It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Story Discussion and Feedback

Forum: Story Discussion and Feedback

Name your favorite "genius inventor" stories.

Wheezer

Most would fall under the Sci-Fi tag, but some may be do-overs. Dual Writer works inventing cool things into his Florida Friends series, but it's not the main focus. Ditto for Banadin's Richard Jackson series, so there may be other great "inventor" stories out there not under the usual story tags.

Howard Faxon's "Dipsomaniac Inventor" is definitely one on my list.
GMW's "The Far Side" is another, although no longer on SOL.

Since there is no 'inventor' tag to use in the search engine, I'm asking to see what I might have missed.

ustourist

@Wheezer

I would select
A New Past by Charlie Foxtrot
and
The Millionaire Next door by Lazlo Zalezac
as my top two.
Knowing the popularity of those two, it is highly improbable you have missed them though.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@ustourist

The Millionaire Next door by Lazlo Zalezac

Excellent story, but no genius inventor in it.

Replies:   ustourist  sejintenej
ustourist

@Grant

He invented the perfect Pizza.
Inventions don't just have to be technological

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@ustourist

He invented the perfect Pizza.

Inventions don't just have to be technological


I've read it. I like it, but it doesn't really match my criteria. Besides, he didn't invent pizza. He just developed a very good pizza recipe and business model.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Wheezer

He just developed a very good pizza recipe and business model.


Inventors typically invent new things within an existing category. You don't have to invent a new category to be a genius inventor.

Replies:   Wheezer  Grant
Wheezer

@REP

Inventors typically invent new things within an existing category. You don't have to invent a new category to be a genius inventor.


Ok, but I'm looking for technology oriented stories, not food oriented. :)

awnlee jawking

@Wheezer

In 'Morales and Lobo', Jeff was originally portrayed as a genius inventor ;)

AJ

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


In 'Morales and Lobo', Jeff was originally portrayed as a genius inventor ;)


I'm unfamiliar with this one, and it does not show on a title search.

I'll add to my original post that a lot of time-travel stories fit my criteria, even though the MC is 're-inventing' uptime technology. Reading well-researched descriptions about how one would go about introducing bronze or iron into a stone-age culture can be fascinating. (As well as the challenges of introducing other technology)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
sejintenej

@Grant

ustourist
The Millionaire Next door by Lazlo Zalezac

Excellent story, but no genius inventor in it.

Maybe but the author's creating / putting together the rules of life takes some beating.

awnlee jawking

@Wheezer

I'm unfamiliar with this one, and it does not show on a title search.


That's because the actual title names two characters who currently get less airtime than Morales and Lobo, ie 'Arlene and Jeff'. I did put a smiley to indicate humour - honest!

AJ

Replies:   samuelmichaels
samuelmichaels

@awnlee jawking

That's because the actual title names two characters who currently get less airtime than Morales and Lobo, ie 'Arlene and Jeff'. I did put a smiley to indicate humour - honest!


Yes, I got it! Although I have not read it in quite a while.

I don't know if re-inventing things on an alternate timeline counts, but if so, lots of do-overs would fall into that. In addition to the ones mentioned, Time and Rebirth by John Wales (actually, several of Wales's SF stories have brilliant inventors), Hindisght by SmikinDriver, and Retreads by Rotedrachen.

Life with Alpha by Any Pseudonym, several stories by artie, One New Horizon by sagacious, Citizen Miller by FantasyLover.

Grant
Updated:

@REP

Inventors typically invent new things within an existing category. You don't have to invent a new category to be a genius inventor.

But it has to be something new within that category.
Improving upon something that already exists isn't inventing something, it's just refining it.
Pizzas had already been invented. He just came up with a better recipe.

If he came up with a machine that was able to assemble the pizza to replace people doing it and so saving time & money & resulting in a more consistent product, that would be inventing something.

awnlee jawking

@Grant

If he came up with a machine that was able to assemble the pizza to replace people doing it and so saving time & money & resulting in a more consistent product, that would be inventing something.


