed, he will cease to exist.
James Bond as a honeypot-type agent – he’s not physically or mentally capable of normal counterintelligence work, but he successfully seduces, distracts, and thereby extracts information out of enemy agents of all genders.
In the future, wars are fought by psychokinetics in sensory deprivation tanks controlling large humanoid puppets. The psychokinetics are rare, and puppets are used because the human-like body plan makes them easier to control, however, the plan is worthwhile because they are cheaper than tanks, basically disposable, remote-operated, and impossible to jam – furthermore, a team of five or six elite psychokinetics can control an army of skyscraper-sized puppets by themselves, if given the right drugs.
A derelict alien generation ship crash-lands on earth. The original inhabitants died out due to ecological collapse tens of thousands of years earlier, but exobiologists are fascinated by all the information about how extraterrestrial vines evolved in a gravity-free environment.
A wealthy adventurer forms a party around himself to quest to defeat some ancient demon king, but as the story progresses it becomes clear that, out of a warped sense of sportsmanship and a huge overestimation of the ability of the party, this adventurer has hired mercenary bands to make their quest more difficult. His arc is coming to terms with the fact that an adventurer’s life is actually serious – these tasks are life-or-death risks – and when the stakes are so high, misplaced chivalry is tantamount to being a traitor.
While his squad is investigating an insurgent attack on an archaeological dig, a soldier with a macabre sense of humor finds a notebook on the corpse of an anthropologist describing ancient funerary cannibalism practices from a culture that believed eating the brain of the deceased allows their spirits to possess the living. When one of his squadmates gets killed, he tries it, jokingly, but it works. Later, more and more of them are killed, even ultimately in their bunks, and he eats each one, until he discovers that the first squadmate has been possessing his body in order to get revenge on the rest of the group for not protecting him properly.
The talk page for the imaginary article “list of infohazards”, in which editors&ro; arguments become progressively more… off…
A noir story set in the insular world of professional c-list celebrity impersonators.
A parody of The Haunting of Hill House called The Haunting of White House, from the perspective of a scatterbrained narcissist who is influenced by the angry ghosts of the dead to join the government.
The Queen Mary brings 14,592 vets back from the future
A popular recreational drug confers temporary immunity to the zombie virus
After computing the cenusus, an unexpected conclusion – about 10% of the population is gone, with no explanation.
A fringe political party backed by organized crime controls a network of seemingly-independent roadside palmistry shops & new-age stores – organizing fortunes & stocking books in a plan to manipulate voters
A retelling of Dracula where Lucy is an idol, Mina is her otaku friend who she secretly is into, Dracula is a VC who’s buying up prime Tokyo real estate & has convinced himself that turning the whole world into vampires is inevitable & therefore he should accelerate the process. After turning, Lucy ends up literally preying on her fans in order to avoid eating Mina, while graduating from hidden crush to a Carmilla type relationship. Lucy’s managers don’t tell anybody she’s dead, of course, and just try to subtly shift her fans to other groups. So, of course they are concerned when she does unscheduled performances on her own – leaving none of the attendees alive! Lucy and Mina team up to fight Dracula. Van Hellsing is an anon – he never actually shows up, and instead just gives them advice based on his medical background and extensive otaku knowledge of pop-culture vampire media.
Long Hunter, a sword-wielding drifter, navigates her way through the bandit-filled post-nuclear hellscape between small autonomous settlements, her only companion being her fast-talking overly-sarcastic penis – who is also her ultimate weapon, when she can convince it to open its tripartate jaws and emit its long, barbed tongue to encapsulate and devour her enemies. The penis is only conscious when erect, and so she has become a master of meditation: capable of shifting activation from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system even during the heat of battle.
Vampires don’t need to drink blood to live, per-se, but the blood meal provides them with a short period of telepathy during which they can see themselves as their victim sees them – important for someone who can’t use mirrors or cameras. Because vampire attacks are traumatic, this usually sends them deeper into self-loathing. Often, codependent vampire couples pop up – drinking in idolized fantasy versions of themselves. Vampires with large social safety nets (usually mostly composed of humans, because vampires – being born, not made – tend to be pretty screwed up from an extended childhood where they can’t see themselves & can’t leave the house during daylight) can avoid drinking blood entirely because their trusted friends provide them with a sense of identity, but once those friends start dying off they start attacking out of desperation. In this world where vampires can only die by suicide, few last more than a few centuries. So, our protagonist begins a talk-therapy and group-therapy service for vampires.
An aging legendary record producer makes a deal with the devil to resurrect from the deall the legendary performers who died at age 27 in order to create a zombie supergroup – The 27 Club – but it all turns bad when personality conflicts make it impossible for them to work together on an album.
Hajimete no Shoggoth! / My First Girlfriend is a Shoggoth!
Suzune is a little bit sheltered – her parents have discouraged her from socializing outside of school, for fear that it would impact her studies. But, she was told that once she entered high school she’d be allowed to go out & even date. So, after school on her first day of high school she goes into the city, where she’s promptly accosted by a group of older boys who want to take her to 'karaoke’. She doesn’t really know what’s going on, but she’s saved when she hears someone shout “HENSHIN!” and they are engulfed by a blob of putrid flesh. A girl about her age with strangely damp skin takes her hand and brings her to safety. I turns out this girl is a shoggoth who, upon accidentally thawing from an antarctic sample in the apartment of an archaeologist, accidentally imprinted on the transforming hero show he was watching & was given the following prime directive: hide your true nature, protect the weak, and fight for justice. Can love bloom between this naive teenager and this justice-obsessed shape-shifting blob of alien goo? Of course it can: it says so in the title!
