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Alright, so I was sitting around lazily today, picking at random guitar strings and thinking about the modern world. And I hatched upon a bookworthy idea. So now what?
I've written before, although never to be published. I like social commentaries, and stories that explore the depths of the human condition, so I hatched upon this realization, and am turning to you guys for help turning it into a workable plot.This is what I need your help with. I've got the background largely fleshed out, but the conflict just isn't there. I thought of a rebellion by those who have just been subjected to the rule of the 'perfects', and while that is valid and entertaining, I want to point out that the beastial nature of mankind cannot be simply "bred out". So I need a reason that one of these "perfects" might fall from their task and cause unrest.Essentially, the year is still 2009, but the world is entirely different. In the late Nineteenth century, after three of the most massive wars in world history (the american revolution, french revolution, and the american civil war) the world is aware that great upheaval is imminent, and that the human race teeters of the brink of a terrible conflict (ww1). In europe, the Industrial Revolution is coming to close, with the devastation of the poor and the blighting of the country side.
The world's greatest thinkers gather together and determine that they shall prepare a plan to unit mankind under peaceful rule forever more. Armed with the writings of Charles Darwin, they decide that they will prepare for a brighter future by "masterminding" a 'new order' of humans.
Gathering together several of the greatest minds, and also the most handsome of the human race onto vast dirigibles, they set to bring about a millenia of human evolution in only a few hundred years.
Without natural predators, with our current system of social security, and no real catalyst for natural selection of any kind, humans are breeding more towards beauty and intelligence, rather than sheer survivability. Harnessing this fact, the great minds seek to implement a little more "selection" in human evolution, to create paragons of mankind, beautiful, intelligent creatures who will someday use their charisma to lead the world's nations as a unified body.
Of course, these added means of "selection" can be spartanly cruel- screening children for intelligence, and carefully selecting those who are smart enough, and appealing enough, to continue on their duty reproduction, which will continue to refine the ideal "human of the future".
Furthermore, by robbing the world of it's greatest scientific minds, they have crippled technological advance. The world remains poised at the turn of the century for another 200 years. Meanwhile, without arms races or true participation in war, the dirigible-borne "perfects" only manage minor advances in weapons technology.
Finally the "Perfects" return to the ground, and begin their swaying of the world's nations. They are almost unhuman- brilliant in every way and each of them stunningly beautiful. They are truly perfect.
However, they are only human.
I've already considered working a small love story into the book, between a protagonist female "perfect" and standard human male, possibly a slave aboard one of the airships. She is of course attracted to his earthy, primal nature, and this serves to point out that mankind is beautiful even in it's flaws. However, this is not meant to be the main reason for unrest, else it will sound too much like a "romeo and juliet" saga on an epic scale.
Might I suggest reading some of the classics to get inspiration. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells would be of particular interest and would help you with the evolution thing and the split between races. It's a short book but has a lot of good ideas for you to pick from. You have a decent basis for a story and with a little help from the masters it could be great. Also, stories are more interesting when you follow a character or two depending on if you want to show one of the "perfects" and one of the "not-so's" or not.
Last edited by Dekendo; March 8th, 2009 at 16:54.
Never apologise for asking questions young seers, through asking
questions we find answers, and through those answers we gain
knowledge of ourselves and the universe around us
Meet My Autarch
The most obvious form of conflict that came to mind after reading your summary is that the normal humans see the 'perfects' as alien and foreign, and would contest their return.
I'm guessing there would already be deep resentment towards them, anyway, what with the stealing of children and breaking of families and the like.
Maybe some of the 'perfects' side with the humans, feeling they have treated them unjustly over the years.
Other 'perfects' may feel that these humans are inferior to their elite breeding, and may set about actively wiping them out.
I think your love story could work - because no matter how much you try to civilise humans, we're still to some degree controlled by inherent primal instincts.
For some reason I've just thought back to that scene in the Hitch Hiker's guide (the movie that was out recently) where the computer announces the answer to the ultimate question as 42. Were this book of yours meant to be funny, I can imagine the 'perfects' returning, the masses of humanity awaiting their arrival, only to be intensely disappointed that the 'perfects' aren't what they expected.
I'm not quite sure that this is what you want, though...
Thank you, both of you, for your replies.
