Mythical medicines I am impatient to try
I hate it when I want to sneak out of work early, but invisibility pills have not yet been invented. Science moves soooo sloooowly. It-'s nearly 2018!...
I hate it when I want to sneak out of work early, but invisibility pills have not yet been invented. Science moves soooo sloooowly. It's nearly 2018! Sci-fi stories promised us that technology would bring us flying cars; instead it has brought us "Press 7 For Even More Maddeningly Irrelevant Choices".
I was moaning about this when a reader informed me that one group of people is serious about making fiction into reality. Officials in Uttarakhand, India, are investing cash into finding “sanjeevani booti”, the magic herb from the Ramayana which the God Hanuman uses to raise Lakshmana from the dead.
What a great idea. I asked readers and colleagues: What other potions from literature could governments turn into reality?
The first response came from an over-educated workmate, who said that ancient Greek literature had two medicines, Nepenthe and the Waters of Lethe, which made those who drank it forget their sorrows.
Bleeaaah. (That's me making the Wrong Answer Noise from TV quiz shows.) Reject! Modern society already has many magic potions which do exactly that, including Carlsberg, Kingfisher, Bud Light, etc.
Then he suggested the elixir in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which puts you in a death-like coma. Bleeaaah. Reject again! We already spend most of our days in death-like comas.
So I handed the question to the internet's Hive Mind and it concluded that authors in general are shockingly lazy. Fiction is full of disappointingly vague potions that instantly heal any type of wound, including Athelas elixir from Lord of the Rings, Dittany potion from Harry Potter, Chamalla extract from Battlestar Galactica, the Senzu Bean from Japan's Dragonball stories and so on.
In fact we found only four literary potions which were a bit more creative – and possibly worth turning into reality.
Dried Frog Pills: From Terry Pratchett's Discworld stories, these make you hallucinate that you are sane. This would help pretty much all world leaders at the moment, the hope being that they would behave like sensible people for a change.
Extract of Phoenix Feathers: From Japan's Final Fantasy stories, this not only re-animates the dead but turns zombies back into humans. I know some people say there's no such thing as zombies, but clearly they've never met modern teenagers.
Blinkmoth Serum: From Magic: The Gathering, this gives you extreme intelligence, self-awareness, and understanding, making you a person of great wisdom. (This is not to be confused with drinks such as Prosecco and arrack, which make you think you have become a person of great wisdom.) Problem: Everyone I mentioned this to declared that they would rather be stupid all their lives than eat a moth. Good point.
The Spice Melange: This stuff from the Dune stories makes your senses super-sharp and gives the whites of your eyes a strange blue glow. This would be useful to hide the red, blood-shot eyes I'm going to have later this afternoon. "Barman, bring me your biggest jug of the Waters of Lethe." Cheers!
But of course I have to wait until those lazy scientists invent invisibility pills so I can sneak out of work. Come on, guys!
By: Nury Vittachi