Conspiracy Theories as Inspiration

Take some time to travel The Internet and eventually you will run across some of the best fiction ever created by Human Beings: Conspiracy Theories.

Don’t get me wrong because I love to read a good Conspiracy Theory and frequently use them (with a twist) as inspiration for my original stories. This article won’t go into a lot of detail on specific Conspiracy Theories, but rather how they can be used as inspiration tools. That being said, let’s define the parameters of this conversation. For this discussion, I will be using definitions provided by the friendly folks at Merriam-Webster.com.

What is a Conspiracy?

1) the act of conspiring together.

2) an agreement among conspirators.

3) a group of conspirators.

What is a Theory?

1) the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another.

2) abstract thought : speculation

3) the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art <music theory>

4) a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action <her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn>

5) an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory <in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all>

6) a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena <the wave theory of light>

7) a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation

8) an unproved assumption : conjecture

9) a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject <theory of equations>

Now that we have defined what a conspiracy and a theory is, let’s put them together.

The Dictionary Definition?

Merriam-Webster.com defines a Conspiracy Theory as “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”

Putting it all together:

Based on what we know about conspiracies and theories, we can’t help but come to the conclusion that a Conspiracy Theory is essentially the idea that a someone or group of someones is acting in a acting in a secret manner results in something happening. Let’s break that down even further:

Bob is getting ready for work when he slips on a bar of soap in the shower and breaks his neck on the floor. Obviously, Bob wouldn’t intentionally put the soap in a place where he would slip on it and kill himself. The key words “killed himself” are important because they take this event from a simple accident (bars of soap get slippery when wet) and turn it into a targeted event involving Bob, a bar of soap, and a window of opportunity where he gets in the shower, comes into contact with the soap, and then slips and falls to an admittedly embarrassing end. By removing the word accident and substituting killed himself, a simple fall in the shower is now the origin of a Conspiracy Theory.

But wait, as the salesman would say, there’s more!

We don’t know much about Bob so that ambiguity gives room for all kinds of wild speculation.

Did Bob work for the Government or in some other industry that’s not well-liked? If yes, then boom, you have another piece of the puzzle behind Poor Bob’s demise. Who cares if it’s not real. If someone contests your “facts”, you can always claim that the lack of accurate information is the result of some diabolical redaction of facts that can never be proved. If no, then simply make something up. After all, secret conspiratorial families like the Hapsburgs or Rothchilds have been supposedly controlling the world from behind the scenes for centuries. Or…LIZARD PEOPLE! I love the Lizard Overlords because they never show themselves, never seem to be revealed, and always seem to do the crappiest job at running the planet.

Wait, maybe Bob knew how to use Heavy Water, or Deuterium, in a way other than moderating nuclear reactions in reactors or in any number of applications including enhancing the visual capabilities of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, fuel in nuclear weapons, or in certain types of drugs. Bottom line, we’ve just taken a simple and tragic slip in the shower and turned it into a major conspiracy theory complete with bad guys operating in secret, chemicals that can be bad in the wrong hands, and Lizard People. Can’t forget the Lizard People.

Now you see why I enjoy Conspiracy Theories. Where else can you take a whole lot of disparate things, tie them together with a flimsiest of conjecture, and spit out something that sounds good on the other side but has no basis in Reality and no worthwhile use except in making a really good story.

I do feel bad about poor Bob though…. 😉

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The Lighter Side of Technology

Let’s discuss the lighter side of Technology. In other words, how about some jokes about the things that make our lives easier?

1) If a Smart Phone is so smart, how come I have to be the one to press the buttons?

2) Why is it okay to say that a Vacuum Cleaner sucks, but not to say that….you can fill in the blanks there….

3) If Time Machines are supposed to allow you to manipulate Time, why does it always seem that the traveler gets there too late?

4) If nuclear reactions smash atoms, what happens to the pieces left over?

5) In Star Trek, how come when Scotty’s working on the engines, you never see spare parts laying around? The man has the cleanest work area I’ve ever seen.

