What If
Someone once said Science Fiction is just a bunch of people sitting around asking What if. So what's your what if?
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MrBillyD
Here's another "What If":

What if everyone using this website knew how to write reviews?

We all complain that our stories aren't being reviewed, and most of the ones we do receive, don't tell us much that is useful.

Could it be that while most of us know how to write stories, many of us don't know how to review them?

What we need are guidelines for reviewing stories.

This is what I propose. We break the story down into categories; such as Characters, Dialogue, Plot, Descriptions, and anything else someone might think of.

With each category we should have a rating system; such as A--Excellent/B-Good/C-Fair/D-Poor.

Each category should have room for commentary, along with the entire story, as we have now.

I hope some of you think this is a good idea.

8/25/2007 #91
dreamshell
That all seems to stringent to me, MBD. Sure, a lot of people suck at reviewing, but plenty of others thrive at it. Making everyone do it in the same way won't help matters. It's just one of those things we have to accept in stride and be thankful for when we *do* get a really great review, not just because it might praise our work, but because it's written well, detailed, and makes good points or offers constructive criticism.

And sometimes, well, you just don't get reviews at all. Either what you wrote went unnoticed or no one's interested. Or at least, no one yet. That's just how it goes, man.

--dreamshell--

8/25/2007 #92
MrBillyD
Hello dreamshell:

I'm sorry if I sounded stringent. I was just suggesting one way that might be helpful. It's the way I plan to review from now on. I don't know if I'll use the rating system, but I will go over the seperate categories, to the best of my abilities.

As for anyone else, whatever works for you, try it.

8/25/2007 #93
Mindwarp
Here's a what if: What if two sentient races (humans may or may not be one of them) become so culturally integrated they're not even really seen as separate anymore?

It's a really interesting idea that toys with the mind. Two different races so used to being around one another, so used to interacting with one another, so used to working together that it seems impossible for it to be otherwise. The mixture of the two cultures into some new fusion that suits both of them. It would be a good idea to make of the two races humans so that readers have some connection to the culture. Also, it's easier to invent one culture and fuse it with ours then to create two totally new cultures and then fuse them into a third.

10/2/2007 #94
dreamshell
Are you talking about symbiosis? Purely in the cultural sense or maybe a more literal one, too?

Cultural integration not only has been a popular theme in fiction, it's something that actually occurs. So I don't think it'd be too hard to do. But there's also the issue of whether or not it'd hold interest. Maybe with the "use humans, then invent a new one" idea you suggested, because at least then the invented one could be appropriately (and enticingly) bizarre. It'd be fun to see how humanity could blend with a truly strange civilization.

Also, one would have to keep in mind the fact that "humanity" itself is composed of a plethora of different cultures. Would we be more specific in *which* human culture an alien one integrates with or would it be general? Also, would this alien civ be as factioned as we are or some kind of poorly written uber-culture? Questions worth considering.

--dreamshell--

10/2/2007 #95
Mindwarp
It could be called symbiosis. I would say two independent species that are so co-mingled they take it for granted. Their cultures and systems so closely intwined that they act as one society and population together.

The bizarre factor is important. The stranger the seccond race is the more profound and interesting the fusion is. But if it is too bizarre it could just end up alienating readers. I would lean more toward the bizarre, alien races never quite seem different enough from humans.

The cultural variability of humans, the kink in the idea. Chances are the other race would have the same variability, so how do they become integrated? And which cultures to choose? If complete integration of the two species is what the goal is then fusion of several different cultures on both sides in unavoidable. The other option is to make this a small faction of both races that has integrated. A much easier yet somewhat more limiting possibility. It might be possible to cover up the lack of variable cultures beneath the total bizarreness of the new, integrated culture; but that would be lazy of me.

Keeping interest means focusing on the details of an integrated culture. Gesture systems, language, spirituality, morals, philosophy, technology. These are just a few of the factors that would have to be totally integrated. Another mechanism might be to add a plot, maybe the integrated culture at war with another race or some other setting.

10/2/2007 #96
dreamshell
But if it is too bizarre it could just end up alienating readers.

I say alienate the p*** out of 'em. The weirder the better. =D

The other option is to make this a small faction of both races that has integrated. A much easier yet somewhat more limiting possibility.

One idea could be choosing a single culture, maybe a colonial human settlement, who then comes into contact with one of the cultures of an alien race, maybe a group that's being persecuted by its fellows. The two form a union, out of necessity or desire (or both) and then, as time passes, they eventually become indiscernible (culturally speaking, at least). Although unlikely, adding things like crossbreeding or maybe genetic engineering could allow the two races to become a third one.

--dreamshell--

10/3/2007 #97
MrBillyD
If you're looking for an example of different cultures becoming so culturally integrated, that they're not even really seen as separate anymore, just lift up your eyes and look around you. You have described the American People. Here in the New York Metropolitan Area, the assimialtion of the "Melting Pot" goes on continually. There are people of all nationalities, races and religions, who for the most part, accept and respect one another's differences.

