1. mikasa

    mikasa Member

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    Opinions on this world?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by mikasa, Nov 14, 2016.

    Hello everyone, I want to say thanks for anyone willing to offer opinions and that the forum posts I have been reading give me a lot of encouragement that this is a good/safe place to share creative ideas.

    So my idea so far is a dystopian setting.
    In the future, the world is mostly intact both man-made and natural, but people are in far less prevalent due to a virus that spread wildly, killing hosts eventually. I called it the refrain virus because I based of how I envisioned it would affect people. The refrain virus causes the infected people to slowly shut down cognitively, and eventually become catatonic. It's slow to show symptoms but contagious early, making it easy to pass on. I guess the world would have ended as the numbers of infected just overwhelmed the healthy, and the unwillingness of people to stop caring for them when they were clearly not dead caused a breakdown of society. This would mean that characters would be fearful of others and that they would eventually come upon people who were still alive, but far enough along in infection to be immobile or slow.
    So after the world of mankind collapses and the survivors go back to prioritizing survival, the pockets of relatively organized people, likely military bases and the surrounding community, would be trying to survive and rebuild. They would be the antagonists because of how harshly they deal with any possible infected outside of their isolated communities. Thinking "greater good" applied harshly and coldly to the infected or potentially infected. Other antagonists would be the standard end of the world things I guess, bandits and the like depending on what I come up with as the MC motivation.

    I thought a lot about the emotional conflict that this world might produce as people would struggle between survival choices and moral choices, both for themselves and the infected, who would not die because of the infection but because someone decided to stop taking care of them.

    Apologies for the long first post, but I want to include what details I have considered so far to get honest/accurate feedback.
     
  2. Jaiden

    Jaiden Member

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    In a sentence, it could honestly be very bad or very good. I don't think the world makes or breaks it, it is more upto the storytelling to do that. It does, however, raise a lot of questions within me, and it has a lot of scope for variance. Like, is everyone affected by this refrain virus, and who are these people who have seized control? Would the world generally turn to shit in light of such an event, or would some people come closer together in an attempt to survive? Survival is all relative, after all. Some crazy militant guy might see survival as reinstating the classic hierarchical structure, whilst others just see a loud confident voice and follow it without question.

    In most dystopian settings, unless you want to get all Huxley, it's going to be a retread of used ideas that haven't shone brightly for quite a while. That doesn't mean the writing and the story can't dazzle, it certainly can, but the world itself is nothing new, and it has been used well and used poorly in equal amount.
     
  3. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    To me the world sounds good, I am more concerned with how the virus is spread. If it is spread before physical symptoms appear, how does it? Does the virus inhabit the lungs so it is air born? For how long can the virus survive outside the host? Does it require a vector? Is it spread via bodily fluids? This kind of thing will dictate even more about your world as if it is spread via blood, blood transfusions will be rare, sexual intercourse (of any kind) may be stigmatised if that is the way it is caused. Depending on how it is spread and who it is most common in will drive up barriers between people, creating this world you envision. I hope I helped!
     
  4. Becca Hodge

    Becca Hodge New Member

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    It's an interesting idea, and a different approach to the typical zombie virus post apocalypse scenario. Those that survived though, are they immune?
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    Interestingly it has similarities to my WIP 'after the wave' which deals with a world also decimated by a viral event - "the Wave" which had symptoms like rabies but spread like flu.

    In mine the virus has been and gone, and the pocket of organised people who's ancestors got the vaccine are the protags, engaged in fighting a civil war against the descendants of those that survived the plague.

    I think mine is more of a straight forward millitary adventure than yours sounds to be as i havent gone into the hard choices etc as those were all made at least a generation before the action
     
  6. mikasa

    mikasa Member

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    Thanks for the responses thus far, they are very useful in my reflections on the settings.

