Saturday, April 21, 2012

REVIVE--a video game and story idea

Extra lives was a standard feature in video games even earlier than Pac Man and still remains a feature of some video games even today.  Some corner of my brain recently wondered how that would work exactly and I found a new story universe unfolding in my mind.

In "Revive," which I think would be more appropriate as story-based video game than a novel (though it could easily be both), a future exists where medical technology is so advanced that it's possible to bring people back from the dead on a routine basis.  This would be based on massive brain reconstruction after death and sophisticated chips implanted in the brainstem that record a person's mental status at the time of death--a sort of "black box" for the human mind.

People who could afford the regeneration services could be routinely brought back to life--though a medical technology as advanced as this would probably be able to keep the very wealthy alive forever--that is, keep them from death of natural causes.  Death would only come as a result of accidents or by some sort of violence.

The world of "Revive" would be violent in the extreme.  With no more fear of death, ancient ideas of individual honor being resolved by personal combat come back to life.  The very rich dominate the rest of society by their immortality, physically dominate it, acting with a lordly brutality that has a parallel in some vampire stories.

The main character would not be super rich--he'd be an elite soldier who is revived by the government on a regular basis to preserve his enormous knowledge of combat and the political situation.  This character maneuvers through the political and personal combat machinations of the dominant families of the very rich with an eye to right the death of one of his friends.

I'm offering this idea up for use by any and for any comment, but if I were to write this up myself, I'd be interested in aspects of the soul in such a story.  I'd perhaps feature someone coming alive again and never quite feeling like himself or herself again...I'd also feature people who refuse to undergo "Revival" even if they can afford it, because they cling to the religious concept that humans are supposed to be mortal.

Perhaps there could be a war between a religiously-motivated mass, led by a man like a futuristic Oliver Cromwell, who constitute an army of mortal soldiers, fighting against the godlike immortals who spread fear over the planet Earth and the interstellar realms where the humans in this story would roam...

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4 comments:

  1. This is a pretty sweet idea. Seems that the religiously motivated mass would probably lose pretty handily, but of course underdogs always pull it out somehow. There could also be medical problems with the process, e.g. after someone revives over and over, they begin to lose memories or something, but you wouldn't want them to lose any physical attributes.

    The idea that humans could be immortal on their own is pretty scary... Christianity and the existential question would be practically moot. Though I'm sure you would address that in the story too.

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    1. Yeah, I think losing memories from time to time and having a sense of "not feeling quite like myself" would be common occurrences.

      And people might wonder if they had died and come alive again, had they somehow lost their soul in the process? So there would be existential questions of a different sort.

      Thanks for your comment.

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  2. Fascinating. My first thought is that the revived person couldn't possibly be that actual person, just a facsimile. The original one would stay dead even if their body was running around acting like them - sounds to me like the soul would be gone. But what kind of being would remain? Scary.

    Reminds me a little of the novel The Last Christian where brains were replaced by artificial ones, but "wearers" lost all capacity for spirituality. And I also thought of a story in Light at the Edge of Darkness where a so-called transporter unit merely replicated the person elsewhere and killed the original. Never heard "beam me up" quite the same after that!

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    1. Grace, there are some writers who would probably like to take an idea like this and make it plain that the actual person is really dead, the soul is actually gone. Some others perhaps would want to make it plain that the individuals involved still have their souls.

      Personally, if I were to write this, I'd like to keep it ambiguous. People would wonder if they had lost their souls, if they were mere copies, but it would not be something that would definitely show one way or the other.

      Yeah, the idea of beaming somebody up always contains the risk of destroying the person and making a copy. I read a physicist who argued that there is no real difference between the two things, killing and making a perfect copy is the same as sending the original person--I very much beg to disagree!

      Thanks for your comment.

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