Aha! Same author, the Miss Powers story. Not pizza but similar in concept.

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@Grant

If he came up with a machine that was able to assemble the pizza to replace people doing it and so saving time & money & resulting in a more consistent product, that would be inventing something.


That's already been done too. "It's not delivery. It's DiGiorno!"

If you are referring to pizzerie, they do have automatic dough spinner/spreaders, portioning/distribution devices for the cheese and other smaller toppings (i.e. sausage and bacon bits or any other small frozen toppings). Personally I prefer mine hand-tossed and hand-topped.

REP

@Grant

He just came up with a better recipe.


That is just semantics.

Inventing something is the process of creating something that was not previously in existence. Modifying an existing recipe to improve it will result in new recipe. Modifying existing dough and sauce recipes is creating/inventing two new recipes. Creating a new blend of cheeses or toppings can also be viewed as an invention. Putting these four creations together is inventing a new pizza.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Grant
awnlee jawking

@REP

I don't think the Patent Office would accept four new patents for a pizza.

There's a difference between the technical meaning of 'invent' and its common usage.

AJ

Replies:   LonelyDad  REP
LonelyDad

@awnlee jawking

I don't think the Patent Office would accept four new patents for a pizza.

That's where the term 'Trade Secret' comes in. Can't or won't patent it, it's not copyrightable, so keep it a secret so the competition can't get it. Probably the best known example is the formula for Coke, with the KFC blend of secret spices and herbs second.

Wheezer

The Great Pizza Debate, while moderately interesting, is not really helping me find any new (to me) inventor stories or old ones I might have forgot about.

REP
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


There's a difference between the technical meaning of 'invent' and its common usage.


Not really. You are just assigning a special significance to creating some form of technology. In both instances it is about creating something.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Grant

@REP

Putting these four creations together is inventing a new pizza.

It's a better pizza, but it's not a new pizza.
Different dough for the base, wildly different toppings that become popular would qualify as a new pizza.
But neither is inventing something new. Just developing an existing product.

And while you may consider it semantics, since this site is about the written word, such things are of considerable importance.

Replies:   REP
tphile2
Updated:

Any Pseudomyn's Life With Alpha. He creates an AI computer among other things. He creates a growing harem of synthetic women bots based on comic and anime superheroines such as Power Girl, Zatanna, Wonder Wooman, Supergirl etc. What else would you build an AI for? Done several series but has not posted in awhile. He also took suggestions and reminders. I reminded him of Storm and Wonder Womans being nudists LOL

REP

@Grant

It's a better pizza, but it's not a new pizza.

Different dough for the base, wildly different toppings that become popular would qualify as a new pizza.


Poor logic Grant.

It is a new pizza because the combination of ingredients used to create the dough, sauce, cheese, and/or topping had never been put together before. Furthermore, popularity is not a factor in "new". If you start with a recipe and change the ingredients, you have a different recipe. If that recipe is different from anything in existence, then it is a new recipe (i.e., a new pizza).

What you are doing is defining a category, such as rifle, and saying that a change to one rifle does not create a new rifle. The evolution of a rifles from the muzzle loading flintlock to the M-16 was nothing more than a series of improvements to the basic design.

And while you may consider it semantics, since this site is about the written word, such things are of considerable importance.


You seem resistant to calling something new because there isn't enough change or difference to qualify calling that something "new". If you wish to twist the meaning of "different" to mean "better" instead of "new", I call that a game of semantics.

Capt. Zapp

@REP

If you wish to twist the meaning of "different" to mean "better" instead of "new"


That's like a product being 'New and Improved!". It's either 'New' or 'Improved', not both.

Grant

@REP

Furthermore, popularity is not a factor in "new".

True.

The evolution of a rifles from the muzzle loading flintlock to the M-16 was nothing more than a series of improvements to the basic design.

And even though they are all still rifles, the changes were inventions because they differed in what had gone before. They weren't just an improvement, they previously didn't exist.

