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Mind reading/empathy > mind control

jhnmakii

Just as the title says,

I think mind reading or empathy(knowing what others are feeling) makes a better story than one centered around mind control.

The problem with mind control for me is that it isn't satisfying to just order someone to have sex with you and in a split second they do and you either enslave them to you indefinitely or erase their memories. Nothing satisfying about such situations for me atleast.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@jhnmakii

I've always felt similarly. There's little real conflict in such stories, and thus they always seem compelled to combating a bad-guy mind control character. In mind-reading/telepathy stories, it's more about communication and opening themselves up to others rather than compulsion (lack of personal choice).

You don't say whether you're searching for stories or just commenting on them, but if you're looking for these stories, my "Catalyst" series might be up your alley, though it's a serious time investment.

Replies:   jhncanson
jhncanson
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Yea, i've been trying to find an mc story wherein it doesn't involve world-saving or fighting bad guy.

Most mc story leaps in its transition, like first chapter protagonist discovers mind control powers, second chapter it would seem like he has been doing it for years.

There's really no limitations put on mc stories thats why they almost always ends up saving the world.

I think a good counter-act to mind control would be that you'd have to subdue one's mind in order for you to dominate it, thus you'd need mental strength so you just can't go around mind controlling random people. It would be like inception how they invade other people's minds.

P.S. i'm currently reading your story. i'm doing it slowly though, like 4-5 chapters a week, that way its long lasting.

Crumbly Writer

@jhncanson

P.S. i'm currently reading your story. i'm doing it slowly though, like 4-5 chapters a week, that way its long lasting.

At 4 to 5 chapters a week, it'll last a good long time.

Replies:   jhnmakii2nd
jhnmakii2nd

@Crumbly Writer

Yea, i binge read stories alot that i either, read all of it thus if the story is not concluded, i suffer the sorrows of not knowing what happens next or i read too much in such a short time that i stop enjoying it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@jhnmakii2nd

Yea, i binge read stories alot that i either, read all of it thus if the story is not concluded, i suffer the sorrows of not knowing what happens next or i read too much in such a short time that i stop enjoying it.

Although a few insist on only reading completed stories, the majority of SOL readers seem to prefer reading a single chapter at a time. That way, you can follow multiple stories at once without getting overwhelmed. In fact, the biggest problem are long posting delays, as readers have to continually reread the previous chapter before continuing.

Slutsinger

My story, Demon Bride, is very much about empathy (joint) and how it forms a basis for building connection. It's an unusual universe, and the base level of sexual openness is much higher than what we have here. Still I'm proud of how I approached the empathy there. http://storiesonline.net/s/13064/demon-bride

io.thanateros

@jhncanson

uch about empathy (joint) and how it forms a basis for building connection. It's an unusual universe, and the base level of sexual openness is much higher than what we have here. Still I'm proud of how I app


I tend to agree with you, although some of the better ones will generally explore the protagonist experimenting with defining the scope and and limitations of their abilities.

Too many MC stories rely on shadowy 'New World Order' cabals or secret CIA/NSA departments memes. This gets very meh so what! after awhile.

I'd post a few links but unfortunately my ability to remember specific stories is extremely poor.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@io.thanateros

Too many MC stories rely on shadowy 'New World Order' cabals or secret CIA/NSA departments memes. This gets very meh so what! after awhile.

I'd post a few links but unfortunately my ability to remember specific stories is extremely poor.

You can include some of mine, as I felt the 'New World Order' aspect was an issue that was difficult to sidestep. My new story (still in development) also tackles it, but addresses it as renegade elements of the organization, with the organization lending support while individual members with their own opinion of facts take events into their own hands.

Replies:   io.thanateros
jhnmakii

I finally realized or atleast confirmed by beef with MC stories.

Aside from the common MC tropes that gets boring quickly after a few stories.

My problem with it is that sometimes the MC ability is way too OP(overpowered).

In a way that most MC stories give their main characters ability to just walk up to anyone and order them around and they'd comply.

Where's the fun in that?

But i guess it wouldn't be mind control then?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@jhnmakii

I finally realized or atleast confirmed by beef with MC stories. Aside from the common MC tropes that gets boring quickly after a few stories.

My problem with it is that sometimes the MC ability is way too OP(overpowered). In a way that most MC stories give their main characters ability to just walk up to anyone and order them around and they'd comply.

Yeah, that's an issue. I prefer the Star Wars version where only weak minds are susceptible (largely meaning women fall prey easily, while bad guys don't). Still, even that's weak and the excuse is incredibly weak. Personally, I prefer when there's a physical cost to using the talent, so that rather than creating slaves, they can only influence significant results, and that when push comes to shove, they're often too worn out to change events having to handle things the old way.

