A Real Movie-Plot Threat Contest

The “Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition” is part of Safeguarding Australia 2012.

To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared. The ASRC competition also aims to raise community awareness of national security challenges, and lead to better individual and community resilience.

New, unpublished writers are encouraged to enter the competition.

The first prize is $1000, with the second prize being $500 and third prize being $300.


Entrants need to write a short story with a security scenario as the story plot line or as the essential backdrop. An Australia context to the story is required, and the story needs to be set between today and 2020. While the story is to be fictional, it needs to be grounded in a plausible, coherent and detailed security situation. Rather than just describing on an avalanche of frightening events, writers are encouraged to focus on the consequences and challenges posed by their scenarios, and tease out what the official and public responses would be. Such stories provide more useful insights for those planning to face security threats.

People who have entered my movieplot contests should take note; that’s real prize money. I’m working on my own submission: it involves al Qaeda, a comet hitting the earth, zombies, and feral pigs.

(And while we’re on the topic, here’s a video of the 100 greatest movie threats. Not movie-plot threats—threats from actual movies.)

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 6:23 AM39 Comments


Bob Barker September 12, 2012 8:15 AM

Hmm, if the comet crashed into a herd of feral pigs and blasted their guts all over some al Qaeda guys wouldn’t they have to all shun each other? Wait…that is a solution, not a problem. No idea how the zombies come in.


Snarki, child of Loki September 12, 2012 8:17 AM

But here’s my suggestion: AQ runs a contest looking for the best movie-plot, then when everyone is going “ha, ha, that’s just crazy”, they run the op.

No one thought they would crash feral pigs into buildings.

Harvey MacDonald September 12, 2012 8:47 AM

No, no, no… you have it all wrong. Michael Bay miserably fails to direct an apocalyptic thriller involving comets and zombies, yet the simmering pile of crap gets sent to the theaters anyways. Meanwhile, climate change causes the feral pig population of Australia to explode, immediately impoverishing the nation continent. AQ doesn’t do anything interesting the entire time, but Fox and CNN keep the US mesmerized with what they might do.

JD Bertron September 12, 2012 10:00 AM

Why feral pigs ? Australia has snakes and poison toads, not to mention great white sharks and crocodiles.
Then again, that would make feral pigs fly under the radar…

nycman September 12, 2012 10:02 AM

nah, a comet wipes out the zombies, who were happily munching on delicious feral pigs, thereby keeping their population in check. With the zombies gone, feral pig population explodes. AQ comes out and says the explosion in feral pig population is the West’s doing to try to offend Muslims. AQ takes credit for comet, claiming it now has control over WMD and the recent demonstration proves it. Cue to endgame – security industrial complex controls everyone’s lives in the West.

Ty Sarna September 12, 2012 10:27 AM

I think the zombie risk is overly hyped. Meanwhile, I’m concerned that the threat from giant monsters (atomic or other cause gigantism in lizards, ants, turtles, people, etc) seems completely overlooked these days. Attention to the threat has dropped significantly since the 50’s, yet no one can argue that the danger is any less real today than it was then.

Miles Archer September 12, 2012 10:51 AM

You need to include the Tasmanian face eating cancer. And, a plot to overrun Australia with rabbits.

Snarki, child of Loki September 12, 2012 11:01 AM

@Miles Archer: “And, a plot to overrun Australia with rabbits.”

Too late!

I, for one, welcome our new lagomorph overlords.

Vilmos September 12, 2012 11:12 AM

And what would be your “Australian Context” in it? And why not let your imagination go wild? (Isn’t that the whole point of it?)

So what if al Qaeda’s mad scientists successfully interbred mosquitos and crocodiles (there’s your Australian Context), intrepid al Qaeda members ride on the flying crocs (that’s where imagination flies … along with the crocs) while hurling zombies and each and every Australian hit by a zombie turns into a feral pig? And this happens all over the Great Barrier Reef?


al Nonymous September 12, 2012 11:22 AM

I’m working on a story about al Qaeda in Australia (AQIA) planning to dump liquid soap into public fountains, causing the fountains to overflow with soapy foam.

Quick question: Do the fountains drain clockwise or counter-clockwise in Australia? I really need to know this to make my story as authentic as possible. Some guy is claiming it makes no difference, but that’s just a crazy belief.

al Nonymous September 12, 2012 11:24 AM

Vilmos: “So what if al Qaeda’s mad scientists successfully interbred mosquitos and crocodiles”

If that hasn’t already been made into a “SyFy Original Movie Of the Week”, it will be soon.

Armin September 12, 2012 11:25 AM

Al-Kaida captures a comet full of feral pigs and threatens to direct it on to Australia. The Australian government releases its secret army of zombies from their secret underground laboratories to find the Al-Kaida command centre in Hiddenbehindthemountainistan. The lead zombie (played by Mel Gibson) captures the lead mad Al-Kaida scientist (played by Boris Johnson for some strange reason) and sends him to the comet before redirecting the comet to fly into the sun.

