1. notleia says:

    I, for one, am maintaining my mental health mostly by means of that river in Africa.

    Happy hippie farming communes? Yes. Robot-assisted lifestyles with more leisure to make art and culture? Yes. No wars allowed in the happy hippie zone. I’m joining a knitting circle with grannies and lesbos and maybe someone playing bongos.

  2. I choose scenario three.
    My take on it will be unusual though probably done before.
    “How AI Finally Destroyed Civilization.” If you expect another Terminator story you’ll be disappointed.

    • Travis Perry says:

      The AI probably doesn’t need to send terminators after us if they control the entire supply chain… but how would your take on the AI idea be distinctly non-Terminator? I’m curious. 🙂

  3. Autumn Grayson says:

    Kind of interesting that you’ve taken three of the major things that have been cropping up and developed them.

    I’ve been considering aspects of these lately, both in the sense of adding them to some of my stories and also because I’m thinking about writing some blog posts to reflect on this outbreak.

    My stories wouldn’t use COVID 19 itself, but some other virus. Some of my ideas include government conspiracies…not because that’s what I think happened in real life, of course, but because those were some of the what if scenarios that could work for some of my story worlds.

    I do think we should source more things locally. Not to fulfill the desire for a silly hippie utopia, but more from the idea of self sufficiency. Not to the extent that people just cut themselves off from each other or don’t help, but in a way that makes each person a little stronger. And more importantly, as a failover system for cases like this virus. If a nation has a failover system to meet its own needs(at least when it comes to necessities for the next few years), it could cut off trade and travel until something like the pandemic blew over, without as many of the adverse effects we have now. We could still send foreign aid, maybe through drones or volunteers, but all in all it would be better if, in spite of participating in global trade, we built more of a culture and infrastructure that allowed us to be very nearly autonomous if need be. To an extent the US has that, at least in terms of natural resources, but we apparently don’t have enough actual systems put in place to gracefully failover to autonomy, never mind the fact that a lot of our citizens aren’t prepared for that either.

    And then each nation could have smaller units within itself that could isolate themselves as self sufficient units, too. In the US, those smaller units could be states and then maybe counties or cities. Again, they wouldn’t have to stay separate at all times, and the intention wouldn’t be to make a utopia. But the ability to fail over to a self contained system could help stave off the worst effects of world wide quarantine, which is currently isolating people whether they like it or not. Only, with our current system, we’re rather unprepared in too many ways. Independence as a failover system would be handy in case of war, too.

    Some aspects of the immunity slavery idea sound familiar, though I can’t remember all the specific stories. There is a series where people’s organs are forcibly harvested, and then Brandon Sanderson had some story idea where got infected with diseases on purpose as part of their jobs, so either I’ve heard the immunity slavery thing while reading the back of some YA dystopia, or my brain is combining all the memories of stories that contain aspects of what you mentioned.

    A long time ago I had an idea for a story world that was just occupied by robots. Since then I’ve kind of played with it in my head, and lately I’ve considered using a virus like scenario to spur AI’s development or takeover in that story. Or maybe the virus would make humans go extinct in that world and leave only robots behind. No idea if I’ll actually go that route or not, though.

    • Travis Perry says:

      These particular ideas I would not say were the most inspired I’ve ever had nor the most original…but I hope their timeliness makes up for that.

      Yeah, the danger of using COVID-19 is whatever you guess could be shown to be totally wrong in just a few years. One of the risks of headline hopping. Though showing a series of viruses starting with COVID-19 should be effective.

      Yeah, the immunity slavery thing has parallels with other stories that have done organ harvesting sci-fi/horror. The most unique aspect of that particular idea is to specifically tie it to Coronavirus.

      And as for robots taking over because all the humans die from the virus, sounds like my kinda story. A bit off from what someone might expect.

      Best of luck on the stories you develop in the future!

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        Thanks 🙂 Time will tell if that’s the exact route I go with my robot story, though it will probably end up combining several ideas instead of just one. Earth and our universe doesn’t usually exist in my stories, so in addition to what you said, that’s another reason why I’d avoid using COVID 19. I do borrow some things from real life, but I give them a completely different origin or even traits to make them look like they could have developed naturally in my story worlds, instead of them just randomly being there just because.

        How’ve you been handling/reacting to the virus and social isolation, btw? I’m an introvert so I’m mostly fine, but maybe slightly worried about the fallout of the whole issue. And even though part of me loves having to be around people less, there’s a tiny part of me that goes a little crazy when it thinks about the fact that the alone time is only coming from the fact that the isolation is forced. Like, being forced into isolation is different than actively choosing it. And then notleia said a bit of how she’s reacting, so I’m curious about you now.

