1. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Sci-Fi plot/world idea. brainstorm!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by chacotaco91, Mar 22, 2011.

    Hey y'all, I've been writing short stories for a while that are based around my fantasy world I've had for a while. I started to think that maybe it might be healthier if I maybe tried something a little different than swords and Knights plots.

    So I saw this one picture (which I attached to this post, sry for bad resolution you can try to find it on internet yourself) and I had this cool idea about a future divided amongst genetically modified humans and those who are the "original" strain.


    Heres some ideas I doodled in Anatomy class instead of studying!:

    -Story would take place 300-400 years (more or less?) in the future.

    -100 years from our present time, people began to genetically modify their children (if they could afford it), to be healthier, stronger, smarter and more attractive.

    -It became so widespread within 50 years that a great schism formed and roughly 10% of the world's population became genetically modified: They separated themselves from the "originals" (better slang term?) and generally took over the entire military, business, and political establishments of the world.

    -There were about 25 years of destabilization in the world as the genetically modified fought an underground cell called The Purity (diff name?) that believed genetic modification was evil, for mostly religious reasons (or non-religious?).

    -Within this time, a new energy source was formed that could be built in the middle of a city that offered 100% clean and limitless power (I'm not a physics guy, so would this be like cold fusion or something?). However, only a few cities were able to build them before.....

    -A great cataclysm, probably a modified virus, kills off 80% of the whole world's population. (which would have been in the double digit billions by now)

    -However, It didn't seem to affect the modified as much, and many more survived than originals.

    -War starts amongst survivors, originals blaming modified saying they planned the whole thing.

    -Modified retreat to the few cities that still have the super-generators, and wall themselves in to protect themselves from the humans on the outside.

    -So after 200 years, earth is 20% of its original population, and the self-sufficient cities are totally walled off from the outside.

    -The actual characters and plot would take place 100 years after that. The originals population started to regrow, and life would be very old school and agrarian.

    -The walled cities however, stand tall and enormous and secluded. The originals can view them from a distance, but anyone who travels too close to the massive walls never return.

    Thats about all I got. Does it sound decently interesting?

    Things I haven't really thought out would be: why haven't the people in the cities left? Why are they so secluded?

    What is life like on the outside? Do they have cars and planes? Do they have trains and steamboats? Or do they have nothing but horse and buggies?

    Also, what characters could you think of existing in this world?

    Does something about this world strike you as implausible?

    Thanks!
     

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  2. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    Reminds me of Aeon Flux (just a little, not enough to think it is a rip off) :)

    I have a question, just curious, how are you going to distinguish between the originals and the modified? Anything about them appearance wise? Do the modified have a certain look about them? Or is there a clothing difference? It may not be important for the story, but it might help with the fighting scenes and whatnot. Just a thought!
     
  3. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have the people in the cities become xenophobic? According to what you said, it seems there are more of the modified humans around than the normals ones. They appear to have superiority of numbers. They may see the normal humans as nothing more than trash and desire no contact with them at all.

    Or maybe the modified humans aren't as superior as they thought. Maybe unforeseen genetic mutations are beginning to appear in their people.



    Did the war destroy all the factories and facilities were such things were made? Making diesel or a diesel-like fuel isn't as difficult as you may think. Passing along the knowledge of how to make such things doesn't require a degree in chemistry. Same thing with cars.:)

    Horses and buggies are still used to get around today in many countries.


    You've got a lot of openings for characters here. I can imagine everything from the normal little boy that dreams of seeing the inside of the walled cities to the bored modified human who wants out of said cities because he is sick of the stagnant life.

    Everything appears plausible. Unless you have something unexplained like the world spontaneously exloding. :)

    I agree with PurpleCandle on this. There should be something to make modified humans distinguishable from normal humans. Unless they both look the same and you are using that as a plot hook.

    Also, how was it decided what genes were considered desirable and others not in the modified humans? This may not have a relavence to the story, but it's always good to know in case the subject does arise. :)
     
  4. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Purple Candle mentioned Aeon Flux, but this also very closely matches the plot of Gattaca. Not saying your story isn't original, but it will be measured against stories and films that have all ready used this plot device.

    I'm all for future stories and learning about "future history" though. What is and isn't plausible can pretty much be chucked out the window there, since people three hundred or four hundred years ago couldn't have predicted the Internet or anesthesia.

    How much of the "history" is integral to the "present" in your novel? Is the history more of an afterthought, like the history of Dune pre-Brian Herbert? Or are the characters of your story going to be directly effected by these events. (IE, Mal and Zoe of Firefly participated in major battle during the war against the Alliance, and their past follows them throughout the series)

    Again, I wouldn't worry so much about what seems plausible or implausible. HG Wells wrote about a time machine without going into a lot of technical detail. But because the story was more of a social commentary than a book about the technical aspects of time travel, it was a forgivable oversight.

