Patrick Farley's List of Story Premises 2009
Free for Creative Commons use If any of these makes you rich, consider buying me lunch.
•Fake TV News Channel is created, catering to Conservative demographic. Similar to Fox News except the "news stories" presented are 100% fictitious: for example, after Kansas bans the teaching of evolution, there are giant fruits and vegetables growing on the farms, and cows are growing to the size of elephants. ("This bounty is clearly God's reward to the Great State of Kansas!") Much like "Wag the Dog," the question is how far this swindle can be taken before it collapses -- or will it ever?
•Al Qaeda terrorist infiltrates rave community for purposes of staging a massive suicide bombing during a dance party event; romantic/spiritual entanglement ensues.
•Judgement Day: Four souls whisper their life stories to each other while waiting to be Judged.
•War between Christian Heaven and Muslim Heaven.
•Giant mantis-like insect becomes future pop music star. Geriatric grunge rocker attempts to kill it.
•Rogue AI in the financial data network bestows unlimited credit on random individuals.
•Cthulhu mythos setting: after Rlyeh has risen, human survivors struggle to survive against alien horrors and their own despair. (Much like Camus' "The Plague" only with tentacles.)
•"Bonsai Baby;" a human embryo, genetically altered so the baby never matures past the toddler stage. They are illegal, but an elderly biotech scientist secretly creates one for himself in an unmonitored lab. The Baby escapes the lab, and the Company's property is adjacent to a community of right-wing Christian Fundamentalists. One more hedgehog: slavery is legal in this future, so the Company offers one of its indentured laborers the chance to buy his/her freedom in exchange for tracking down and returning the escaped Bonsai Baby. Bad craziness ensues.
•Magic Plush Van transports passengers to Prog Rock Fantasy Realm.
•Cryogenically preserved heads are unfrozen in the far future, attached to robot-crab bodies and left to scuttle around like vermin in the Glorious Cities of Tomorrow.
•Right wing talk show host gets "turned on" and changes his world view. (Inciting incident: a teenage caller commits suicide on the air.)
•9-11 jumper is rescued by a mysterious entity before hitting the ground. (Time stops, much like in The Hudsucker Proxy.) He is paired with a Muslim woman from the future, who is herself the survivor of a future European holocaust against Muslims.
•Middle aged guy travels back in time to middle school in the 1980s, salvages his disastrous first "romance."
•Clans of Alphane Moon, except the planet is divided into fetish communities (rubberists, plushies, foot fetishists, etc.)
•Teenage gaming nerd is transported to fantasy realm, decides the Fair Folk are fascists and sides with the Orcs. (Alternate: a modern African American youth is transported to a Tolkienesque Euro-Fantasy realm, confronts the inherent racism of the genre.)
•Dominatrix runs for President of the U.S.A.
•Giant carnivorous armadillos rampage across Southwest U.S.A. -- mankind pays for his irresponsible use of pesticides!!!
•"Think Tank Troopers:" The year is 2004, and a 23-year old "graduate" of a Conservative think-tank is given an administrative post in Baghdad's Green Zone, where he intends to open a Starbucks once the country has been pacified. (Neo-Con ideology collides with grim realities on the ground. Hilarity ensues.)
•Domestic or farm/food animals suddenly gifted with sentience.
•Racoons build space arks and/or technology for battling humanity.
•ISIS: superhero from the 1970s Saturday morning show, given the Alan Moore-style reboot. (Given her unique powers, she can surely do more than fly around the California suburbs dispensing advice to confused teens.)
•H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick join forces to fight crime. HPL becomes a little less racist, PKD a little less misogynist.
•AGAINST THE GIANTS set in the modern day. Who would be the "giants?" Who would be the "Drow?"
•Doctor fighting cancer enters a fantasy realm where the cancer is reified as an agent of evil. (Similar formula to Thomas Covenant / leprosy metaphor, but specifically about cancer.)
•Reincarnation: Modern American (upper middle class) is reincarnated as a deformed Third World child in a Greenhouse Disaster future world.
•Future Earth: Several million years hence, humanity has
disappeared, or humanity's descendents are small, lemurlike
creatures or bison-like quadrupeds. (see Stephen Baxter's Evolution.)
The dominant species on Earth
are evolved from rats, octopi, and penguins (the only species which
prospered after whatever disaster knocked off homo sapiens.) The
rats are pre-industrial and already fighting bloody wars against
themselves; the penguins are a hive mind; the octopi elusive and
mysterious but just now beginning to venture onto land.
•Take any "classic" story (Romeo & Juliet, Casablanca, Pulp Fiction) and re-stage it in a post-Greenhouse "Drowned World." The fun is in seeing how many conventional narrative tropes break down and how many new ones emerge.
•Life in the Soup: a coming-of-age story set in a half-submerged San Francisco (or any other coastal city.)