1. MrJoey
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    MrJoey Member

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    help with a apocalyptic disaster..

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MrJoey, Feb 28, 2010.

    Okay so.. after a few months absence I decided to give it another go writing a novel. The first time I tried a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid and soon realised it would be difficult.. so this time around I've gone for a much more traditional genre, that of a post-apocalyptic setting. The only problem I'm faced with is thinking of what caused the apocalypse.. I don't want to go with the 'nuclear war' idea, it's far too overused.

    But at the same time I want it to resemble that of a nuclear war, as in the world is practically a wasteland, with lots of destroyed buildings, mountains of rubble, factions roaming the wasteland.. etc. I use the Xbox 360 game Fallout 3 as a huge inspiration, but that game related to a nuclear war, so unfortunately I can't totally rip it off.

    So I guess what I'm asking is.. what could the disaster of been? I want it to be mysterious for the first half of the book, unknown to the population.. then it will be suddenly revealed, but at the same time I don't want it to seem almost fantasy-like e.g. aliens thrown rocks down from space or the god punished the world by blowing **** up.

    Do you people have any bright ideas? thanks in advance!
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Meteor strike or extreme solar flares over an extended period of time. Sure they're common, but if you're trying to write a more traditional SF novel.

    Also consider with a plague wiping out much of the world's population, much of the infrastructure--buildings, machinery, roads, water purification, power plants, etc., unmaintained will stop functioning, fall into decay, and the like.

    Just a couple of initial thoughts.

    My novel, Flank Hawk, is a post apocalyptic novel but is fantasy with SF elements--which you're trying to avoid. My novel used a combination of plague, nuclear detonations and fallout, and a disrupted inter-dimensional experiment to bring about the new world’s conditions.

    Even so, maybe a combination of two or three things coming together would work.

    Terry
     
  3. MrJoey
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    MrJoey Member

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    I like the idea of a meteor strike.. it's very realistic, and I don't intend for it to be a unrealistic book, which ruled out my first idea of a god-like assault on the planet. :p

    But again it feels very.. typical. I know that the term over-used could also imply something is proven to be successful, but I guess I'm the kind of person who takes interest in plot lines which are very original.

    Still, it's a good idea.. thanks! :)

    A combination is also a good idea now that you mention it.. perhaps a meteor strike which detonated alot of nuclear explosions, or something of that kind.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If a meteor strike is too mundane for you, what about a more esoteric cosmic event. A chunk of antimatter passing through the solar system grazes Earth's atmosphere, and the energy released results in global storms that lasted years and laid waste to human civilization.

    The sun flares up for unknown reasons, increasing (or decreasing!) the solar radiation striking the earth for a few decades. Crops and forests die, ocean levels change, and the entire ecosystem is thrown off axis.

    An attempt to tap into the heat energy below the Earth's crust goes out of control. resulting in shifts in the tectonic plates. Massive earthquakes and vulcanism all over the planet wipe out cities and entire countries.
     
  5. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    There has been a lot of talk lately about the Earth going through a pole shift, and all the havoc that will cause. Evidently, earth has already gone through such a shift or at least it is a theory. You could also go with a runaway Greenhosue affect turning the earth into a Venus like situation (not quit as bad of course) This would create a scenerio where people would probably have to live underground and have to have protection to even go outside. Depending on how far into the future you are willing to go, Our sun could advance it it's life stage and become a Red Giant. There are lots of things from space that could kill us and many of them have not been done very much in fantasy.
     
  6. MrJoey
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    MrJoey Member

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    I actually REALLY like this idea, it's really setting off my imagination.. perhaps some mad scientist thought it would be a good idea to dig into the earth's core in search of a way to harvest power. The volcanoes part would also play nicely into my idea of ash-showers, e.g. ash falling from the sky all around the world. Thanks alot!

    Thanks for all the other ideas too!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    check out clive cussler's stuff... i'm pretty sure he did that one...
     
  8. RobT
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    RobT Active Member

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    I think "Polar Shift" was along these lines, although in this scenario unlike Cussler's novel the bad guys would have succeded.

    Would rule out a lot of disasters e.g. you probably wouln't miss a meteor of apocolyptic scale as it would be fairly known about.

    Disease and time lapse would bring about a wasteland easy enough, the time lapse would allow you a way to evolve the different factions into there own "subspecies".
     
  9. Spuddfluff
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    The poles shifting wouldn't actually do anything much other than mess up the compasses.
     
  10. ManOfSteel
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    ManOfSteel Member

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    Some people may disagree. And since this is science-fiction, (almost) everything becomes possible. So, what if the Earth's poles shifted?
     
  11. HeinleinFan
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    You could have a disease with peculiar side effects, like in "Speech Sounds," where a meningitis-like virus gave people aphasia and a short temper.

    Or you could have an EMP war, possibly followed somewhat after by a volcano erupting. A big one, I mean, such as the Yellowstone supervolcano.
     
  12. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    You could set it on a different planet!

    Although I read somewhere that we have already used up about two thirds of our planet's natural resources so it might not be long...
     
  13. MrJoey
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    MrJoey Member

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    An EMP war.. another interesting idea. A EMP going off would cause cars to crash, trains to be directed into eachother, planes to fall from the sky, satellites to fall from the sky, .. another interesting idea indeed!

    Thanks for the ideas guys!
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You could also have a weapon from a war in another star system wander into our solar system. The warring races annihilated each other thousands of years ago, but the weapon's programming makes it target the Earth.
     
  15. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been doing a lot of research over the last year on this very subject.

    Google this: npl.washington.edu/av/
    and this: ansible.co.uk/Ansible/aseries2.html#2009

    You talk about some subjects that will fire your imagination.
     

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