Thursday, November 08, 2018

SMUCKS talk about human biology

Writing stories and brainstorming can overlap. With the SMUCKS approach, I write a discussion on a subject that takes place between the members of the Star Trek crew. The acronym SMUCKS represents the six main Star Trek characters:

1. Spock.
2. McCoy.
3. Uhura.
4. Chekov.
5. Kirk.
6. Scotty.

The discussion between the SMUCKS can lead to just about anywhere, but I like to pick out:

New ideas.
Areas for investigation and exploration.
Fresh tangents.
Gaps in my own knowledge becoming apparent.
Story ideas.


I can use any of the methods that featured in the Methods to generate speech post. For this example I'll use the sound of the writing of two randomly-chosen numbers to inspire ideas for speech.

The subject I'm choosing is human biology because I didn't study it at school and I know very little about it.

I use a dice to choose which of the SMUCKS characters speaks.

So, to start off:

The dice rolls a 6. That means Scotty speaks.
Then the two dice roll a 3 and a 6. I write those numbers and listen to the sound the writing makes.To me - with the subject of human biology in mind -  that sounds like "I could drop dead tonight".

So that gives:

Scotty: I could drop dead tonight.

The conversation continues:

The dice rolls 5 = Kirk speaks.
The two dice roll a 5 and 2. To me that sounds like, "It it was happening, would you know it?"


Kirk: If it was happening, would you know it?

And then I continue the process to develop the conversation:

McCoy. It depends if the brain can still function.
McCoy: It might go on functioning
Chekov: Wait! How could it function?

Kirk: Is it because the brain itself wouldn't be damaged?
Uhura: What if a device could sustain it?
Spock: You'd have to act fast.
Uhura: Or the brain would be deprived of oxygen.
Scotty: What if that was a desirable state?

Chekov: Like you stay at a stage of death?
McCoy: Could you measure the stage?
Spock: Or be at that stage without dying?
Spock: I could see this leading to a discussion on ethics!
Kirk: Or the potential of the human brain.

Spock: Our priority should be to cure mental illness.
Chekov: I wish I could've helped my mother.
McCoy: Did she suffer from mental illness?
Scotty: It's hard to watch a loved one suffer.
McCoy: Which is why this should be a priority.

You can see that the conversation develops and in some ways develops a life of its own. The conversation moved into the subjects of psychology and ethics. On the subject of human biology I became aware of gaps in my knowledge and asked questions such as:
What does the brain need to function?
How damaged could a brain be and still manage to function/produce consciousness?
Could an artificial environment support a brain?
How much oxygen does the brain need?
What does the brain do with oxygen?

I also thought of a good idea for a sci-fi story: A scientist discovers a way to make parts of a brain switch off. At a certain stage a person fills euphoria, but at a later stage they experience an increase in artistic creativity, but that comes with mental illness. Does the scientists turn bad and exploit the artistic creativity of the subjects whilst they suffer?

See also

The SMUCKS talk internet

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