@ Dekendo: I have read the Time Machine, and also anthologies of the great SteamPunk writers. Some SP though is terribly handled, and feels more like a pulp-fiction-sci-fi rather than a genuine novel. My greatest influences are Gothic Horror, Dark Romanticism, Steam Punk, and of course, novels like "Brave New World" (which some of the idealogy of this book is based upon).
I do intend to follow a few characters. The original post was mean to cover only the setting, so that perhaps someone could pop in with a point of conflict. It will likely show the point of view of a "perfect".
@ Deadstar MRC: i have considered the idea of "rebellion" or "revolution", and I feel that it would feel too tired. That would be the most logical of the responses, however, I have chosen to show the Perfects as success. They arrive in small numbers, teams of 2-3 people. They are viewed as almost angelic beings, with a crippling beauty and an intellect and foresight that baffles the "modern" man. Also, they come equipped with slightly advanced technology. They are indeed seen as alien, and may be unnerving to some, but not hated.
Much of the "culling" was inflicted by the Perfects upon themselves. When they did correct flaws in the world below, it was often done quickly and quietly. If you were not willing to join them, or unable to join them- you would likely be assassinated. Agents are spread across the world, either early Perfects, or 'Normals' who's families have been allied to the cause for generations.
I'm glad for your vote of confidence for the possible love story. The intent isn't to show the "primal" instincts of mankind however. It is actually these instincts that drive the Perfects: they are all the ideal supermodels that the world has always lusted over. Rather, it is to show that even basic man can overcome primal instincts, and that it is possible to find beauty in the flaws of our own existence.
I'm splitting this into two posts, because after talking with some friends for the past 2 days, I've gotten most the story fleshed out, though I still need that elusive answer to the question "why".
At this point I am sure that the story is going to follow at least 1 of our "Perfects". Perfects tend to be young, as they reproduce at a young age to cram as many generations into as short a time span as possible. Therefore, their "adult age" is roughly 14.
Our protagonist is a young lady, likely aged 16. She has no children, as it is her generation's duty to return to the Ground. She is assigned with another Perfect, a young man, to England. Once on the ground, they meet with an agent who has been trained by the same faction. He is an assassin and an accomplished killer, who is going to aid the two in establishing trust with the British Monarchy (still in power).
The three of them fight in Ireland (still entirely under british rule and rebelling) and calm tensions. They achieve their mission of infiltrating the government far enough to influence foreign policy and prevent wars.
However, it slowly becomes apparent that one of the groups which was sent to Earth, is operating as a rogue force. They are giving new technology (namely airplanes to combat the dirigibles) to the "imperfects", and also causing complications for the other teams in their countries. WW1, which they were attempting to avoid, still erupts in Europe.
At this point, I think that our protagonist(s) will be framed for the brunt of the damage, and try to prove the right of their actions. However, the struggle for the protagonist's own survival, the fragmentation caused by the rogue team, and the world war, will lead to the downfall and "extinction" of the perfects, or at least undo everything that their 200 years has struggled to accomplish.
Unfortunately, for a motive, I may find myself including 2 love stories. I wanted to avoid placing too much influence on romance, but Love is a very powerful emotion, and one which the young, progressively minded Perfects are ill prepared to deal with. Most likely, the male perfect is going to find himself in a political marriage to the Princess of England, who's mother was slain by his 'Ideal'. He is attracted to the girl, who is almost a perfect herself, thanks to luck, and her royal upbringing. This slights the female protagonist.
At this point, the female and the assassin/bodyguard are sent to another location, and while they are away, the princess discovers the connection between her mother's death and the 'ideal'. Two things could happen:
1- the male perfect whom she is married to is convinced now that his cause is wrong, and begins acting in secret, against it.
2- the princess, overcome with grief and guilt for marrying someone who is connected to her mother's murder- hangs herself. This drives the male almost insane with grief, and turns him against his cause.
In the meantime, the slighted female perfect hates him for choosing an "imperfect" over her. I am considering having an attack physically scar her just prior to his choice, causing her to blame the scar and then doubt her own "perfection". The bodyguard takes care of her as he is supposed to, and also offers her small comfort that she is still beautiful. Over time she becomes more and more comfortable with him, until she discovers that she too is in love.
I like where your ideas are leading.
