Another story idea + a question
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06-10-2011, 09:49 PM (This post was last modified: 10-10-2011 12:41 PM by ghostexorcist.)
Another story idea + a question
I thought of a story that would be a neat mix of biology and history and religious, political, and societal commentary. Let's say, in the future, there is a physicist who is a very religious man (for those types are out there). He either creates a time machine, or, as a result of some experiment, he is thrust back in time billions of years to the beginnings of life. As a odd quirk of the time travel process, the physicist somehow becomes immortal (the details can be worked out later), and so he witnesses the evolution of all life on earth through the passage of time. This would naturally kill his faith and influence his views on religion.

The story could stop and pick up at different points in time: billions of years ago, then millions, then thousands, then hundreds. His time in the ancient, pre-human world would be a good place to mention real evolutionary science stuff like the first forms of life, amphibians leaving the sea, feathered dinosaurs, the appearance of different hominid groups, etc. This would also be a great place to mention the immortal's observations on animal morality in the pre-human world (just to get the notion across that it is not a product of religion). The story could even come to the present and up into the future. Anyway, once the immortal comes in to the era of man, then he will witness the rise and fall of different civilizations. Seeing the rise of different religions would also influence his views on faith (perhaps have him visit Judea around 1 CE or so). Seeing historical wars and conflicts between different groups would do the same for politics and society in general.

Let's say that the story continues up into the far future where known civilization is destroyed in some type of nuclear war. The immortal takes it upon himself to gather survivors and to rebuild civilization. Being alive for so long, he would naturally be a reliquary of "human" culture, with knowledge in all sorts of languages, maths, arts, history etc.

Now, here is the question: If you were in the immortal's situation, how would you teach history to the next generation of survivors? Religion is a major part of human history. Would you try to leave out any history referring to religion in order to avoid the spark of dogmatic faith from igniting again? Or would you include it as a warning?
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06-10-2011, 10:22 PM
RE: Another story idea + a question
Teaching the history of myth is not a problem. It's up the the teacher to provide it on the basis of myth. If you teach human history at all, that would not be a problem I don't think. That it would be necessary is another point. Is it necessary to teach and for what purpose?

The thing I would worry about is how the immortal portrays himself. Or how the immortal is perceived by the remaining few. If the immortal leaves for what ever reason, what image of the immortal is left for the new history to play upon. That would worry me.

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07-10-2011, 03:01 AM
RE: Another story idea + a question
Stop right there, I have even better idea about the character. See now, if he was alive from the beginning of time, then he could be the one responsible for some life forms, if not all, he could brought them on him, as bacteria, from the future and trigger the whole life on Earth thing. Now then, if he has started some of the life on Earth and is alive for millions of years, he has a huge knowledge about everything, so the first civilizations, if they saw him, would consider HIM to be a God who created everything and is there from the beginning of time. So not only would he loose his religion, but he would take the role of God, he might not want that, but how could he explain that to the ancient tribes? Also, he should have some sort of hibernation periods, everybody would loose their mind if they were alive for couple of millions of years.

Ha, what do you think of that development in the story? I think it' genius, partly because I came up with it...

Smile

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07-10-2011, 10:22 AM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2011 10:37 AM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Another story idea + a question
(06-10-2011 10:22 PM)defacto7 Wrote:  Teaching the history of myth is not a problem. It's up the the teacher to provide it on the basis of myth. If you teach human history at all, that would not be a problem I don't think. That it would be necessary is another point. Is it necessary to teach and for what purpose?

The thing I would worry about is how the immortal portrays himself. Or how the immortal is perceived by the remaining few. If the immortal leaves for what ever reason, what image of the immortal is left for the new history to play upon. That would worry me.

Why do they teach history in school? It's because it's a part of the human culture, something that shouldn't be forgotten.

I already thought about what early humans and or the survivors would think about the immortal. There is always the chance of people perceiving him as a god. If one really wanted to drive the point home on religion, a writer could make up a scenario where later generations of the survivors start to worship him as a god, much to his displeasure. Factions could grow over the generations, eventually leading to the survivors killing themselves off. This would once again leave the immortal by himself.

(07-10-2011 03:01 AM)Filox Wrote:  Stop right there, I have even better idea about the character. See now, if he was alive from the beginning of time, then he could be the one responsible for some life forms, if not all, he could brought them on him, as bacteria, from the future and trigger the whole life on Earth thing. Now then, if he has started some of the life on Earth and is alive for millions of years, he has a huge knowledge about everything, so the first civilizations, if they saw him, would consider HIM to be a God who created everything and is there from the beginning of time. So not only would he loose his religion, but he would take the role of God, he might not want that, but how could he explain that to the ancient tribes? Also, he should have some sort of hibernation periods, everybody would loose their mind if they were alive for couple of millions of years.

Ha, what do you think of that development in the story? I think it' genius, partly because I came up with it...

Smile

Pure Genius! But I want to shy away from stuff like that. It kind of reminds me of Back to the Future when Chuck Berry copies the sound of Marty playing his song. This means the song didn’t really come from anywhere. I want the first forms of life to come about the way that science believes it did without any kind of intervention. I even thought about him trying to kill his younger self in the future, but, there is no telling what the mindset of a 3.8 billion year old man would be. Would he even care at that point? More importantly, he would probably realize that nothing he does would keep it from happening since he indeed traveled back through time.

