After all these years, the app I really really want to exist is still Pokémon for Naturalists.

Seek from iNaturalist is good, if limited, but dammit, I want REAL gamification. I want people to get a serious hit of dopamine from their citizen science. Especially plants.

I want to record sightings of ten different shrubs and BAM you get a Shrubasaur, but he’s not gonna evolve into Oakdaimon until you log fifty species of tree. I want obscure-ass Naturemon that only show up if you’ve successfully logged thirty species of nearly identical lichens. I want to walk into a swamp and find a gamer in hip waders grinding water bug IDs so that he can finally get Belastoman, the Toe-Cutter.

Then ideally I want to be able to battle other naturalists. I want to yell “Sedgizard, I choose you!” and have my opponent stare in mingled awe and horror, because bitch, it took me years to document three hundred native sedges, and NOW IT WILL EAT YOUR FACE.

…I am pretty sure I am not the only person who would be down for this.


#story ideas I will never write #(sort of) #Pokemon #disappointed permanent resident of The Future #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what #apocalypse cw? #amnesia cw?






here is a concept: time travel cop, fish & wildlife division

most of their job is dealing with the kinds of assholes who think black market tiger cubs are a great idea right up until someone gets mauled, except these are even bigger assholes with black market Smilodon cubs that they are even less equipped to care for

this is the most straightforward and therefore relatively headache-free part of their job, because it’s the same “put that thing back where it came from or so help me” song and dance every time

it’s also significantly less depressing than the trophy hunters who don’t even want an alive extinct animal. those are extra annoying because you have to undo the time travel that let them kill that poor Megatherium or thylacine or anklyosaur or whatever, and it’s always so much extra paperwork.

and those people suck, definitely, and have fully earned a stint in Time Jail. no question. but they still do not create anywhere near as much work as the obsessive hobbyists with their exhaustively careful best practices and worryingly good track-covering. also, weirdly, it’s almost always birds with them?

like. the guys who will flagrantly abuse Time Law to bird-nap breeding pairs just long enough to raise one clutch of eggs apiece, and return them seamlessly to their spots on the timeline. who are so determined to keep their pet (ha) projects going that no one even realizes what they’re doing until they have an entire stable breeding population of passenger pigeons up and running. who are now the reason that reps from six different zoos are about to start throwing hands right in front of you over who gets dibs.

those guys cause the most paperwork. and half the time they’re snapped up by the same zoo or wildlife preserve that gets their colony of ivory-billed woodpeckers or Carolina parakeets or — once, very memorably — giant fucking South Island moa, and they never even spend a day in Time Jail.

Ooh! There have been a few “surprise, not extinct!” events recently, again weirdly almost always birds, though occasionally fish. What if they really did go extinct, but someone from 2459 went back to 1900, built up a minimum breeding population in 2459, and then released them into the wild in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015? Releasing new groups every five years in our century would avoid a sudden suspicious population surge and no one would think to look for the culprit in their own century because Jerdon’s Babbler (real-world example, rediscovered in 2014) has always been there/then.

You could build a novel around the relationship between the time cop and the rogue bird lover. The time cop caught the bird lover over the passenger pigeons. They went to time jail for 10 years outside the timeline, and then were hired to manage the passenger pigeons by an accredited zoo’s. The time cop suspects they’re still up to something, but other than the passenger pigeons, all they appear to be doing is raising research colonies of perfectly ordinary birds. Except all the species they’re working with were believed to be extinct at one point….

One thing real world zoos do now is…well…something like elven changelings if you think about it. They time the mating of a captive breeding pair to that of an isolated wild breeding pair in places where inbreeding is a serious risk. Then they swap a captive-born offspring for a wild-born–each breeding pair unknowingly raising a foster. Both zoos and the wild population get improved genetic diversity, without the risk inherent in “rewilding” a zoo-born adult. Doing that with birds and time travel would be even easier–grab an egg, take it to the future, raise and breed it, take an egg back to the original nest. The original parents raise their grandchild, not their child.

