Day 19 – Seanan McGuire Asks “What If?”

The Prompt

When the square-cube law is rescinded, internal combustion becomes impossible.  How is travel impacted?  How are daily lives changed?

(e. g. What if cars and other engines couldn’t exist? – JD)


Seanan McGuire (http://seananmcguire.com/) was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed (as Mira Grant) was named as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2010. Her short fiction widely published and available on her Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/seananmcguire

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Seanan McGuire, That Ain’t Witchcraft


Leave a comment and let us know how you got on and what you’re writing about

4 thoughts on “Day 19 – Seanan McGuire Asks “What If?””

  1. I wrote 500 words about an extension of our current situation. We live in a post-pandemic world facing rapidly escalating climate change in a grossly polluted world. Drastic action is planned by the government in a desperate attempt to ensure our survival. Many of ‘the old ways’ are being re-instated with quite unexpected outcomes and reactions.

  2. 670 words. This was fun to play with. Had to look up square-cube law.
    Ernest wakes up to the sound of profanity followed by a car horn blaring. Opens the window and starts a conversation with his neighbour, Gordon. Gordon and others from the apartment building can’t start their cars. Buses, trains, planes aren’t working. Ernest rides a bicycle. He doesn’t think this is quite the catastrophe as Gordon and offers the use of his bike. Oops! More profanity. Ernest vaguely remembers something from a physics class. Wouldn’t be chemistry. That was things that went boom. He asks Gordon if there was something called the square-cube law? He’s surprised he remembered. Thought he’d slept through class. Gordon looked at Ernest like he’d sprouted feathers. Suggests Ernest might be onto something and goes to tell Joy-Anne and Ida. They are trying to contact a university professor to find out what the *(*#( is going on. Ernest turns on the news, goes through the channels. Newscasters calling on eye-witnesses to describe a variety of nasty accidents. Ernest finds PBS. “Government sources advise we are in the midst of a global anomaly. We’ve received confirmation the square-cube law is rescinded. Internal combustion is impossible. The world is polarized. Half the population applaud this change of events. They view a return to bicycles, horse and buggy and the like as good things. An opportunity to save the planet. Make positive change. The other half weep. Viewed as as a catastrophe, they wonder, how will we go on holidays? How will we get to the stores? How? How? How? Great minds in all quarters are working on this problem. Stay tuned for further updates.” Ernest decides that’s the best he can do. Stay tuned for further updates. He really wasn’t bothered by it. He had his bicycle, after all.

  3. My story is “Iago 213XP” in which these programmed cyborgs are hunting down units that have used their “Artificial Intelligence” to create havoc. As the narrator closes in on a troublesome cyborg, the unit gets the atoms to spin counter clockwise creating antimatter causing a reaction that threatens what is left of the world. It was fun to write and I am particularly fond of the “What if” premise in my writing.

  4. Lot’s of thoughts in my story about what we would be using if we didn’t have cars, and the effects of the physical emissions of the animals we would ride!

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