View Single Post
Old July 4th, 2009, 03:26 AM
fiat_knox fiat_knox is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 408
Gallery : 0
fiat_knox Citizen

The emphasis on the science only means that every phenomenon must have some sort of explanation behind it.

Ghosts, for instance. Nigel Kneale's "The Stone Tape" posited the idea that stone, particularly iron-rich stone, could somehow record a fragment of the electromagnetic signature of a human brain, and at the peak experience of death store the last moments of a person's psyche in such a way that it can be "played back" as a manifestation that triggers the senses of human beings.

Nigel Kneale's Quatermass also touched upon concepts such as biological invasion - where an alien organism might threaten a world's ecology, rather than come in as a straight up lasers and robots invasion.

Religion also came under scrutiny in his final Quatermass story: there, the disturbingly prophetic "New Age" neo hippies of his story were being driven by a biologically programmed imperative to gather at stone circles so that a vast "machine" that took the form of a coherent energy field could harvest the electromagnetic energy fields of the fresh, tasty young humans. "Harvest time."

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton also posited the idea of an alien organism that took the form of a disease, invoking Fred Hoyle's concept of Panspermia - the spreading of a life code throughout space in the form of DNA sequences preserved in space rocks. Crichton's Andromeda Strain would nowadays be called "nanotech" by anyone who's lived through the last twenty years or so.

If characters encounter an organism on a world that looks anomalous, e.g. wolves on a world with a corrosive atmosphere, there'd better be a damned good explanation for this. Perhaps they're robots that look like wolves, originally intended for use as guard dogs in some high tech facility but somehow they ended up here - investigation might lead to a crashed spaceship and a broken cargo hold.

If characters encounter a being with apparently godlike abilities, those abilities are the product of an obscene amount of evolution rather than the entity being "a manifestation of God." An apparent demon possessing a human is not some "fallen angel," but rather a disembodied alien that uses mortal hosts for its own purposes ... or even a parasite that has invaded the poor host's nervous system, controlling the host's behaviour.

Every phenomenon must have some sort of explanation behind it. Effects must have some kind of causes, and even the weirdest phenomenon must be in some way explicable, even if the given explanation seems impossible - it simply means that the answers lie beyond what the human mind is currently capable of conceiving of.

As Referee, you're simply not obliged to lay out every cause and mechanism before the players. You have the right to withhold explanations to maintain an air of mystery.
"You people and your quaint little categories." - Capt. Jack Harkness, Torchwood
"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity
Reply With Quote