It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Story being written by Rich M 90071
Dan Blan wakes up after being deathly ill
and finds his mind has been uploaded
to a virtual reality
— the Necroverse.
The story takes place 32 years after the "Final Breakdown." Severe resource shortages led to global economic collapse, a series of wars that eventually blew up into World War III
and biowarfare, culminating in the release of a number of virulent Plagues that killed 90% of the human race. Since then, civilization has recovered, thanks to advanced technology due in large part to the rise of the Mac Collective. Now that survival is assured, people are starting to debate what the new society should look like. The debate is already getting...heated.
The story is being posted to my LiveJournal
This work provides examples for the following tropes:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With — Newly recovered dead are placed in virtual communities that resemble the places they lived when they were alive.
- After the End — 32 years after. Civilization is recovering.
- A God Am I — Gaia
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot — Turns out it's very hard to design a computer that's smarter than a human. They haven't figured out how to keep such a mind stable, and experimenting with them is dangerous.
- Alternate History — will become this by the end of this year (2012). Hopefully.
- Artificial Human — Mac's biological duplicates are these.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever — Actually, it's just a script that makes her Digital Avatar look huge.
- Brain Uploading — Mac has made billions of duplicates of his own brain pattern. These are in the process of recovering the brain patterns of everyone who's died.
- Cold Sleep, Cold Future — Waking up in the Necroverse for the first time is similar.
- Cool Code Of Source — The Necroverse scripting utilities.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive — the Plutarchs. How corrupt were they? People don't wear neckties any more. The necktie has become a symbol of irredeemable evil, like the swastika.
- Cosy Catastrophe — by design. With the resource shortages, it would cost more to feed most people than their labor would be worth, so the Plutarchs decided to liquidate most of the human race.
- Cyberspace — The virtual reality of the Necroverse is the main setting.
- Dead to Begin With — The minds of the dead are being uploaded to the Necroverse
- Death Is Cheap — If you don't already have a backup of your brain, they can get you back by scanning the past. In the Necroverse, people who get killed just respawn.
- Depopulation Bomb — The Plagues wipe out 90% of humanity before the story begins. The population has recovered somewhat since.
- Digital Avatar — Non-corporeal Mac duplicates and the recovered dead have these. They're indistinguishable from real bodies to their owners. Living people can use these to visit the Necroverse.
- Divided States of America — Averted. It's such a cliché. However, some other large nations have been balkanized.
- Fantastic Racism — Mac Collective vs. "normal" human beings. Prejudice goes both ways.
- Fictional Document — Several by the Mac Collective. The Decline and Fall of Homo Stupidens: How YOU Helped Cause the Collapse of Civilization, Deconstructing Humanity: How the Human Brain Works...and Fails to Work, The God-Shaped Hole: Pascal's Region and Its Role in the Final Breakdown (about neuroviruses), Beliefs That Work (a defense of the scientific method that takes cultural relativism into account), and Cybermonasticism: Living Productively for the Long Term.
- Fridge Horror — in-story. Dan is glad when he hears that his brother Stan is in the Necroverse. Then he remembers why it's called the Necroverse.
- Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke — Averted. Making non-trivial genetic changes to complex organisms is very hard. Any change is more likely to have harmful side effects than not. Research requires much trial and error, and performing such experiments on humans is deemed unethical. One notable case was an attempt to produce "super-smart" children, using some of Mac's genes (without his consent). Instead, they all developed severe autism.
- Holographic Terminal — The Mac Collective use holographic "clipboards" and virtual windows.
- Magic from Technology — The Necroverse scripting utilities appear to be this to the pre-industrial inhabitants.
- Mary Suetopia — The Mac Collective. They're more plot device than characters.
- Me's a Crowd — Mac duplicated his own mind, downloading some of the copies into Artificial Human bodies, to create the Mac Collective. How big a crowd? More than nine billion, approximately half corporeal, half virtual.
- Metafiction — The main theme is how narratives shape people's expectations, and what happens when experience doesn't match those expectations. That's why there's a bunch of crap about "neuroviruses" (meme complexes) and cultural relativism. Characters will be comparing what's happening to them to stories they've read.
