Where did that come from?

Ideas come from the darndest places. I think this might be especially true for authors of science fiction. I happen to be one of those writers who is frequently inundated with ideas that I have to drop into a file and ignore. There really is only so much time in the day–even if I had Hermione Granger’s time-turner.

For example.

Sterile insect technique

Screwworm was the first pest successfully eliminated from an area through the sterile insect technique by the use of an area-wide approach. from Wikipedia.

The other day, I opened my browser to a little science article from wikipedia: Sterile insect technique. Not only am I a typical Science Fiction writer when it comes to seeing ideas EVERYWHERE, but I’m also a typical girl. I got a little icked out by the fly photo. *shudder*

I got past that and read the article about the interesting way man has found to combat some disease carrying insects or other pests that cause environmental destruction. Basically, a bunch of males are sterilized and released into the insect population.

This of course led me down the path of several ideas. One, recalling the sad time in US history when certain organizations sterilized people for their ill-conceived notions of race, or poverty control, among other reasons.

Science fiction allows one to take a scientific principle such as this and expand it, explore social ideas spread by an institution, a government, even hospitals. What happens when a scientist spends his resources finding a solution such as stopping the spread of disease through an insect, and that principle is used to stop the spread of a certain class? Or an entire planet? What if a society was based on a lottery, or systematic sterilization? How might this kind of trope changed works such as The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Logans Run, the popular novel/TV show/movie?

Or, how might a novel such as The Handmaid’s Tale have been different if the fertility issues had arisen from forced sterilization?

It’s an interesting concept to play with, all from that icky fly catching my eye in a news story.

Tell me, what little gems have you found recently, that get you thinking?



  1. cmtorrens · · Reply

    Ooh I do this too. I think you tickled an old plot bunny of mine with this post.

  2. Oh, you know me, Ella, I’m a HUGE fan of reading articles and getting ideas 🙂 I have a similar folder that I must ignore. No recent gems, but you never know what might pop up!

    Scientific discoveries often out-pace society’s ability to handle the ramifications. And sadly, there will always be some faction ready to take what is supposed to be a positive concept and warp it.

  3. I’ve been thinking of China’s One Child policy and the resulting imbalance of male to female births. Extrapolating into the future, will this enhance women’s status? Or will it make things even worse for them?

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