What are good science fiction ideas

With the provocation technique to science fiction ideas

The provocation technique and science fiction

The provocation technique is an idea generation method based on questioning the known reality. This is done by first making observations about the real world and then falsifying these observations. This falsified reality then forms the starting point for new ideas.

Science fiction stories are also based on other realities; You play in worlds that differ from the reality we know. For example, Star Wars has laser swords and hyperdrive spaceships, and Star Trek has the teleporter and holodeck.

So it is natural to use the technique of provocation to generate ideas for science fiction stories: You take any fact that is valid in our world and change it. The result is the prerequisite for a new fantasy story. Changes can be:

  • an exaggeration or an understatement (replace 10 with 1 or with 100.)
  • a falsification (replace cold with hot.)
  • a reversal (the government chooses the people.)
  • do away with something familiar (There is no such thing as gravity.)


We take the following observation as an example:

  • Parents are responsible for their children.

Here are a few provocations that can be gained from this:

  • Children are responsible for themselves.
  • Children are responsible for other children.
  • Nobody is responsible for children.
  • Children are responsible for their parents.
  • Parents are only responsible for their children on Thursdays.
  • Parents are responsible for the children of other parents.
  • Mr. Schmidt from Bielefeld is responsible for all children.
  • The liability for children changes every week.
  • There is no such thing as liability.

So you can develop interesting provocations with a little imagination even from the simplest everyday observation.

Provocations to practice

First, there are a couple of provocations for exercise; What kind of story could one write if one of the following “facts” held true?

  • There are three different genders.
  • Nobody can tell a falsehood.
  • There is only one person who can tell untruth.
  • You can exchange lifetime for money and vice versa.
  • An unlimited amount of energy is available free of charge.
  • The laws change daily.

Observations to practice

Next, there are a few observations on exercise; What interesting provocations are there for each statement?

  • Gravity is always the same everywhere.
  • The longer you live, the more experience you have gained.
  • Plants grow where they are sown.
  • The day has 24 hours.
  • Whoever scores the most goals wins.
  • Birds fly.

Finally, the hardest part

The hardest exercise is finding good observations; The best thing to do is to take them for granted that you don't even think to say them!

Left compact knowledge brainstorming


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