    If you start off the story claiming to be something it isn't, you'll be judged by that claim throughout the book. Just set your tone. Is it a survival story, is it a war story, is it a story about the aftermath of a war? These are all things to think about when writing it.

    If you decide to write and post something I will gladly review it.
     
  5. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    accidentally doubled posted how do you delete this?
     
  6. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Have the people in the cities become xenophobic? According to what you said, it seems there are more of the modified humans around than the normals ones. They appear to have superiority of numbers. They may see the normal humans as nothing more than trash and desire no contact with them at all.

    Or maybe the modified humans aren't as superior as they thought. Maybe unforeseen genetic mutations are beginning to appear in their people.


    Sorry, I think I didn't explain clearly enough, but y'all have just given me an idea.

    The modified had a much better survival rate during the plague, but they still made up only 10% of the population in rich countries, and less in poorer ones. Thus I guess they should only make roughly 2%-5% of the whole worlds population.
    There were about 20 billion humans on earth before the virus.

    Original humans who survived would be:
    20 billion multiplied by .95, then multiplied by .20

    So that means 3.8 billion survived

    So if 5% are modified, that would make 1 billion modified. If they had a 50% survival rate from the virus than that would mean 500 million survived. Say another 50% died in the war against the surviving humans.

    250 million survivors. Than divide them into the 6 or 7 super cities left.

    35 million per super city.

    After doing the math, I might cut everything in half. This world sounds too populated right now. In my mind I have thoughts of many abandoned towns and cities, so maybe I should make the starting population 10 or 15 billion or make the virus even more deadly. having 3.8 billion humans running around doesn't sound like a very deserted planet.



    Did the war destroy all the factories and facilities were such things were made? Making diesel or a diesel-like fuel isn't as difficult as you may think. Passing along the knowledge of how to make such things doesn't require a degree in chemistry. Same thing with cars.:)

    Horses and buggies are still used to get around today in many countries.


    Hmm, I guess your right about technology not really going away that badly. Fossil fuels would be all but gone I suppose, but at this point in the future there would be alternatives. I guess it could be an interesting mix: They salvaged all the technology that they had the means to use immediately. They couldn't however use the super stuff since they either can't make it anymore or don't have the oil/resource for it (no mass amount of cars, and no rockets and jets I suppose).

    I'm thinking solar powered trains as the main form of transportation. Any fossil fuels left over would be saved for only important things: planes, tanks, etc.

    There would be many left over guns, buildings, and infrastructure the originals can use (though a good amount of deterioration) Also, I guess I could make the modified vs unmodified war during the virus very destructive. Nuclear weapons could have been used?.

    Many rural places would probably have to still use horse and buggy, but I guess you're right that after 100 years humanity could salvage the remains very well. So I should have some unmodified cities that are civilized with power, water and transportation.


    You've got a lot of openings for characters here. I can imagine everything from the normal little boy that dreams of seeing the inside of the walled cities to the bored modified human who wants out of said cities because he is sick of the stagnant life.

    That's what I was thinking. I'm starting to have an idea of a reason for the seclusion of the cities: It has strict population control. They could have some idea that humanity almost got wiped out because we spread like a plague over the earth, and that the new way must be to use technology to have humanity to have as little impact on the environment. They live in clean, sustainable cities and recycle everything they can.

    Perhaps, with the growth in population of the original humans outside their walls, they decide its time to wipe them out for good. They decide to end their seclusion to eliminate original man and their self-destructive ways.

    I agree with PurpleCandle on this. There should be something to make modified humans distinguishable from normal humans. Unless they both look the same and you are using that as a plot hook.

    Also, how was it decided what genes were considered desirable and others not in the modified humans? This may not have a relavence to the story, but it's always good to know in case the subject does arise. :)


    This is where I haven't thought much of. Before the plague, modified humans were just basically people who possessed all the traits we wished we had: Tallness, broad shoulders, athleticism, good hair and skin, attractive features etc etc

    I guess I could make intelligence genetic as well, but I'm not sure how I would go about this.

    However, after the plague, the modified had decades to live in their cities without the judgmental eyes of the original humans. This is where I can get creative. They could start to modify people for certain tasks. Like soldiers, workers, or scientists. The soldiers could have traits from other animals: A chameleons ability to camouflage, the eyesight of a nocturnal animal, etc etc. They would be Post-Human I suppose.

    And NateSean , The only works I've read or seen that are very related to this world are Gattaca and brave new world. I guess mine could be considered maybe a future scenario of Gattaca, or a revision of brave new world. Any suggestions for story-lines similar to this would be great.

    Thanks y'all! this is brainstorming!
     
