Survey to help my storygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Ok, I'm rather stuck in the story that I am writing. My characters are about to get into a group discusion and I need other peoples opinion on what they would do in this situation. Here it is.
You have been kidnapped by aliens (this IS fiction, hehe) and the ship you are on has crashed on an uninhabited planet. The crew is dead, the main computer is an AI, and there are 19 other people stuck there with you. You can't go back, and all you have to work with is the contents of a shopping mall, a strip mall (one of the stores is an emergency/survival store) and a county fair. Everyone is healthy, and mainly from the city. There is about 18 months of food in storage.
What would you do? What sort of community would you set up? I look forward to any answers, and I thank you for your time. annette
-- annette (email@example.com), March 16, 2002
Well, obviously a leader needs to emerge (could it be a woman? Most stories always have men as the leaders-boring and redundant). And a romance would liven things up a little. There is some conflict in that they have crashed and need to survive, but some personality conflicts and resolutions (which would inevitable in real life) would make things interesting. How did the contents of a shopping mall, county fair, and strip mall all end up on an unihabited planet? Somehow that sounds too easy. They would have to discover what the climate of the planet is, what grows well, where water comes from, etc. Seems to me that they need animals, I cannot imagine life lasting long without animals of some sort. Maybe it could be kind of like an Israeli style kibbutz?
-- Rebekah (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 2002.
I think its great your writing a book. ( its a book right?).
Oh my contribution, I would be the blonde girl with well maicured nails and 4" heels, ann kline jeans and a halter top, gucchi bag, and enough gold jewelry to build a new ship, ALL the time complaining about the conditions, and the noise and the lack of rodeo drive quality shops in the strip mall. You know the one, whinny voice, too much make-up...ect... LOL
Hope that helped, somhow I doubt it did....
-- Kristean Thompson (email@example.com), March 16, 2002.
There needs to be a group introduction to determine what skills are represented, by concensus a leader will have to arise, along with a governing body. There will be the rebel who won't/can't be managed and he/she will form an offshoot group. There will be the wholesome girl, the bad girl, the kid from Kentucky who plays the harmonica and gets killed by a sniper while he's playing "Home, Sweet Home"....wait, that's every old war picture I ever watched. Anyway, it will be a challenge to NOT rewrite "The Stand" or "Postman" or any one of a half dozen other apocolyptic stories. I wish you luck and good fortune. Wait a minute, how DOES that mall end up on an uninhabited planet?
-- melina b. (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 2002.
Make the A.I. an intergal part of the discussion group, the resident logic running subroutines to lessen the effects of actions by the more emotional characters by dialoging with the wider perspective characters.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), March 16, 2002.
Murder every one but the cute blond and the food will last a lot longer. survival of the fittest or meanest. hehehehehehe
-- David in North Al. (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.
Hmmmm. Do I see residual checks flowing in? -LOL-
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.
That's interesting - and a good chance of working long-term. Of course, you're going to have to get through the immediate problems first. Your strip mall has a pet shop, and that has dogs and cats. More importantly it has rabbits and Japanese quail and maybe pigeons - they'll be vital, and give you a quick start to self-sufficiency as well - - - IF you can find a local source of carbohydrates they can digest. Can be ground-up dried seaweed for all I care, or the local equivalent of sago palm, provided it works. Could be something that people can't eat (allergies), but the birds and animals can.
Longer term, your county fair has a pony ride setup. They'll be light- weight draft animals, and provide milk (hey, the Mongols conquered most of the world fueled by mare's milk), and ultimately meat as well. Nice if it had a petting zoo with goats and sheep and ducks and hens, but I think you're going to have to forego cattle. You also don't want to make it too easy - better to have to struggle to get by on less than to hand them everything on a platter.
Of course, if you've got the county-fair rides, then you've already thought about the fact they've got a lot of independent stationary engines, but can you salvage tubing from the spacecraft to make a still for fuel?
You're going to need a country-boy here (maybe his sister as well, but I don't think girls on their own get taught how to run the still too often). Your country boy may or may not have got a good schooling, but if he didn't he may well be working on the fairground. Maybe your country boy can kick things off, then die tragically and have his place taken by his sister (or the girl next-door he ran away with).
I hope your strip mall has a health-food store. That's about the only way I can think of to get a good range of viable seed. Maybe surprise everyone by pulling some beans and lentils and chickpeas out of plastic bags in a supermarket, but mostly your cereal grains and a lot of other pulses will have to come from the health-food store. No - wait, you've got oaten hay and wheaten hay in the food for the ponies as well, and you can have malting barley for home-brew as something the health-food store sells as well. It wouldn't be unheard- of for a health-food store to have whole-grain rye and triticale as well. The health-food store will almost certainly have Indian (Amerindian) wild rice, so you can start that on wet ponds. Hey, health-foods are dealing in flax-seed as well, so that gives you linen. Of course, you've got vegetable seeds in the garden department of the megamart (or hardware store - whatever) of your strip mall. Either out of the garden department or the pet store or the health food store you'll get sunflowers. You'll also get millet out of bird- seed (and maybe some accidental hemp as well - that - could be - interesting, and useful).