Are you still looking for your 'why', though? I'm guessing the why is the reason we have a dissident group somewhere... I'm sort of typing ideas as I think of them here, so they possibly won't be all that useful.
Maybe somewhere, one of the people taken for breeding into a 'perfect' felt greatly wronged that they were taken away from their family/friend/work/whatever. They've managed to preserve this indignation throughout their generations, and thus their descendent tries to ruin things for everyone.
Maybe one of the humans/normals manages to convince the perfects that all of their wonderful inventions would be best shared with the public, and the perfects (having had a sheltered upbringing) are naive enough to believe this. But this takes the blame away from the perfects and on to the normals, which I'm not sure is what you're aiming for.
Meh... that's all I've got, at the moment.
But just a bit of feedback, before I go. You mention the possible reactions of the princess (which you've conveniently numbered 1 and 2) - I'd be slightly more likely to pick option 1. In my mind at least, the princess would most likely be at first angry upon finding her husband was in some way responsible for her mother's death, with the result that she would possibly confront him about it rather then blame herself. In the ensuing discussion, she could convince the perfect (or he could conclude himself) that it was wrong, and then as you said he turns against his cause. Maybe only a little at first, but things escalate later.
I hope this is helping to some degree! I know you appreciate the feedback but I also know I'm not all that good at coming up with ideas.
Ah Deadstar, you're more helpful that you give yourself credit for. If nothing else, you provide the only real "consumer info" that I'm getting right now.
I think that I probably will stick to Option 1 of the princess. Suicides are something that I tend to stay away from in my writing, as I feel that it's cowardly and therefor puts a mar on the character, and that if I make it seem like a valid option, some idiot who reads my work will jump too.
I've been testing the feasibility of this with my regular DnD group actually. I have several friends who aren't involved in the DnD, giving me suggestions for my ideas, and then I worked these into a quick campaign for my group, just to see how people would react. Immediate statements that caught my ear were
"We're gonna have to do this Monte Cristo style"
"We're neutral, we have only your best interests at heart"
"If this guy finds out much more, we'll have to kill him"
"Haha- they think we're from God. We should start a cult"
"We're moving so fast, it's been about two weeks, and we've got the world in our palm"
"Hey- are we good guys or bad guys?"
That last one is the one that really catches my eye, because these guys are all great RPers, and I've even told them what they as Perfects are working for, but sometimes they can't shake the feeling that what they're doing is wrong.
Most of the characters and plot developments are set. Technologically we're holding out in 1910, although the year is 2009, and the 'Perfects' went up in 1870. That's 139 years of breeding, giving time for roughly 11 generations of Perfects- typically that would take a standard society 300 years to achieve.
Time in general has slowed as a result of the Perfect's efforts over the centuries, but mankind's idealogy is irrefutably linked to technology, so characters such as Lenin are arriving on the scene late.
The female protagonist is really there to keep the story as a 'story' and not a "what-if" essay, just like the male assassin protagonist is there to keep the setting mobile.
Also, it turns out that while I wasn't directly influenced by the series, "Gundam 00" really shows a lot of similarities. The first season does. The second season is sort of dull, but the first is some of the best TV i've ever watched. The episodes are available for download all over.
MAKE IT ABOUT A BLIND KITTY NAMED BUBBLES, WHO HAS TWO CRAB CLAWS AND A BEST FRIEND NAMED JIM THE SNAIL.
THIS IS SPARTA!!!
Never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.
yeah some hot girl for main perfect character ^^ -but she finds out the perfects are evil and multyplying throughout the world like a plague (that dodgey mcdonalds food works this spot fine ).
just make some ultra story with fancy stuff
not sure the name of the movie but it would really help with what your getting at, when I remember the name I'll tell you.
Last edited by Hive Node; April 27th, 2009 at 04:32. Reason: added help
i've been to lazy to read the replies, but your idea is a good one. perhaps an alien invasion of some sort or some other disator. but that wont be the main conflict. have this occur before the events of the book. the perfects were not able to adequatly protect the standard human and they begin to become uneasy. perhaps add a short backstory in a sort of prolouge or something but dont get too in depth. this uneasiness finally and climacticly escalates into a rebellion against these perfects while a standard human female falls in love with a perfect male. it'll have an end similar to a tale of two cities and the rebellion will go along the lines of the french revolution because history doesnt repeat itself, but it really rhymes.