The hardest part for me would be explaining why the time cop thought this was wrong!

oh I love all of this. i think the time cop would eventually just be like “PLEASE get a license from an accredited zoo already so i can stop having to deal with you” but the accredited zoos aren’t on board with the “release into the wild 200 years ago” part of the scheme

and also our rogue bird enthusiast has a white whale and that white whale is Haast’s eagle

A secondary character could be the person responsible for saving cheetahs from extinction twice, 100,000 years ago and again 12,000 years ago. Alternately the idiot who caused the two near extinctions.

Or no, the cheetahs were an early legal attempt at extinction reversal that spurred the creation of the laws our rogue bird enthusiast is flouting. Cheetahs were hunted to near extinction by time travelers 100,000 years ago. The reestablished breeding population was so low that it led to the second near extinction 12,000 years ago–and the species’s whole precarious existence since. Both hunting safaris and extinction reversal were banned at the same time.

Cheetahs are so inbred that any two unrelated cheetahs have a better chance of matching for a skin graft than two human siblings do. As the saying goes, cheetahs never win.

oh man. so the version of this that’s rapidly coalescing in my head is very Parks & Rec/B99 in tone and style, which is why the department has to have a cartoon mascot that everyone is deeply embarrassed by. I was going to have it be a dodo (“don’t be a dodo, kids! leave the integrity of the timestream intact!”) but now I think it has to be a cheetah

additional worldbuilding:

a good chunk of their job is just accompanying legit researchers on authorized expeditions, which is boring as hell and mostly involves saying “no don’t touch that” every two minutes.

sometimes the authorized expedition is to a place that’s gonna get obliterated by a volcano in 48 hours, and there is at least one member of the department who thinks he should be allowed to bring a dune buggy/parasail/dirt bike/future extreme sport item of choice when this happens. he is not, and he is mad about it.

there is a tropical fish enthusiast working in the department. her home aquarium setup has completely flawless paperwork for every species, and anyone who says any of them were ever extinct is a filthy liar.

one of the sergeants is a Neanderthal. his name is Dave. technically he doesn’t need a job because he could live off the massive lawsuit settlement he won for being abducted from the Upper Paleolithic as a toddler by a well-meaning bioarchaeologist, but he likes to keep busy. he’s not complaining about having indoor plumbing and vaccines and all, but jeez, people, there are limits, y’know? he has a minnesota accent and this is never acknowledged or explained.

the season 1 finale revolves around a tank of extremely poisonous dart frogs that may or may not have gotten loose in the office. or the tank is empty because their removal from the timestream was successfully prevented. it’s definitely one of those.


#story ideas I will never write #time travel #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what #this post was queued because my to-reblog list is too long and I didn’t want to dump it on you all at once




The urban fantasy show I actually want to see is a hospital drama with a dedicated wing for supernatural illnesses.

Vampirism. Lycanthropy. Cheap spells gone wrong. A woman brought in for her prenatal has to be told her baby is a lindworm. Someone is literally being followed by the anthropomorphic personification of the Black Death.

Someone somewhere out there is having their perception of the world irreparably shattered by the knowledge that magic is real, and at the other side is a team of doctors who have to roll their eyes and pull out Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales because some high school kid tried to go Carrie with a cheap spellbook and turn all the kids at prom into frogs, and the doctors have to wrangle a couple dozen teenagers into admitting if they have a true love who can break the spell.

I want the hospital director to be some dark entity that feeds on human misery but figured out that if you successfully treat the source of the misery then instead of hunting you down as an abomination the humans start bringing more miserable people to your house en masse and things kinda got out of hand from there.

Grimm’s Anatomy


#story ideas I will never write #medical cw?


