Friday, December 21

Reverse-Enginnering the Apocalypse

Are you all still alive out there? Did you survive the apocalypse?

Good.

I'm wondering if they plan the standard push-back date on the day of the last prediction, or if they plan ahead a few days so they can research another historical/religious/philosophical tidbit somewhere to base it on. That's about all the thought I'd spare on it, except that it's certainly good for story ideas!

Yes I know, stories about the apocalypse are rather overdone these days. Right up there with angsty vampires and hordes of zombies. Okay, so what's done is done. So why not do it in reverse?

How about instead of a story about how the world is going to end tomorrow and everybody is caught off-guard because nobody believes it, how about a plot where a society believes totally in it, but it doesn't happen? Imagine if we all believed implicitly that the world was going to end tomorrow. What would we do? How would people cope? And then, what if it didn't happen? Would people regret their actions the previous day? Would there be relief, or chaos?

Let's take it a step further. Very few characters involved in a vampire story who are not already vampires at the beginning of said story actually want to become one. For that matter, many of the vampires don't want to be what they are. But what if becoming a vampire was a desirable thing? Would there be some sort of caste structure? Perhaps the proletariat is composed entirely of vampires, and becoming one yourself is sort of like swearing fealty to a clan, much like a samurai might? Or maybe forget all that, and present a modern-day plot where humans believe it is natural evolution to become a vampire? At a certain point in your life you are turned as part of a coming-of-age ceremony, and turning somebody too early is akin to teen pregnancy?

Why do zombies always have to destroy the world? Maybe the zombie virus doesn't kill you, but reanimates your corpse into one of the hungry dead only after you die of other means? Maybe the whole world is infected, but they don't think much of it since the virus doesn't really do anything to you until after you die? What then? Would cremation be mandatory? Are there paramedic "death squads" that are dispatched in emergencies after somebody has already passed away, to ensure the remains don't reanimate? Or maybe becoming a zombie is some sort of transcendental religious thing -- zombies are tolerated and even considered holy, but kept at arms length and otherwise coexist with humans because there's some law against destroying them? The natural progression of death for a society where zombifying is as inevitable as death and taxes?

Everywhere you look, there's an idea for a new story plot. If you look a bit harder, your idea might just be that much more unique.

What do you think?


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