    I was thinking it would be set after everything sort of settled, so I didn't really consider too hard, the specifics of how it spread to end the world, just that it is still around after the fact and that the people left alive are still living around it. As to how it's spread, I imagined the military communities would be brutal and minimize risk by euthanizing potentially infected people based on a vague set of potential symptoms that I haven't thought of yet, symptoms that would be common enough to get people accidentally killed while still identifying enough infected people to not make the military seem irrationally harsh. Ignoring all science, I initially thought it would just be through touch, any touch.

    As far as immunity goes, the threat of the virus is something that I would want to be present to add risk to situations. But it is something that could be explored.

    I have more to consider thanks to your comments and questions, thanks again everyone.
     
  7. malaupp

    malaupp Active Member

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    Like others mentioned before, the world sounds like a pretty standard post-apocalyptic scenario. Now there's a lot of opportunity for variation within that, but it'll be difficult to make the world itself stand out. Although I do have to ask the same question I ask in most virus outbreak scenarios: is there someone working on a cure? It seems like an obvious thing that so many people overlook in that genre. And if the virus is still prevalent at the time the story takes place, then it would make sense for someone to still be trying to combat it.

    Maybe this is me seeing too much into things, but I could see the refrain virus and people's treatment of those affected becoming an allegory for the way elderly relatives are treated in modern age: set in nursing homes and just left there.
     
  8. ginkgo88

    ginkgo88 Member

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    This virus sounds a lot like sleepy sickness, an epidemic of the 1920's which caused very similar symptoms to what you described. Sleepy sickness was pretty insidious at the height of its epidemic status and the effects catastrophic on its victims because it was essentially (according to modern research) a bacterial disease which caused a person's immune system to drastically overreact and develop antibodies against their own brains.

    I'm curious as to why you think the military would immediately jump to euthanizing persons when they become symptomatic? With all due respect, this does seem overly harsh, no matter what the ratio of accidental/meaningful deaths is. I get it if you're set on using the military as your resident killing machines, but I really like what a previous person posted about meaningful allegory re: the virus and the mistreatment of the elderly in society. Furthering the idea, I think it could be interesting to instead use a certain number of posts as quarantine facilities, to draw a parallel to nursing homes. Perhaps you could even have those who have caught the virus but for some reason or another have stopped progressing living in group homes, kept on the fringes, hoping desperately for a cure.
     
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  9. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I imagine a world trying to recover from a collapse like that looking similar to how humans started in the first place. We'd start off immediately after the disaster in fierce competition and in an anarchy state. Small gangs, some probably former military would assert control over some groups, but others wouldn't be worth it. I imagine after a few years things would settle down and enter a time of mostly farming communities, they'll likely realize quickly that it's better to have open trade routes than to be at war with each other. They'll likely be uneasiness between some groups, but mostly like city-state fighting. Military legions would likely stay together and offer protection, likely integrating as part of the farming communities, but some may also ruthlessly take over. This would be years after the initial outbreak though, so their fear level should be lower and they'll act less irrationally at that point.
     
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I tell you story, yes...:P Contributor

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    "I have good news and bad news."
    "What's the bad?"
    "The guy with sniffles is dead."
    "And the good?"
    "You look pretty sexy in a gasmask. Really brings out your eyes.":supergrin:

    Sounds like a really scary place to be honest. Worst part is when
    that people don't have a clue at a point in the infection that they
    are even sick and going to die. Better to see it coming like a
    freight train, than like a fart on a summer breeze. You think your
    fine, and then like a month later a soggy carrot rotting in the fridge.
    Not going lie, outbreaks are not a laughing matter at the bio-contagion
    level.

    Scariest words you don't want to here before a quarantine is in place:
    "I am from the government, and am here to help."

    Then you know its time to use the GTFO maneuver, cause what is about
    to follow is not going to be good.
     
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  11. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    I agree with the guy a few comments up; sounds like it could have great applicability to the philosophy of treatment of the elderly and the ill. If it's slow and contemplative, it could work really well. It kinda depends on what kind of story you want to write, actually. Either way, solid jumping-off point for any "after the disease" post-apocalyptic story you might want to tell. It works fine.
     

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