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anne2
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Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

I’ve been using this software to entrain my brain – a brainwave generator program http://bwgen.com. I’ve been having some weird reactions. Some days I feel addicted to it, like if I don’t do it, something bad will happen, or I will miss something really important. Some days when I use it, I don’t need to sleep. I can go for many hours without being tired – against my usual habits, as well as what a normal person would need for sleep.

So I wonder if it is just me, if I’m having weird reactions because of some special powers grown stronger in my brain, due to this unexpected stimulation.

I’m wondering about the purpose behind the creation of this software. What if I am subtly being fed some propaganda which is unnoticed by me since I’ve been hypnotized by the sounds I’m hearing.

What if some alien is preparing the human race for some future event?

When I set aside the paranoia for a moment, after all what kind of bad guy would want to hurt unsuspecting people on the internet for profit, I think there is some possibility for a story here. I need to think about it a bit more, maybe sleep on it, or use the creativity part of the software to think more about it. The software itself seems like a science fiction gadget.
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book_worm
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Very interesting concept you have here. I'm wondering what you will come up with plot/characters/etc. after you've gotten some more sleep or used the software a bit more. :smileytongue:
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Bonnie824
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

I can easily see a story with some evil group trying to brainwash/brainwave people using the internet. You will have to come up with the bad guys motive though, which wouldn't be too hard. Good idea.
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WriterJim
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Hi Anne2:

Brain wave generators have been used for a while in biofeedback and other areas to encourage a variety of behaviors--creativity, sleep, and for meditation. There's some science that's been done on the techniques, and some are used for treatment.

Some of this technology has even been the subject of SF and techno-horror. I'm sure you could make an interesting story out of this idea. I'd suggest investigating the science behind this for more details and then, if you're still interested, start linking it to a story with characters and problems.

As far as your personal use goes, be cautious. These techniques are being used by professionals in medical settings. Like medicine or drugs, unrestricted use of a powerful technique might lead to health problems for you. Be cautious and seek out different points of view on the benefits and drawbacks of these techniques. Find other people who have used this site and learn about them before you get too involved.

Knowledge is power.
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anne2
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Thanks for the caution, Jim. I use a little hyperbole when I'm thinking about an idea so it is a bit exaggerated. The site does mention to check with your doctor if you have health problems. It also doesn't cost thousands of dollars, so I'm not even sure it actually works, but as an idea, or a means to an idea it seems like a good start.

Also, thanks to everyone else who responded. I haven't had other flashes of what to do with this idea. I don't know if I'll end up with this one or another one.
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Josh_Crowe
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

One of the other problems with writing a story about this kind of technology is that it is almost certainly pseudo-science. And next week, month or year someone may officially debunk it (if they have not already), ruining your story.
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KristenS
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

On the other hand, really strong characters make good reading, even if the science is totally disproven. Look at all those great works set on planets in our solar system, before we really knew what they were like. I've got a favorite children's book by Robert Silverberg set on Mars, with real Martians. It's a cute story in spite of its science, because of the characters and the situations. It just feels more like fantasy now, is all.
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Josh_Crowe
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise



KristenS wrote:
On the other hand, really strong characters make good reading, even if the science is totally disproven. Look at all those great works set on planets in our solar system, before we really knew what they were like. I've got a favorite children's book by Robert Silverberg set on Mars, with real Martians. It's a cute story in spite of its science, because of the characters and the situations. It just feels more like fantasy now, is all.




Maybe. But then it is not SF and this is advice for science fiction writing. Anyway, if you want to go all the way to fantasy you are better off avoiding SF tropes.
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KristenS
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

That's not quite what I meant. I meant that if she uses something that looks scientific today, and then later gets disproven, it was still SF while she wrote it. And it can still be a good story even if its genre changes over time.
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marta_randall
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Anne, I agree that there is a story possibility here. So let's shake it a little to see what might fall out.

