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  1. Bronze
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    Android Allegory

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Bronze, Feb 24, 2008.

    I have this idea of a story following an android in a not-so-distant future Earth setting. His story is being told from an unnamed 3rd person omnicient POV (There is actually going to be a plot twist at the end based on the narration.) The androids are programmed to obey humans and that whole nine yards. Throghout the story he gradually begins developing emotions, very simplistic and innocent emotions, I don't want to exaggerate I am going for realism, he deveolps critical thought that transcends what normal androids are supposed to have, etc.

    Well, during the story he gets abused by humans, who mostly dispise the relatively new concept of the androids. He works at an office building fixing and maintaining computer equipment, and a few chapters in he is sold by the company because he begins falling behind in his work, so a wealthier, younger family buys him for a bargined price (They are expensive afterall) and adopt him into their mansion. The mom is the character who sees the changes in the android and is the first one who understands that he is sort-of a human, the dad refuses to see this and only understands him as a machine, all of the children in the story are naive and don't realize androids are emotionless machines and treat them and talk to them as if they were people.

    OK, long story short, he fools himself into believing that he loves this female android due to his flawed interpretations of relationships he observes in advertisments, media and in real life even. Toward the end of the story he kisses her, she reprts him to the android faculity, they confenscate him from the family, the mom is upset because she has feelings of affection for him, he's dragged to the facuilty so the technicians can determine whats wrong with him. One of the technicians reveals himself to be the narrator, he is the one who discovers that there was an error in his programming that normally prevented androids from over-analyzing observations, causing him to develop an infintile conscious. By this time it's too late, the android has already been liquified as obsolete, the narrator/technician retrieves the androids black box which contains his hard drive (and memories). He scans through the androids memories and his story is revealed to the narrator (Who then telling the story from his own POV during the acual book).

    Ok, he tells the story, gets the android officially recognised as the first artificial human being, the book ends with the epitaph of the androids grave. Ugh, you get al that?

    Ok, I believe this is filled with symbolism.

    Human relationship to androids = racism, opression.

    Intra-android relationships (because they are cold, emotionless and mechanical) sybolize the way humans act toward one another in formal settings (for example, we just mechanically and automatically say things like 'excuse me', 'sorry', ect, without true sincerity)

    The protagonist android symbolizes both cynacism and sincerity.

    The mom = empathy

    There are also elements of robophobia, man versus machine, man versus society, perhaps man versus self.

    I'm done blabbering now, tell me what you think.

    First time author (as in this would be my first book should I finish it), 17 years old, I'm actually finnished with the 1st chapter of 10 or 11 ( 6700 words so far) How many words should I aim for?
     
  2. Bronze
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    Also, I believe I will entitle it 'Hyperreal'. The concept of Hyperreallity is that modern day media distorts what we believe is real, and one of the main elements in the story is that the android's emotions are being created based on his simple interpretation of media and society.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    An interesting concept though in a way I think its been done (Theres a movie about it actually). Still it can make a great book depending on how you tell it. Novelty is over rated anyway.

    By irnoy this is actually a concept I've been toying with lately (Great minds think alike, but brilliant minds think of the same thing :p!). I've gone a different route in presentation but I'd lvoe to see how you present it in your story all the same.
     
  4. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Maybe you should read some works from Isaac Azimov, most of his stories deal with androids and how they interact with people, emotions or not. You might find some similarities with what you're trying to get.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's a very viable theme, and you could take it in a number of different directions, depending on what you emphasize.

    I personally feel the outline of the plot is less important than how you tell the story, and how the characters develop.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i also think it's an idea that could work well, if written well... as for size, optimum size for first novels is around 100k...
     
  7. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    Well, anything works if well done.

    But I'd say a much more realistic number of pages these days would be around 80,000. As a ballpark target. I've seen small presses lately wanting 55000 to 85000 words with 100,000 as the absolute maximum.
     
  8. Bronze
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    I haven't actually read his books but I hear from summaries and over-views that while his books are about robots, his books focus on the human perspective of robophobia, perhaps as symbolism of racism I'm not sure, but thats only small theme in my story, mine focuses on the androids as a symbolic parellel of human society, and human feelings.
     
  9. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    Quite the opposite, generally. You get the impression ol' Ike would LOVE to have life on earth replaced by machines.

    The "racism" factor is there, of course. Even the "I Robot" film gets that across. As does "Blade Runner". ("Skin jobs") "AI" film touches on this as well--and in the end there are only robots, no people.

    It was a common theme in sixties SF.

    I'd say your big problem would not be finding something new to do with robots, but something new to say about racism. It's been SO done for so long. "Racism is awful" isn't exactly prophesy crying in the wilderness anymore and the won't let you say anything else about it.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the market, as to what you're shooting for word-length wise.

    Some major markets prefer novels between 100,000 and 130,000 in length, or generally won't consider anything under 80,000 words, for example. There are some smaller publishers that won't look at anything over 100,000 words. And some e-publishers prefer books that are actually closer to what is considered novella range.

    Part of it (the word range) has to do with smaller publishers using more POD technology to cut overhead, and shorter books are easier to have a retail price that is more competitive with comparable books sold by larger publishers. Some length issues stem simply what the individual publishers feel works best with their readers' expectations.

    And has been already said, if it's done well, and takes a unique look or direction, your idea can succeed.

    Terry
     
  11. Bronze
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    Well, the racism metaphor isn't being focused on it's just there, being touched on. The primary theme of the story (mine that is), is the mechanical way humans act as being painted by the protagonist android and the intra-relations of the androids themselves.

    My message is ultimately going to be that humans of today's society have lost touch with what really makes us human and have replaced our values in favor of brainwashing, media (which is symbolically represented in the story as the android's programming, being 'hyperreality') and mechanical, thoughtless behaviour.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    apparently we checked similar sources, terry... which is why i noted 100k as the [average] 'optimum'...
     
  13. LinRobinson
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    LinRobinson Banned

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    Exactly. This books sounds like SF, which puts in in the 65-80,000 range. Romances mostly shorter yet.
     
  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The preferred and accepted lengths I gave above were specifically for SF markets...different publishers and publisher types.

    Thus, those that won't generally look at anything under 80,000 words, or prefer 100,000 to 130,000 words has nothing to do with romance, and would not fit into the range suggested. But, as I pointed out, some smaller publishers (markets) who accept SF won't look at anything over 100,000. Some prefer closer to what is considered novella range. It all depends on the market targeted.

    The markets I referenced, such as DAW, Tor, Baen, Twilight Times, Virtual Tales, Adventure Books of Seattle, Five Star, Renaissance eBooks, etc...either from discussions I've had with editors, communications with editors or owners of the publications, and/or from the listed guidelines.

    Sorry if I was unclear.

    Terry
     

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