As is usually the case, I have an idea for a GREAT story while I'm in the middle of writing a completely unrelated story (BUT, this time, I'll actually finish my first novel and just keep an "idea and outline" thingy for the other one) Anyway, I finished reading "The Hunger Games" about kids fighting gladiatorial games on the command of a totalitarian government. Well, everyone says it's a rip off of "Battle Royal," a Japanese book and film on the same premise or "The Running Man," by Stephen King, which was based on similar ideas. Well, my problem wasn't the "fighting to the death thing," as much as it was one very, VERY, over used premise: an evil totalitarian regime. (ok, in the Hunger Games it was more authoritarian than totalitarian, but what ever) So, after I thought about it, I had an idea for a concept that I have only read in ONE other novel: basically, the hero fights FOR the fascist regime which is, for the most part, a good system, at least as it's done in the story. Basically, my premise is that after an economic depression, America is taken over by xenophobic warmongers who were voted in by the public. That, plus the creating of national ballot initiatives resulted in democratically created police state that terrorized minorities and started World War III. One man, a son of poor Latino immigrants who worked his was to be the richest man in America, said what no one since the founding fathers was willing to say: democracy has failed. He lead a group of pro-diversity, anti-democracy elites and young people who began a revolution. His party, the National Technocracy Party, or "the Cooper Shirts" based on their uniforms, took over America and changed everything. They set up a new system of government in which people were tested for intelligence, leadership ability, cunning, morality etc. and the results of the tests would determine in what of the five castes of society they would be placed in, with the not so smart, morally questionable Omegas at the bottom and the intelligent, seemingly born to lead Alphas on the top. The caste system takes away all of the delusions that the populace believed in: no more rich or poor, black or white, male or female, immigrant or natural born. Society is based on one division: The weak and the strong. Anyone can be found to be strong enough to be in the Alpha caste. In fact, it is usually lower income kids who end up scoring high enough to be higher caste, and the children of the wealthy, who are weak as a result of never having to struggle for anything in their lives, are pushed into the lower castes. The story is about a fifteen year old girl who escapes Turkey, one of the lasts of the democracies. It sits behind "the chaos curtain", separating the prosperous, fascist type states from the chaotic and poor democracies. Her family comes to America and she is tested for a caste. She ends up ranking amongst the strongest of the strong alphas. She is allowed to wear the party uniform (the cooper shirt) and taken to an elite academy where she is taught how to use all the high tech weapons and technology, as well as the quasi-Confucian/quasi-fascist ideals of the state...think "Hogwarts" meets space marines from "Aliens" or "robotech." Well, everything goes great until her roommate, the president's little brother, is kidnapped, and she is the prime suspect. She escapes and has to track down the terrorist who did it: pro-democracy racists who want to return America to the rule of the majority and strip the minorities of their rights. So, that's the idea. I've only read something similar in one other novel which you may have already guessed: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. Keep in mind this is not about being pro-racist or pro-war, quite the opposite: racism is shown to be a result of the unwashed mob blaming minorities for their problems, and only the elites with the brains know better. The totalitarian state is depicted as the only thing that can keep the country united and keep the people fed and keep order on the streets, and democracy is the enemy of everything that's good. As Benjamin Franklin once said: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well arm lamb contesting the results." My main gripe with fiction, ALL FICTION, but especially science fiction and fantasy, is that the stories are so recycled. I mean, how many times have I read "Lord of the Rings" rip offs? "A young hero rises to save the fascist state from the evils of democracy," now THAT'S a new idea! But, it would probably NEVER get published. Democracy is the last thing you can't attack in America: you can attack religion and everything else, but you cannot say anything bad about democracy. Plus, everyone will assume it's racist, even after I make it clear that these fascist are actually ANTI-RACIST and the democratic forces are VERY RACIST. What 'ev...but is this a good idea, or just me playing devil's (or dictator's) advocate?