Soulmate world except two people without marks decide they’re going to fake being each other’s soulmates with fake tattoos and what starts out as wacky shenanigans to reassure their families they can settle down and be happy ends up with them delving too far into the lore to make sure they get the act right and slowly piecing together, to their horror, that the whole soulmate system is a scheme of their people’s gods to make the population boom before an upcoming war.


#soulmates #story ideas I will never write



silly story ideas, free to a good home:

  • political thriller set in a high fantasy world without technological stasis, so it’s got like 1990s technology
  • magical realist high fantasy: a fantasy world with rigorous magical systems and detailed worldbuilding where sometimes inexplicable shit happens simply because the emotional logic of the narrative demands it
  • elaborate hard-SF Larry Niven style except there’s also secret wizards hiding their existence from the rest of the universe (that the wizards did not in fact build the macguffin the plot is concerned with is a minor plot point)
  • postapocalyptic science fiction but the mood is farce
  • alternate history with a very carefully worked out single point of divergence, but also it’s magical realism and sometimes inexplicable things happen just because the emotional logic of the narrative demands it.
  • high fantasy, but the world not only has magic, but radically different mundane physical laws whose implications have been carefully worked out in the manner of a Greg Egan story.
  • contemporary urban fantasy but the story is literally just about wizards trying to run their own space program in secret
  • contemporary urban fantasy but the story is about the wizards from the previous story trying to run a space program in the parallel hell-dimension they discovered, because it has its own unique cosmological properties they’re fascinated by
  • urban fantasy but instead of being set in “our” world, it’s set in a world with radically different physical laws that are nonetheless worked out with diamond-hard realism, in the style of greg egan. but, you know. also with secret wizards.
  • who are running a space program
  • i’m gonna be real with you, if i discovered magic was real, and i personally was a wizard, my first thought would be, “how could i use this to advance the exploration of space?” i would settle for the exploration of the ocean or something in a pinch, but mostly i would be thinking about space

“high fantasy, but the world not only has magic, but radically different mundane physical laws whose implications have been carefully worked out in the manner of a Greg Egan story.”

I think I play in a TTRPG setting like this?

“contemporary urban fantasy but the story is literally just about wizards trying to run their own space program in secret”

this isn’t actually a scholomance fanfic I’ve seen but the characters in other scholomance fanfic have definitely discussed a secret moon colony


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #story ideas I will never write #space




C. S. Lewis’ Harry Potter and the Methods of Christianity

There’s a warning line in the second Harry Potter book, ‘never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain’.

In the original canon, this seems to be a throwaway remark that the wizards don’t take seriously. Why does the diary fall foul of this rule but not the talking portraits? Where does the Sorting Hat keep its brain, for that matter? How does the Goblet of Fire make decisions, or get confunded? And the man giving this advice even kept a talking mirror in his house giving fashion advice.

But in a hypothetical HP&MoC, this line is an interesting fit between the two worlds. What particular kind of magics does the Bible frequently warn against? Divinations. What do divinations frequently involve? Asking questions of things that look like they shouldn’t be able to think for themselves, as they have no brain.

I was leafing through my old posts and came across this again. Some more points which might be tied together for such a fic:

(Note: Harry Potter is a children’s book, where Rule of Funny trumps consistency or worldbuilding, and adults are obliged to be somewhat incompetent so the children can have plot. I’m overanalysing and I know it. Take all this with a grain of salt.)

1: Most of the ‘magic’ performed in Harry Potter is extremely un-mystical, being about as mechanistic as a compass, which also draws on mysterious invisible forces but in a mostly consistent and predictable manner. The existence of an extremely “school-y” school with large classes and textbooks and a curriculum and standardized tests of a standardized progression and a deeply teachable topic further reinforces this.

Keep reading

{{below the cut:}}

2: The two major moments of mysticality that I recall are the Divination classes, which have a bad reputation as a fake topic and Trelawney isn’t in control of the few real prophecies happening, and Voldemort’s resurrection ritual, which he is in control of but which is clearly marked Dark Magic.