Replies:   jhnmakii2nd
jhnmakii2nd

@Crumbly Writer

Yea, there's hardly any consequences to mind control stories .

There should be mental exhaustion, your will against theirs, thus everytime you try to subdue someone, its a fight to the death.

If you win, they're your slave for life but if you lose, you're reduced to a vegetable/mentally-crippled/retarded.

It should also affect personality wise since you are basically fucking with another person's mind therefore you do not know what kind of pandora box you are diving into.

An innocent exterior may confine a very sinister interior. Even if the victim has little to no willpower, their memories/experiences/dreams should have an effect.

This would cripple most mc stories but then it would add flavor to the story.

io.thanateros

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, I would highly recommend all of your stories! In particular the Catalyst series.

Stories become interesting when they find new avenues to explore the well worn genre tropes particularly if they do so in unexpected ways.

That's why it's always exciting when one of the 'elite' (aroslav, G Younger, et. al.) writers tackle a story genre for the first time - the chances of them transcending the tropes of the genre are good.

MC stories were my favorite for a long time - until I had read enough that it was mostly recycling the same old plot-lines.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@jhnmakii2nd

This approach that weak minds are much easier to control would help explain why so many of the mind controlling main character's (MCMC, I need to work in master of ceremonies and Marine Corps) concubines are blonde bimboes.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

This approach that weak minds are much easier to control


Is sure messed up, because most politicians are weak minded fools, yet they aren't seriously affected.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@jhnmakii2nd

Yea, there's hardly any consequences to mind control stories .

There should be mental exhaustion, your will against theirs, thus everytime you try to subdue someone, its a fight to the death.

If you win, they're your slave for life but if you lose, you're reduced to a vegetable/mentally-crippled/retarded.

Ha-ha. It sounds like you're well on your way to writing your own MC story.

There should be fairly severe costs to mind control, otherwise the very first person with it would rule the entire world. However, past of the problem is the dual function of the stories. Most begin in MC as a sexual tool (i.e. nerdy young guy gets whatever girl he wants), thus the story starts with zero cost to the protagonist, no limit on his ability and those controlled become complete slaves to the will of the controller, but then they try to develop the story the the very lack of controls which drove the original elements destroys any real conflict in the second.

What the genre really needs is for authors to decide on mind controls limitations, and then write the story based on that, rather than on how many girls he can screw. I don't mind sex in stories, but not when it limits the story, ultimately making it a flimsy, fuzzy-headed meandering and unfocused story.

@io.thanateros

Actually, I would highly recommend all of your stories! In particular the Catalyst series.

Stories become interesting when they find new avenues to explore the well worn genre tropes particularly if they do so in unexpected ways.

That's why it's always exciting when one of the 'elite' (aroslav, G Younger, et. al.) writers tackle a story genre for the first time - the chances of them transcending the tropes of the genre are good.

Thank you, IO, I appreciate that.

That's always been the big draw in literature. Someone comes up with a BIG new idea, and soon everyone jumps on the bandwagon until, soon, the new idea becomes worn out an exhausted. But then some newbie writer will decide 'Hell, I can do better than that' and they'll take an entirely new look at the genre, breathing new life into it, only to restart the entire cycle again.

Both Ernest and I have tackled the Zombie genre, though with the success of "The Walking Dead", now getting on in years, it's hardly been exhausted yet. However, it's beginning to get a little long in the tooth, as they say. (Mine is nearing the end of the first draft, so it'll be a while before it appears.)

@richardshagrin

This approach that weak minds are much easier to control would help explain why so many of the mind controlling main character's (MCMC, I need to work in master of ceremonies and Marine Corps) concubines are blonde bimboes.

That's an easy one. One effect of Mind Control, is that it drains the color out of one's hair, so instead of blond, their hair becomes very light, almost white (think Harry Potters' after he was attacked as a child).

A bigger problem with their being bimboes, is their not being independent. What good is a second in command if they don't bring a strong personality, at least enough so they can keep challenging the MCMCMC (?) into further developing their skill and deepening his understanding of what's involved.

Again, the limitations of the erotic MC story poison the waters of the serious MC story. What we need, is a new understanding of the limits of MC, and then build both stories based on those principals (i.e. wait until you know where you're going before you start writing the sex scenes).

@Ernest

Is sure messed up, because most politicians are weak minded fools, yet they aren't seriously affected.

