The XPRIZE Writing Contest - Part 2 of ?

I have some good ideas for this story, but deciding on which one to take further is a bit of a challenge. That is what I am going to explore today.


Let's start with a basic inventory. Here are the general ideas: interrogation, injured, seeking loved one, war zone, artificial war zone, complete droid/clone city. All of these could be great ideas, and have many great stories within each category, but we have some limits we have to work around. I think that the biggest limitation is that it has to be a positive view of the future and a positive view of technology in the future; it's easier to think of ideas about non-positive futures, and technology leading to a dystopia rather than a utopia. I don't really like utopias, they seem fake. Nevertheless this must have a positive slant to it, and I can do that.

Can an interrogation story be optimistic? I don't think this one is going to work. It would probably seem a little forced. There are a lot of interesting options here, but mostly negative, maybe some good stories for another time.

Can an injury story be optimistic? I think this one could definitely be very optimistic. We could do a full tour of a highly advanced medical system, but . . . how did he get injured? It could be that there was a complication with the time jump, or that it was some kind of crash landing, or a previous medical condition, or an injury from an interrogation. But, none of these satisfy and I don't like hospitals, so I am going to reject this one.

Can the seeking of a loved one be optimistic? Yes, but . . . 20 years? That's a long time. A romantic partner has moved on. A child is grown with a life of their own that doesn't involve you at all. I could make this work, but I feel like I would be forcing it a little bit.

Can a war zone be an optimistic story? Well . . . probably not. If the US is in a civil war, or the US is fighting China or Russia or whoever that's invaded San Francisco, or if aliens have attacked, it's probably not going to be a very positive story. All of those could be really good stories though.

Can an artificial war zone be an optimistic story? Oh, yes! This is probably the most optimistic of the ideas in the way that I am thinking of it. All war has been eliminated (I realize that's fantasy, but that's okay). The only war that occurs now doesn't kill anyone. All human aggression is released in war games where the player is fully immersed in a game that is real; it is really played out by some sort of droid/clone version of the player with real weapons in a real city, San Francisco in this case. I just realized that this sounds a lot like the premise of "Ready Player One" if I'm remembering it correctly, but I haven't read it and I'm not sure on that. Either way it is a great premise. It is a little like "Westworld" as well, which is a great show and the original movie is great as well. The hero could be a soldier that realizes our passenger doesn't belong, maybe the plane was shot down inside of the war zone where it appeared, the rules of the game dictate that there are no breaks or stops of any kind, so this could be intense. I could highlight battlefield medical technology and weapons technology, transportation and communication technologies, not to mention the ability to create droids/clones at this level and connect them with people in such an immersive manner. Some of this reminds me of "Hunger Games" mixed with "Avatar" mixed with video games. The ideal society would have no war along with great medical, transportation, communication, energy, and nutrition technology. All of those could be shown in this scenario.

The final scenario is basically a peaceful version of the last scenario I went through. It's just the regular old San Francisco with a bunch of technology upgrades, but there is a twist. At some point our passenger is surprised to find out that there are no real people in the city, although he's been interacting with people the whole time. They have all be replaced with droid/clone things that people connect to and live through. People just live in these little vats of fluid in some safe location and never wake up from their fully immersed virtual world. All disease, and maybe even death, have been cured. That could be an interesting direction to go.

Alright, so there are really only two options that I have which are both intriguing and offer a good option for being some kind of optimistic. I just have to decide between writing in a war zone which will involve a lot of action, or writing in a peace zone which will involve some mystery. I think the only real way will be to just start working out the stories and see which one develops more to my liking. That will be the project for tomorrow.

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