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Hong Kong Polytechnic University - PolyU HK

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ELC1A01 Science fiction as a reflection on humanity

Story planning sheet


Aim: This story planning sheet is to help you plan your short story and make sure that you haven’t missed out anything important.

You should submit it with your first draft for the Writing Requirement.


Highlight the items below that apply to your story:


  1. The philosophy in the story is about:
    Human nature:
    family, politics, drama;
    A good life: agreement with nature / pleasurable sensations / live modestly in the limits of your desires /
    freedom and fate / skepticism
    Modernism: Descartes' rules and maxims / scientific method / social contract / empiricism / sovereignty of the people and their right to pass laws /
    desire vs. reason

  2. The sub-genre is: Hard SF / Soft SF / Robots / Interstellar travel / Time travel / Superpowers / Bodily transformation / Parallel universe / Alien Invasion / Immortality / Apocalyptic / Post-apocalyptic world / Godlike aliens

  3. The plot is: Overcoming the monster / Rags to riches / Quest / Voyage and return / Comedy / Tragedy / Rebirth / Rebellion Against ‘The One’ / The Mystery

  4. The society is: theological / mythological / self-sufficient / inter-dependent / agricultural / scientific / inter-stellar / military / industrial / trading / tribal / slave-based / feudal / capitalist / socialist / communist / globalised / colonial / dictatorial / multi-cultural / hyper-diffused (from a single original society) / over-populated / environmentally-unsustainable / post-apocalyptic / consumer.

  5. The setting is: Time: ___3015____Place: _Mars and Earth_

  6. The dramatic situation is: __Deliverance__

  7. In this dramatic situation the main characters are (fill in your choice in the table below):
    Characters: hero / anti-hero / Byronic hero / trickster / antagonist / fun villain / mirror of the hero / evil genius / mad scientist / android / robot / cyborg / clone / talking computer / mind reader / empath / mutant / scientist / eye candy / starship crew / outlaw / trader / smuggler / investigator / mentor / loyal friend.
    Personality type:
    Big Thinker / Counsellor / Go-getter / Idealist / Innovator / Leader / Mastermind / Mentor / Nurturer / Peacemaker / Performer / Provider / Realist / Resolver / Strategist / Supervisor
    Role: Evil genius / Empath / Scientist / Mad scientist / Doctor / Trader / Smuggler / Spaceship engineer / Administrator / Investigator / Guide / Hero / Loyal friend / Sage / Trickster / Martyr / Fun villain / Other: ____


Character

Personality type

Role

Institution / Rank

1. Protagonist - Maggie

Loyal friend


Peacemaker



2. Antagonist - Circle

Evil genius

Mastermind

Trickster


3. Other(s) - Zinc

Mentor


Big Thinker

Guide



  1. The structure of the plot is:

    1. 1st act: Setup
      Incident : Maggie lost her grandpa and felt all alone.
      Turning point : Zinc appeared to comfort her and invited her to take a relaxe.....[read full text]

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My grandpa had taken care of me since I was born.

He was my only family. I had no idea who my parents were. My grandpa used to be my motivation of life. Now that I had lost my love of my life, I wanted to end my life too. I felt very empty inside, deeply in my heart. He would never come back and I was left to live on my own. I was a total loner.

Sorry.

Your Loss. No. Sad. Come to Mars.’

Going to Mars? It seemed sudden now but it’s actually nice to be there. I had thought of visiting there few years ago. I would love to go traveling in the universe with my grandpa, bringing him to see the spectacular view, enjoying life as travelers.

We would choose a planet to stay for some years and experiencing different alien’s life. But he refused. I guessed he might want to be surrounded by things familiar to him on earth here in his remaining years, rather than exploring the universe. He had his own comfort zone. And as an old man, nothing would be better than staying with his beloved granddaughter in his knowing world.

However, our earth had transformed a lot in these years.

Things became all digitalized and our life became more high-tech. It was so advanced that any device was built in our brains so that we humans could search anything anytime in our minds. And our mother nature couldn’t stand it anymore. Natural disaster happened once in a while. Even trees became one of the distinct species on earth. Everything was not natural. They were all computerized.

It seems a good idea for me.

But do you really mean it? Now?’

Yes! Getaway. Leave past. Don’t look back. Look forward. Come!’ Zinc encouraged me to move on.

I really did miss my grandpa, as if the sky mi.....

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Also I received a training offered by my chosen space-line company ‘MARTIAN’ on practicing walk in space and studying the system of spacecraft that I would take so that I knew the basic equipment of it.

Now I started to be curious about Zinc’s face.

How would he look like after these years? It had been five years since our last video call. Anyway, he needed to recognize me in order to pick me up on the arrival day. Didn’t he? So I requested for a video call online. He seemed to answer it swiftly.

