The concept of the album was heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' novel Lunar Park. The novel is told from the perspective of a father, who bears the name of the novel's author himself, whereas the album is mostly from his son's perspective, an eleven-year-old kid named Robby. Many of the lyrics for Fear of a Blank Planet are lifted directly from the novel, particularly "My Ashes", which is an homage to the last chapter, in which the ashes of Bret's father are scattered and cover the memories of his life.
The lyrics deal with two typical neurobehavioural developmental disorders affecting teenagers in the 21st century: bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, and also with other common behaviour tendencies on youth like escapism through prescription drugs, social alienation caused by technology, and the feeling of vacuity product of information overload in the mass media. In an interview with Revolver magazine, Wilson described the main character of the story as "...this kind of terminally bored kid, anywhere between 10 and 15 years old, who spends all his daylight hours in his bedroom with the curtains closed, playing on his PlayStation, listening to his iPod, texting his friends on his cell phone, looking at hardcore pornography on the Internet, downloading music, films, news, violence..."