Not necessarily. Despite starting out strong minded, years spent developing mindless legislation designed to avoid addressing any serious issues, the politicans' minds weaken. However, instead of falling prey to Mind Control, they instead become fervid in their beliefs to the point they can't be swayed, no matter how wrong minded or how much evidence anyone demonstrates to convince them.

Thus their minds become simultaneously stronger and weaker at the same time.

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater


most politicians are weak minded fools


Yet people keep on voting for them! Are you sure they're not powerful mind-controllers?

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

What the genre really needs is for authors to decide on mind controls limitations


I have a story in progress involving mind control. The mind control has a number of significant limitations.

The mind control isn't telepathic. The MC's primary power is control over time. He can stop time. The mind control is essentially a form of supernaturally enhanced subliminal messaging.

He's limited to the range of his voice. Mechanical or electronic devices won't work in the time stop mode unless they are in physical contact with him. Even then, there are limits. He could use a bullhorn to extend the range of his voice, but a PA system is too spread out to function.

Of course, a potential subject who can't hear for what ever reason would be immune. So would a subject that doesn't understand the language the MC is using (he only speaks English at least at the start).

The time stop is an inherent power, not based in a device. There is an endurance limit for how much subjective time he can hold the time stop for. While this will increase somewhat as he uses his power more and more, there will always be a limit.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Yet people keep on voting for them! Are you sure they're not powerful mind-controllers?


The politicians aren't, but their media minders are.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I have a story in progress involving mind control. The mind control has a number of significant limitations.


ditto

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

ditto


I'd be interested in the limits you use.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


I'd be interested in the limits you use.


I'm working on a few stories that have slight differences in the limitations.

In Finding Home I had Al with a mild ability to command others, but not really a mind control aspect. In a story with a working title of H.U.Man the main character, Hugh, has an ability to impose his will on anyone who doesn't have a strong mind when he gives them an order, but he his upbringing puts a strong personal ethics limit on it's use - this should come at about 50 to 70K words. In another work in progress with a working title of Hal the MC, Hal, has the ability to impose his will on anyone and to alter how they think, he can also take control of their muscles to force them to do things - this is still developing and already at 72K words. In another sort of related work in progress with the title Matt the MC has certain ESP powers which includes the ability to dominate people who are even slightly submissive, and intimidate those who aren't - 11K words and still developing. Last is one with a working title of Revenge isn't Sweet that's isn't a real mind control, but the MC has a set of drugs that allows him to turn people into obedient slaves for an hour or two, and the use of the second drug while under the influence of the first allows him to brainwash them - 7 K words and developing.

Mind you, I've over 30 works in progress, at the moment, so some may take a little while to get finished. Most delays, at the moment, are due to the BS form July last year (as mentioned in my blog).

Some of the stories are being set up for the MC to have ethical conflicts, while some are being set up with what I see as natural limitations, as I did with mind powers in Finding Home, Rough Diamond, Kim. I've thoughts on other limitations that can be used, but not thought out how you'd apply them, yet.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son


The time stop is an inherent power, not based in a device. There is an endurance limit for how much subjective time he can hold the time stop for. While this will increase somewhat as he uses his power more and more, there will always be a limit.


If you want free advice, I'd show some 'time slippage' as time unexpectedly begins at odd intervals, requiring additional effort on his part to hold it in place. That'll add additional tension to the scenes, keep the mind control to a minimum and set the character up for a later disaster, if necessary.

D.S., I've got an upcoming story while, not actually a MC story, has certain MC elements to it. Instead of mind control, certain people defer to him. This power is based on alien neurocomputers in their blood which binds everyone together. In terms of limitations, that means it's harder to 'beef up' the story. If everyone agrees with the lead character, then no one can really work against him or argue for a different course of action. In terms of cost, since they keep saluting him when they first meet, and he keeps saving people from disasters, it attracts media attention so they end up hunted by the media who keep demanding answers.

Not quite up your alley, but it gives you an idea of different approaches to the subject.

In "The Catalyst" Alex never actually had any MC ability. Instead, he'd grant certain people telepathic abilities, and they were (generally) so appreciative they'd become supporters (less mind control than appreciation). That allowed them to still get angry at him or feel betrayed by him.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


If you want free advice, I'd show some 'time slippage' as time unexpectedly begins at odd intervals, requiring additional effort on his part to hold it in place.


I might introduce that in a case where he is forced to stop time repeatedly. In my mind, there are two aspects to the endurance issue. How long he can hold a time stop and how many times he can do it repeatedly.

He can also pull a time slow which puts him in a matrix like bullet time for combat. This is actually a greater strain than the time stop.