Hi! Zinc, when will you want to be invisible?’ I started the conversation with a weird question, eyes wide.

Maggie! When sad.

And. Help.’

This serious-looking young man with his reddish messy hair was answering my silly question seriously. Aliens from Mars were kind of like humans on earth. The main differences were the invisible ability. I studied his face again, carefully examining his third blinking eye which was located at the middle of his forehead through the monitor.

The third eye was the reason why he contacted me on the night that I lost my grandpa. Zinc told me that it gave him instinct to predict or be informed of things that he’d like to know. And he knew that I needed some company.

Matters most. How you see.

Yourself.’ He really could read my mind. ‘Focus. Ability. Not focus invisibility.’

I said to him. ‘Yes! We need to focus on ourselves and how we can use the ability to help others. You know People on earth care a lot what others think about them.

And they just cannot live without commenting on others. I am really sick of it.’

You. Grown up......

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I show you.

Control. Mind. Concentrated. Handle well.’ Zinc taught me how to perform the ability. After a few seconds or so, it seemed that I could play with this new special power. It should not be difficult to me though. He demonstrated to me and I could see him appearing and disappearing.

Shining star.’ Zinc smiled with a wink.

But I was not sure I could handle this successfully at the first trial. It’s like controlling the balance on the bicycle in my first ride. I fell down a few times and then finally I learnt it.

After a few days getting to know things about Zinc, his family and Mars, I became more familiar with this new environment.

Although I knew Zinc was eager to show me around, I had an urge to explore this planet on my own. And today I had to go out visit some places alone and Zinc had to get back to work. He was a therapist helping disable Martians who lost their ability due to accidents, sickness or aging.

Enjoy.

Trip.’ Zinc smiled to me.

Sure! Don’t worry about me. Let’s meet at night!’ I got on a tourist bus and said goodbye to Zinc.

As soon as I got off the bus, I realized someone was following me.

But I pretended not to notice his presence. I kept on walking and suddenly I recognized the sensation of dizziness. I felt like falling onto the ground in the next second. That person held me when I was just about to fall down. Then I lost my consciousness.


***


.....

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After few days, one night, I was staring at the sky with thousand stars. I lost myself in the sea of thoughts and as soon as I came back into senses, I looked up and saw a massive dust cloud coming toward me.

This Martian had brought me to a remote desert-like area, far away from the Mars city. And I didn’t know where to hide, let alone I was tied up and not able to move freely.

Hey! Do you see the cloud coming?’ I screamed and hoped that he could release me.

Watching the sand cloud coming toward us, we needed to take actions.

I had no idea how to escape from that terrifying cloud and soon I knew after a few minutes I could see no stars anymore. At this moment, he released me and I dropped onto the floor, feeling helpless.

Go! Now!’ He shouted at me and then disappeared.

I was not able to move a bit.

Feeling the roaring wind pounding my soft human body, I closed my eyes hopelessly. All of a sudden, I was held by a man. And then we were rushing to a car. As soon as we got on the car with the banging of the car door, the sand wind was hitting the car with dust and pellets. I could hardly breathe. With sands in my eyes and all over my face, I wiped it and would like to say thanks to the person who had saved me.

Hey thank God! Zinc you’ve finally found me.’ I cleaned the sand in my mouth, expecting loads of questions about where I did go in these couples of days and nights.

Zink? Who? Me.

Circle. Save. You.’ To my surprise, this was the kidnapping guy who brought me to life again.

But I knew that instead of saving me, he was saving his hope of find.....

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He told me that he had contacted some other humans travelled to Mars, looking for help.

But they were all so indifferent that this matter was none of their business.’ I tried to explain the situation to Zinc.

But. He. Kidnap!’ Zinc was angry but then I tried to persuade Zinc to think from Circle’s perspective, maybe this was the extreme thing that he would do to get what he needed to achieve.

Anyway, He had saved me and I wanted to help reconnect him with his father in return.’ I told Zinc my decision.

Circle’s eyes were glittering. He murmured to me. ‘Thanks.’

You. Back. Earth?’ Zinc asked with questionable shining eyes.

Yep… I am sure I can dig out the truth that why his father didn’t come back.’ At the same time, I was searching in my head, with the brain power of the searching engine.

My computer mind could work on any planet in the same solar system.

Circle’s father’s name is Cyrus. He has been on earth for around three years. The mission had been completed during the second year on earth. But he did not try to come back to Mars with his team.

Current location recorded.’ My built-in computer reported to me in nonchalance.

He. Blocked me. Me. Visited Earth. Last time. Can’t search him.’ Circle said.

I will go back to the earth to find out what’s happened to your dad and hopefully asked him to back home.’ I promised to Circle.

Zinc insisted to go with me. So we headed to the Earth.

On the departure day, I looked at the pale pinkish-yellowish Martians sky. I was shocked by the glamo.....

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