You may be wondering what, exactly, I mean by ‘threat’. Simply put, it’s anything that imperils either the characters in a story, a planetary system, the galaxy, or any combination of those three. I’m assuming that most of the ‘threats’ people will remember will be from the space opera sub-genre, but that doesn’t have to be the case, as more personal threats can be cool too.
A word about cool. Cool is defined here as: ‘Any situation, being, technology or potential action that makes you, the reader, sit up and take note. Lot’s of notes’. In other words, things that tickled your intellectual fancy and made you say: ‘Cool!’
I’ll give you a sample of mine.
- The planet Endurium in the classic PC game, Starflight.
- The dead returning to ‘life’ in Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy.
- The melding plague and Inhibitors from Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space books.
- The planet eating space worm from Star Trek’s The Doomsday Machine.
- A marauding superstring left over from the Big Bang wanders through space, causing nearby stars to go supernova, from Stellvia Of The Universe.
- A rogue AI takes over a planet, a la Scott Westerfeld in his Risen Empire series.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I know there are a ton more cool ideas out there and more books than I can possibly read. So, go ahead and list your best, coolest SF threats (up to 5!) that you have encountered. It can be from a book, short story, move, game, anything. I’ll collate them and post the results next week.