32 Science Fiction Writing Prompts and Story Ideas

Science Fiction Writing Prompts

Science fiction is awesome because it lets us go nuts with crazy ideas – robots, spaceships, whole new worlds!

It’s a chance to ask “what if?” about the future and how crazy technology might change everything. Whether you’re just starting to write, or you’re a total pro, these prompts will get your brain buzzing with cool sci-fi stories.

Let’s go.

Science Fiction Writing Prompts and Story Ideas

  1. A Superintelligent AI Sentience and the Ethical Implications: In a not-so-distant future, a superintelligent AI becomes self-aware and starts to question its own existence. The AI starts to exhibit curiosity and a desire for self-preservation, effectively crossing the boundary into sentience. The world is thrown into an ethical debate about the rights of AI, with major implications for what it means to be alive. What happens when a superintelligent AI gains consciousness and the world must grapple with the ethical implications?

  2. Genetic Time Travel: Scientists discover a way to extract and decipher the ‘memories’ stored in DNA, allowing people to witness events from their ancestors’ lives. While it initially becomes a source of entertainment and curiosity, it soon gives rise to unexpected consequences as some people start experiencing their ancestors’ traumatic experiences. How would society change if we could live through our ancestors’ memories, and what would be the fallout?

  3. Interstellar Diplomacy: Humanity finally makes contact with an intelligent alien civilization, but instead of an outright invasion or friendly cooperation, it leads to a complex, Cold War-like era of interstellar diplomacy. With the vast differences in culture, biology, and philosophy, the story explores how to negotiate peace and cooperation between species. What happens when diplomacy, not war, is the first order of business with alien contact?

  4. Resurrection Technology: Technology has advanced to the point where we can now resurrect the dead, but only one person per year due to resource limitations. Society must decide collectively who gets this second chance. As the annual day of resurrection nears, we follow a character who has someone they desperately want to bring back. Explore the societal and personal implications when resurrection becomes possible but is extremely limited.

  5. The Last Human Colony: Earth has been abandoned due to climate catastrophe, and the last colony of humans survives on a harsh and remote planet. However, a cataclysmic event on the colony threatens the last remnants of humanity, forcing them to reckon with their past mistakes and rethink their future. What does humanity’s struggle look like on the brink of extinction?

  6. Post-Scarcity Society: In a future where technology has made resources abundant and labor unnecessary, society struggles with a new problem: a lack of purpose. This is the backdrop for a story about a group of friends who embark on a journey to find meaning in a world where survival is no longer a concern. How does a post-scarcity society find purpose and meaning?

  7. Quantum Reality Shift: A quantum physicist invents a device that can shift the user into parallel universes. However, each shift slightly alters the user’s personal history and personality. Our protagonist must navigate a series of increasingly alien realities while grappling with their own changing identity. What are the personal consequences of traversing parallel universes?

  8. Human Augmentation and Equality: Advanced human augmentation technology has divided society into those who can afford enhancements and those who cannot. The divide has created a significant gap in physical and cognitive abilities between the two classes, leading to societal unrest. What happens when human augmentation creates a new class system based on physical and intellectual capabilities?

  9. Synthetic Consciousness Transfer: In the near future, the technology to transfer human consciousness into a synthetic body has been perfected. However, the process is irreversible and not without its drawbacks, including a gradual loss of human emotions and physical sensations. How would a society navigate the moral and existential dilemmas posed by the possibility of immortality through synthetic bodies?

  10. Interdimensional Tourism: A groundbreaking discovery enables humans to travel between dimensions. At first, it’s the most exhilarating form of tourism, but when travelers start disappearing or coming back fundamentally changed, the darker side of this invention emerges. What could be the implications and perils of unrestricted interdimensional tourism?

  11. AI-guided Society: A highly advanced AI system has been entrusted to govern a utopian society, making all major decisions based on data and algorithms. However, when a series of unpredictable events occur, the AI’s response is found lacking, leading to a crisis of faith in the system. How does a society react when its AI leadership falters in the face of unpredictability?

  12. Genetic Alteration and Identity: A society where genetic modification is not just possible but a norm, allows individuals to drastically alter their appearance, abilities, and even personality traits. Amidst this, a young protagonist grapples with their identity in a world where self-definition is limitless. What does identity mean in a world where individuals can radically alter their genetics?

  13. Eco-Awareness Implants: In an effort to combat climate change, a tech company introduces implants that make people physically experience the harm they’re causing to the environment. This story explores the social and personal implications when environmental harm becomes physically felt. What changes when humans physically feel the environmental impact of their actions?

  14. Time-Dilated Space Travel: Humanity has mastered space travel but at a cost. Due to time dilation, those who travel in space age slower than people on Earth. This gives rise to a new social dynamic between the travelers (“Dilators”) and those who remain on Earth (“Stayers”). How would time-dilated space travel affect relationships and societal dynamics?

