46 Sci-Fi Writing Prompts

If you’ve already been through our list of 400+ all-genre writing prompts, but it didn’t quite scratch that alien, other-worldly itch, no worries! We’ve got you covered with 46 science fiction writing prompts.

Writing is hard, and we’re here to make it a little bit easier. Try out some of these science fiction ideas for writing exercises, short stories, novel prompts, or anything else!

  1. A woman is appointed sheriff of a town she’s never heard of. A series of strange incidents make her realize something isn’t quite right–the entire town is populated by aliens who have taken the form of humans to hide out on earth. They’re perfectly nice, but assimilation is tough.
  2. People’s consciousness can be downloaded onto chips and replaced with others. The rich and influential rent bodies loaded with whatever consciousness, abilities, and knowledge they need in a person.
  3. A family moves into a new house. The basement has been sealed off, apparently for years. When their home improvements lead them to break into it, they find it’s covered in unidentifiable eggs.
  4. It’s like the olympics, but on another planet and 14 solar systems are competing.
  5. A man has heard a ringing sound his whole life. The same tone, the same volume, twenty-four hours a day. He’s seen doctors, he’s had tests, he’s tried medication. He’s learned to live with it, even ignore it. One day it stops.
  6. The only thing stopping Maya from going to her dream college is a two-point too low ACT score and the fact that she’s now of age and her alien family has returned to fetch her. Her parents rule their planet, and it’s time for her to train in leadership, find a spouse, and take over.
  7. A teenager buys a plant from a one-day-only farmer’s market. The market is gone when he returns to ask a few follow-up questions on why the plant ate his cat.
  8. Aimee always knew she was smart. She’s the top of her senior class, head of the debate team, and fluent in seven languages, after all. She just didn’t know it was because her real dad was an alien.
  9. Two friends plan to heist an entire planet with a corrupt government. Sure, they’re doing it for the people, but the money’s not too bad either.
  10. Thousands of homeless people in a usually packed city have vanished overnight.
  11. A man disappears for thirteen years and returns with a special ability.
  12. Everyone in town falls asleep simultaneously, except one family.
  13. On an alien planet, earth is merely a farm to harvest meat.
  14. A group of animals go through a series of experimental trials that ends with them possessing comparably human intelligence. They plot escape.
  15. Horrifically realistic dolls are manufactured as children’s toys. Their lifelikeness prompts a lonely woman to adopt one.
  16. A couple loses their child in an accident. They take advantage of accessible cloning technology to make a new one. While the clone looks exactly like their child, it’s a different person. They dispose of the clone and try again. This goes on for decades, clones of the same person at different ages being tossed into the foster system, onto the street, into other homes–eventually, they meet.
  17. An ancient tribe that disappeared suddenly from history returns in modern day.
  18. A shrill tone rings out from an unknown place, heard around the world. Everyone on earth turns into a mindless slave for an unseen power–everyone who has the ability to hear, at least.
  19. A tourist in an Egyptian tomb accidentally activates ancient, but far advanced, technology when she bleeds on a stone.
  20. Scientists spent decades developing a technology to wipe people of emotions. This technology is available to the wealthy and powerful, and it creates a logical, peaceful society. It also creates a market for consumable, temporary emotions harvested from lower class people.
  21. A tattoo appears when a person comes of age, dictating the beginning of their life’s quest.
  22. A character receives a gift from their great-grandmother on her deathbed. It’s a necklace. The great-grandmother says it’s a charm for focus and clarity. When your character puts it on, her mind goes silent. That night, the great-grandmother passes away, and the character receives a letter on their doorstep with an invitation to a secret meeting. They’re part of a small collective of soldiers who work to dismantle a government with the ability to project thoughts and ideas into citizens’ minds. Your character has to sort through which thoughts were real and which were planted in their head every day up until now.
  23. Your character is on his way to America. Four ships since the Mayflower have successfully traveled and settled. He’s excited to begin a new life in a new land and experience every adventure that comes with it. The ship is caught in a storm before it reaches America, pulled into a whirlpool and sucked below the surface to a world below the ocean.
  24. A space explorer from Earth crash-lands on a planet where humans are considered scum. Write from the perspective of one of the aliens living on the planet. 