I visualize this as being like trying to pull two strong magnets apart. The single greatest point of strain is pulling himself out of the normal flow of time. As with holding two magnets apart, the closer he is to the normal flow of time, the harder it is to keep himself from being pulled back in.

ETA: Fiction has long had the concept of an antihero, an amoral hero. I see the MC in this story as an antivillian.

Capt Zapp

@jhnmakii2nd

There should be mental exhaustion, your will against theirs,


That reminds me of the father in 'Firestarter'. Every time he 'pushed', he ended up with 'pinprick hemorrhages' and a nosebleed. If I remember correctly, it wasn't actually 'Mind Control' since he could 'push' objects too (the scene where I think he got change from a phone?)

Something like that would definitely put a cramp on having that ability, especially if the victim fighting back increased the level of 'feedback damage'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

Something like that would definitely put a cramp on having that ability, especially if the victim fighting back increased the level of 'feedback damage'.

More importantly, if the cost of using an ability grows over time, it puts a time limit on the story as the readers know that the character's ability to control time is slowly slipping away, adding a further dynamic to the story. Can he catch the bad guys before it's too late?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

s know that the character's ability to control time is slowly slipping away


I don't see anything about controlling time in Capt Zapp's comment. My time control story, is certainly not going there.

In my time stop/mind control story, I predicated a world where many superhero's and super-villains exist.

The basis in that world of the meta human phenomenon is that there were real entities behind the ancient pagan mythologies, many of whom pissed in the human gene pool. When that ancient "divine" DNA get's concentrated enough in a single human they get powers.

The MC is a demigod of time. He isn't immortal, but he is eternal. Eventually he will just stop aging any further.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I don't see anything about controlling time in Capt Zapp's comment. My time control story, is certainly not going there.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything. I was just responding to the "something like that would definitely put a cramp on having that ability". I fleshed it out a bit further by suggested other ways to add complexity to the story and limitations to the main characters ability.

I didn't mean to imply that you should change the content of your story. I was just throwing ideas out concerning limiting Mind Controlling or other 'super human' characters

Replies:   Dominions Son
jhncanson

Regarding Time abilities.

Would it be within the range of acceptability if an MC were to be a time lord, wherein the universe he is in, by just existing, he pulled all timelines into one great river?

madnige
Updated:

To tie the recent drift back to the thread topic:

Artie has/had a time control series It's About Time and also a couple of mind control by mechanical means, control loop stability and Tuesday Morning at the Mall. His 'Forever Yours' stories add a bit of biochemistry to this, as well.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I didn't mean to imply that you should change the content of your story.


No problem, the bit about controlling time just confused me about who you were actually replying to.

Dicrostonyx
Updated:

@Dominions Son


The time stop is an inherent power, not based in a device. There is an endurance limit for how much subjective time he can hold the time stop for. While this will increase somewhat as he uses his power more and more, there will always be a limit.


Here's a question for you: what's his range? Is he stopping time in a a small field around himself, or everywhere? Does "everywhere" mean the planet, the galaxy, or the whole universe, and does it include alternate universes?

If yes, there are some big questions regarding power levels and ramifications. If no, does the affect slowly fade away or abruptly end? Either way will affect the way in which an affected area becomes out of sync with the rest of the world.

Depending on how you interpret the demigod of time aspect, and what the end-game for the story or character arc is, you may wish to consider the idea that instead of stopping time in the universe, he is speeding up his own personal time. That would also be in line with standard terminology of super hero fiction: you could actually refer to his power with numbers.

As he becomes more powerful he can change the dilation effect, so that when he starts out maybe he's moving 100:1, then he starts climbing to a thousand to one, a million to one, etc. until the difference between his speeding himself up and actually stopping time just becomes a matter of semantics.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Dicrostonyx


Depending on how you interpret the demigod of time aspect, and what the end-game for the story or character arc is, you may wish to consider the idea that instead of stopping time in the universe, he is speeding up his own personal time.


That's exactly how I envision it, but the main character hasn't figured that out yet.


until the difference between his speeding himself up and actually stopping time just becomes a matter of semantics.


He actually started with enough acceleration that the difference with actually stopping time is semantics.

The first activation of his power was instinctive, with him and one of his sisters caught in a bank robbery. I'm not sure what the exact acceleration ratio would be, but he spent a subjective half hour in less "real" time than it would take a bullet fired from a gun to move a noticeable distance.

Actually, Lower ratios of acceleration are harder for him to maintain, because the closer he is to the normal flow of time the more force the universe can exert in trying to pull him back into the normal flow of time.