A young couple come across an AirBnB listing for a house that describes it as haunted, & decide to stay there on a lark. Not only is it actually haunted but it has no owner: the house, abandoned except for its own warped psyche, has rented itself out in order to find victims, whose life force it will slowly drain away to sustain itself. The couple eventually find the basement full of stacks of emaciated, lethargic, and prematurely-aged members of various amateur ghost-hunting youtube vlog groups, recognizable by their matching t-shirts.
Those shiny little flecks aren’t glitter: they’re an alien life form. They take little tiny bites, and they’re reproducing! Scarlet, peach, burgundy, emerald, forest green – all these colors are only possible because, like any bottom-feeder, these little buggers take on the pigments of whatever they eat – and they’ll eat every part of you, no matter the color!
The one aspect of spiritualist practice that’s not a hoax is ectoplasmic emanations. A hundred years after the last recorded instance, a young woman once again learns to use telekinesis to form and animate figures made out of her own vaginal mucous – figures that execute her suppressed desires during her increasingly-frequent bouts of somnambulism. After a mishap involving sleeping pills, she goes into a coma – and the ectoplasmic figures must be hunted down & dispersed with flash lights.
Psychic powers are caused by insufflation of a cocaine-like drug. Unfortunately, people with psychic powers have an exaggerated sense of their own abilities and importance and some difficulty accurating predicting the consequences of their actions as a result.
With the advent of long-term space shipping (required by not-quite-self-suffcient colonies on the moons of Jupiter), ship's cats take on extra importance: just as airplanes are infested with mice, so too are the intra-system transport vessels that, with a skeleton crew, spend ten to fifteen years shipping staples like flour that can't be grown so far from the sun out to the colonies. As a result, polydactyl cats are bred on space stations, where they are exposed to both free-fall and a variety of g-forces through centrifugal chambers. First contact with an alien race occurs when an alien ship attempts to conquer one of these cat-nursery stations, to the aliens' peril.
The combined feng shui of a skyscraper in Dubai and a parking lot in Singapore diffracts the global ley line network. The luck waves interfere with themselves, creating banding: along odd lattitudes, winning the lottery is common, while even lattitudes are subject to repeated natural disasters. As people begin to migrate accordingly, slowly, the bands begin to expand and shift. Eventually, a signal appears: a repeating video clip stretched across the globe, encoded in patterns of misery.
Among monks who have attained full conscious control of smooth muscle, an ancient martial art: entrail grappling.
When vampires feed, they steal their victim's life expectancy -- their compulsion to count is part of an adaptation for making them better at intuiting mortality statistics. So, while vampires who feed on adults need to hunt every few decades, with new advances in medicine causing infant mortality to drop, vampires who eat babies can, locust-like, stay dormant for a hundred years at a time.
Prediction markets for long-term forecasting, though high-risk, have become trendy with the rationalist set. Naturally, one would expect this to result in an insurance-like conservativism. However, long term bets provide plenty of time for manipulation. Ultimately, this manifests in a wealthy futurist class who have bet, against sensibly large odds, that natural progress along various lines will suddenly halt or go in reverse -- and who then intentionally harm the world by using their power to make their prophecies of doom come true.
With advances in ultradense non-newtonian ballistic gel technology, the 'big titty combat maid' form factor has become popular for robot & cyborg bodyguards: able to shield VIPs, cushion them in motion, and absorb projectiles that would tear through normal flesh. Unfortunately, these prosthetic bodies have a relatively low effective lifespan: though the frames remain fully functional, explosive or radioactive projectiles embedded in fake fat reserves cannot be easily removed. In an era of espionage and assassination, a new kind of hazardous zone appears: the lobotomized robo-maid grave yard, with shelves of unexploded prosthetic bodies too dangerous to move. These compounds become problematic when a terrorist group finds a way to control them remotely.
Panic over the plummeting domestic birth rate & strains of nascent ethnonationalism in japan merge to result in the reintroduction to state shinto of temple prostitution, with a twist: miko volunteer to be artificially inseminated by donor sperm, and the children are raised in the priesthood. After a few generations of this, the administration of state shinto has an army -- one set to challenge both the diet and the once again rising star of the imperial family (from whom all claims of godship have already been long stripped).
A standard high fantasy hero & villain (from a world that resembles all the worst stereotypes of high fantasy) are transported into our world. The hero must come to terms with the concept of moral ambiguity in order to gain the capacity to move forward, while the villain becomes politically powerful by embracing and endorsing a false moral clarity.
A zombie movie where the zombie virus is spread through inhalation of aerosolated or atomized blood (and as a result, the zombies are liable to pop like ticks).
