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Food scifi centered novel idea

  • YAYME Apr 10, 2011 08:28 AM
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I write for fun and so far no profit. But I've had this idea bouncing around my little head for at least six years. The idea is this food critics in the far future who go from restaurants to food festivals all over the galaxy. The novel will be humorous I hope gently poking fun at food writing, episodic in structure They'll be the adventure they have and the reviews/articles they write, also an exploration of food and culture. Good idea or bad idea?

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  1. Years ago I read a short scifi story about a culture obsessed with cooking - or rather with food synthesis. The judges in one competition were horrified to learn that a key ingredient in the winning entry was garlic - garlic that had been grown in dirt!

    1. I think that sounds very interesting, and could be a really fun read.

      1. All depends on the writing.

        1. I love the idea. You would be combining two of my favorite things, science fiction and food! Would the critics be traveling in just their present time, or could they time-travel to different points in history to sample the cuisine?

          1 Reply
          1. re: lawhound05

            Just in their own time. They have a whole galaxy to explore!

          2. Captain Video was a food critic.

            1. Not a bad idea.

              There was an episode on that old TV series Babylon 5 where the character G'Kar offered his compatriot a dish for their meal together which his dining companion went into rhapsodies about, eagerly asking how his host (G'Kar) had managed to get this dish from "home" (It was of the "comforting, feel-good, 'down-home' " type of food). IIRC G'Kar said it was actually something from the Earthlings called SWEDISH MEATBALLS (Heh!) and then commented that probably every civilization and race in the universe had some form of that very dish...
              :-)

              1. Michael Bond, of Paddington Bear fame, has written a detective series featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his bloodhound Pommes Frites. He's a retired Paris policeman now writing about food for Le Guide. There's a good amount of quirky humor, and some detailed descriptions of food, restaurant meals and otherwise.

                8 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  In an aborted short story sci-fi story I almost wrote, I mentioned that most of the extraterrestial trade in the universe was in spices and produce. The reason for this, as set out in the story, was that spices produce and other organic products were really the only things that were unique to a given planet (gold is gold no matter where you get it, as are diamonds, and uranium etc) and not easily sythesized (due to thier complexity).
                  There was also a dystopian story I tried called "All Tomatoes are Red" about a future where alternate versions of vegetables (read "heirloom") are illegal, where all vegetables (and animals, except humans) are required to be perfect genetic clones of each other.

                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                    aww... you can do better than that!
                    Food Wars! Artificially gen-engineered food & viruses to kill off the competition. only your own produce is immune. except more than one person can make viruses...

                    1. re: Chowrin

                      that story has to end with eating dandelions, rose hips and rats. because who'd engineer those?

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        I think it would be much better if it was more along the lines of making everyone elses products fatal to a person; a virus where once you eat a bite of anyones food if you so much as come in contact with anyone elses you die (and its contagios so you family any anyone you come in contact with will catch your version). I suppose for sheer practicality it would also have to result in the creation of ommnifoods, where one food met all of your nutrional needs (a bit like Frank R. Stockholm's Cosmic Bean).

                        But the reason I was writing it that way was it was supposed to be a sort of 1984 homage, it's supposed to be what happens after the wars are over. Besides if I wrote it that way, it would probably come off sounding like a cross between "The Stuff" ( a movie I've never actually seen but have heard the plot of about an additicive ice cream subsititue) and Robert Asprin's Cold Cash War. There is also the fact that, to be honest a lot of what I though would happen seems to be happening in real life; dystopian fantasy isn't fun when you think it really is going to happen.

                        and as for the rose hip thing I'd think a key point would have to be that either the corportations would kill off anything else that a person could eat or else the food would be funamentally addictive so that you had to keep eating it to live.

                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                          No credit for partial recycling. HAS to be a brand new wellspring of creativity.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Which is why I never finished the story, it ended up sounding like someone elses. Plus of course everythign I write turns out bleak to the point of agonizing (I have a great skill at being life denying and coming up with diabolis ex machinas. It might be a viable wellspring in itself, but I'm no Harlan Ellison, and I know it.)

                      2. re: jumpingmonk

                        Dune is all about the spice trade. :)

                        1. re: paulj

                          Yes but it's not like melange is actually used for flavoring anything, as far as I can tell it's a drug.

                    2. Mutate a four wing-ed chicken for us, a feathered biplane if you will, so I can get out of Hooters after 10 wings, extra blue cheese, and 2 drafts for under 25 bucks.

                      1. Try to find "The Slaves of Spiegel" by Daniel Pinkwater. Meant for younger audiences, but still very entertaining. It's sort of similar to what you describe, and even though the food described is totally bizarre and outlandish I can't help trying to imagine what the dishes taste like.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bworm42

                          Agreed, though when you consider the kinds of things that go into a Day of Wrath, a Moron's Delight or any of the other taste treats the Magic Moscow dieshed out BEFORE Sargon and his fellow Fat Men from Outer Space showed up, most of the food at the competition sounded pretty tame (though I was tempted to try and make Horthian Florff once, didn't have a big enough blender) I also might have like to try wresteling a giant Taraxian Shrimp before trying to fry it.
                          Actually a Lot of Pinkwaters work revolves around food, the food stand in Borgel (plus the Chef Chows hot and spicy oil and the Great Popsicle) Bignose's Cafeteria from the Snarkout Boys books, the cafe in Blue Moose, The Muffin Powered rocket in the Muffin Thief........