You seem resistant to calling something new because there isn't enough change or difference to qualify calling that something "new". If you wish to twist the meaning of "different" to mean "better" instead of "new", I call that a game of semantics.

The discussion was about inventing something. For something to be considered invented it has to be new, previously unknown, (not necessarily better) markedly different from what went before.

Your chose the topic- rifles.
Muzzle loading musket through to flintlock- they are all still rifles, there is nothing new there. You shoot over a long distance with it (although by definition a rifle is, well rifled)
The inventive part was the different methods of loading, rifling.
Rifling can be considered an invention, it hadn't been done before- new/ different
Paper cartridges over pouring power muzzle loading- different/ new.
Modern bullet- new/different.

Back to the Pizza- No new Pizza was created, just an existing product was improved.

And whether or not you call it (derisively) semantics, the distinction is important. It's up to you whether you use words correctly, or not.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Grant

Muzzle loading musket through to flintlock- they are all still rifles


No, they aren't. All the way up to the US Civil War, most muskets were smooth bore.

Yes, there were rifled muzzle loaders well before the American Revolution. However, most military muskets were smooth bore. A smooth bore muzzle loaders can be manufactured faster and reloaded significantly faster than a rifled muzzle loader and when your military tactics are built around mass volley fire, rifles don't make that much difference.

Yes, the extra accuracy of rifles could be devastating on the battle field, but taking advantage of that requires a very different tactical approach. We were half way through the Civil War before the US Army started to learn how to use rifles on the battlefield properly.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Not really. You are just assigning a special significance to creating some form of technology. In both instances it is about creating something.

No, one involves inventing something, like the smartphone or a new form of space travel, the other involves discovering something, like how well cheese and hot-peppers go together. They're galaxies apart (well, technically not, since everyone's stuck on the same damn hunk of wet rock).

He's thinking 'inventor' in the vein of Newton, Einstein or Steve Jobs. He's more interested in the process of creating something new, rather than 'adjusting' or modifying existing products, no matter how cleverly you try to disguise how ordinary it is.

Replies:   Wheezer  awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@REP

You seem resistant to calling something new because there isn't enough change or difference to qualify calling that something "new". If you wish to twist the meaning of "different" to mean "better" instead of "new", I call that a game of semantics.

And you're talking about Changing something, not creating something entirely new. Let's put this in terms you might understand:

Most authors essentially write the exact same story, however they're tasked with creating wholly new works. They don't do that by adding a few new characters, instead the best new works involve reinventing existing genres, or devising entirely new ones (like H.G. Wells or J.R.R. Tolkien). That's why some writers are written off as simple hacks (little originality in their works) while others are viewed as visionary.

As far as I know, no one's ever won an international award (patents, Nobels, Booker Prizes, Pulitzers) for devising a new pizza topping.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

If we apply your rationale, after an inventor creates something new, any change to the basic function/design is just a change to an existing thing.

We can trace today's automobile back to a horse-drawn wagon. The first motor was a new invention after that the subsequent variations were just changes to the existing design and not something new. Thus when the horse was replaced by a modified motor it was just a change and not a new invention. The drive train of the car replaced the wagon tongue, but the drive train is not new for it is just a change to the gearing systems used by early watches, windmills, etc.

I still disagree. To me, an invention is something that was not in existence previously. There may be similar items, but the modified item is a new approach and the result is a new item. For example, the original pizza was created in the Middle East, and it consisted of unleavened bread topped with oils and spices. The addition of sauce, cheese, and/or toppings was the invention/creation of a new style of pizza. You don't have to invent something totally new, never existed before, to invent a new thing.

I doubt you and Grant will agree, and further discussion will not change my mind. So say what you will; I have said all I intend to on this topic.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

He's thinking 'inventor' in the vein of Newton, Einstein or Steve Jobs. He's more interested in the process of creating something new, rather than 'adjusting' or modifying existing products, no matter how cleverly you try to disguise how ordinary it is.