A buddy cop movie with an odd-couple pair of psychics. One's powers are fueled by extreme emotions, while the other's powers are blocked by them and require calm meditation to produce; as a result, the first one has developed a firey personality and is constantly overreacting, while the other is deadpan. They eventually figure out that they can work as a team only through careful delegation, and if they work too closely together during an operation they just drag each other down; however, working together in non-emergency situations makes sense because it prevents the kinds of accidental use of powers that occasionally occur when one overreacts & because the other is pathologically indecisive & lacks an intuition for when something might be important in hidden ways.
NO SILVER BULLET: In the late 1980s, a skilled bullshitter with no technical background interviews for and unexpectedly gets a programming job. The day before his work starts, panicing, he decides to snort a large quantity of cocaine and memorize some programming textbooks, but ends up passing out in front of the book, during which time he has a vivid dream: Satan has come to him in the form of Lawrence Talbot, the man who transforms into the titular Wolfman in the Universal film franchise of the same name, and gives him a box of 1024 silver bullets, saying "your blood sacrifice allows you to solve any problem, but of these, four are my accursed share". He woke up with his nose bleeding, blood soaked into the pages of the textbook. He goes to work, and finds that every time he bullshits a solution, not only does it work but it's considered brilliantly successful. As a result, he quickly rises up the ranks, making fewer and fewer technical decisions. By the late 1990s, he is a VC, and firmly believes that he has some kind of subconscious genius. In 1999, he invests all his liquid assets into four startups -- the day before the bubble burst. Two days later, his corpse is found in a bathtub, a copy of this story handwritten beside him, a silver bullet in his brain.
A Nixon-like 'law and order candidate introduces an anti-counterfeiting measure: a device that scans cash, which all vendors are legally required to use. Later, it's leaked that it was storing the serial number, date, & location of all cash purchases, sending it to a central database. It'd defended on the grounds that none of the info was identifying. But, it was determined that most people could be deanonymized from this info, & indeed the candidate (now in his 2nd presidential term) bolstered his position with blackmail based on such correlations.
A horror story where nothing truly unusual happens: it just documents a series of coincidences that get more eerie the more attention the protagonist (and thus the reader) pays to them. By the end, the protagonist is a gibbering mess with little connection to reality because he is unable to separate the feeling of meaningfulness from the idea that something actually has meaning, and thus is unwilling to stop trying to assign meaning to this series of events, as it grows and fewer and fewer meanings can even be projected.
20 years after 80% of the human population spontaneously petrified, the survivors who rebuilt civilization within the statue-filled cities discover that the statues are, one by one and at a very slow rate, reviving.
The alien invasion was for political reasons: in order to bolster their own claim to power, the leaders of Planet X have claimed a similarity between "human politics" and the ideology of some past foe, & attack earth in order to stop it from spreading. The war, woefully underfunded and managed from light-years away with subluminal ships and luminal comms, becomes a seige as the aliens lack the manpower to raid bunkers, the spare munitions to bust them. Eventually they leave: we have won. Earth unifies under a world government promising efficient defense against (and maybe revenge against) the invaders, who have already forgotten us. We become a spacefaring race.
An instructional video on choosing the right tornado for your home
Man-man: the only superhero whose only power is a pathological inability to acknowledge weakness or defeat. The mask of Man-man is passed from father to son, but since he usually does not survive his first outing, it often passes among men of the same generation.
Freddy Kreuger isn't the only one -- it turns out that any lucid dreamer responsible for the death of a child gains the power to visit and manipulate other people's dreams, and this power extends after death. A former pediatric oncologist, desperate to use this new power for good, embarks upon getting a second doctorate in psychology, while training his skills on whoever seems like they need his help. However, he must deal with unexpected problems from three directions: his overly honest nature makes it uncomfortable for him to lie about his intentions, there's a tendency for his own neuroses and traumas to slip into his patients' dreams, and his cures sometimes backfire as banishing his patients' demons have left them unable to properly identify and calculate risk in their waking lives.
Following a brain injury, a man's autobiographical memory becomes highly context-dependent: he is unable to recall past events that do not smell the same as his current location, and instead confabulates elaborate false memories, which become consolidated. His personality and history begins to change drastically based on scent.
Dracula told in the style of Kanashimi No Belladonna
"The Postman Rings Twice", a story about posthumans with bells in their body
A VN where all the character art is black and white photographs of the game dev wearing cosplay
A narrative game that takes place over a year, where stories can only be played through on the days that are anniversaries of the days they occur on. There is an achievement for april fool's day.
A soap opera that is also a space opera AND a rock opera
Evangelion fanfiction in the form of Kaji's hand-annotated copy of a Fire in the Valley style popular history of the development of Tokyo-3, casting Gendo as an Elon Musk type figure.
A shuffle-novel in the form of an oracle deck, with strange or absurd predictions & the premise that it is describing the life of the parallel version of the reader who lives in the world described by the deck.
