The point of the Cool Stuff List is to get down, as it were, engraved in stone, those things that we each want to see wrought upon our imaginary world.  By combining these things we begin to get a coherent image of the world in which our stories will be set and, by considering them, we may begin to extract an idea of what sort of characters we may wish to look at in that world.

How to add your Cool Stuff contribution

Start a new section with your name, nom de plume or other cognomen so we know who's who.  Below that, add two (TWO) items to your cool stuff list.  Feel free to expand upon  your "cool stuff" and refer to how you can see it integrating with cool stuff contributed by other members.

You can also choose to add an image either to emphasize your selection or to illustrate it entirely.


My cool stuff suggestions are:

Samurai by whendell-d6g913f

"Samurai" by Whendell Souza - - used without permission

Samurai - By "samurai", what I mean is the idea of an honour-bound, highly traditional warrior class, probably (not not necessarily) human, so dedicated to their way of life that they have raised their skills to an astonishingly high point, whilst risking their own redundancy/obsolescence.  

They aren't opposed to new technologies or new ideas but believe absolutely that, whatever other tricks and styles may emerge, their own techniques and ideas are fundamentally superior to all others.  For the most part, decent, honourable men and women, who can be led down dark paths through their devotion to duty and service.

Floating Islands - Magic?  Weird physics?  Unexplained phenomenon?  I don't care.  But floating islands are cool.
Avatars Floating Islands by Tinocca

By Tinocca from deviantArt, used without permission


My cool stuff suggestions are:

Dystopias - these are great story fodder as they have an inbuilt conflict, either against the harsh lifestyle or an oppressive regime. I err on the side of the more oppressive depictions, such as 1984's IngSoc or Equilibrium's Libria, although I understand that there's something a little disturbing about the heirarchical nature of Brave New World. I would add a pinch of cyberpunk in here, but not too much as that can easily be its own suggestion - megacorporations, limited freedom of speech and constant surveillance do fit in with both nicely though. 


Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon

Uncompromisingly lawful characters - Judge Dredd, Stannis Baratheon, Rorschach, etc. 

I don't know what it is about these guys, but I have a thing for characters who have a set of rules and stick by them. They will not be bribed or bent, and they will continue fighting past the point any sane person would have stopped. It's not the same thing as being honourable or doing good, but they can sometimes be the same thing.


Magic works and is now understood as (quantum) science - Anyone with the education and right tools can access it, but maybe some can access it without those things.  Maybe that means only the wealthy or the government.  Maybe in means that those without means have to steal it or have less stable use of it.  Perhaps the government seeks control of it, so they regulate everything from herbs to crystals.  Maybe experiments have been conducted that have created problems... Maybe understanding and influencing the quanta of the universe has destroyed any belief in God once and for all.  Do people step or degenerate when there seem to be no mysteries left?  You can go high tech or steampunk with this idea, really.  It could be about the tech or just about understanding the energy of, say, certain symbols, shapes, tones, etc.

'[1]Added by Diogeneia'Humans can no longer live on the land and (perhaps) because space travel didn't yield any viable or safe alternatives, the human race was driven into the oceans where they live in high-tech recycled air cities.  Instead of the void of space outside of the atmosphere, we have the dark, still mysterious ocean.  Without enough time to adequately explore the oceans because of a focus on space, we come upon all kinds of strange creatures from mer-people to megaladon in our "new world".  The tech can be re-purposed from the space program.  Maybe ancient sunken human cities exist.  Maybe proof of mythological creatures is found there.  Who knows, maybe Poseidon is real.  Maybe the human race rediscovers a past it once thought was only a myth or fairy tale.


Secret societies/cults--whether they are part of what the main character is a part of, or they are part of what makes up the bad guy's thing, a secret society provides a conflict between the contact with whatever is contained in the society, and how the people that have contact or knowledge of the society have contact with the wider world.

Examples of these: mafia/yakuza/triad/gangland, masons, religious cults

from flickr

like rajaneesh or Koresh, manson family style cult, Cargo cult, sororities or fraternities, illuminati, knights templar, power families (crowned heads power brokers and WASPS), KKK, unsanctioned militias, survivalist/prepper groups, etc. Any time there is a shadow government, or a cabal of wizards, there is a secret society. In lord of the Rings, the wizards were a society, as were the ringwraiths, and the three elven ringbearers. In the TV show Eureka, as in One Upon a Time, the whole city and all of the population was part of a secret society and one or more of the main characters were outsiders thrown involuntarilly into the secret. In Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Lincoln was part of a vampire kiling society. Superheroes have a secret society, they try to hide in modern society, but they know each other and can freely be themselves when they are at the School for the Gifted.

transformations--Why is the moment a person becomes a vampire the most riveting part of a vampre novel? What horrifies us about becoming a zombie? Are werewolves a celebration of nature or a profanity? We spent the whole movie of Casper unravelling how Casper became a ghost. It was a major revelation. We can't change like that in real life, maybe in the fantasy world it's a metaphor for whatever the character
DSCN0349 (2)

Emerging butterfly by Spyke

is experiencing, is he becoming profane, base, withdrawn (invisible), is he becoming part of the teeming, unthinking masses, is he becoming better and stronger, whatever is expressed in the real world as a change in a state of mind can be imaginatively expressed in fantasy as a literal transformation. The beauty of it is that when we are munching popcorn in front of the screen we don't think about it as a metaphor when vlad sinks his long fangs into Maria's neck. It's this incredible imagination that such a thing can be possible, and I wonder what it would be like to go through that. Look at that butterfly. Just six weeks prior it was an egg that could fit on a pin head. Then it was five different instars of caterpillar. What if humans are just a larval form of something else?