Unfortunately there are instances of Synagogues and Catholic Churches being vandalised, and racially motavated crimes. However those occurrances are rare, and blown way out of proportion by people like the Reverend Al Sharpton.

However, this is a writer's forum, not a political one. On the other hand, your What If would have a political aspect. If you write it, I hope you do well.

10/4/2007 #98
JDSandara
Late to the party as I've been away, but this is a very interesting idea, though I'm just not sure what kind of story would revolve around it.

Humans by nature are adaptive so I can see them easily incorporating themselves with an alien culture. Or maybe like in "Alien Nation" the aliens try to adapt to become like us, but we have to be open enough to allow them to integrate themselves in. Of course humans also like to keep a bit of their own identity so there could be issues of them fighting to keep their individuality or certain cultural traits. Of course maybe I'm thinking a little earlier in the process since you say they've been together so long they are practically one.

As MrBillyD said there are many examples around us, but I think you're taking it one step further. While we are integrated in certain areas (I have recently seen how disintegrated we are as well in most areas) and can live together we haven't so melted together that our cultures are indistinguishable as MindWarp's suggesting. It might be easier to take just a single culture, though I'd love to see how the human race might integrate all of its cultures into one. Then to add another element of a completely unknown and bizarre culture would be mindblowing.

10/8/2007 #99
dreamshell
It might be easier to take just a single culture, though I'd love to see how the human race might integrate all of its cultures into one. Then to add another element of a completely unknown and bizarre culture would be mindblowing.

Concerning that, the only obstacle (or challenge, or however you'd like to put it) is that the resulting society born out of human integration and then human-alien integration would end up being so drastically different from us (save for maybe the occasional quirky tradition that traces back to the present) that finding a proper place to start would be an incredibly difficult feat. In fact, the project might be best handled by a group of people, or maybe a very learned anthropologist. Or a group of very learned anthropologists. :P

--dreamshell--

10/8/2007 #100
JDSandara
I never said it would be easy. ;)
10/8/2007 #101
Mindwarp
The drastic differences between cultures certainly is the biggest obstacle, especially since it's likely a major societal shift could happen between the theorized time and now. Add a totally different alien culture to the mix and the result is absurdly different from our culture. Then there's the problem of a plausible reason for cultural integration, why would two successful races integrate? Of course the problem could be simplified by taking a single branch of human and/or alien culture, but that might detract from the virtue of the idea itself.
10/12/2007 #102
MrBillyD
I have been posting stories here in fictionpress .com, and the associate website fanfiction .net. I've come to the conclusion that my fanfiction stories are far superior to my original fiction.

On fanfiction .net, I've posted 19 stories, all but 1 are completed. On this site, I've posted 6 stories of original fiction. Two of them are Sci/Fi novels, which I have been unable to complete. Worse than that, I have no wish to get back to them.

I think the difference is that in fanfiction, I know the characters, and the basic situations of the TV Series. That's all I need to work with, and I've come up with some very fine stories.

In my original stories however, I have to make up characters and situations of my own, and then make them interesting. As writers, we all know how difficult that is.

I receive much satisfaction from writing fanfiction. Most of them are Buffy: the Vampire Slayer stories. On the other hand, writing original fiction, just causes me frustration.

I'm thinking of forgetting about writing original fiction all together, and just stick with fanfiction. The problem with that is, like all writers, I'd like to be able to sell something I've written, which is impossible with fanfiction; but with the way things are going for me with original fiction, I might as well forget that daydream.

I apologize for sounding like a bitter old man. My attitude is much more positive than I sound here. Like I said, I prefer writing fanfiction; and it's a blessing not to have to deal with rejection slips from agents or publishers.

11/8/2007 #103
AndroBard1364
What if the universe was ruled by robots and aliens?

What if the moon and sun were in the sky at the same time?

What if the Earth became an underwater planet?

What if animals could speak?

What if humans and animals could have babies together?

12/11/2007 #104
Mac Attak
dont mean to sound like a prick, but the sun and moon are in the same sky (meaning how light it is out.) So one day look up and youll see the moon, very faint and hard to see in the sky. The others are very good though.
12/11/2007 #105
dreamshell
dont mean to sound like a prick

Don't worry, Haske. If you go that route, I'll back you up. Us pricks gotta stick together. ;)

The others are very good though.

Awww, be honest, Haske. They're not and you darn-well know it. :D

--dreamshell--

12/11/2007 #106
Kasita Aco

"I know not with what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones." I highly doubt that that will be a what-if for to much longer the way things are going.

4/5/2008 #107
dbz 77

"I know not with what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones." I highly doubt that that will be a what-if for to much longer the way things are going.