  7. nzric
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    nzric Active Member

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    I can't see why you would have the originals vs the modified humans apart from a convenient way to introduce xenophobia without getting into tricky race issues in your plot. Basically you're talking about Aryans vs everyone else.

    Also, you seem to have three major themes - global genetic engineering, worldwide war and global plague. Yes, these could be connected but that's a lot to put into one novel. I don't think it's necessary to have the plague or a global war, just make the ordinary humans become pushed more and more to the fringes, then outside the walled cities, so that they have to fend for themselves off the scraps the genetically 'pure' (?!) leave behind, i.e. re-using technology, cobbling together what they can from the junkpiles, etc.

    Definitely been done a lot before in science fiction, but I think you've got a good angle in bringing in some fantasy elements. Take a look at reviews of China Mieville's work - if you've already got a fantasy background (& outlook) I think you could go down that angle.
     
  8. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope, you did explain clearly. I just misread it. :)

    Another thing to think about that could hinder both normal and modified humans, is each group ruled by a centralized government or is each major city basically its own city-state? This would mean each city is its own government with its own agenda.

    Interesting. Normal humans might be able to recognize the modified ones because they appear a little too perfect. :)

    This is another good idea. You could do quite a bit with that if you chose to.

    Have you ever watched the old black and white Outer Limits series? I remember they had an episode where at a certain age teenagers would choose a 'body' type from a predetermined selection and be molded into it. Because everyone looked beautiful and wore one of those body types, there was no fear of being different, racism, etc., so the world was a peaceful place. It was an interesting episode to watch.
     
  9. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Thanks a bunch everyone. I think this is about all the brainstorming I need. I've got a pretty basic idea of what I want to do with this.

    this will take place 150 years after the cataclysm

    -So far, I don't think I'll write through the perspective on anything else but through the eyes of an original. Until I can flesh out the complexities of a futuristic society of post-humans, it will be easier just to have them as a kind of mysterious supermen who come out of their walled cities to do things that drive the plot. They'll possess strange technology and strange people (I've got a cool idea for a genetically modified antagonist male). The stories I have in my mind currently are a young boy/girl intent on finding out what's in the city (thanks Ellipse!) and a soldier who's an original fighting the modified in the ruins of New York.

    -The population of earth 150 years earth after the cataclysm will be roughly around 750-900 million people. The modified will be about 10% of that, distributed between 7 or 8 cities at around 10 million each. (what cities would people think would be cool? I'm already set on using the cities of Atlanta, Seattle, St. Petersburg and Bogota Colombia. I need some city in the U.K. (not London) and like 2 Asian cities.)

    -Exactly what happened during the great cataclysm will be a foggy history, with all the originals having various folk stories to explain it. All everybody will know is that there was a virus, then a war, and nuclear weapons were used. I wouldn't ever info dump this, I would only mention it in passing during the story (they pass by a nuclear crater, or an old mass grave from the virus). I could see the modified having more info on the history (even a modified man who, by technology, lived past 150 years), but so far I'll ignore that.

    -Since labor will be in very high demand, I'm going to have the original's society be like feudal Europe: Peasants, a warrior class, a noble class (made of descendants of modified humans who never escaped to the cities and never died during the war) etc. The warrior and noble class fought amongst each-other for control of serfs. However, a new age is starting to begin. It will be a time of great revival: old infrastructure is rapidly being brought back to a functioning state, and people will talk about how the days of scavenging and farming will end and they'll go back to the old golden age.

    -The politics of the walled cities, what their like, if they react to eachother, etc etc, will be something I'll figure out as I go. I kind of like the idea of a mysterious and huge future city on the horizon that a small peasant has to look upon everyday while plowing with an ox, and only dream of what lies inside. I think suddenly switching to some modified character who describes life inside the cities might kill off some of the mystery of it.


    I can't see why you would have the originals vs the modified humans apart from a convenient way to introduce xenophobia without getting into tricky race issues in your plot. Basically you're talking about Aryans vs everyone else.



    In terms of the morality of it, I'm trying not to have an aryans vs non-aryan metaphor going here. I think the modified have changed so much that their very conception of humanity would be vastly different. They may begin to look upon regular humans as peculiar, harmless creatures. They may only intervene when they feel we need to be controlled (the way we hunt animals for population control). I actually want to make the originals the ones who instigate the combat. They simply see these cities, and out of curiosity and desire will do anything to acquire what's inside them.

    However, I'll have to think about it some more on the morality. I've decided to write I guess a group of short stories or something that follows a soldier of the originals who is fighting the modified in the ruins of some city. It was one of the super-generators that was thought to have been destroyed in the war, but the modified are trying to stop the original's from acquiring it.

    Thanks y'all!
     
  10. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Sounds good, but this looks like a prime candidate for an infodump at the beginning. Avoid that. Jump right into your story with the main characters, and weave in the back info in nice small chunks at just the right times.
     

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