        • Travis Perry says:

          I think perhaps the biggest thing I miss with social distancing is church attendance. I’ve taught several classes at church for years and one of them I’ve moved over to doing by video. So I’ve been putting a lot of effort in to learning how to do that, but it all feels very weird. No direct feedback. Like I’m talking and nobody hears me.

          Other things include my adult daughter had a birthday on March 20th. I wanted to get together with her for her birthday, but we’ve been putting it off because she wanted to go to a movie.

          Probably the biggest stressor would be the income I was making doing online translations happened to be for a company that mostly did student-teacher meetings with Spanish-speaking parents. When the schools closed, the company shut down operations. Yes, I qualified for the freelancer provisions under the Coronavirus relief bill but could not file for unemployment online (under Texas rules) because I worked out of state in the past 18 months (for the US military).

          So my only option was to call by phone. Most of the time the line was busy, though about ten percent of the time I’d get an automated voice telling me they could not take my call. So I’d call again.

          I called around six hundred times before reaching a human being, but all the first guy did was give me a different number to call. The second number I called well over two thousand times. I finally talked to a real human being on Tuesday of this week. I think I called around 400 times that day before getting through.

          So, thank God, I don’t have to do that again, but yeah it got to be quite surreal to call and call and call, over and over and over…

          • Autumn Grayson says:

            Wow, that’s crazy. I’m glad you finally got through to someone. And I can definitely see how you’d miss teaching your classes in person. Have you tried Discord? I haven’t used it at this point, but I hear a lot of people talking about it and they seem to like it. It sounds like you can have a lot of people talking in it at once, possibly through both text and speech. And it sounds like there’s privacy settings, too, so you could potentially just invite the people participating in your church class. Or maybe even use it on a smaller scale for some of your business stuff.

            Guess I’ll ask this too since the translation stuff came up in your post, but do you/would you do translation for longer novels, or maybe comics? It would be little while before I’d be ready to hire anyone for that, but in certain areas of the indie world there does seem to be an increasing demand for translations. Though I know translating can be hard work when it comes to things like long fantasy novels…though translating for comics sounds like it could be way easier even if the project is technically a long one.

            • Travis Perry says:

              I misspoke above actually. The online work I was referring to was interpretation not translation, though I’ve also done that. The difference being interpretation is spoken and translation is written (note I’ve only professionally interpreted the pair of Spanish/English).

              In the world of professional translation, the standard is to translate from the foreign language back into your own language rather than the other way around. Though I have done a limited few translations into Spanish, mostly I translate written Spanish and French into English. I’ve also translated Portuguese and German into English, but my grasp of those languages isn’t as good, so it’s a lot more work. Spanish and French are my bread and butter.

              So I could translate a comic into Spanish for you or maybe French. Or maybe Portuguese, even. But in each case I’d have to get a native speaker to check my work. Because professional translators normally go from a foreign language into their native tongue. FYI.

  4. Kathleen Eavenson says:

    Don’t think it’s been mentioned yet but your Scenario III has strong overtones of a classic SF setting: that of Isaac Asimov’s “Caves of Steel,”/”Naked Sun” novels. Not the plots, of course, but the Spacer Worlds’ society. They took social distancing way too far!

    [Or did I just miss the mention of it in my first read through? If so, oops, sorry!!]

  5. A.K. Preston says:

    I would probably take three. It meshes somewhat well with a cyberpunk idea I might work on after my current WIP is finished. My story premise is more focused on the social effects of hyper-realistic androids, but I can see a background like this giving major impetus to the robotics industry in my fictional setting. I’m also thinking about a “virtual voting” system and increasing public demands for a “post-labor” society where virtually all jobs are performed by robots in order to free up the human population for supposedly Athenian-style civic life. Of course, the reality does not quite match that ideal…

  6. Autumn Grayson says:

    Hey guys, sorry I didn’t think to mention this sooner, but Brandon Sanderson is giving away a free ebook. The offer ends today, so if you’re interested, get it while you still can:


  7. Okay … just want to say up front that my idea of using a virus to take control of another society was planned as part of my current series long before the COVID-19 pandemic started. In my current WIP, book 2 of Stone Sovereigns, (incidentally book 1, Lander’s Legacy, will go live on Amazon on May 6) billionaire Aurelius Hunt leaves two of his people in the Core when he returns to the Surface. Their task: Use a virus he had developed to take over the Core (I won’t get into the details of why). Of course, I do have the action of book two taking place at the center of the earth, and the Core Dwellers are a remnant preserved there since Noah’s flood, so that’s different. Now, with the real-life COVID situation, I feel as if people will just suppose I got the idea from that. Just wanted to go on record saying … no, the idea predates COVID-19. Thanks!

What do you think?