Why would you think that?

Michael

4/5/2008 #108
MrBillyD

Hello dbz 77:

Please do not get discouraged. I am 62 years old, and in all that time, I have often heard people saying "The world is doomed"; from nuclear war, and other man made or natural calamities. I have also heard religious leaders saying that the time of final judgement is upon us. In spite of that, we are still here, and the end has not come. Maybe enough people repented, so that God put His judgement on hold.

Have faith in God, and take courage. The way I see it, the best is yet to come.

4/7/2008 #109
A. James Robin

Here are some what-ifs that i am considering using in one of my stories, Abba Shadow: The Call of the King. I'm just getting started on uploading chapters for it, but i've been working on this story for almost two years. (I just now discovered FictionPress, so i'm having to convert almost 40 chapters of stuff from paper to electronic documents.) I'm wondering which, if any, i should use.

-What if a pregnant woman accidentally went through a partial time stasis field, (As in she is unaffected, but her child is stuck in suspended animation), and she has to stay pregnant for the rest of her life?

-What if the next great hero is so fickle that he/she keeps switching between being good and bad?

-What if the society of the future bans weapons, but they are as far away from peace as they've ever been?

-What if all of the small public service jobs (like librarians, janitors, garbage collectors...) were outsourced to enormous talking penguins?

-What if someone could manipulate electricity through emotions? ('Yes, i know that you're in love, but your hormones just took out all the power in the downtown area!')

-And finally... What if the 'hero of legend' who will save the planet from certain doom just happens to be in love with her own brother?

(Yeah, i'm a little out there.)

4/16/2008 #110
JDSandara

"What if the society of the future bans weapons, but they are as far away from peace as they've ever been?"

All I can say to that is anything can become a weapon, so really not much point, you'd just be taking away the more efficient ways to kill.

"What if all of the small public service jobs (like librarians, janitors, garbage collectors...) were outsourced to enormous talking penguins?"

Wow! Ok, didn't see that one coming. Enormous talking penguins? Yep, you are out there. ;)

4/16/2008 #111
Ten ways to spoil dinner

What if a human and an animal/alien/robot/other were fused using complex alien technology.

What if there was no religion on Earth. (To some this may be scary.)

What if humans could inteact with movies, like being in a horror movie, dying, and exiting the movie.

What if cigarettes were never invented. (That would be awesome.)

5/22/2008 #112
Kasita Aco

The way the world is going, it's only a matter of time before someone does something that p*** off the wrong person/people (intentional or not) and then we're going to have ww3 on our hands. No matter what, war is unavoidable. The only diferences between them are the size. You could have a war between 2 people or 2 billion people.

The state of this world makes me sad.

5/25/2008 #113
Kasita Aco

Sorry, the above is a reply to reply #108 -

Kasita Aco - "I know not with what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones." I highly doubt that that will be a what-if for to much longer the way things are going.

Michael - Why would you think that?

5/25/2008 #114
Ten ways to spoil dinner

What if animals kept humans as pets.

What if people never died, but couldn't give birth.

what if, somehow, when we do have a nuclear war. Instead of killing us all it mutated us. Becoming freakish looking mutants.

What if the world ended and we didn't even notice.

What if we entered another ice age in the next decade.

5/26/2008 #115
JDSandara

What if cigarettes were never invented. (That would be awesome.)

That would be awesome.

What if the world ended and we didn't even notice.

how do you know it hasn't? Actually this is a rather intriguing phylisophical questions. Good!

What if we entered another ice age in the next decade.

I'd be dead in a decade and a week. Can't stand the snow and cold

5/26/2008 #116
Ten ways to spoil dinner

I'd be dead in a decade and a week. Can't stand the snow and cold

So would I. Hopefully we won't suffer another Ice age. I'm moe adapted to the increasing heat.

What if finally created laser weopons.

What if we could put someones brain in a robot.

What if we cured the common cold.

What if E.T. wasn't just a movie and it actually happened.

What life isn't life and in fact life is a video game for some higher being. (Think about it. We have every Genre. Horror, Action, Mystery Life like sims, or even Sci fi. Maybe the higher being is in a less advanced world?)

5/26/2008 #117
crazyconnorthepossumdestroyer

What if we had the ability to put a persons brain into another body.

What if we had the ability to put peoples brains into animals and vice versa.

What if all religions are just a scam to get money?

What if America was destroyed by another country?

What if humans are all aliens that took over Earth?

What if we're all Sims?

What if everybody had superpowers?

6/2/2008 #118
Kasita Aco

What if the answer to life, the universe, and everything really is 42?

6/3/2008 #119
ChocolateZombie

What if spinach could save the world?

What would happen if Dora the Explorer went on a "happy rampage"? (have you ever noticed that she's always smiling? Creepy.)

What if Zombies were vegetarians?

6/4/2008 #120
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