Thanks, you are correct. That's what I was looking for when I started this thread. Now, I don't give a fuck anymore. I am so pissed off at how rudely my thread has been hijacked by two egos arguing over pizza that I would delete the whole damn thread if I could. My chances of finding any new or even old) inventor stories to read and enjoy have dropped to near zero. Yes, I know that the forums are open and any asshole can come in and hijack any damn thread they wish. That does not make it any less rude to do so.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

He's thinking 'inventor' in the vein of Newton, Einstein or Steve Jobs.


Not the first two. AFAIK they discovered laws of physics, they didn't invent anything. Not sure about Steve Jobs - he might actually have invented things in his early career. But even then it's not as obvious as velcro, post-it notes, ring-pull cans or safety pins.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Wheezer

Have you tried google?

site:storiesonline.net inventor
or
site:storiesonline.net genius inventor
(only five results)

AJ

Replies:   Wheezer
ian181

@Wheezer

Book one of roustwriter is about selling a invention.
http://storiesonline.net/s/50474/arlene-and-jeff

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@ian181

I gave up on Arlene & Jeff a year ago.

Wheezer

@awnlee jawking

Have you tried google?

site:storiesonline.net inventor


Yes, I have. The results are not very useful - listings out the ass, but multiple duplications and no filtering. That's why I asked for personal recommendations.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Wheezer

Does is matter if the inventor is the main character or not?

What about sex content?

Genre?

If you don't mind science fiction with a lot of sex where the inventor is a supporting character rather than the main character, try Three Square Meals.

Replies:   Wheezer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I still disagree. To me, an invention is something that was not in existence previously. There may be similar items, but the modified item is a new approach and the result is a new item. For example, the original pizza was created in the Middle East, and it consisted of unleavened bread topped with oils and spices. The addition of sauce, cheese, and/or toppings was the invention/creation of a new style of pizza. You don't have to invent something totally new, never existed before, to invent a new thing.

So, according to you, if I mistakenly dribble some motor oil into my lentil soup, I thereby become an 'inventor', even if no one officially recognizes or chooses to repeat my 'invention'/mistake?

Anything 'new' that's introduced, even if it's been done a thousand times by other people, but has just never been 'packed and sold' as a specific product, is considered a recognizable 'invention', despite requiring no mechanical or engineering understanding?

I'm sorry, we're not disagreeing with you because of our 'blind-sided' opinions, but because you're mangling the English language. There are clear distinctions in English between inventions, failed experiments and creative endeavors. They may be similar in curtain regards, but they're not the same thing.

Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Now, I don't give a fuck anymore. I am so pissed off at how rudely my thread has been hijacked by two egos arguing over pizza that I would delete the whole damn thread if I could. My chances of finding any new or even old) inventor stories to read and enjoy have dropped to near zero. Yes, I know that the forums are open and any asshole can come in and hijack any damn thread they wish. That does not make it any less rude to do so.

Sorry, Wheezer, my antagonizing the bear certainly didn't help, even if I was trying to move the discussion back to the original topic.

If I were you, I'd change your search terms, searching for "AI", "spaceship" or "artifact", as many of the stories you'd be looking for are sci-fi in nature, dealing with either building or discovering something new. (Our stories tend to rely on existing genres of fiction, rather than biographical stories.)

Wheezer

@Dominions Son

If you don't mind science fiction with a lot of sex where the inventor is a supporting character rather than the main character, try Three Square Meals.


Thanks for the suggestion, but the story codes make me shy away from it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Wheezer


Thanks for the suggestion, but the story codes make me shy away from it.


What specifically?

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Dominions Son

What specifically?

Not a fan of 99% of the mind control stories I've read and do not care for any BDSM elements in a story. The story has a high enough rating that I may give it a try. I'm not looking for a stroke story, and that 'Much Sex' code makes me think It's not for me.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Wheezer

Not a fan of 99% of the mind control stories I've read and do not care for any BDSM elements in a story.