Try to make sure someone is or knows how to become a home brewer, apart from the fuel aspect. Strictly speaking, it's a waste of resources, but it's so much fun. Ideally, your health food store will also stock various wine and beer yeasts, but maybe just bread-yeast would serve the purpose (after all, these people are going to have to rough it a little). If that's the case, sample beer and wine made with bread yeast so you know (how bad it can be) what it tastes like.
Read the Anne McCaffrey "Pern" books, and also the Jean M.Auel's "Earth's Children" (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6293/JeanAuel.htm) books for clues on how to do the "primitive" bit well.
Good idea about making the AI a protaqgonist - an intelligent but (maybe) uneducated protagonist mentored by an AI is a workable proposition.
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.
Wait a minute....you crash on an "uninhabited planet" but there is a shopping mall, a strip mall, and emergency/survial sotre and a "county" fair???? So if it is uninhabited, where did this stuff come from and planets have counties???
-- Karen (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.
I love Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, well, I enjoy all of her books but Pern is my favorite. I also really enjoyed the Earth's Children series as well, but wasn't the fourth book supposed to come out YEARS ago? What's up with that?
Stacy in NY
-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), March 17, 2002.
You can always end it as a dream sequence or drug induced hallucination.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.
Ok, here are the answers to your questions. The aliens were kidnapping the people in the first place to sell them to an alien zoo. So they had to take things with them that would be used to set up an exhibit. Thus, the people were taken from the mall, strip mall, and fair grounds. Everything that was there was taken with them. Some of the people were from the fair, the vet, a cattle racncher, and a shepperdess. My two main characters are a homesteader young lady, only child so she knows a great deal about homesteading, and a male paramedic from the mall. Thus, general homesteading know how and medical experience is covered. My main protagonist is a PETA fanatic and a Fema-nazi type fanatic.
All survival basics are covered in the short term, about 18 months. Food, water, shelter in the ship. All of the animals were taken from the fair, so they have a good farm animal assortment as well as a good genetic base. The survival store in my town sells bulk whole grains by the 50 lb bag and vacuumed sealed nonhybrid vegetable garden seed kits. This is where they are going to get most of the long term food supplies. These people were taken on a health basis, the ten healthiest men and the ten healthiest women. So there won't be any IMEDIATE problems there. All are adults between the ages of 18 and 45.
The group discusion where I am stuck at will introduce all of the characters and give a general impression as to their personalities. What I really need is several different types of setups for a new community. With this many people, there should be several ideas, and I can only come up with an old west fort set up.
Thanks for the idea of a moonshiner, that should flesh out one of the characters I really hadn't taken a hard look at yet. And yes, there is a whiner, the 18 year old valley girl.
THANK YOU! for your encouragement, I really haven't taken this outside my own family before this and it really helps to think it is going to work. annette
-- annette (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.
Too cut and paste on the characters. Make the 18 year old Valley girl a whiner on the initial trip, but once the going gets tough have her demonstrate an unseen inner strength and resolve that changes her behaviour. A lot of whiners are really only annoyed at the day to day irritations of life, but handle big emergencies like a triage nurse - if you don't belive me, check out the 9/11 stories. Besides, I speak from personal experience - I'm a petty whiner (I'm working on it, okay), but when the big stuff hits the fan I buckle down and cope in a way that makes hubby think I've got a pinch hitter stuck in a closet somewhere. Not sure why, I just do.
Make the real loser a high-powered CEO type, or a take-charge kinda guy who is only really take-charge when he's in familiar circumstances and novelty or unplanned events throw him hard (shades of "I can't work like this" theater divas). To really instigate power shuffling, have him in charge until he cracks (which shouldn't take long).
Don't forget to have a "I'm a a professional, I know how to do this" type who ends up not taking instructions and getting everyone in trouble. In my Habitat for Humanity year, we had a guy like that, a contractor/volunteer who would just stare over your shoulder if you were a "girl" giving him instructions (perhaps the now-calm Valley chic?) and then proceed to do it his way. Cost us several inspections and many days each in re-fitting his work on two or three houses. One of our "girls" eventually had to bust his b**** and send him packing.
Also, never forget that a mother of three near-same-age children can handle nearly everything - at once - without cracking.
-- Soni (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.
Stacy; fourth book is complete and to be released in May last I heard.
-- Epona (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.
On Jean M Auel, that's fifth book coming soon - "The Shelters of Stone" - due for release 30th April. The others, in order, were "The Clan of the Cave Bear", "The Valley of Horses", "The Mammoth Hunters", and "The Plains of Passage".
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.