A gritty reboot of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In starring Rowan Atkinson and Dmitri Martin
A book called Acknowledgements that's just a book-length acknowledgements section thanking people for contributing to the book, House-That-Jack-Built-style
The HOWLing: angel-headed hipsters fight werewolves whose blood is running money and whose mind is vast machinery
A retelling of Dracula where Van Hellsing and Renfield are merged into the same character
Batman (1968) vs Doctor Phibes: two rich geniuses who love gadgets and labelling things fight each other in an art-deco city with a comically incompetent police force
Because psilocybin increases sensitivity to scent in mammals, it begins to be used on both truffle pigs and drug-sniffing dogs. This periodic tripping in social situations with clearly-defined expectations causes both these sets of animals to quickly develop the complexity of their language & their ability to conceptualize & express abstract ideas. Truffle pigs and drug-sniffing dogs develop cultures and philosophies. A scientist discovers this new complexity in vocalizations and decodes it -- figures out how to 'speak' trufflepig and how to 'speak' drugdog -- and although these groups are not granted citizenship, they are given a special status as conscious non-human animals. This requires them to be represented in certain matters of international governance. It is during such meetings that the truffle pigs and drug dogs first meet, and their cultures first clash...
Some vampires grow thick fur to protect them from the sunlight. Others move to the ocean floor -- the abyssal zone, where no light can penetrate. Still others dig tunnels deep into the earth and live in writhing piles in the central dens. Stakes merely pin them down; they cannot die, but being trapped in sensory isolation for centuries is worse. In sunlight, they burn but are not consumed. They cannot sleep. Every moment is defined by an aching hunger that does not dissipate with acclimatization.
On an american military base in 2003, it's discovered that an infrequently-used roadway leads to a back street in 1941 Tokyo, for a period of 15 minutes every thursday evening. Operatives are disguised in period clothing and vehicles and sent through to bring back now-rare resources, leading to that timeline drastically diverging. The operatives must blend in, or die. The window opens in both directions.
A woman believes that if she doesn't leave flowers at her late husband's grave daily, he will rise, an angry revenant. This gets in the way of her work, social life, & romantic prospects.
A modern retelling of Frankenstein emphasizing period details lost in most adaptations by use of modern equivalents -- specifically, the fact that Doctor Frankenstein is not actually a medical doctor but somewhere between a med student and a talented amateur, and the role of ressurectionists in medical research. In this version, a bitcoin-rich biohacker with a transhumanist philosophy makes a new & improved human out of black market organs, using home-synthesized anti-rejection drugs, experimental nootropics, stuff for building muscle from the transhumanist side of the bodybuilding community, and sense extension drugs from grinder circles. The brain ends up being from a Chinese doctor who was killed after failing to complete a similar project. After escaping, he uses his familiarity with physical therapy to rebuild his coordination, learns English (difficult because of aphasia caused by mistakes in brain handling and transplant -- he has to sing everything but curse words), and comes back to take revenge on our protagonist not for resurrecting him but for his incompetence -- the 'monster' was awakened in a state where every bone and muscle was broken & needed months to heal, but without anesthesia, & there were no physical therapy plans, rudimentary anatomical mistakes led to tendons being connected up wrong in ways that caused mobility issues, some tissue had improper circulation and necrotized, etc. The 'monster's kills this guy, assumes his identity, recreates his work properly, & takes credit.
When a vampire bites a person, a portion of their personality enters the vampire proprtional to the amount of blood. Each personality has equal control over the vampire's body, and they all feel the cravings for blood equally. Vampires are tortured by the increasing company in their heads.
After a difficult divorce, a woman moves into a house that is brand new but 'haunted' by a tsundere intelligence that is that of the house itself, and the two of them develop a romantic relationship that is the healthiest she has ever had.
A washed-up former silent film star known for pretending a mannequin was a person in public as a gag during the peak of his popularity continues to socialize with this mannequin during the long mental and emotional decline following his fall from stardom (precipitated by the talkies), but decades after his death the mannequin is found and begins acting on its own, inhabiting the personality he had invented for it.
A wave of seemingly-unrelated suicides and attacks, all seemingly anxiety-provoked, sweeps the city while an old song has newfound popularity and radio play due to use in a movie. It turns out that this song was first getting radio play during a period when all of the children a particular orphanage were being abused by a staff member, and because of its sudden fade into obscurity and its sheer ubiquity during that period, it ended up being an extremely effective flashback trigger -- and all of these people who went on to build more-or-less functional lives are now being triggered by the radio top 40.
A streaming video themed slasher parody NETFLIX AND KILL, about a homicidal stalker who targets youtubers and twitch streamers because of parasocial relationships.
In a future society where citizenship decisions are made by plebicite, refugees must 'run for resident' with elaborate immigration campaigns.
DEATH DRIVE: a character study of a professional getaway driver whose traumatic past leads him to take bigger and bigger risks with his own life, until after one bust he functionally takes the criminals he is supposed to serve hostage on a terrifying night-time odyssey across the city.
THE KEENING: The patriarch of an old irish family is dying -- or so it seems, from the family banshee's wails. He himself seems healthy, & does not believe that the rest of the family hears the wails -- which the family takes as evidence that he is the one who will die, since a family banshee can only be heard by members of the family whose death is not imminent. So, his two estranged sons are brought home, in preparation for one of them to take the inheritance. It is then discovered that the banshee is, in fact, a local keener -- a human professional mourner who has been paid by the patriarch to impersonate a banshee so that his sons would be brought home, as part of a test to determine if one of them is (as he suspects) illegitimate, the product of his late wife's affair (which she confessed to him on her death bed). The keener, apprehended, stays with the family during the storm that has just begun -- so they can keep an eye on her -- but the banshee wails continue that night, and the patriarch is found murdered in his bed the next morning. Our protagonist, the younger brother and second to arrive, suspects his elder brother -- a suspicion shared by the keener, with whom he has become romantically entangled after a series of encounters. The wailing is reported by the rest of the family the next night too, except the two brothers, neither of whom hear anything. In the dead of night, the keener kills the elder brother & her paramour finds her washing her bloody clothes by the river in the rain: she expected the two of them to get married, and was trying to protect the inheritance from a usurper from outside the bloodline proper. That night, for the first time, he hears the banshee wail -- and nobody else does, save the keener.