The BDSM elements are very light. Mostly dominance/submission. almost no bondage and no S/M beyond a little bare handed spanking.

The mind control aspect is limited. It's not constant telepathic puppet on strings type mind control. At the beginning of the story, the main character has no conscious control over it and spends much of the story so far guilt tripping over it.

Yes, there is a lot of sex, but it also has a serious plot to it. I would not classify it as a stroke story.

REP

@Wheezer

If you feel the thread was hijacked by me I apologize. That was not my intent.

Pizza was the battlefield, but the disagreement was over concepts and the meaning of words, and the use of words, as Grant said, is important on this site.

As I said earlier, I'm finished discussing this topic for I don't seem to get through to others what 'invent' means.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer
Updated:

@REP


As I said earlier, I'm finished discussing this topic for I don't seem to get through to others what 'invent' means.


I'm a culinary school trained professional chef (retired) and I have never heard the word 'invent' used to describe any new recipe. Food chemists may invent completely new food products, but recipes are not inventions.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Wheezer

inventions


As I said, I have no desire to continue discussing the topic.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

As I said, I have no desire to continue discussing the topic.

Continuing to beat a dead horse, since we're all wordsmiths here, I think you're confusing "invention" with "innovation". While you can get away with using using invention to mean 'anything creative', it's a poor choice given the potential options available.

sejintenej

@Grant

If he came up with a machine that was able to assemble the pizza to replace people doing it and so saving time & money & resulting in a more consistent product, that would be inventing something.

It is difficult to define "invent". We had a TV series giving the history of some (currently) common materials / machines / ideas. I can(t remember details of any but it was like

in 1500 there was AB. A developed into AA and B developed into BB and so forth so that what we think of as modern is actually a centuries old idea. Thus a development has to be considered when deciding if it is an invention.

The Harrier jet is a development of an age old idea
whilst the modern swing wing aircraft is simply a mechanisation of a bird's wing movement. Neither is an "invention" but simply a development of something older.

Replies:   tphile2  Grant
tphile2

@sejintenej

that sounds like Connections and The Day The Universe Changed by James Burke. A fascinating BBC documentary look at inventions and how everything evolved over time
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connections_(TV_series)

Replies:   sejintenej
Wheezer

All the hell I asked for when I started this thread was some suggestions for stories about scientists or nerdy types inventing cool gadgets & machines. I even provided story examples. I got very little of that. :(

Replies:   tphile2
tphile2

@Wheezer

sorry about that ;-)
however for cool gadgets and machines, Try the stories by Warlord (Scout) and Colt45
Also google Girl Genius by Phil Foglio which everyone should become instant fans of or admit they are idiots

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@tphile2

Girl Genius by Phil Foglio

I am an idiot, I can read real stories and haven't read comic books since I was eight years old.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Grant

@sejintenej

The Harrier jet is a development of an age old idea

Just as the helicopter was.
And the first Helicopter that was successful can be considered invented, as what actually flew was very different from the original idea.

whilst the modern swing wing aircraft is simply a mechanisation of a bird's wing movement.

Trying to wrap my head around that one.

The Dassault Mirage is probably one of the most famous swing wing aircraft. The wings are fully extended for takeoff & landing & low speed flight, and pulled back to the fuselage for supersonic flight.

Birds flap their wings to fly. And while many people have tried to do the same for an aircraft only one (that I know of) has been successful. While it can fly, it is not a practical aircraft.

Changing something that already exists isn't inventing something. Developing something that hasn't existed before is.
A fixed wing aircraft is not a bird, even though it uses the same principles in order to fly (aerodynamic lift/angle of attack).
A helicopter is not a fixed wing aircraft, so while it is a mechanised device that flies, and it's development used knowledge gained from the development of fixed wing aircraft, the helicopter was an invention in it's own right.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@tphile2

that sounds like Connections and The Day The Universe Changed by James Burke. A fascinating BBC documentary look at inventions and how everything evolved over time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connections_(TV_series)

Quite right - I had forgotten the series name. Glad you also found it fascinating.

sejintenej

@Grant

The Dassault Mirage is probably one of the most famous swing wing aircraft. The wings are fully extended for takeoff & landing & low speed flight, and pulled back to the fuselage for supersonic flight.

