1. CheckeredFoxglove
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    CheckeredFoxglove Member

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    Why would aliens waste energy kidnapping humans they're just going to abandon?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CheckeredFoxglove, May 25, 2013.

    I'm having a logic-based plot hole problem. Here's the gist:

    Aliens show up in Washington DC during WWIII and say, "Hey guys, we need batteries/research subjects/slaves/whatever and you're perfect. We only need, like, ten million, can you spare that many, or are we going to have to use force?" And DC says, "Sure! Take Pakistan, we don't like them." And the aliens say, "Great!" and use their tractor beam or whatever to snag Karachi and three miles of dirt, leaving a giant circular hole in the ground with sheer walls. They drop Karachi on one of the moons orbiting their home planet, and... never come back.

    I need my MC to find an empty (except for one remaining alien) place under Karachi (with bodies? without bodies? I'm not sure how horrifying I want this to go), but why would they just abandon them there? There's an obelisk (capacitor) in the middle of the city from which the aliens collected energy, but ships don't come by anymore, because the people don't remember that they were kidnapped by aliens. It's been about 3,000 years. I don't want there to be a mass die-off or great war, 'cause I want them to come back at some point. Here's what I'm thinking right now, but I'm too close to tell if they make sense.

    1) The capacitor holds 3,000 years' worth of energy. But won't they need energy more frequently than that?

    2) The obelisk gets all thunder-and-lightning every year, which is New Years' Day for the humans, but is actually the capacitor transferring its energy to the planet. The remaining alien is a maintenance guy. I'm not sure this makes electrical sense. Don't you need a wire to do this? Wouldn't it electrocute the whole city?

    3) They found a better source of energy shortly after they took Karachi, and cut their losses, leaving the humans to die (there's no agricultural land on this island). But how did they stay alive for 3,000 years? And why would Last Remaining Alien be there?

    4) Don't explain it. If I don't draw attention to this plot hole, maybe nobody will notice.

    So that's what I got. What do you think?
     
  2. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    For fun.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    For their advanced sense of style.
     
  4. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Perhaps he is sort of a scientist, fascinated by human life, trying to understand/mimick their behaviour. In fact, if you are going for funny, this alien could be quite the joker if he misinterprets human behaviour completly wrong. For example he might think work is some form of physical excersise, meant to keep the species fit.

    As for the bodies, those could be the results of this alien scientist's expiriments...in his attempt to reverse engineer human life...or something like that.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    The energy angle is not viable: but then Matrix did it even though it's frankly stupid for aliens to waste they time and resources doing such a thing when there is SOooo much energy in the universe by merely reaching out and taking it. The genetic experiment angle is much more viable, though even that is highly unlikely. In fact the only reason that makes any sense for why aliens would even bother with us is that we were on the brink of acquiring a technology that would be in some way threatening to them.

    In your scenario they may just have wanted slaves. But then again why not just make robots for that. Or maybe they have lost the ability to enjoy sex, and the human body is not particularly disgusting to them and it is really easy for them to take over the nervous system so that they can...ya know, jump in and go for a ride. :D

    Though I think taking Karachi might in some eyes be viewed as racist so...why not take Paris? :D
     
  6. CheckeredFoxglove
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    CheckeredFoxglove Member

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    It's totally racist, but I'm working it as "America did a bad thing" so I think it's okay. We kind of get destroyed afterwards for being huge terrorists, the entire world takes Pakistan's side, and nobody hates on Muslims anymore. Yay! (I get to be simplistic about this because it's not the main plot, and also this is a children's book.)

    And you're totally right about energy. Would "We thought you were cool" or "for a zoo" work?

    You know what, I like that. They took us because they think we're cool, they watch us through the obelisk(s), and the remaining alien is a zookeeper. We would totally do it too, if we had that kind of space-travelling power. Does that sound better?
     
  7. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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  8. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    1 Do They? how efficient are they? besides the second
    law of thermodynamics makes this impossible. a better statement is to state that it can power what it was built to power for 3000 years assuming draw was constant and unchanging

    2 ----Try and play on very advanced Tesla coils ...why does the planet itself need energy?