A stuntman, a makeup artist, & a stage magician start a detective agency
In the 70s, a radical disillusioned by the infiltration of the black power movement decides instead to study voodoo. She makes a deal with Papa Legba and Baron Samedi: go back in time to just after the emancipation proclaimation and ressurrect all deceased slaves as zombies to fight the confederates -- with their fighting power equivalent to the total labor enslaved africans have performed on north american soil. She becomes an important figure, courted by union officials, because (due to the increase in essentially-invulnerable-though-not-immortal manpower), she shortens the war substantially. She uses this position to make it clear that, if reconstruction is not managed in such a way that former slaves are given what they were promised, the powerful in the now-unified united states will be held responsible (by the armies of the living dead who are now defending black americans from groups like the KKK and Golden Circle) -- including the (now surviving) Lincoln. Although she cannot return to her own time, Legba shows her a vision of the 1970s in the timeline she has created: an advanced an equitable society, kept that way by the threat of the weight of history (and the massive remaining reserves of labor-power of former slaves).
A surgeon involved in cutting-edge life-extension research is killed in a hit-and-run, and his widow begins to have insomnia while grieving. She eventually starts a regimen of sleeping pills. She experiences increasing sonombalism and vivid nightmares, but is afraid that if she stops the sleeping pills, she won't sleep at all. Eventually, as a result of putting together clues, she goes into the basement, and finds that she has, in her sleep, created a remarkably lifelike replica of her late husband out of animal carcasses. The replica opens its eyes, turns to her, and says "I'm home".
In an anarcho-communist far future, a celebrity janitor, famed for the craft and passion with which he cleans toilets, struggles with progressively worsening hand tremors that threaten his ability to continue to clean toilets while also coming to terms with the fact that the new generation of toilet-cleaning robots are finally doing a really good job.
A spree of kidnappings of comatose patients is traced to an aristocrat who, at twenty, discovered that he could sustain eternal youth so long as a living human being was entombed in the coffin intended for him.
After a global nuclear war, a rag-tag group of clever survivors try to save themselves by using genetic engineering to try to gain admittance to the last remaining functional biome -- a nature preserve protected, managed, and defended by an AI.
Romance novel: a warrior is caught in a love triangle between his sentient talking sword (who feasts on the blood of his enemies) and his sentient talking kilt (who feeds on the semen of his friends).
The botched assassination of Marilyn Monroe, from the perspective of the assassin, a Mishima-esque japanese nationalist. This assassin hopes that, by killing Monroe, he will foment both a war with the United States and internal conflict within Japan, thus breaking the flows of cultural capital that favored the west. However, the assassination attempt follows the sequence of events that led to the death of Franz Ferdinand almost exactly, before switching to elements of the still-future Kennedy assassination -- connections he does not see. Ultimately, his rifle jams and he is unable to shoot until Monroe's car passes the view from the book depository, and he realizes that he's not actually trying to save an isolated Japan but to produce the suicide of a unified transpacific assemblage that already essentially exists.
All of the babies concieved after January 1st are telepathic vampires, and the hive mind is planning something.
A soldier in a war zone narrowly escapes an attempted sexual assault by her superior officer and stumbles upon an incoming attack, becoming severely wounded, losing her limbs, and becoming physiologically mute. She is pressured by the military into becoming a guinea pig for new prosthetic technology intended to put amputees back on the battlefield without loss of effectiveness (but is given no psychological treatment, and remains mute). During recovery, she escapes and hunts down her former superior officer, who has been promoted for heroism and is in charge of executing a new, poorly-thought-out battle plan.
A journalist is stranded by car problems and a storm at a run-down bed and breakfast run by a young woman and, she claims, her older handicapped husband. They met when she was his nurse after a surgery. It slowly becomes clear that he was not always physically handicapped: he pressured her into marriage after recovering from the surgery, and then was physically abusive, until she finally cut out his tongue and cut off all his limbs.
A true crime author and an aging shock-rock star are promised the same murder house. They end up as room-mates, and hijinks ensue.
A man listens to a recording of a lecture by a thinker he has only vaguely heard of before, and is surprised, by the end of the lecture, to hear his own voice: unmistakably, he himself is asking dumb questions of the lecturer on this recording, making a fool of himself, wasting the lecturer's time. He calls his friends over for confirmation. They say, at the beginning, that yeah, it sort of sounds like him, could be him or someone who has a similar voice, but by the end they all believe he has arranged this as an elaborate prank: this was obviously him on the recording! This was very disturbing to him, and to them. Did he have repressed memories? Is there, somewhere, an exact duplicate of him, in all his mannerisms? This particular lecture was recorded, and after a great deal of work, he tracked down the only recording -- a 35mm print in a private university collection. He drove across the country to see it, thinking all the time about how the person on the phone had an eerily familiar voice -- it sounded just like his! After much wrangling and some bribery, he got some poor intern to set up the projector and show the film to him, and indeed, there he is, unmistakably, in the audience. However, wasn't this too long ago? In fact, this lecture occurred before he was born. Just as he realized that, the film began to change. His doppelganger on the film turned to the camera and began addressing him directly: a stream of lazy, crass insults.