Developed by Dr Barnes Wallis who also ?invented the bouncing bomb which was designed to sink to the foundations of a hydroelectric dam.

Replies:   MarissaHorne
MarissaHorne
Updated:

@sejintenej

Developed by Dr Barnes Wallis who also ?invented the bouncing bomb which was designed to sink to the foundations of a hydroelectric dam.


Why does this remind me of a beer advert?

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@MarissaHorne

sejintenej

Developed by Dr Barnes Wallis who also ?invented the bouncing bomb which was designed to sink to the foundations of a hydroelectric dam.

Why does this remind me of a beer advert?


Because the start is from the film "The Dambusters" which is about the actual development and use of the bomb in Operation Chastise by 617 squadron.
In the event the German goalie just wasn't up to scratch ;)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

In the event the German goalie just wasn't up to scratch ;)


Also, one of the major design problems was the steel casing kept shattering on hitting the water due to the sheer weight of the bombs. The goalie would've been a red smear on a pile of bricks below the dam if he actually caught one.

gridiron2393

I'm somewhat laughing and somewhat annoyed at this pizza/invention debate. It's just dick measuring in terms of intellect. I've never understood the need to get into debates with strangers about stuff like this. It reminds me of a comments section on a political blog. No one is going to change their mind because you give a perfect metaphor for why you believe what you believe. Also, as is evident here, no one cares what the other person thinks. Everyone just wants to hear themselves talk. Oh well, it's a shame that this forum isn't structured similar to Facebook where replies to comments become their own little section that the user can click on to expand if they are so inclined.

Anyway as to a recommendation I would definitely suggest A Close Call by Aubie56 http://storiesonline.net/series/595/close-call
A man gets transported back in time and plays sims in real life, inventing many different things and searching for precious metals to invent more.

awnlee jawking

@gridiron2393

It's just dick measuring in terms of intellect.


It matters to people who actually invent things that they use the correct terminology. They can screw up patents etc if they don't.

AJ

Wheezer

@gridiron2393

Anyway as to a recommendation I would definitely suggest A Close Call by Aubie56 http://storiesonline.net/series/595/close-call

A man gets transported back in time and plays sims in real life, inventing many different things and searching for precious metals to invent more.

Thanks!

LonelyDad

To get back to the topic, I have to add the Tom Swift Jr. stories to this list. Although they are extremely dated as far as content, when they came out in the beginning of the modern electronics era they were like every boys dreams come true. The fantastical devices and broadly painted heroes and villains were so exciting and fresh, and had such a sense of wonder.

Replies:   tphile2
StarFleet Carl

@richardshagrin

haven't read comic books since I was eight years old


Girl Genius by Phil Foglio


Girl Genius is not merely a comic book. It is a finely illustrated masterpiece of storytelling. Keep in mind Phil Foglio is the same artist of the Xxxenophile series - and did Phil & Dixie from Dragon Magazine.

Replies:   tphile2
tphile2

@LonelyDad

In that case, lets include Doc Savage, Captain Future, Danny Dunn, Brains Benton to name a few

tphile2

@StarFleet Carl

Also Girl Genius has been novelized in written book form for those allergic to artwork

Harold Wilson

@gridiron2393

I'm somewhat laughing and somewhat annoyed at this pizza/invention debate. It's just dick measuring in terms of intellect. I've never understood the need to get into debates with strangers about stuff like this.


http://img.memecdn.com/so-true_o_123066.jpg

Replies:   REP
REP

@Harold Wilson

http://img.memecdn.com/so-true_o_123066.jpg


A very insensitive link Harold. Especially for those of us who have or know people who have mental, physical, and other impediments.

Back to Top