Oh Soni, The mother of 3 cracks all right, she just doesn't tell anyone until she is 45 and then up and leaves to go screaming into the wilderness (taking the youngest with her). Happy ending.
-- Susan in Northern Mitten Michigan (email@example.com), March 17, 2002.
My wife brought your question to my attention this morning. I am a writer, self-published one book so far, and have a couple of questions for you. First, with the AI how do they communicate? Second, what is the planet like on which they landed? Since Aliens abducted them, it would be assumed that to communicate with the AI will take a chapter or more to to develope. Your party needs to scout the planet and even though it may appear empty, is it really? Even Mars has a life structure, as was used in the movie "Red Planet". I sat down last winter to write myself a sci-fi and after six chapters ran smack into a wall of badly planned logistics. Most readers will jump on your mistakes long before your story unfolds. I used 3X5 cards to setup my characters but the time line became too involved. You have a great idea and it sounds great. Saw an "Outer Limits" plot years ago that was similar to your idea. Although I shelved my book I may yet get past the time line thing and finish it. Right now I'm into playing "Might & Magic VIII" where I get ideas for some of my on going stuff. My wife just bought me a cassette recorder to keep my thoughts on. Also, buy a good dictionary, we have an unabridged so I have word etymologies. Words are funny things we try as writers to use to extend ourselves to the readers. Taking a mental image from your mind and placing it into another's is hard work. I have had a life long dream of one day being a successful writer. I takes dedication to that dream to continue even when those reject form letters are rolling in. I wish you much success in your endeavors.
-- David Goss (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2002.
I can't contribute anything to the question, but thank you for reminding me about Jean M. Auel's books! I've been meaning to read them again!~~~~(Heading upstairs to find them!)~
-- Ardie/WI (email@example.com), March 19, 2002.
I think the people on this forum could write a very interesting book, Just keep a running thread, everyone add the next paragraph and see where the story goes. LOL!! Best wishes.
-- cowgirlone in OK (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2002.
You need limits - your setup at the moment has almost endless supplies. Maybe you could do personality development early, then fast- forward twelve months to when the end of the supplies is in sight, then redo the personalities in that light. However, I think it would be more interesting and simpler if you started limited from the git- go. My assumption when you said "fair" was just the showfolk taken in transit ("carnies" I think in your terms, and they often travel in a convoy like circuses do - Hey, maybe you could substitute a circus). There's some very interesting people in either - many with special abilities and special limitations. That's the sort of thing I mean by limits.
On Jean Auel - I'm going to weaken. Always before for anyone and everyone I've always waited until the paperback has come out - or at least the trade paperback. However, this time I think I'm going to have to buy the hardcover - it's been too long.
-- Don Armstrong (email@example.com), March 19, 2002.
I know what you mean Don there are very few authors that I'll pay hardcover prices for but I will for Jean Auel. I'm going to have to reread the first four books (forgot one there, didn't I?)because it's been so long- think I have most of them tho. I have most? of the books that Anne McCaffrey has written, and all of the Pern and Rowan series in hardcover. Some things just can't be conserved upon...
Stacy in NY
-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), March 20, 2002.
I love the Pern books! I am so glad that another is on its way. Where else can you find winged dragons that destroy thread, and characters that can survive like homesteaders?
-- Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 2002.
Day ONE a new home?: We met together and we have a meeting, to organize things with the surviver, I was selected as number one. And this is how I organized things,Well after we set up a perimeter around the ship, and check that no animals or alliens, were close to the group, we organized things like this, Sharon was in charge of supplies, Otten he has military experience, was my second in command, we have one nurse, we made her in charge of medical, her name was Yvonne, after that we organized a crew to clean the ara this plannet was very tropical, and it rains a lot, we start building temporary shelters and to cover the ship, the AI computer, gave us an annalysis of the ground were we are and it was compatible with our grains, in storage, we found out that a family in the group the Stern, were gardeners, so I made them resposibles to start a garden, the younger guys, I divided them in groups of 3 with one weapon and I sent them to patrol the area secure a perimeter, and set post, believe it or not I only have 9 guys military age, we have a river one mile away,or so the AI detected I sent two kids with Otten to bring water to annalyze, and older people were sent to the forest to bring all kinds of wood to start a fire for tonight. Golds for today, to disguse the ship form animals and Elliens. We should start a big fire to protect us against animals. We already saw some of the fauna around it, and at least one seemed a predator big like a dog but no tail. The AI has capabilities to scan around too, several big movible marks were seen in its screen, she was unable to identify , we discussed if they were animals of possible ground transportation,they dont move like transportation so we assumed that they are possible big animals. We have to investigate. As a matter of fact my name is Orn, and I trying to keep these people together and alive. SOS were sent one hour ago, were discussed if to do it or not, after we set things in motion. So probably we are going to send only one. So far the major problem are the ants, they are every were, and well and just started raining.
-- Ralph Roces (email@example.com), March 23, 2002.