- Mind Over Manners — Though the story uses technology rather than psychic powers, many of the ethical concerns are the same. Information relating to a brain upload is confidential, available even to Mac dupes only on a need-to-know basis. It's also a bit of an issue that the Mac Collective doesn't exactly have permission to scan people's past histories and upload their brain patterns.
- Mind Reading — Necropsychologists can literally read your mind by looking your brain emulation program.
- Mr Expostion — The main role of the Mac duplicates. Otherwise they're Boring Invincible Heroes and thus don't get significant roles in the story.
- Portal Network — A virtual reality version of this links communities in the Necroverse together.
- Ragnarok-Proofing — Averted. 2019 is known as The Year the Warranties Expired. Machines of all types began breaking down due to planned obsolescence. What was left of civilization was in serious jeopardy until nanotechnology became common. By 2046, unused buildings have had leaking roofs for 20 years. Wood frame buildings are in ruins. Steel frame buildings could maybe be salvaged, but it might not be worth the trouble.
- Sci-Fi Name Buzzwords — cyber-, meta-, nano-, and neuro- are popular.
- Show Within a Show — Evil MacEvil An Animesque self-parody produced by the Mac Collective.
- The Singularity — A very soft one. Mac's "nerd rapture" quickly produced Brain Uploading, Nanomachines, Artificial Humans, computers capable of emulating human brains, fully-immersive, full-sensory virtual reality, cheap geothermal energy, and the ability to scan the past in sufficient detail to upload the brains of dead people. However, non-human-based AI, genetic engineering, and space travel haven't advanced nearly as much, and the world is still pretty recognizable.
- There Are No Psychologists — Averted. The necropsychologists make sure the brain emulations of the dead are stable.
- Universe Chronology — of events 2011-2046 here
- The Virus — neuroviruses may be a metaphor for the spread of meme complexes, may be somewhat more literal.
- We Have Reserves — Mac defeated his enemies by throwing hordes of duplicates at them.
- The Wiki Rule — I keep worldbuilding notes on my own personal wiki, here. ("Deadworld" was the original working title.)
- Wretched Hive — Subverted. The Chokin' Hokie has a bad reputation, but it's really just college students. They aren't that bad.
- Melvin Ames "Mac" Carme — Marty Stu, creator and head of the Mary Suetopia, the Mac Collective. A bunch of ubernerds who created the Necroverse as a sort of Social Engineering laboratory. They play Mr Expostion in the story. In person, Mac is revealed to be a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who dresses like a slob and goes barefoot even at press conferences. Mac was b. 1984, uploaded and duplicated himself in 2014. Duplicates:
- Dr. Eprho, Necropsychologist. Treats Dan and Stan.
- Dr. Epchi, Necroanthropologist. Shows up to provide more exposition, and reveals that the dupes are Deadpan Snarker misanthropes when not being held responsible for their patients' mental balance.
- Amrita Rawat, newscaster for INWN (India Now World News, but they deemphasize the "India" part for the international market).
- Ol' Tom, The Bartender at the Chokin' Hokie, where the Troubleshooters like to hang out.
The Troubleshooters — "We shoot trouble in the face." Paramilitary/mercenary force for hire. They do stuff besides shooting people.
- Five-Man Band
- The Hero — Stan Blan, b. 1984, enlisted in the Air Force 2003, d. 2014, uploaded 2045. Big Brother Mentor, literally for Dan.
- The Lancer — "Ninj," same age as Stan, former US Ranger, infiltrator/spy/assassin type.
- The Smart Guy — Dan Blan, b. 1986, earned Bachelor's in English in 2008, d. 2014, uploaded 2046. Stan's younger brother. Supporting Protagonist. He'll be learning to use the Necroverse's scripting utilities, effectively making him a Squishy Wizard.
- The Big Guy — "Toro," same age as Stan. Team mechanic/handyman and heavy weapons specialist.
- The Chick — Nance, a few years younger than Stan. Combat Medic.
- Those Two Guys
- Janet Duvall, Anthropologist who sometimes accompanies the Troubleshooters. Team Mom at times. b. 2008, still alive, visits the Necroverse as a Digital Avatar using an neural induction helmet.
Thanks to Dae Brayk
, Furiko Maru
, Jack Mackerel
, and Yej
for their helpful comments in this