Awesome, Unique Concepts

Ihe

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I've been scouring through my files of "great ideas", and this got me thinking about the truly great, unique, innovative concepts I've read in SFF, specially with so many movie remakes and rehashed ideas out there. It can be any story element, really: setting, events, technology, a philosophy, a magic system, a character arc, etc.

One element that blew my mind when I first read it was Foundation's psychohistory. It was well developed and played a big part in the plot, and it really felt like a futuristic science, almost magic, while seeming grounded in hard math. All baloney, of course, but truly groundbreaking for me, and very well thought out.

I'm just curious as to any other unique, innovative story element you guys might have come upon, for the sake of a little chat about creative genius.
 

DelActivisto

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I have a lot of respect for the Wheel of Time's magic system. It's the most complex one that I'm aware of. The magic is woven, using the elements of fire, ice, water, etc. to create a tapestry. Depending on how this "tapestry" is woven, it will have different functions. But if you weave something wrong, it could go wrong and harm or kill someone. They're also quite complex, and many things are possible. Some of the very smart people in the story wind up being able to craft new weaves that advance the story line. The magic also behaves differently for men than for women.
 

Ihe

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On magic systems, now that you mention it, I really thought Patrick Rothfuss's Sympathy magic system was quite ingenious, more so as they treat it almost like a science.
 

Venusian Broon

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Ahh, I think you mean 'SENSE OF WONDER' to give it its historical name ;)

Too many really, I'll dig a few out below:

- What's in the seventh chamber in the identical version of the asteroid Juno that appears in Earth orbit in Greg Bears Eon
- Dust theory (or Ultimate Ensemble Mathematical Universe hypothesis) and what that means in Greg Egan's Permutation City
-
The 'Space Opera' that was M. John Harrison's Light (and sequels)
- The universe of Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix (oh, go on and the short stories...)
- Christopher Priest's desperate rail travellers in the Inverted World. Opening with: "I had reached the age of six hundred and fifty miles...
- The world of Neverness by David Zindell
- The account of the mission against the zōtl in A. A. Attanasio's The Last Legends of Earth
- And finally, a weird 'non-novel', but 'smash your mind open every chapter' with Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker
 
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