To avoid him from being a god in the early human world, he could just stay away, only interacting with them when absolutely necessary. Every culture has a legend about a mysterious man who teaches arcane knowledge to kings and heroes. This could simply be the immortal. As for him hibernating, I would prefer him to be awake throughout history. Whether he eats and sleeps like a normal is another question. I don't picture his immortality like that of Highlander where he would have to eat and sleep and avoid getting his head chopped off. I imagine an ageless being of his caliber to be likened to a stone: damn near impossible to damage and always present. Besides, a person would have to be super durable in order to survive the environment of the young Earth.
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09-10-2011, 04:14 PM
RE: Another story idea + a question
Sounds good to me, when are you starting? If you need more ideas, just ask.

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10-10-2011, 12:40 PM
RE: Another story idea + a question
(09-10-2011 04:14 PM)Filox Wrote:  Sounds good to me, when are you starting? If you need more ideas, just ask.

I'm not sure when I will get around to it. School keeps me super busy. Within the next two weeks I have to write three papers each 3, 6, and 15 pages long, respectively. Apart from that, I'm not much of a writer, just good at thinking up ideas.

As for the reason for the immortal's agelessness, I'm thinking the quirk of the time travel process puts his body into a state of temporal shift. He is not fully present within the timeline, so he doesn't age, hunger, or need sleep. Others are free to throw some ideas at me. A person can do and see a lot of stuff in the course of 4 billion years! I may even have him explore the bottom of the ocean during the Pre-Cambrian explosion. This would be a good place to show that the lifeforms at this time where simple, not the cows, bunnies, dogs, cats, ... etc. that some old earth fundies believe.
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12-10-2011, 02:52 AM
RE: Another story idea + a question
Yeah, that is a good explanation for his immortality, temporal flux, but only that small that it does not present any treat to him, only gives him his immortality, so he can even go into the see, without breathing. If I get really inspired, would you mind if I start writing something? Maybe in a year or two, we could compare notes or something? Smile

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12-10-2011, 07:04 AM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2011 07:08 AM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Another story idea + a question
(12-10-2011 02:52 AM)Filox Wrote:  Yeah, that is a good explanation for his immortality, temporal flux, but only that small that it does not present any treat to him, only gives him his immortality, so he can even go into the see, without breathing. If I get really inspired, would you mind if I start writing something? Maybe in a year or two, we could compare notes or something? Smile
Yah, I was thinking the temporal flux keeps him free from harm too. You can't be hurt if you are not fully present in a timeline. I imagine he might try to kill himself during his early years of immortality, but soon realizes that it is fruitless. Also, once he is transported back to the rough environment of the young earth, he may think he has died and gone to hell. But he would realize where he was at eventually. Just some thoughts.

Feel free to write whatever you want. Like I said, I'm not sure when I will get around to it. I'm flattered that you like the idea. Please keep me apprised of your progress.
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13-10-2011, 12:49 AM
RE: Another story idea + a question
It's a really good idea. You can throw in the whole evolution, God theory, everything a young atheist might need and still keep it interesting to read for all, it is not a religion based story. Plus, you have a HUGE time span, so you can make as many sequels as you like, just take some part of the history and throw some ideas for the character...

This idea about the temporal flux and him being unable to hurt himself is a great explanation for his life and why he didn't kill himself in all this time. I'll think about this a little more...

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13-10-2011, 10:03 PM (This post was last modified: 13-10-2011 10:12 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Another story idea + a question
(13-10-2011 12:49 AM)Filox Wrote:  It's a really good idea. You can throw in the whole evolution, God theory, everything a young atheist might need and still keep it interesting to read for all, it is not a religion based story. Plus, you have a HUGE time span, so you can make as many sequels as you like, just take some part of the history and throw some ideas for the character...

This idea about the temporal flux and him being unable to hurt himself is a great explanation for his life and why he didn't kill himself in all this time. I'll think about this a little more...

Thanks. The original scenario that I thought up had to do with a man born thousands of years ago in ancient Greece who is taken prisoner after being captured in battle by Egyptians. He is used as a guinea pig to test the various alchemical formulas created by an evil priest. This priest (whose name escapes me at the moment) is actually mentioned in legends appearing in European alchemy manuals from the Renaissance. Anyway, the young man becomes immortal through a mixture of the many formulas given to him. He kills the priest before he can himself imbibe the correct mixture of formulas to become eternal. The slave-turned-immortal then escapes to witness the rise and fall of civilizations over the centuries. He reveals himself every few centuries to historical scientists / alchemists like Jābir ibn Hayyān (8th cen.) and Isaac Newton (18th cen.) to see if they can counteract the alchemical processes fueling his immortality. This continues on into the present time. The rest is pretty much the same as I stated in my first post about a nuclear disaster.

This was mainly a vehicle for me to show my love for history. The only problem was I kept on wanting to push the timeline back further and further, eventually to the earliest years of the first modern humans. However, the furthest back that I could trace alchemy, even in legend, was ancient Egypt. Thousands of years prior to this would have been around the time of hunter-gatherer societies. Nobody back that far would have known anything about the transmutation of elements. I thought of all sorts of scenarios that could make him immortal, but none of them sounded all that great (e.g. him falling into a salt peter marsh full of special rejuvenating microbes that no longer exist). It was only later when I decided to throw in time travel and set it billions of years in the past.

Regarding the current story, I've been thinking about how the physicist is sent back in time. Obviously, if he gets stuck between timelines, traveling back in time in a machine wouldn't work. It would have to be something that transports his physical body. I'm actually leaning more towards the accident scenario. Some type of experiment involving energy goes awry and the resulting explosion rips a hole in the very fabric of reality, sucking him through. This part is set in the future, so the experiment could be anything futuristic sounding.
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