6) In movies, computers seem to be the easiest things to hack, yet when I mistype my Windows Password, my computer won’t let me in for squat?

7) Flying Cars: Never seen one without a Tornado present.

8) Debit Cards should be renamed Spend-It Cards. It just makes more sense.

9) Televisions used to be nicknamed Boob Tubes. Nuff said.

10) Far too many people say they need Space, yet none is ever an Astronaut.

I know I come off fairly serious with these articles and I hope this one shows that I’m more than the sum of my quips. Have a great day. 🙂

Crowdfunding as Technology

Crowdfunding projects appears to be a popular and upcoming thing these days. People are going to sites like Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and similar sites to raise money for everything from writing projects, social causes, and a plethora of other reasons.

I see this phenomena as a direct result of the growth of Technology and its impact on our lives. I have an Indiegogo campaign currently underway to gather starting funds to get my Parallax Series off the ground by funding a professional editor and cover designer. You can see my campaign at Parallax Series Editor and Cover Designer. However, this article is not about asking for contributions so please put your wallets away, Thanks.

I find this outgrowth of Technology fascinating because, for the first time, creative people can actually go online and raise funds directly from those who would consume them. I can’t recall any other time in recent history when there was such an outlet unless you count The Renaissance Period and God only knows what those people had to do to get a patron.

It’s a testament to human resilience when someone can take a system designed for information exchange and mold it into a platform to support creative endeavors. If I were a hat person, I would tip my hat with respect at such innovative spirit and versatility of mind. Bravo, Guys and Gals.

How I Use Technology in My Stories

Unless you’re living in the backwoods as part of some antisocial backwoods Chicken Little Cult, you have to admit that Technology is a dominant feature in all our lives. We use it to wake us up, get us to sleep, entertain, education, feed, and so many other ways that one could write a book….

Ahem, anyway, this particular article is about Technology’s place in Fiction and how I specifically use it in my stories. This is an opinion based article and while I may utilize facts to support my assertions, they in no way should be construed as the only way to think about it.

Technology is a broad range of machines and devices designed and built to perform particular tasks. They can be mechanical, analog, digital, virtual, etc, but they all share that common function to make our lives and jobs easier. Even a simple fork, knife, and spoon represents Technology to a degree. Let’s face it, eating soup with your fingers isn’t as enjoyable as with utensils. 😉

In Fiction, Technology serves a purpose in helping to define a story’s particular time and place. If you were writing a story setting during the Industrial Revolution, you could possibly include items like a steam engine, waterwheels, hand-cranked drills, weaving looms, and other such items. They provide that little pinch of salt that helps flavor your story. A more futuristic story could include digital computers, virtual reality, lasers (Industrial, Pew Pew, and other types), and other electronic systems.

I love Technology, but it’s not the end all be all of a story. I write SciFi/Adventure, usually set in the near to distant future and populated with all kinds of blinky beepy toys. However, I don’t make a big deal about their usage. After all, who makes a big deal about nuking a burrito in their microwave or logging on to the Internet in the 21st Century? Short answer, they don’t because we consider all of that part of our daily lives, much as a farmer in the 1800s wouldn’t make a big deal about hooking up a horse-drawn plow to go till their fields or a factory worker in the 1940s using their rivet guns.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I despise Technobabble. It serves no purpose other than to make the character saying it look smart and if done incorrectly or without restraint, will confuse the reader and ultimately turn them off. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying that I ACTIVELY try not to engage in that kind of wordplay. If you can’t explain it in simple terms, it’s probably best not to do it in the first place. However (and there’s always a However), if you have two characters that are engineers or scientists, it’s perfectly okay to have them use jargon that is particular to their occupations so long as you provide enough context that the reader can follow what the heck they are talking about.

Technology is tools and should be used like any other device in a story, to advance the plot or add insight to a character. Thanks for your time. 🙂

Announcement: #TechTalkFriday

It’s Tech Talk Friday and so, in keeping with yesterday’s motif, all posts from this point on discuss some aspect of technology, both fictional and real. I may even throw in a post or two concerning today’s technology. Enjoy. 🙂