Saturday, March 19, 2016

Try Science Fiction Haiku

Reading science fiction is a great way to prime your brain for innovation.  Writing science fiction is even better.  Unfortunately, writing a whole short story or a novel takes a lot of time.  You have to deal with character development, drama, tension, descriptive narrative, and a whole bunch of other things that, though interesting as problem solving challenges in their own right, are not central to the book’s premise.  To hone your innovative thinking skills, focus on the central thesis of a science fiction novel.  This can be summarized very simply as:

  1. Something happens that makes the world fundamentally different from our world today
  2. As a result of this, something interesting, unexpected, and meaningful occurs.

A way to force us to only look at this seed of a novel is to restrict ourselves to brevity.  So let’s try Science Fiction Haiku.  Three lines consisting of five syllables, then seven syllables, then five again.  Let’s try it for some famous science fiction novels and series.  I’ll write them, and you guess what novel this is (WARNING: may contain spoilers).

Robots follow rules
But priorities collide
Makes new crimes to solve

Alien threat to man
Children train for future fight
Simulations real

Invents time travel
Future seems utopia
But slaves underground

Now that you get the idea of how this works, come up with your own haikus.  Think about how the world could change.  Immortality.  AI overlords.  Computers implanted in babies’ brains.  Deep ocean colonies.  Gender flexibility.  Take your pick of interesting scenarios.  Next, think through the implications.  What would this world look like?  What would change?  What’s something unexpected that could result?  Then boil this down into its fundamental essence, down to the syllables of a haiku.  Here’s an example:

World where people have
All their moods set on demand
Happiness ends world

Your turn.  Write one haiku, or a hundred.  Have fun with it, and post your favorites here.