As you may have noticed on my “Other Stuff” page, I’m a big fan of Dave Malki’s webcomic Wondermark, and I encourage you all to read it. Today’s comic is, in lieu of a story, a full story generator that gives you a simple structure and prompts you to fill in the blanks with several awesome little genre fiction elements. All you need now is a random number generator, and viola! A perfect story every time. Observe:
In a leather-clad America, a young, idealistic revolutionary stumbles across an alien artifact which spurs him into conflict with humanity’s selfish nature, with the help of a shape-shifting female assassin and her wacky pet, culminating in a philosophical argument punctuated by violence.
In a coal-powered medieval Europe, a young flying message courier stumbles across a talking fish, which spurs him into conflict with his own insecurity vis-avis girls, with the help of a female who inexplicably becomes attracted to the damaged protagonist for unstated reasons (and her closet full of assault rifles), culminating in eternal love professed without irony.
In a metaphorical terraformed Mars, a young journeyman inventor stumbles across a dusty tome which spurs him into contact with supernatural monsters, with the help of a girl who’s always loved him (and her cleavage), culminating in the invocation of a spell at the last possible moment.
As you can see, these are not only awesome, they are completely viable in today’s market. The first one up there is actually a pretty accurate description of The Matrix, if you count virtual reality as an alien artifact, and Morpheus as Trinity’s wacky pet.