As I envision it, the physics gets a little weird in places.

The time stop and "bullet time" modes while a near perfect defense as long as he can keep it up, are not especially useful against tough opponents offensively.

Any object he touches will get partly or fully drawn into his temporal frame (Mostly, so air doesn't become as impassible as a brick wall). As soon as he loses contact it drops back into the normal temporal frame. Unfortunately, this means that even in a fight, he can't impart more kinetic energy to any object than he could moving at normal speed in the normal temporal frame of reference.

Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

does the affect slowly fade away or abruptly end? Either way will affect the way in which an affected area becomes out of sync with the rest of the world.

Depending on how you interpret the demigod of time aspect, and what the end-game for the story or character arc is, you may wish to consider the idea that instead of stopping time in the universe, he is speeding up his own personal time. That would also be in line with standard terminology of super hero fiction: you could actually refer to his power with numbers.

That raises several interesting questions. As Dicrostonyx mentions, if he stops time everywhere, that would require an incredibly outlay of energy (think several Nuclear reactors worth, at least). However, if he simply slows it down locally, then there should be a 'snap back' effect when time jumps back to where it was. Normal humans might not experience it, but the character should, leaving him dazed and confused, though it would be fun describing how everyone around him responds.

If on the other hand, he 'simply' speeds up his own time, as you suggest, then we return to my proposal. If you keep speeding up your time, then you're going to age prematurely (i.e. the repercussions of these 'time manipulations' will be his getting older, weaker and slower).

If he's a 'Time Lord', then it would be reasonable to assume that he's drawing the energy to manipulate time from alien technology which is delivered, say, via alternate dimensions. If so, you might want to flesh that out a bit, say what effects that has on those surrounding the area he affects.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Capt Zapp
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If on the other hand, he 'simply' speeds up his own time, as you suggest, then we return to my proposal. If you keep speeding up your time, then you're going to age prematurely (i.e. the repercussions of these 'time manipulations' will be his getting older, weaker and slower).


He is speeding him self up.

However, he doesn't have to worry about aging. He's a demigod, he is eternal, baring suicide, accidental or violent death he will theoretically live forever. He is literally descended from a primordial god of time. Time has no power over him.

Replies:   Dicrostonyx
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Normal humans might not experience it, but the character should,


Maybe this explains Deja vu :)

Dicrostonyx

@Dominions Son

He's a demigod, he is eternal, baring suicide, accidental or violent death he will theoretically live forever. He is literally descended from a primordial god of time. Time has no power over him.


Here's another thought for you, again possibly explained by his demigod status meaning that he exists partially outside of time.

How does his perception of the universe change at seriously high time ratios? I don't just mean the fact that things seem to be standing still, though that could have some serious ramifications if he starts moving faster than gravity (between 2.55 × 10^8 and 3.81 × 10^8 meters-per-second if current theory is correct) but what happens when he starts moving fast enough that he's not receiving the full amount of light for an area?

This doesn't require actually moving faster than light per se, just fast enough that he is only seeing some of the light. Would the world get dimmer, or faded with less colour? Would objects become fuzzy at the edges? Would his perception of his own movement have jagged edges like on old TV screens? Would he start experiencing redshift as he moves away from light sources and blueshift as he moves towards them?

For that matter, if he can accelerate into relativistic ranges, does that affect even his own perception of time? Everything else would still be essentially stopped, but his own time-frame could be moving differently than he thinks it is.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Dicrostonyx

How does his perception of the universe change at seriously high time ratios? I don't just mean the fact that things seem to be standing still, though that could have some serious ramifications if he starts moving faster than gravity (between 2.55 × 10^8 and 3.81 × 10^8 meters-per-second if current theory is correct) but what happens when he starts moving fast enough that he's not receiving the full amount of light for an area?


Here's the thing, He's experiencing time at a faster rate then the rest of the universe, but he's not physically moving at a high velocity. He can stand still in frozen time. He will never experience relativistic effects. Theoretically, if he was moving at relativistic speeds, he could use his power to counteract the temporal distortion from the speed.

Think of it more like the temporal distortion around the event horizon of a black hole, only it's in the opposite direction, speeding up time rather than slowing it down.

This doesn't require actually moving faster than light per se, just fast enough that he is only seeing some of the light. Would the world get dimmer, or faded with less colour? Would objects become fuzzy at the edges?


His time distortion is not due to physical velocity.

He should still be able to perceive all the light passing through the point where his eyes are.

As his temporal flow rate gets fast enough, he might experience strobe like effects as he moves in to a frame of reference high enough that he can perceive the gaps between light waves.

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