  25. A teenage girl invents a machine for a science project that will allow her to talk to aliens. It fails at the science fair, but later that night, she picks up a signal… 
  26. An intern monitors the communications panel for a space voyage that has long since gone dark. In the middle of the night, she receives transmission from one of the crew members, the only survivor on the ship. What does the crew member tell her? 
  27. An alien sneaks on board a spaceship from Earth, which is supposed to be in space for one full year. Write from the perspective of the alien as the crewmembers slowly turn against each other. 
  28. A thousand years into the future, a promising young scholar discovers a teenager’s MySpace page from 2009. What does he do with this information? What does the MySpace page look like? 
  29. The internet suddenly crashes completely and cannot be recovered. What does society look like ten years from now without it? 
  30. A group of friends at a high school go to an observatory after hours, and one of them disappears. The next week, the remaining friends receive strange text messages claiming to be the friend, trapped in another dimension. 
  31. Just as you lose your job as an accountant, your eccentric uncle passes away, and you inherit his farm. Everything looks great when you first move out there, but then you realize there’s something in the woods at night, people acting strangely on the property, and cryptic letters carved into trees. What was your uncle doing? What killed him?
  32. A graduate student studies the effects of different drugs on mice, creating a drug that can double the mouse’s lifespan. He administers the drug to his dying cat, and gives his cat the ability to talk.
  33. The moon gets stuck in the same spot in the sky, and the sun doesn’t rise. Write from the perspective of a team of scientists working in a remote location to figure out why.
  34. A marine biologist gets a research grant to visit a remote island. While they’re scuba diving, they discover that some of the creatures in the sea aren’t like anything else on earth.
  35. The first mission to land a human on Mars succeeds. The astronauts are exploring the planet for themselves, and they meet humans who landed thousands of years ago and have evolved for the Martian climate.
  36. Backpackers on a mountain trip realize that the wildlife around them is loaded with surveillance equipment. Who’s spying on them? What do they want?
  37. A cruise ship returns home, but somehow, it’s a hundred years in the future. Everyone on the cruise ship aged normally, but everyone on land in the rest of the world aged exactly one hundred years. Write from the perspective of a father with his kids on vacation.
  38. A woman falls in love with someone in her biology class, only to learn that they were scientifically designed to be her ideal romantic partner–he has no free will of his own. What does she do?
  39. Whenever an artist tries to draw or paint, they can only draw the same person’s face, over and over and over again. They’ve never met this person, and can’t seem to find out who it might be. They make tons of money selling this one person’s face. One day, at the opening of their new gallery, they meet the person.
  40. When a woman cuts her finger making dinner, she realizes that beneath her skin is a thin coating of metal. She peels it back to discover circuitry. Who created her? How did she gain independence?
  41. After the death of her mother, a little girl studies the night sky every night to see her and her mother’s favorite constellation. At midnight the night after the funeral, the constellation moves.
  42. A mother takes her kids camping in a national park a year after the death of her husband. Her oldest son starts getting strange interference on his walkie-talkie and instructions to venture deeper into the forest–it’s his dead father’s voice on the other end of the radio.
  43. Write the travelogue of a mechanic who’s been abducted by aliens in the hopes that she’ll fix their ship.
  44. A kid gets a copy of the new video game everyone’s been raving about. As he plays it, the game personalizes a little more. Eventually, NPC’s in the game start saying things they shouldn’t know about the kid’s life–things he’d never told anyone else. What does he do?
  45. A soldier fighting in a far-off space war decides to mutiny and crash-lands with her crew on planet Earth, bringing the fight with her.
  46. A scientist receives regular transmission from what he believes to be a far-off planet. He keeps this secret to himself and develops a relationship with the person–or alien–at the other end of the line. After years of secrecy, the government finds out, and the mysterious creature must reveal themselves. What happens?

Happy writing!

Hannah Lee Kidder

Hannah Lee Kidder is a contemporary and fantasy author, writing coach, and YouTuber. She has published two bestselling short story collections, Little Birds and Starlight. Hannah is currently minding her own business somewhere in the Colorado mountains with her roommate, Saya, who is a dog.

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