Science-fictional Nuggets Found in the News

A couple of items that crossed my path this week struck me as raw materials for science fiction:

1) How to save your LHC story, now that they switched it on and the world didn’t end: LHC shuts down for 2 months over faulty wiring. The LHC will not be back online until April because of “an electrical glitch caused a helium leak.” So, if I were were writing an SF story about the LHC, the detail of the faulty wiring would be the tell-tale sign that we were in the alternate universe—the one that didn’t end when they turned it on.

2) Readymade dystopian setting: PETA Urges Ben & Jerry’s To Use Human Milk!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow’s milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.

First of all, the nutritional and chemical intake of the lactating women would need to be controlled somehow. No glass of wine; no Zoloft for that postpartum depression; no peanuts because allergens might be transmitted, etc.

Secondly, PETA has not considered the scale of the B & J’s operation. Production on an industrial scale requires industrial control of a supply line. Speculation on how one might accomplish that is rich material for dystopian science fiction.

The obvious solution: Third World factory farms! After their babies are harvested for adoption mills, women in indentured servitude are warehoused and machine-milked several times a day like cows to provide milk for a new designer ice cream flavor produced by a company in Vermont.

So your protagonist walks into a B&Js and sees a new flavor called “Mother’s Milk.” She is in an alternate universe, one the LHC didn’t destroy. She is pregnant and single and looking for a job. There is an intriguing ad in the paper, but the job appears to involve international travel . . .

So get to work!

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