Is there any way I can make this concept plausible?:

Total posts: [20]
1 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 05:55:37 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Massive catastrophe affecting only human beings (any species that interacts with them being only indirectly affected), near total loss of history, religion, science and technology, and regression of human culture to the stone age, but with eventual, gradual population recovery.

I'm stuck. Is there any way that I can make this work, or should I give up on the concept?

My original idea involved an extraterrestrial antagonist systematically and efficiently wiping out the entire human population with only a tiny number of survivors, most of them babies, some adults, who were few enough and well hidden enough that they were overlooked. Unfortunately, there's no way that the population could recover from such an attack, and if the number of survivors were larger, not only would they be less likely to be overlooked, but they'd also probably retain a great deal of human culture.

edited 4th Feb '11 6:00:22 PM by BobbyG

2 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 06:00:41 PM , Relationship Status: In season
A disease that has Alzheimer's-like symptoms?
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
3 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:04:19 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Clever. I'd certainly never have thought of that. Only snag is, presumably books and technology would survive for survivors to discover.
Away on the wind~
A disease that kills off much of the population of the Earth, and also affects long-term memory and recall?

~has no clue what Alzheimers is~

Technology would likely survive, but eventually would break down. Books would disintegrate.

Remember- technology needs upkeep.

edited 4th Feb '11 6:07:02 PM by CyganAngel

There are too many toasters in my chimney!
5 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:09:31 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish

That's true, but if enough people survived and were capable of fending for themselves (presumably, those with an immunity), they'd presumably also be capable of looking after books and technology.

It's a clever idea though. Hm.

edited 4th Feb '11 6:10:34 PM by BobbyG

Away on the wind~

That's why I included the long-term memory loss and trouble with recall.If you're having trouble recalling things, and having even more difficulty remembering anything that happened a long while ago, then you're not really going to be able to remember how to perform upkeep on these things, would you?

Presumably, some upkeep might be done, by the few people immune to it who had training to do it. But as the generations move on, even this little knowledge would pass away, wouldn't it?
There are too many toasters in my chimney!
7 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:19:37 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Yes. Yes, I think that could work.

I'm still going to have to do some massive rewriting to my concept, but at this point I guess that was inevitable. I can salvage the setting, but it now seems a lot darker and less fantastic.

Thanks for the help.
8 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 06:21:27 PM , Relationship Status: In season
The reason I was thinking Alzheimer's-like is that it affects cognition — the books and infrastructure will still be there, but the number of people who can understand and make use of the information in them will drop precipitously while the disease runs its course.

Give it a source or a vector that would disappear along with the high-tech world; like Mad Cow Disease/Creutzfeld-Jakob. Once the huge meat farms are no longer feeding CNS material to the animals (because the huge meat farms are gone), the occurence of new cases will fall off and you have a population that is made up of people who can no longer think straight and aren't going to get better, but aren't contagious and aren't going to make any new children sick, either.

You get basically a generation of decay of society and technology, then a slow rebuilding as those kids figure out what to do with the information in the books, and try to salvage what they can of the infrastructure (much of which will be decayed or broken beyond repair).
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
9 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:24:29 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
I see what you mean now. That's a much more rapid recovery than I had in mind, though (I was thinking recovery would take millennia, with the old culture completely vanishing apart from maybe a few half-remembered myths and values).
10 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 06:27:18 PM , Relationship Status: In season
The recovery can be as fast or slow as you want. The disease can hang on as long or as short a time as you want. But a generation following the end of the infective time is the minimum time for any kind of recovery, if you've reduced most of the adults to a state resembling senility.

edited 4th Feb '11 6:27:42 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
11 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:34:16 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Yes, that'll work.

I'm thinking maybe I'll make it some kind of viral pandemic that leaves even those with a relative immunity with dementia-like symptoms. Of course, such survivors would be extremely vulnerable to predators.

The interesting thing about making it a prion disease like CJD would be that, presumably, vegetarians would be unaffected. That might look like an anti-meat aesop, though.
12 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 06:42:36 PM , Relationship Status: In season
Play with it. There are things that appear to be prions that infect fungi. And you've got extraterrestrials. That means that the infective agent doesn't have to be exactly like the prions we know. It has the effects of a prion, but isn't quite a prion.

Or, since it's been established that scrapie can be spread by airborne particles, the E Ts left a huge timed aerosol dispenser that sprayed out a new dose every year or so, until the container of juice runs dry. A Glade Automatic Air Freshener on a planetary scale, if you will.

edited 4th Feb '11 6:50:06 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
13 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 06:57:04 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Wow. Vicious.

Brainwave: the aliens are farmers. They don't see humans as intelligent or worth their notice, they need the prions for some purpose and they need them in a particular state. Human beings, by sheer unfortunate coincidence, happen to be the perfect hosts.

And this way, I get to keep the aliens. Thank you!

edited 4th Feb '11 6:58:04 PM by BobbyG

14 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 07:10:03 PM , Relationship Status: In season
Hey, when you ask me for an apocalypse scenario, I don't tippy-toe around being daintytongue.

There's also the possibility that the fact that "the prions infect humans and cause dementia" is nothing more than a mildly unfortunate side effect to the aliens' plan.

edited 4th Feb '11 7:16:04 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
15 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 08:04:28 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
I like that. Perhaps the aliens aren't malevolent at all, just incompetent and unfeeling. Perhaps Earth was chosen only for the suitable environment, and the near-extinction of a moderately intelligent indiginous species in the process was just an unfortunate by-product of their scheme - rather a pity, but nothing to get too worked up about.
16 Madrugada4th Feb 2011 08:43:52 PM , Relationship Status: In season
That would work. It could also explain why they didn't refill the dispenser — by the time it ran out of juice, they'd found a better (easier, faster, more effective, closer to home — pick whatever you want) way to get what they needed.

And it allows you to lighten up the tone considerably from "humans as farm animals".

edited 4th Feb '11 8:47:53 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Alzeimers? That concept sounds similar to a Stargate SG 1 episode. They found a planet where recently everyone's memory had been lost. You might pull that episode up on Hulu if you need that as an example.
18 BobbyG4th Feb 2011 09:49:27 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
^^ Yes - though global Alzheimer's is no picnic, either.

But I suppose the near extinction of the human race was never going to be fun and games.

^ One of those shows I've never gotten around to watching. Unfortunately, I'm a Limey, so no Hulu.
Forum Villain
A crazed billionaire misanthrope quite fed up with mankind decides to spend his wealth creating a worldwide "Reset Package". Nukes stowed away on cargo planes are detonated when the planes are tens of thousands of feet in the air; due to the Compton Effect, the nuclear blast will create supermassive electromagnetic pulses that sweep across the planet, frying anything with circuits. The moment that happens, EMP-shielded facilities he constructed throughout the world begin dispersing a super- contagious, bio-engineered virus that infests the frontal lobe and nervous system; this virus causes sporadic, high-intensity discharge of synaptic reactions in the frontal lobe. The nerves within the portions of the brain responsible for memory would essentially begin frying and killing off brain cells and replacing them with "clean slate" viral surrogates so they can still form new memories.

Yeah, yeah, "You Fail Biology Forever". The basic concept is there, but with some tweaking it could probably become plausible.
"Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person that doesn't get it."
20 BobbyG6th Feb 2011 04:36:46 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
It could work, but I think I'd rather go with the aliens idea. It's that kind of story.
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Total posts: 20