An aspiring architect, while on a road trip, gets lost and ends up cutting through a field, where he is taken by the beauty of a particular piece of land, immediately imagining the ideal house to place there. Even though he can't really afford it, he purchases the land as soon as he can, and draws and files blueprints. There's some kind of strange paperwork problem, as the zoning office claims that he double-filed the same blueprints with different dates, but he works it out and hires some contractors to start actually building, but construction has to halt almost immediately because the foundation he had drawn up, mysteriously, was already laid. Furthermore, there is a corpse in it. Upon investigation, it turns out that dozens of aspiring architects have passed through this plot of land, bought it, filed identical blueprints for something they want to build on it, and then run out of money while trying to construct it and died or disappeared.
Our protagonist has a whirlwind romance with a ghost during a near-death experience, and struggles with the urge to attempt suicide repeatedly in order to recapture that connection.
INVASION OF THE BODY-GIVERS: alien parasites cause humans to clone rapidly, leading to confusion and resource scarcity
THE VIRGIN CLUB: a girl attending an all-girls boarding school, along with her friend, discovers a large unused room on the fourth floor, room 404, to be mysteriously unlocked and there they find a book chronicling a 'virgin club' apparently created by the first class of students to attend the school, many generations ago, and forgotten. It had a number of rules and rites, including making a pact with blood drawn from the tip of the left ring finger. The protagonist's friend is entranced by the idea of this club and finds it romantic, and soon has gathered a small group of students to join a revival of this club. Around the same time, many of the older teachers in this school are dying, though the younger students feel mostly relief since these particular teachers are disciplinarians and unpleasant to be around. The revived club does the initiation ritual, wherein they cut their finger and swear that they are virgins and that they will retain their chastity, and then they suddenly all feel dizzy and warm, and before they know it, they are having an orgy in the club room. The protagonist, because she lied about her chastity (she has fooled around before) recognizes that, actually, what they are feeling is not just normal sexual pleasure but contains an element of something else that she doesn't recognize. This makes her suspicious. Though she continues to participate in this club, she also begins to investigate the history of the school. She realizes that the women dying all have scars on their ring fingers, and furthermore, so do all of the younger teachers and administrators rising to take their place. She uncovers some old photographs and diaries, and figures out that actually, every four years, there is a new "virgin club" consisting of freshmen, each thinking that they are the first since the school's founding because the evidence of all but the first has been mysteriously and supernaturally erased, and that the members of this club all go on to become teachers and administrators in the school, rising in authority and power as quickly as the previous generation dies off, and each having an unnaturally short livespan -- dying around 40 or 50. Around this time, the protagonist's friend becomes cold and suspicious of her, and she begins being excluded from club meetings and eventually actually attacked -- but she discovers that the old book they all signed during the initiation ritual has been mysteriously filled with new writing, telling them that she is a traitor and a risk to the reputation of the club, and also a slut. The book is telling them that their own loss of chastity might be exposed, and that furthermore, nobody outside of the club will ever love them or give them pleasure. Our protagonist shows her friends, one by one, what real sexual pleasure outside the malign influence of the virgin club is like, and demonstrates that their fear of exposure is mostly unfounded -- showing that, actually, many girls their age are open about sex -- and they draw away from the influence of the club, eventually destroying the book, at which point several generations of upwardly-mobile teachers begin to fall into a mysterious illness. The older ones die, but the younger ones eventually recover, including a favorite teacher of the protagonist, who after recovering is unexpectedly met in the hall near where room 404 is -- or was, because mysteriously, neither of them can find the door anymore. With the destruction of the book, the vampiric room has vanished.
A teenager in a society built around rationing bumps into a forbidden book and discovers that his whole society is actually in a fallout shelter. The other forbidden artifact (which people avoid touching because they don't know what it does, and instead leave votive offerings for) is the button to open the doors. It was safe to leave after 75 years, and there was about 100 years worth of rations, but the first generation (the original set of adults) was almost completely killed off in riots over ration allocation, with the result that the now-current third generation (after 120 years) is running out of rations and has no idea that they are underground, that there is an 'outside', or that it's completely safe out there. This kid ends up being the only survivor of another run of fatal ration riots, and opens the doors to find the outside world overgrown with easily-harvested edible plants and already full of small communities of survivors from other shelters. The damaged sign outside his shelter says "Chesterton Municipal Shelter".
Funded by an eccentric billionaire after years of laboring over small grants, a group of research psychologists are finally able to do an extremely large-scale dream survey: at least one person in every town in britain, and more according to population density, filing any remembered dreams for five years. When analysing data, they begin to see patterns that are both geographic and semantic: patterns of wavy lines of closely-related hyper-specific terms radiating out of particular points. As they are studying this, their own thoughts and behaviors become more dream-like. At the end, they find another, smaller radiating node (though growing in power); its geographic center is their own research facility, but none of them are sure whether or not this pattern is a hallucination.