    3 Alien tampering left their able to live of existing elements.....as to the alien...I got nothin

    4 dont kid yourself

    From what you are talking about...I see a VERY LONG and drawn out story. Kind of like "Dune"
     
  9. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    If they don't need the work force, then maybe their species is suffering some kind of genetic degradation, and they're looking for ways to hybridize with humans to continue their species, albeit in a crossbreed form.
    I agree with prosonic; this seems like a pretty epic-scale story.
    And a children's book? Seriously? I hope you mean YA or at least preteen. WAY too mature for *children*.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's an interesting concept.

    Why did they ask anyone, let alone why choose the US to get world permission from? What did I miss?

    Even after 3,000 years, there would likely be some kind of folk history, even if distorted, with the myth of where they were from.

    Have you dealt with the gravity problem, including the difference between the moon and the home planet?

    If this is a moon of the alien home planet, and said aliens are adept at space travel, I'd say they wanted a work colony for some reason and later the product the colony made became obsolete, or technology made the labor obsolete, cheaper to produce the product on the home planet with machines. Or the slaves mined the moon and later the material either ran out or became obsolete.

    I think you could work the obelisk around these ideas.
     
  11. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Okay even though there have been many good SF stories written about aliens wanting something of ours and swooping in to take it, that kind of thinking just can't be supported by the facts of the universe. There is plenty of energy, plenty of resources, and an over abundance of available real estate. Besides, aliens can be expected to think completely differently than we do. So if there were a reason for collecting a few humans it will be for some other reason than energy, minerals, or real estate.

    *Edit: or even genetics. Because for that it's better to use something further down the complexity line.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The aliens want to experiment with a particular human gene, which they've determined happens roughly four times in every million humans. The testing takes a little time, so they want to do it elsewhere, before humanity gets themselves geared up to actually fight back. They want twenty subjects, but because it's "roughly" four per million, they want double the selection pool to ensure that they get enugh. So they demand ten million people, carry them off, test 'em, take the thirty-one healthy people that happen to match, and leave the rest.

    Edited to add: Did you want the carried-off humans to be still alive? I wasn't clear on that point. If so, the testing could explain that, too - the aliens might provide the humans with minimal basics to keep themselves alive for the four or five years that it takes to test all ten million of them. Letting them govern and feed themselves might be easier than wandering around handing out ration packets.

    Those "minimal basics" might be some sort of dome with climate control and some modification of the land beneath it to make it farmable, so that the humans can do the job of keeping themselves alive. The aliens don't actually care whether the humans survive after the selection is over, but why destroy a perfectly good Acme ColonyDrome? Maybe some alien grad student, or an Acme sales rep, will return in a few thousand years to see if it held up.

    OK, that last part is kind of jokey, but maybe they leave the humans there to keep themselves alive in case they want more research subjects later. In fact, maybe they return every few generations to re-test and take a few more.
     
  13. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    They used them for a reality TV show but, sadly, it never got very popular, so they just abandoned it. The Last Remaining Alien is a fan of the show.
     
  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe the humans were used for testing and they were part of a failed experiment, and the whole of Karachi could've been an alien lab. You know, like a "culture" scientists often cultivate.

    People not remembering that they were kidnapped is completely illogical. You don't think the first generation humans would talk about it? Incite some kind of rebellion just to be knocked down? You don't forget this kind of thing. At the very least they'll know about their human ancestry and perhaps no longer consider themselves as human and thus have no desire to return to Earth - that is plausible - but a complete memory wipe isn't. Unless you come up with an alien technology that enabled the aliens to deliberate wipe their memories.

    Readers will notice the plot hole - even if they don't, they'll know somehow the story is incomplete and they'll be left dissatisfied because they would be confused, with important questions left unanswered. Either way, doesn't bode well for your book.
     
  15. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's entirely possible for an enterprise to gather some sort of resource and then (if its cheap) entirely forget about in favor of something else. They dropped them on the moon, planned to come back later, and simply forgot to do so. I would totally buy that.
     
  16. jennym123
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    jennym123 Member

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    Because the ruling class has little interest in individual life or the lives of aliens (e.g. humans)

    Think about it; They would go to a group of people and ask for 10 million people as slaves. This doesn't speak individualism, it speaks for the greater good. And they'd leave one engineer behind to maintain it. Why? Because he's a lower class and engineers are easy to come buy- or make in a lab?
     

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