What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Story Bone

Death magic of prognostication. Since the near-dead are said to be able to see beyond the veil, and some older cultures would divine the future by reading the offal of sacrificial victims, mash together to get a society that uses sacrifice to tell the future, but it is verbally transmitted (instead of reading "signs"). Could throw in a good deal of old Oracle speech (often in myth, the Oracle is thought to have said one thing when in fact only in hind sight predicted the opposite, not to mention that Oracles had interpreters to make sense of their babbling). So the culture brings the sacrificial victim to death's door to have them tell the future.

Are the sacrificial victims telling the truth, or are they lying to screw over the people killing them? Is there a way to compel the victim to disclose specific information, you know, other than seeing Gramps welcoming them home? Could someone be kept at the edge of death to continue to give advice? Do you kill them, and then somehow get them to talk in a Max the Miracle Worker way? What does that kind of magic do to the practitioners and society?

Just a wild larking idea.


Rick said...

A wild larking idea it is!

Now if I only knew what a wild larking was.

Eric said...


Here's another thought (touched on but slightly different from a question in paragraph two): posit that this is a high-tech/magic society in which sacrificial victims are killed and immediately brought back. A magical society in which D&D style resurrection spells are common is one version, but it seems even more interesting to postulate a high-tech society (near-future contemporary, perhaps) in which people are medically killed in hospitals and then almost immediately resuscitated once they've had enough time to stick their toes into that proverbial light.

Do hospitals now keep professional death interpreters on hand outside the emergency room doors to whisper questions in patients' ears as they're wheeled in and ask them what they saw as they're wheeled out? Is their a professional dying class whose full-time job is to die as many times as their constitution can stand, with a huge bonus to be paid out to their families if the next death is the last one? How does this culture's version of the Hippocratic Oath run, if they have one? What are the theological implications?

You sure you don't want to write this one, Steve? I have too much on my plate already, though it seems there's a fair bit to work with here.

Steve Buchheit said...

Rick, well, I start with a "wild lark", but then it the noun as adverb feels weirder to me than to "ing" a word. Or, I really disagree with standard language structures and have a constitutional aversion to draw within the lines. Or something like that.

Eric, yeah, I've got too much on my plate. I have enough projects in "stub" status. I don't need to have anymore.

And actually, there is an ongoing experiment to test for near death experiences. The researcher's name escapes me at the moment, but her team places digital readouts above emergency surgery rooms. The display is positioned so anyone "floating" above the room could see it, but not anybody at ground/standing level. Whenever anyone reports an out of body experience, they interview them to see if they saw their message. IIRC, so far nobody has.

Eric said...

Nobody has gotten the onscreen message right, but you gotta admit it's kinda weird the way everybody keeps incorrectly guessing "Rosabelle, believe".

Steve Buchheit said...

Eric, thanks, that was a good laugh.