time dilation and Civilization
Donald Crankshaw has a post about a computer game
idea that sounds really good. I'd shell out $50 for it.
The game (or at least Donald's interpretation) is inspired in part by the game of Civilization --the first game that made me realize I had a serious gaming addiction. Interestingly, I've explored the idea of a story --also inspired by Civilization-- that is very similar to Donald's game idea.
Like the game idea, my story is about time dilation and technological progress. In my story, a cabal of rich villains kidnaps a few thousand young adults, mindwipe them, and drops them naked on an uncharted planet. The villains plan to return to the planet in 10 generations or so and set up as technologically advanced gods among a population of savages.
The hero is a historian who arranges to get left behind when the villains leave. Like all of the high-tech villains the hero has extended-life treatments so he expects to live until the villains return (although it's a dangerous world...). His task is to protect the people from the villains by guiding their social and technological development to give them the ability to defeat the villains when they return.
From my point of view, this story has two interesting subjects. First, there is the technological development --especially the very early developments such as language, fire and trade. Second, there are the god-like moral issues such as: if you encourage a peaceful civilization, then the people won't have any idea how to fight when the villains return. If you encourage a warlike civilization, then they will know how to fight, but in the meantime a lot of people will suffer.