3: When Voldemort fights onscreen, he is strangely incompetent. His combat strategy against Dumbledore is to fire five Killing Curses in a row. These all fail to kill Dumbledore, because the Killing Curse is a highly-visible single-target projectile that’s slow enough to dodge or intercept. It is a wicked spell, and it is a weak spell. Voldemort might have gotten Dumbledore if he’d used a spell which was exploding, or homing, or high-penetration. Or a gun.

4: The Astronomy class is a bizarrely Muggle subject. It is emphatically not “astrology”: horoscopes happen over in Divination class, while Astronomy class covers mundane facts like the moons of Jupiter: Europa is icy, Io is volcanic. I do not recall it having any magical application at all. I do not recall it having any application, period. Why is it there?

5: Magical Britain as shown in the books has an odd hole where Christianity should be. At the one end, this is a society that split off from Muggle Britain in 1692 with the Statute of Secrecy. This is a society where people live longer, and change is slower. One of the four House Ghosts staying at Hogwarts is “the Fat Friar”, a monk with tonsure and all. At the other end, we see two gravestones in the seventh book. The one for Harry’s parents is inscribed with “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”, which is a Bible quote from 1 Corinthians 15:26. The one for Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore is inscribed with “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”, which is a Bible quote from Matthew 6:21.

What sort of culture would you infer to exist between these two ends? Not the one shown, IMO.

A possible outline of plot points for Harry Potter and the Methods of Christianity, then:

never trust anything that can think for itself etc.’ is, or was originally, a warning against summoning spirits (particularly, demons) to possess you or your tools, or using objects that someone else has put a spirit in. If brainless objects give a superficial appearance of thinking it’s probably cold-reading. But if they give substantive information, that implies Something Else is working through them, and with how much casual blatant magic there is in the Wizarding World, a Something Else that still feels the need to hide while manipulating you should be presumed hostile. (This overlaps with Divination, see below.)

A lot of the funny talking items would have to go, or be made less obviously thinking, to make the setting consistent.

There is the sort of conspiracy Lewis called an Inner Ring in the Wizarding World. Due to the small size and slow turnover of the magical population, this Ring has probably retained continuity ever since the Statute of Secrecy, assisted also by the Potterverse having cursed contracts that cause any oathbreakers to contract highly visible boils spelling out their crime.

The Ring-leaders who shape Wizarding society and culture are what TvTropes calls NayTheists: they know God is real and they don’t like it, trying very hard to avoid the implications. They concede the dead to God, hence the gravestones, but the living have been working very hard to extend life and create the Philosopher’s Stone (some adjustment to the first book’s plot required here) and seeking magical immortality to avoid God’s judgment, hence the secular culture. They are trying to have it both ways as ‘materialist magicians’: supernatural power and command to reshape the world, but without supernatural entanglement to God nor the Devil, nor any other Power that may exist, such as Faerie.

Divination class is Like That because the Inner Ring gradually cleaned it of every divination by contact with a Power, and found that there was effectively no such thing as mundane divination left. Everything that remains in the class is fraudulent, but it would be embarrassing to admit, at least until there’s sufficient generational turnover and the dead can be blamed for the previous curriculum change.

Astronomy class is Like That because the Inner Ring cleaned astrology of the mystical influences of the planets back in the day when they still had worries about Jupiter possibly being a god, and once they’d swept out the Powers they were left with a real field of science that was interesting research in its own right. The Wizarding World is ahead of Muggles at Astronomy.

Voldemort is Like That because his “Dark Magic” involves pacts with the Devil for power. Both parties are naturally treacherous as Hell about this.

Voldemort thinks he can instrumentalize the Devil, take over Britain, reign as immortal wizard-god-king, pay off or wriggle out of his pacts, and never have to worry about Hell again because his full debts will never come due. Satan meanwhile is underpaying enough for Voldemort to lose and (sorta) die a few times so that Voldemort goes deeper into debt for more power and more second chances from death, to be paid off by killing more babies for Satan.