After an alien invasion, the invading aliens are revealed to be human billionaires from 200 years in the future who are trying to escape earth's ecological collapse.
During a pandemic in which people grow fragile bouboles, get high fever, and become exceedingly hungry, eventually through their frantic activity popping the bouboles and releasing blood and pus as a fine and highly-infections aerosol, society limps on -- people stay indoors for months at a time, with manual labor done primarily through drones and waldoes, and when they must leave they use government-provided coverall dispensers and use government-provided aerosol disinfectant 'showers'. When drone food delivery unexpectedly begins to cut off and coverall / disinfectant dispensers stop being restocked (despite the continuity of news broadcasts), people are forced to begin to leave, needing to homebrew protective clothing and brave the hordes of mindless infected, which appear to still be growing.
When attempting suicide, a girl discovers that her wounds heal nearly immediately. She is schocked, and goes to a friend to try to figure out why. The friend doesn't believe her, and in a botched attempt to demonstrate, she cuts off her hand. The missing hand is lost in the chaos, but the stump grows a new hand back in a few days -- at which point she begins to hear confusing rumors about her behavior. She discovers that a doppelganger is insulting and, later, attacking her friends -- and this doppelganger eventually begins to kill. She eventually isolates herself with the doppelganger in a locked vault on a sinking cruise ship, but her doppelganger begins cutting off fingers one by one. She knows that eventually, the sheer volume of doppelgangers will cause the vault to burst -- and that they will all be alive and wholly conscious the entire time.
An orphan, while searching for clues to his ancestry, discovers that his great-grandfather made a deal with the devil to extend his life to 150 years. His investigations plunge him into a strange world of occultists and their ministrations, including a mysterious middle-aged man who, he gathers from others, doesn't seem to age. He believes this man to be his great-grandfather, but upon confronting the man about it, he discovers that *he* is his great-grandfather and the man is in fact satan, who has caused his soul to travel unnaturally and directly from father to son at the moment of birth. The shock of this revelation causes him a heart attack, and he dies presently, exactly 150 years from the original ritual.
The so-called "mummy's curse" isn't a curse at all; instead, if disturbed, mummies are programmed after nightfall to retrieve all items disturbed and put them back into the tomb. When a group of greedy 'explorers' finds an unmarked tomb and begins to ship its contents to collectors around the world, the mummy begins a long period of walking across land, ocean-bottom, and occasionally people's faces to retrieve them. All of this group die, but always as a consequence of trying to attack the mummy (which does not defend itself) or hold on to some item. At the end of the movie, everything back in place, the mummy lies back down and the temporary markings indicating the tomb entrance are blown away by wind, the entrance itself buried under the sand.
80s business movie spoof (the Scary Movie of movies like American Psycho) has a gag where two urbane yuppies who constantly talk on their cell phones, from competing firms, keep running into each other on the street; each time, one is shocked to find that the other has a larger cell phone than him (in a patterned sequence that in its first instance is subtle: maybe a cut to a close-up with the same center -- but by the final version of the joke has a complex set of cuts, dramatic zooms, dutch angles, split-screens, and picture-in-picture effects of the difference in size between the phones) and by the final iteration of the joke, the guy accelerates the arms race from a phone bigger than his head to a phone longer than his body.
Because of a sudden influx of students in a small japanese town (related to an expanding nearby university), for the first time in 20 years some of the classrooms from the school's old building are once again being used for classes. Some freshmen are assigned to a room they later discovered has a reputation for being haunted -- and they experience accelerating poltergeist phenomena. Through research, they discover the story. 20 years ago, this was a room for a remedial class for sophomores. A typo on the class roster, related to an error in early word processing tech, produced a listing of an extra student whose name was a composite of characters from the class -- a student the home room teacher kept calling attendance for. These students decided, as a joke, to pretend this phantom student existed, and over time, developed a whole backstory, as a prank on their addled and distant teachers, who never noticed. The problem is that over time, this phantom student began to actually appear, and (seemingly channeling the rowdiness of these students, who were mostly delinquents) got more and more physical until it was actively assaulting students with poltergeist activity. The delinquents stopped showing up to class and the phenomenon stopped -- but the next year, the home room teacher visited the classroom before the start of term and saw something that made her resign on the spot and move away, and so the room was reclassified as a storage room and the story forgotten. The freshmen must figure out the history of each of the class of delinquents in order to figure out what components of their personality they lent to the ghost, in order to figure out a way to defeat it (since they can defeat components individually, leading to dramatic personality shifts in the ghost, as the remaining personality attributes balance out), but this is complicated by the fact that the surviving students are highly emotionally dysfunctional people, with one of the most noticable aspects of their personality during high school being 'taken' by the ghost and leaving a huge gap in their arsenal of emotional responses.
