1. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    The Pre-apocalypse

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Metus, Jul 29, 2011.

    EDIT--Oh no, I think this is the wrong section.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    I'm very new here, and any feedback would be welcome. Especially negative feedback. I'm always pushing myself to improve.

    This is an idea for a novel I've had for a while now. The setting is one of a pre-apocalypse. As opposed to a post-apocalyptic novel, this focuses on the days leading up to, for all intensive purposes, the end of the world.

    Pretty much everything which can go wrong is going wrong in this fictional world. There are large divides between rich and poor, left wing and right wing fundamentalists are on the verge of civil war, and most importantly, the population is ballooning out of control. The world is literally in its death throes, unable to survive the crushing weight of war, illiteracy, and poverty. The small developed first-world nations are no longer able to suppot the massive third-world nations. The upside-down pyramid is finally crumbling.

    A coalition of like-minded people choose this time to usurp control of the government of a small, financially crippled nation, and force nearly everyone living there out with extreme violence. This organization is comprised of a corrupt alliance of eugenicists, political idealists, and rogue, unethical scientists.

    Through vile, immoral tactics, they set up a successful and self-reliant police state. They set birth quotas, and execute violators. They use torture to hunt down conspiracies, and institute a system of "No work, no food." It's evil, but it's also the last stable place in the world. As such, millions of refugees want in. The police state shoots anyone who approaches the border.

    Rumors also circulate that this police state is designing a biological superweapon of unprecedented power, and the scientists there could have it perfected in a matter of months.

    The protagonist, who I haven't yet named, is conscripted into the growing military force of one of the world's larger countries. With an alliance of other world powers, vast armies descend on this fortified police state to seize control of the weapon and restore "order." The protagonist, several other untrained draftees, and trained soldiers are given enemy uniforms, and in a less-than stealthy operation which basically consists of "parachute people behind enemy lines through heavy flak and hope some of them hide", infiltrate the rogue faction. The untrained people are sent in for the simple reason that trained soldiers are needed in actual combat for the brewing world nuclear war. Plus, they distract the enemy from the actual soldiers. The dozen or so untrained draftees are really never intended to survive.
    The book is oriented toward suspense and emotion. I don't have the time or space here to talk about characters, character development, or events behind enemy lines. At the end, however, it turns out that the superweapon is actually a genetically engineered, fast-growing crop designed to feed large quantities of people and survive nuclear fallout. The "evil" police state, in the words of their leader, was just doing what had to be done to allow for the survival of part of the human race.
    It's basically a morally gray choice. Let the evil police state save the world and rule over people brutally by controlling the main food source, or let most of the population starve with their freedom and humanity intact?

    Of course, it's all irrelevant, because at the end, the alliance of world nations and millions of refugees destroy the police state with about 1000/1 odds after a several-month long seige, and inadvertantly destroys the thing they wanted to attain. (Civilization)

    At the end, the world nations start a nuclear war. The protagonist and his surviving allies can see mushroom clouds in the distance as the book ends, and he's left to wonder if he was on the right side.
    My question is, can a eugenicist faction like the one described have ends which justify the means? If you were to read this, based on this short description, would you finish the book seeing both sides, or would you stick with one?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I can hear Cogito coming with the "story concept means nothing" template, but I'll try and answer your question. I'm assuming your question above refers to my opinion on the issue in general, i.e. real life views?

    Ends don't justify means the way I view the world. If they did, then you could argue that it's okay to put Orwellian spy cameras in people's houses and assign each individual a monitoring police officer if it would prevent any crime in society from ever happening, or that it's okay to throw 100 suspects in jail if it guaranteed "justice" for whichever one of them was a real murderer.

    Drastic examples, but no, I wouldn't ever use an ends-justifies-means approach to defend the situation described. I personally would rather die in my early 20s as a free individual than live to be 200 in a police state. That's just me.

    However, write your story how you want. Don't get people's opinions or validations, because YOU are the master of your work. Write what you feel needs to be written and ignore what anyone says to complain about it. ;)
     
  3. Rassidan
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    Rassidan Senior Member

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    I generally like the idea. A police state seems a logical choice and you already have countries placing limits on births now. People being shot trying to cross the border seems realistic as the state would want to protect its natural resources. In all honesty I don't see why you couldn't turn your "evil" faction into a good one if you chose the right motives and that may be something to think about. Just because the intentions are pure does not mean it is the best solution and that seems to be how I am envisioning this police state.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?

    No one can advise you on the best way to proceed with your story. Don't ask whether the readers will buy it based on a synopsis. Sell the story points when you write the story.

    Own your story, and don't let others tell you how it "should" proceed.
     
  5. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    This is a really interesting idea. I really like grey morality in stories. It adds allot of depth I think. One thing you need to consider however is why things have suddenly gone to hell. Population growth needs little explanation but some other problems need to be expanded upon.
     
  6. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    I think that depends on how well the story is written, and if it shows both sides in a well-developed manner. I would rather close the book seeing both sides, and not just one, because it would indicate that the story was well-balanced in its views.

    I think I would root for freedom and the individual if people were trying to save themselves, and would work together for the common good. If they didn't, only the eugenicist faction would really be working for the "common good".

    Focusing on the future (by having children as characters, etc.) would help flesh out the eugenicists' final goal.

    Good luck with your writing.
     

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