In a quip: “Satan doesn’t want Voldemort to win, Satan wants Voldemort to sin.”

At no point did Satan teach Voldemort tactical competence, so Voldemort is all “Killing Curse! Killing Curse! Killing Curse! Killing Curse Harder Why Isn’t This Working!?” and keeps trying to substitute more hellpower for good planning. People with good planning ability generally don’t make pacts with the Devil in the first place.

Because the Inner Ring has been working very hard to keep wizarding culture away from God, Magical Britain talks in euphemisms like “Dark Magic” and average witch or wizard doesn’t even know what Voldemort got up to. Voldemort has the same Inner Ring impulse of not wanting to reveal his discovery to the world, either, only his inner circle of most trusted Death Eaters.

This makes it very hard for Magical Britain to understand, research, or counter what Voldemort is doing. It doesn’t follow the normal laws of mechanistic magic, which is why such an inbred imbecile can terrorize Magical Britain with some hellpower and some curses inferior to an AK-47. Then Harry Potter shows up with the Methods of Christianity, and the demon-possessed gear of the Death Eaters promptly stops working on hearing the name of Jesus.

Bonus scene idea: The magical history of Ancient Egypt is suppressed and classified, because there’s too much content there which leads into proto-necromancy and Horcrux theory and other things the Ministry of Magic doesn’t want students getting ideas about. But the Ministry’s classification order doesn’t extend to Muggle content, so the History of Magic class at one point has a teacher (maybe not Binns) reading from the Book of Exodus.


#Harry Potter #fanfic #story ideas I will never write #Christianity #hell cw?


me: I thought of the WORST dating sim / visual novel idea
by WORST I mean I am grinning manically as I type this
(but also. it’s a bad idea. I want to make it very clear I know that)
YOU are a brilliant female physicist who has Mulan’ed her way into the Manhattan Project
YOUR OPTIONS ARE: von neumann, feynman, oppenheimer, etc etc
…I have to google whether this has been done. hmm. mildly surprisingly, no!

@eightyonekilograms: Louis Slotin if you like himbos

@femmenietzsche: You should also be able to romance the Demon Core



oh – oh my god, I see it

He’d actually be a good YA girl protagonist. Check out this scene where Niels Bohr summons him specifically because he’ll be honest and irreverent

This went on for about two hours, going back and forth over lots of ideas, back and forth, arguing. The great Niels kept lighting his pipe; it always went out. And he talked in a way that was un-understandable—mumble, mumble, hard to understand. His son I could understand better.

“Well,” he said finally, lighting his pipe, “I guess we can call in the big shots now.” So then they called all the other guys and had a discussion with them.

Then the son told me what happened. The last time he was there, Bohr said to his son, “Remember the name of that little fellow in the back over there? He’s the only guy who’s not afraid of me, and will say when I’ve got a crazy idea. So next time when we want to discuss ideas, we’re not going to be able to do it with these guys who say everything is yes, yes, Dr. Bohr. Get that guy and we’ll talk with him first.”

I was always dumb in that way. I never knew who I was talking to. I was always worried about the physics. If the idea looked lousy, I said it looked lousy. If it looked good, I said it looked good. Simple proposition.

I’ve always lived that way. It’s nice, it’s pleasant—if you can do it. I’m lucky in my life that I can do this.


#important context for people who don’t know Feynman he is like a a top tier character among characters #amateur safecracker did physics calculations in strip clubs #did he have transmasc swag… well its simply not my place to say


made commissioned art for massage parlors, got into the papers for being a caltech professor who was at strip clubs more nights than he wasn’t, almost got into a bar fight because he had no idea what to do when a stranger was being aggro at him but didn’t want to be ‘a sissy’ so escalated on autopilot, spent an enormous sum buying drinks for women at bars, screamed in a hall full of hundreds of other undergrads that he wanted to be hypnotized…


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #story ideas I will never write #embarrassment squick? #sexism cw?