In Argentina, good-looking blonde & blue-eyed tourist girls keep going missing. Police are swamped with other work & deprioritize it, since they are all foreigners -- and those few people who notice the pattern figure it's either a gang trying to extort ransom or a serial killer with a 'type'. After her sister gets kidnapped, our protagonist decides to investigate the situation herself -- and discovers that a group of neonazis is selecting breeding stock based on eugenic models to impregnate, raising and indoctrinating the children in a secret compound. They are trying to 'save' the 'purity' of their compound, founded by fleeing high-ranking nazis but now run by their grandchildren, who suspect that they may have been the product of breeding with locals. The leader of the compound started this project upon secret consultation with a mummified severed head that he believes belonged to Mengele, who (ever since a mystical experience in his teens) he believes gives him commands (sometimes verbally, sometimes through dream symbolism, and sometimes by planting particular turns of phrase in the local newspaper).
A talentless aspiring special effects artist kills people in order to study their guts in the hope of creating more realistic effects.
A computer-refurb crew (who takes discarded computers from clear-outs, removes personal information, and refurbishes them for resale) composed mostly of former computer-forensic-security people comes across seemingly normal-looking laptops that end up having very strange military security hardware, including booby-traps and an interactive voice assistant that mocks and baits the crew. As they try to remove this hardware and return the machine to a civillian state, they are at first interested in understanding how the security hardware works, but as the booby-traps become more and more deadly, they become driven by the suspicion that the AI is no AI at all but the consciousness of an extremely damaged person who they want to 'save'.
A police statistician (usually employed to figure out how to allocate officers) notices a sudden spike in one region of japan in people committing violent crimes and immediately turning themselves in. The spike faded, but a similar spike happened in a neighbouring region. He maps it and sees that something is moving around japan in a predictable way, leaving impulsive violent crime in its wake. He goes to interview one of these people and discovers that his conviction was wrongful -- that it was a false confession -- because certain details don't match reality. He figures out that, actually, all of these confessions were false: there is a serial killer hypnotist who hides his crimes by hypnotizing random strangers to confess to them, taking advantage of the japanese justice system's bias toward prosecution and emphasis on confession.
A serial killer has been roaming the united states in an unpredictable pattern, killing mostly upper class people with a characteristic pattern of piercing the body with many long, thin blades. A researcher notices that the thursday before each murder, in a major regional newspaper, there is a personal ad saying "In praise of St. Sebastian, for services rendered." followed by a city name and a number. In other words, the killer is actually a hit-man.
The world is a simulation, but what is it simulated on? It's actually simulated on the brains of trippers, on ethical grounds: being a simulator means raw-dogging pure unfiltered reality for a few million years (shrunk into like 8 hours through relativistic distortion fields, for the tripper's physical body's reference frame) and knowingly taking hallucinogens is the closest thing to informed consent anybody can give for that kind of experience. But after widespread psychedelic legalization, a political shift towards emphasizing microdosing has made the number of actual 5-grams-in-silent-darkness trippers has gotten dangerously low -- and the simulation is starting to break down as some parts of reality slow or halt entirely.
We see from the POV of one of the set cameras from a reality TV ghost-hunting show: some of the team is standing around, and then they call the others, who come through the door, jostling the girl who was standing in front of the door. Then we cut to other footage, of the editing bay: the whole team is standing around, going over the footage we have just seen. Somebody says "hey! How come Melissa is in that shot? She wasn't there..." The girl who we saw jostled before says, feebly, "yes I was!" but she's shouted over by the others, saying "you're right! She wasn't feeling well and stayed the whole day in her cabin." "Come to think of it, I haven't seen her since!" They go to the cabin to investigate, and Melissa sees her own corpse.
A group of soldiers with various skills work together to escape a POW camp, and 20 years later, the same group ends up incarcerated in the same state-side prison and works together to escape. The two timelines are intercut, with us switching between times during moments that parallel each other. The POW camp escape is successful, but the prison escape results in a casualty.
A rapidly spreading respiratory virus with an extremely low mortality rate reaches pandemic status. Because of a similar protein, 80% of those who have acquired an immunity to the virus develop a deadly allergy to canola and similar nut and seed oils.
A former PI who had successfully pivoted into writing midlist crime novels applies all the logic and observation skills of a classic detective to his people-watching, unraveling noir-esque vignettes about the ultimately mundane.
A piece of short fiction in the form of a crossword puzzle from an alternate universe. When you solve the puzzle, you will have the terrible event that caused that universe to diverge from ours revealed.
Historical fiction about what would have happened if, as originally planned, Big Bird was on the Challenger when it exploded. We cover the effects of this on parents groups, the o-ring lawsuit, NASA's PR wing, the off-brand children's puppet television ecosystem, NPR funding models, comedy magazines, and STEM enrollment. This would necessarily be a great big brick of a novel in the Neal Stephenson mode.
Everywhere James Bond goes on a mission, people don't believe him when he introduces himself: James Bond was just here, they say, and made a big fuss, and didn't look a thing like you. Apparently somebody is intercepting Bond's briefings, impersonating him, and doing his missions. What's worse, he's good at it! So James Bond's new mission is: kill James Bond. But is he capable?
BOTTOMFEEDER: a billionaire's earthship arcology colony is a greenwashed company town; he has been mixing increasing quantities of meth into the feed for the tilapia farms to increase worker productivity, but the angry giant monster tilapia have escaped into the rapidly-flooding cavern network of the 70s-chic arcology.