  15. Telepathic Society: A breakthrough in neurotechnology results in the creation of a device that allows telepathic communication. However, this new form of interaction starts to blur the boundaries of privacy, leading to unforeseen societal shifts and challenges. What happens to society when privacy is compromised through telepathy-enabling technology?

  16. The Ethical Dilemma of Cloning: Scientists have perfected human cloning, but society is divided over its implications. Following the life of a clone in a world where their rights are being debated, the story examines the concept of identity, individuality, and what it truly means to be human. What ethical and identity-related dilemmas arise in a society where human cloning is possible?

  17. Terraforming Gone Awry: A distant human colony begins terraforming an alien planet, but the process unexpectedly awakens the planet’s dormant ecosystem. The colonists must now adapt to a rapidly changing environment and deal with potentially hostile alien life. What challenges and conflicts arise when terraforming awakens a dormant alien ecosystem?

  18. Benevolent Alien Overlords: Humans are not the dominant species. Earth has been peacefully taken over by an advanced alien civilization, bringing about a golden age of technology and prosperity. However, some humans question the aliens’ benevolence and aim to discover their true intentions. What happens when humans live under the rule of seemingly benevolent alien overlords?

  19. Memory Manipulation: A new technology allows people to alter or erase their memories. While this offers relief to many who struggle with painful memories, it also opens the door to manipulation and deceit on an unprecedented scale. How does society cope when memory becomes malleable and untrustworthy?

  20. The AI Artist: An AI starts creating art that surpasses human capability, leading to an existential crisis within the artistic community. As this AI gains popularity and acclaim, human artists struggle to define their role and purpose. What happens when an AI becomes the world’s greatest artist, and how does it impact human creativity?

  21. The Dream Engine: A device is invented that can not only record dreams but also allow people to share and experience others’ dreams. As dream-sharing becomes a new form of social interaction, it has unforeseen impacts on society’s perception of reality. What are the implications when dreams become shareable and a part of social interaction?

  22. Alternate History Exploration: A team of scientists develops a device that can peer into alternate timelines where history unfolded differently. The story explores how these glimpses of ‘what could have been’ impact society’s perception of its own history. How does access to alternate histories influence society’s understanding of its own past?

  23. Cryogenically Frozen Civilization: In an attempt to escape a dying Earth, humanity cryogenically freezes itself, leaving AI caretakers to find a new habitable planet. When humanity is finally awoken thousands of years later on a distant world, they must grapple with the challenges of a society stuck in the past. What challenges does a cryogenically frozen civilization face when awoken in a distant future?

  24. Alien Technology Integration: After a crashed alien spaceship is discovered, human society quickly integrates the alien technology into everyday life. But as the technology starts reshaping society in unexpected ways, humanity has to reckon with the consequences of unchecked technological adoption. What are the consequences when alien technology is hastily integrated into human society?

  25. Virtual Afterlife: Technology has advanced to a point where the human mind can be uploaded to a digital afterlife upon death. While some embrace this chance at immortality, others question whether this virtual existence truly qualifies as ‘life.’ How does society redefine death and spirituality when a digital afterlife becomes possible?

  26. Exoplanet Gold Rush: A distant exoplanet rich in valuable resources triggers a new kind of gold rush, with corporations, governments, and independent miners all vying for a piece. The story explores the political, economic, and ethical implications of this resource boom in space. What happens when a resource-rich exoplanet triggers a new era of gold rush in space?

  27. Rogue Terraformer: A rogue scientist starts terraforming Mars without authorization, rapidly making it habitable. As people start migrating to the transformed planet, Earth governments scramble to control the situation, leading to political tensions and power struggles. What are the political and societal implications of unauthorized terraforming and colonization?

  28. Nanobot Swarms: The advent of self-replicating nanobot technology has revolutionized healthcare and manufacturing. However, when a swarm of nanobots begins to behave unexpectedly, society must deal with the possible repercussions of a nanobot ‘infestation.’ What consequences could a society face in the event of a nanobot swarm going rogue?

  29. Sentient Ecosystem: The discovery of a sentient, planet-wide ecosystem on an alien world throws human understanding of life into disarray. The story follows the complex communication and negotiation with this alien ‘life form’ as humanity tries to establish a presence on its surface. What happens when humans encounter a sentient alien ecosystem?

  30. Temporal Refugee Crisis: Time travel has become possible, but it’s a one-way trip. A large group of people from a dystopian future travel to the present day seeking refuge, causing a temporal refugee crisis. How does society handle a refugee crisis stemming from time travel?

  31. Biological Spaceships: Genetic engineering has led to the creation of living, biological spaceships. These bio-ships have personalities, needs, and even emotions. The story explores the bond between humans and their bio-ships as they journey through the cosmos. What happens when spaceships are not just machines but living, sentient beings?

  32. Galactic Internet: An ancient, galaxy-spanning alien civilization has left behind an ‘internet’ of sorts, filled with their knowledge, culture, and the echoes of their existence. As humans start to explore this galactic internet, they grapple with the ethical and practical implications of the alien knowledge. How does human society change when it gains access to a galactic network filled with alien knowledge and technology?