Title: The Overman
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Philosophy
Format: Novel, possibly a very psychadelic graphic novel
Setting: Part 1: 20 Minutes into the future, Part 2: Post-Apacolypse
Progress: In note form
Concerns: Does it have an audience? Is the protagonist too bland, whining, emo? Can the technology be handwaved? Are the references too much anvil dropping?
And Most importantly would you read it?
Long plot: In my story we open with our protagonist, Daniel Tell in a void. Frightened and wondering where he is, he is sat down by an old Freud looking man who introduces himself and puts him on a psychoanalytical couch as it were. He reveals that they are both inside the man's mind and he is cut off from all senses; Danny's been there for a while now. As he stays in there his memory will disapear, his mind will go and eventually all thoughts will be overtaken by disney acid trip distortions so the old man calms him by having him go over his life up to this point.
We then hear the story of a man down on his luck. He moves to either the mountains of eastern europe or a small town in the desert outside california (because there's obviously no difference) and meets a manic pixie girl named Bea who seems just too good to be true. They have a marvelous love affair before she asks one favor, that he help her a bit in her job as a qausi-legal scientist by volunteering for an experiment.
She then introduces him to her boss, Dr. Virgil who is an eccentric with local mannerisms (variable on location) on top of general callousness. He has a grand plan for essentially hypersleep in a machine named ALICE and over the next few months builds a pod which our protagonist will enter for a few weeks (months maybe?). In the chapters of anticipation the hero tries not to attach himself to the townsfolk and so always has a distant observation about him, all the while he treasures his life up to being in a very risky procedure and we are hinted as to the possible funding of this experiment (gangs? paramilitary? terrorist?)
Bea meanwhile sets up connections for her life without him and when Daniel discovers she is looking for another man at bars he goes into a rage and instead of taking the last few weeks of time for contemplation tells the doctor to hook him up.
Our hero is then introduced to the now complete ALICE (I'll make it stand for something), which is as ghettoized a hypersleep pod as can get. It is designed to encase the subject in a plastic bag, connected to tubes on the outside, drawing from an underground resorvoire and put sedatives in the brain and generally supply for al bodily functions with renewable energy. This machine highlights the backwards technology this obvious prototype is made from and is hidden under the guise and under the floorboards of a "clinic." He is hooked to the machine and for the first few months he is generally sedated. For reasons to be explained later they wear off and he finds him self fully alert for day after day after day of no sensory input.
He panics and we show pulp fiction-esque short stories from random points in his life right before the closest approximation i can write of someone snapping. He is then reborn as it were having no memory and a fresh state he invents a fun little "friend" to help him guide his way though the void he finds himself in. The only way he can gain memories is when he reveals them to the old man and we then go back to his confession having completed.
Now up to this point, we have had surreal random imagery, hallucinations and jumps in time, to the confusion of the character, and it has grown more frequent as the story progresses, more specifically in highly emotional times, but these could be hand waved as dreams. However after this we have a very psychadelic happenings. Some of the life stories are retold and blend together, sometimes giant animals and hilarious cameo cartoons pop in for no reason. Colors shift and eventually his vocabulary becomes stilted and limited. He forgets the details of what people look like, instead showing up as silluoetes before he is retelling his memories of his memories and is caught in a singularity. His memory of his entire life becomes basic, cartoonish and short before being repeated as a memory of a memory of a memory of a memory etc. and is caught being unable to remember anything. He then pulls a reverse decsartes, realizing that the only thing to exist is himself and remains calm, tranquil and meditative.
After years and years pass our hero is assaulted on all sides, he faces near blinding light, pain everywhere, machine noises which sound like concentrated pain. He gains some quota of perception the next morning and finds himself on top of a hilltop.
In part 2 which has a semi completed plot structure we awake with our switched protagonist with an average name (peter maybe?). Someone who awakes under similar circumstances. He is one of the first of hundreds of thousands who have been put in hypersleep, but have had no ill effects due to having full brain sedation. He awakes and is tended for by a post-apocalyptic village who is used to this sort of thing. They introduce him to the community unceremoniously and he gathers into a town meeting with the unraveling of a supposed messiah. Found in a cave in the mountains he has severe brain damage and is rambling prophetic mumbo jumbo and seems to dismiss anything he presents to him as insignificant. Peter is presented as a man from close to his time (They left about 30 years apart) and Daniel takes Peter in private as he makes a confession.
Daniel goes over his experience in ALICE and tells him he learned no great spiritual knowledge they attribute to him but instead became disillusioned with everything. There is nothing to tell them yet maybe Peter, someone with no stake in the matter, could help him make something out of it.
From this point on focus evens out between the two of them and the two are introduced to this world trying to protect this small independant outpost from a large expansionistic tech-based society, trying to stop conquering the surrounding villages and instead go under the banner of this (false) messiah to use these machines for furtherance and peace. All based off of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Little things you may like:
- When Daniel enters the machine he is promised to wake up to a shower and a shave. He eventually is shaved by a millennia old knife.
- I can come up with quite a few interesting 2001 style acid trips.
- The future society is quite interesting. I was always fascinated by the divide between ivory tower nobles and common peasants and this is made clear. The technological overlords entertaining the locals with essentially a stage magician is hilarious. (The magician is a funny character in his right.
- There is a big internal debate over whether lying to these people is wrong.
- Spoiler [[It was all a figment of his imagination]] Something clever I did was make certain character names represent certain parts of the psyche.
- SYMBOLISM, there are references to dante, nietzsche, descartes, plato, lewis carrol, the bible, etc. For instance the real world represents heaven, purgatory represents purgatory, and the post-apocalypse is hell. Something I can say is fairly unique.
Things you might not like:
- SYMBOLISM, there are references to dante, nietzsche, descartes, plato, lewis carrol, the bible, etc. For instance the real world represents heaven, purgatory represents purgatory, and the post-apocalypse is hell. Something one can say is trite.
- The story is fairly convoluted but I try to make it episodic in a way, each chapter or two follows a different concept and there is a part division after he wakes up for a reason.
- I am a bit new to prose. Might you throw some good references my way?
edited 22nd Jun '12 11:09:54 PM by sonofkong