First, does it work? If it doesn't there's no reason to write the story, so we'll take it for granted that it does work.
But -- if it doesn't work, you could think about a scam story, in which a character tries to promote something that he or she knows doesn't work, in an effort to get, say, money. To stay within the s.f. genre, give it yet another twist: it really does work after all, leading to the scam artist's comeuppance.
Second, what does it do? Let your imagination go wild here. An obvious answer is that it makes people do things they may not otherwise do: mail all their money to somebody; vote a certain way; buy this product instead of that product. The problem with this is that evil-motive stories are a dime a dozen, and they get old pretty fast. So take a step sideways: what if the software has benevolent results -- say it makes people more friendly or peaceable? Okay, but the problem with peaceable results is that they don't usually have a sense of drama to them. Is there some way to turn a "good" result on its head? Just for example, is it a good idea to promote peaceable neighborly feelings when your neighbor is Attila the Hun, and he doesn't use the software? Could you trick him into using the stuff? Maybe the software is embedded in a really addictive game (something, say, like World of Warcraft) and your protagonist gets Attila addicted to that -- so he emerges from the game changed utterly.

Third, who is behind it? If you have a good handle on what it does, you can probably find your way to who makes it do that. One warning: be wary of trite bad guys (evil scientists, evil corporations, evil governments, evil pretty much anything) and of purely good heroes -- the first can get trite and the second can get unbelievable.
But, you could use the trite elements to satirical effect in a story, too. The trick is being aware of what is trite, and stretching it to a logical conclusion.
Thinking about stuff like this can often help turn an idea into a story.
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book_worm
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

[ Edited ]
I really like some of the possabilities Marta listed that you could go with your story. The one where the software makes you more peaceful, it reminds me of a movie - Serenity - what happens in the movie is that they try to make a world more peaceful and it backfires on them. Some of the people turned more aggressive and the others got so peaceful they stopped doing everything and died. I really like the idea of the software being meant for good but it doesn't end up that way; the opposite might happen then what they intended. Very interesting ways you could go with this; I wonder which one you will choose? :smileywink:

Message Edited by book_worm on 02-12-200701:49 PM

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LindaE
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

In my opinion this is a good idea as the basis of a story. The internet is wide-spread and is used for good and bad. Mind control has a scientific basis.
Put the two together and add a handful of characters and a dash of motivation and setting and you have the recipe for a good novel.
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mae-V
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

I looked into the brain wave generator, also, because I am currently working with children with siezures. What if... It's proven not to work, except that it hasn't been tested with a particular population and when someone from that population gets hold of it something really unexpected happens, and since it can't possibly be that piece of garbage technology, no one can figure it out. But the technology gets passed along, underground.
I was thinking specifically about the Downs Syndrome community and being psychic as the result. But what if it was the deaf community and they becom telepathic! Pseudo-science breeds pseudo-science!
#Play tasty!#
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angelfly72
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Whoa...as I read your post, I couldn't help but shudder. Brainwave generator? I'm not signing up for that. That's a bit too scary for me, even if the thing is proven to be worthless. The fact that there are people out there who want to mess around with people's brains in that manner is disturbing to me. I can understand scientists and doctors wanting to utilize brainwave technology to help patients with epilepsy and other disorders of the brain. But a commericial use of this technology, especially if it hasn't effectively tested? Scaring me! Still, I think your idea is worth following up. What if there is something nefarious going on with this generator thing? You have a great story right there. Let your reaction to the software be your guide. As one of my former professors used to say, "Trust your instincts. You have them for a good reason."

Angela
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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anne2
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Re: Anne2 - what is science fiction -- writing exercise

Wow! You folks have some good ideas for what to with this idea.

What I know of the science of biofeedback is that it seems to work for some people. Brain wave research in the area of creativity dates back to the 1950's. The idea is that certain brain waves occur when you are doing certain types of activities or thinking - deep sleep has delta waves, alert highly focused beta waves, etc. Some waves are associated with dreaming, creative activity, etc. What is the twist is that by putting your brain in a state using found in meditiation, the effect on your body is the same as if you had studied and practiced for years after only fifteen minutes. It's a very odd approach and subject to a lot of room for things to go wrong.

For me, it's another in a series of ideas that have come to me. I read about a model for parallel universes in Scientific American, a few years ago. I no longer remember the terminology, but the idea is there are many universes that are independant of others, but some touch. My idea is that all the dark matter we find has to do with places where universes touch. So, therefore, it should be possible to get from one place to another, for ideas and thoughts to transfer between places. I don't know how to write this idea. I've made 3 or 4 previous attempts at this. I haven't got a clue where this goes, but after a day or so of having this present idea, I recognized that my mind is still working on the problem and this is yet another tool to use.

I'm not sure if I'm going to try this, or if I'll use another one. I have a story that is calling for rewrite. I may have to do that first.
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