Is the premise for my story too contrived?:
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Now I'm not asking if this is good or original - I'll be the first to admit that it's heavily influenced *cough*ripoff*cough* by Star Trek the Next Generation for one thing and Eureka to a lesser extent - just if it seems like a bad excuse to get my characters off on their quest. I haven't started writing this yet - but I am working on the outline, fleshing out the world, and coming up with possible names for the characters and places. The story starts off in a country that is a technological mecca of the world and is setup to favor scientists. My main character, a cyborg, graduates from school and goes to apply for full citizenship so that he can start working on his own inventions/experiments only to find out that he's legally considered to be an abandoned project (his creator was a citizen of the country) and if his creator doesn't claim him in the next six months another group of scientists will be allowed to take over where his creator left off. Prior to applying for citizenship he, and a lot of other people, had assumed that he was a victim of an illegal experiment and that he had been fully human at some point in time and thus would not be subject to the Abandoned Projects law (he has no memory before the scientists found him when they raided his creator's secret lab - but he learned or remembered things quickly enough to be able to go to school and to function). Thus he sets out to find his creator with the help of his friends and probably with a couple of government officials in tow to make sure he returns if they don't find his creator, to arrest his creator if they do find him, and to witness whether or not his creator still wants him. If they don't find the cyborg's creator his friends will challenge the law and or his status as a project on his behalf. I can elaborate a little bit on what it takes to be a citizen and the laws that he's dealing with if need be to determine whether or not this is a really contrived idea. One last thing, artificial lifeforms created by members of the community can become citizens if they have the permission of the creator and if they can pass a battery of tests that have similar goals to the Turing test.
edited 22nd Oct '10 8:20:03 PM by Cresneta
That sounds interesting. I'll add my standard disclaimer, though: I am not a writer, I have no ambitions to be a writer. I can't critique ideas as a writer. I'm a reader. I look at works through the eyes of a reader. And as a reader, I have found that the premise is nowhere near as important as the way the story is told. I have read stories that had fascinating premises and failed miserably at being interesting. I have also read stories that have incredibly old, utterly familiar premises that held me enthralled for hours with the way the story was told and developed.
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Interesting premise. I'd recommend you check out Inhumanable Alien Rights if you haven't do so already, if only so you can justify the trope useage. Also with Madrugada on how the story is told being more improtant then premise if you want people to finish you story.
edited 22nd Oct '10 10:44:28 PM by colin
...the premise is nowhere near as important as the way the story is told.This.
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It sounds good so far. I would add more but I am having trouble picturing this "cyborg". If he is just a guy with an artificial limb the laws should reflect that, he has human?-DNA but no records and some form of amnesia then why is he by default not considered human/a citizen/whatever. If laws were not in place to do so then unscrupulous people would make it a habit to falsify records to enslave people (or whatever the creator has rights to do to their created). It would kind of be interesting if the sign for a biological creation was a genetic signature (string of chemicals written into the DNA especially if they are not themselves DNA)registered at some facility. so all our hypothetical antagonist have to do is register for a signature then release some sort of retrovirus to tag whoever they wanted to claim as their creation. So how do the courts decide if it is challenged. If you think about it long enough you should come up with a interesting story. For Example, the lawyers argue that since the being in question is older than the application for signature the counter is that the being just looks that old etc. Needs documents, Fake Documents, etc, etc. It might be easier or harder on your character if he doesn't look human. such as a brain in a jar or a human with a obvious artificial skin/exoskeleton. on the one hand looking human means that people will sympathize with him, but it also means that he is less likely to have fallen through the cracks accidentally like in your post. ie where is his family, where is his genetic donor if not the model they originated him from if made from scratch. On the other hand if he looks like a brain in the jar, It would behove a technologically advanced society to test his human-ness does he have human?-brain cells, etc. More to the point have you planned out whether or not his creator is alive, etc. even if your story does not go out that far that character will drastically influence the story.
Like the premise. Sounds like something I’d read / watch. Not sure I like the “brain in a jar” idea. I was picturing something more like a Borg. For some reason your society reminds me of ancient Greece/Rome with artificial lifeforms as the slaves.
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I think it's a cool idea, too. But I'm with Madrugada, too; it's one thing to have a cool premise, but you've got to go places with it, too. How you build the story - characters, plot, etc. - are probably way more important than the idea itself, so I'd highly recommend putting some major thought into how they fit into the story. There's plenty of potential here, no questions asked.
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