Draft

The camera pans into the scene. Broken buildings. Fires in windows, shattered icons, blood. Sometimes there are looters, sometimes zombies or bugs or aliens. Occasionally, it is simply an empty wastelands. Oddly, it is almost always raining. Oh, wait. This is Hollywood we’re talking about.
It’s a familiar trope, mainstreamed and popularized by films such as Matrix, Blade-Runner and Terminator. Dystopia, post-apocalypse, grunge, zombies, war. The future has been a dark and dirty place recently.
Of course, there is plenty of reason for such a dark depiction. It seems like every new discovery, every bit of progress we make, just turns into one more thing to go wrong. The oil disaster in the Gulf, the garbage patch in the Pacific, the rising ill-health and falling education of our nation. Iowa approves gay marriage, Arizona approves racial harassment.
The future could be a very dark place indeed. But a powerful, often-ignored entity in the direction of our future is the mechanisms of social globalization and the psychological impact of rapid, wide-spread social evolution.

Exiles, refugees, immigrants, emigrants, tourists, business travelers and merchants. People affect people. The only way a society might remain static (Amish, Amazonian tribes, Basque) is if there are no outside influences. Even one person can trigger an avalanche of social change. With the ease of travel, the world can’t really be mapped in solid lines any more, but in an ebbing, flowing, living picture.

Tourists are a particularly under-utilized group. Bleak future or not, tourists are like cockroaches: only the total destruction by fire of their entire species is going to stop them. Philadelphia got eaten by giant scorpions? Have an underground trade of stingers, or have hucksters sell Real (imitation) Scorpion Shell.

Armies. A massive, insular and antagonistic stress on any society. An army leaving a country will open dozens of holes in the economy, familial structure and work-force. An army coming in will create chaos and facilitate the success of drug, sex and entertainment industries.

Technology.

Missionaries. I really want to see someone writing about post-apocalyptic missionaries. No, really. Anywhere you have religion, you’ll have eager young people burning to share their faith.

The environment. No, not as a living entity. The environment is now hugely affected by people.

Imagine that the Garbage Patch washes/builds up to the edge of a remote beach, somewhere that modern society hasn’t been able to catch up to. Suddenly, all these pieces of an unimagined future inundate their lives. How long until someone starts connecting wires, rearranging elements, and inventing things that wouldn’t even occur to an American scientist? What sort of science-fiction, alien culture could build from such a unique viewpoint?

As these catalysts interact with each other, various forms of societal landscapes begin to form. Ethnic lines, technological landscapes, lines of ideas, finances and media.

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One Response to “Draft”

  1. Thank you for the story idea, Jaym! I shall tuck this away for further mulling: “Missionaries. I really want to see someone writing about post-apocalyptic missionaries. No, really. Anywhere you have religion, you’ll have eager young people burning to share their faith.”

    And I particularlt enjoyed this: “Bleak future or not, tourists are like cockroaches: only the total destruction by fire of their entire species is going to stop them.”

    🙂

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