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I had an interesting, multi-layered dream this morning. The parts I… - Luke McGuff — LiveJournal

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September 23rd, 2005

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10:55 am
I had an interesting, multi-layered dream this morning. The parts I remember most vividly are figuring out a computer that had a scrollable screen (that is, you could physically roll the screen up and down, like a window blind, although even at its largest it was pretty small). And there was an ice cream parlor called "Psyche and Circe". What do they have to do with ice cream? Maybe I'll ask the Oracle of Google.

Towards the end of the dream, though, I'd been trying to think of a plot for a science fiction novel. I didn't get one, but I did get a title and some background details.

The earth is farmed. (That's the way the thought came to me in the dream.) All manufacturing happens off planet; there are elevators to get up to geosynchronous orbit around the equator. All travel happens on mag-lev roadways. No one owns a car, but they're all freely available, and range in size from individual, for commuting or short trips, to large enough for fifty people or so, for cross- or inter- continental traveling. The earth, and its surrounding colonies, exist in a post scarcity economy.

But the source and emphasis of that first sentence is that everyone does most of their own food production, with small farmers' markets to provide the rest. In this world, there are no multi-thousand acre monoculture farms.

Such large, monocultural farms exist now because of a couple historical circumstances; the three main ones I see being: (1) the earth has a relatively low population density; (2) "money" exists as a particularly inefficient and corrupt rationing system; and (3) we have a relative abundance of an extremely versatile chemical family (the hydrocarbon chains of petroleum) that we use in its most inefficient manner (internal combustion).

I should add that in the dream the idea came pretty much full blown; but sitting here, typing it into the Semagic window, I'm becoming too concerned with what one or another person might think, and here-to-there logic, both of which I consider tertiary concerns, at best, at this point in the thinking.

Um, anyway, so everyone does their own farming, there are small farmers' markets to share and trade surpluses, and the earth is very densely populated, at least a multiple of our current population.

I don't know what "R.R.T." stands for, but I do know "the new earth" of the title refers to a planet in a different solar system.

This is the way of all ideas that come to you in a dream, I guess. The grandeur of them is deflated by the light and logic of day. Sucks, I tell ya. ;>

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:September 24th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)

I feel your pain

Two problems about coming up with great ideas:

* They never sound quite as great when you reduce them to an elevator pitch.

* Often they really are just the germ of an idea; a single-celled organism of an idea that might grow up into something important, but only if you feed it and nurture it and love it, and even then it might turn out to be just a wildflower of an idea -- pretty, but not very important.

I had this idea the other day, and when I told Anita about it she quoted the bit about "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."

The idea? There is this guy who looks just like the Uncle Sam of the recruiting posters. He is really a retired insurance salesman named Sam Phelps, but the thing is he thinks he just might actually be the avatar of what the U.S.A. is supposed to be; and he is sick. So he decides to travel around the country in his RV and figure out what is wrong with the country because he figures that is what's making him ill. His siblings force their son's on him because they are worried about him, so he is travelling with two very different twenty-something guys, one Democrat and one Republican.

The kicker, of course, is that Sam might just be right about who and what he is...
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)

Re: I feel your pain

I like this one too. It sounds kind of like that Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods, or maybe what was the one about the guy with Einstein's brain stolen in a suitcase in the trunk of the car.

Also you would get to figure out what is wrong with the U.S. in order to finish writing it.
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2005 12:14 pm (UTC)

Re:Jack feels your pain

In case you didn't guess, the above comment was from Jack. That not logging in thing must be going around!
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Jack feels your pain

Yep, I got it. Thanks for making sure, though!

(I almost forgot to log in for this comment! Hah!)
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)

Utopia, limited

Well I think it's a great idea, and not to be dismissed just because it doesn't sound like a well-wrought fiction when you boullion-cube it. Why not, of course you can explain what's wrong with current conditions by positing a better world, and describing why it would be better, and it's a valuable thing that needs doing. Before the hydrocarbons are gone.

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