Inspiration

Designing Aliens From an Alternate Earth

Avatar's Pandora, complete with flying blue beasties and pretty forest waterfall.

From the little green men of Mars to the rubber foreheads of Star Trek, aliens persist as a tried-and-true staple of science fiction. Though the concept of alien life isn’t unrealistic, scifi representations are almost always implausible. We’ve recently deduced that Earth-like planets should number … read more »

Eight Natural Phenomena to Use in Your Stories

If you’ve ever stared at a blank page trying to come up with a first sentence, then you know how useful it can be to have something to jump-start your story, a kernel around which the narrative can form. That spark can be a plot hook, or it can be something just outside your door. Read more »

Choosing Music and Instruments for Your Culture

The cultural ambiance of your world wouldn’t be complete without music. When adding musicians to your settings, it’s easy to insert generic instruments and songs without thinking through them. But that wouldn’t do justice to the huge diversity of music human cultures have. Here are some guidelines and inspiration … read more »

Melding Mind and Machine

In the not so distant future, we will all be ruled by machine overlords in a post-apocalyptic waste of a world. Ironically, these mechanical monsters were once our greatest creation. This is the dark future predicted for us in The Matrix. Movies like this explore the concept of artificial … read more »

Terraformed Solar System: The Final Planets

It’s finally time to complete our tour of humanity’s near-future playground: the Solar System. We’ve already gotten a look at what humanity has in store for the inner worlds, the resource-rich asteroid belt, and even the frosty moons of the two biggest gas giants. Jupiter … read more »

Three Trajectories of Modern Robotics

Lots of science fiction set in the near-future uses robotics as scenery, if not the focus of the plot. Robotics is a field continually surprising us with innovations. New opportunities are discovered and old ideas are proven impractical with each advancement. Whether you’re trying to find inspiration in … read more »