NobodySpecial September 12, 2012 12:38 PM

They live on a thin inhabitable bit of the coastline, between a desert and a shark infested ocean. The whole country burns to the ground every summer, every creature bigger than a Koala will eat you and every creature smaller is venomous.

And they worry about terrorists!

Laura September 12, 2012 12:41 PM

Anyone taking bets on how long it will be before the Australian government starts getting criticized for giving the terrorists ideas?

Dr Evil September 12, 2012 2:01 PM

People of Australia my operatives dressed as kangaroos have stolen your entire supply of anti venom. My sharks with a payload of snakes attached to their heads will be catapulted into your country from my invisible battleship killing all of your citizens. That is of course, unless you pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS

Dr Good September 12, 2012 3:17 PM

@Dr Evil:
“That is of course, unless you pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS”

Just one mil? That is less than $1 per citizen. You are not too expensive;-)

Sad But True September 12, 2012 4:01 PM

Movie threat? Start a rumor in your favorite middle-eastern country that there’s a movie someplace, somewhere, that portrays Mohammad in a bad light.

People will die. The US president will do nothing.

See also recent news.

Dominic September 13, 2012 7:18 AM

@Oliver J “I didn’t know that you are living in Australia”

As an Australian resident I for one would be happy to partner with Bruce. He writes the story and I enter it in the comp, 50/50 split of course.

Harvey MacDonald September 13, 2012 8:53 AM


We both got it wrong, and it has already become devastating news: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/13/bacon_crisis/

Apparently, without enough pigs to feed the zombies, the western world (and most of Europe) will revert to the typical intellect of a third-world nation (except for the state of Mississippi, which has already dropped to that low), and thus be vulnerable to AQ performing a “Hernando Cortez” style comet-timing attack.

It’s amazingly clear once you connect the dots.

anonymous movie watcher September 13, 2012 8:58 AM

“And what about squids?”

Or Sharktopus?
Just change the location from Mexico to Australia?

It is known as S-11, a diabolical hybrid of shark and octopus created by genetic scientist Nathan Sands (Oscar®-nominee Eric Roberts of THE EXPENDABLES and THE DARK KNIGHT) as the U.S. Navy’s next super-weapon. But when its control implants are damaged during a training experiment, the beast escapes to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a taste of sun, sand, bikini babes, jet-skiers, spring breakers and beyond. Now a hotshot mercenary, an investigative reporter, and Sand’s biomechanical engineer daughter must stop a creature like none ever witnessed before: It has superior intelligence. It attacks without warning. And it likes to snack on bungee jumpers.

MB September 13, 2012 10:09 AM

First prize is only $1000. But if you sucessfully tie your story to some security product (needed or not), your “prize” could be much, much larger.

Maybe this could be an educational moment. Flood the contest with ton’s of advertisements, I mean, stories. So many that the connection between security theater and wasteful spending becomes the real lesson of the contest.

bcs September 14, 2012 11:29 PM

A terrorist group launches a string of attacks that are intentional failures that are tuned to seem to leverage the institutions and freedoms that are the most valuable to the the country under attack.

Peter Gerdes September 15, 2012 5:45 PM

Don’t be so down on the idea. It could actually be useful.

Try a story about a terrorist cell smuggling a bomb onto a plane by using ethnic profiling and social engineering against the security screening apparatus. Or a terrorist cell exploiting the fact that all the security money is being spent on catching the attacks that have already happened to launch a successful attack.

This kind of contest could well provide useful narratives that could convince people to support what their gut initially doesn’t support.

chapmanm007 September 16, 2012 6:25 AM

How about this … A man desperate to become Prime Minister of Australia had started his plan so for in advance that he, whilst at University, fathered an entire army of automatons that are to rise up and seize control of Australia a few weeks prior to the Federal Election and make him the glorious leader of his Monarchist Empire in which all subjects enthralled by him will be sent to remote islands.

anonymous invader September 17, 2012 9:30 AM

If they can remake Red Dawn, there’s no reason they can’t remake the Chuck Norris movie Invasion U.S.A. — where terrorists invade Florida by landing on the beach D-Day style in WWII surplus landing craft — except set it in Australia.

Except in Invasion Australia, the Chuck Norris character should be played by Bruce.

Random832 September 17, 2012 12:47 PM

@al Nonymous If that hasn’t already been made into a “SyFy Original Movie Of the Week”, it will be soon.

You should register the trademark on “Crocsquito vs Octoshark” just in case.

123456789 September 26, 2012 5:13 PM

Three easy steps
Step 1: Make facebook group “How do we bring down the infidels?”
Step 2: Post lots of credible sounding ideas and communications to your supposed “cells” embedded in the country
Step 3: Government over-reacts. Threat levels increase. Muslims and arabs get harassed by police. Everyone has general mistrust of police. Right to privacy gets suspended even further by the “Super patriot act”. Free speech gets censored, free speech gets punished if the views expressed go against government policy. Air travel becomes even more difficult. Foreigners encouraged to go elsewhere. Violators punished without trial, jailed indefinitely.

People terrorized – Check
Economy suffers – Check
Infidels punished – Check
Basic human rights suspended – Check
Due process eliminated – Check

Too unbelievable even for Hollywood

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.