Author Topic: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young  (Read 2633 times)

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Offline brilligtove

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Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« on: March 28, 2016, 08:26:59 PM »
Let's drop in story snippets, world building ideas, and characters based on the intriguing game that Daniel1948 put to us. These are my unfiltered, first thoughts about what kind of a world we might write in. (I've long been a fan of collaborative worlds like Theive's World.)

Broadly, I'd suggest stories that take place in the past (as far back as you'd like, as long as humans are human) up to the near future (no more than a decade or so in the future). That way the technology and continuity of key characters can be maintained without wild flights of fantastical science fiction.

I would propose that some miraculous figures of the past would be forever young; Jesus comes to mind, especially if the consumption of a life can cause a person to heal from otherwise fatal wounds. I suspect that glory-seeking might be a phase that many FY go through after a few hundred years.

Also, we should avoid anachronisms of thinking and technology. If you want to tell a story about a FY in the past, the person should be a person of their times. A trope to explore might be that threshold where culture and technology leave the FY behind. In the modern day that can take just a few years; a thousand years ago you might go for centuries without felling alienated.

How do we deal with the finite capacity of the human mind, compared to the many lifetimes of learning and experience? I mean I don't remember what I had for dinner three nights ago, so we can safely assume that a lot of information gets tossed on the way. :) Still, there should be seriously I important things that you just... Lose.

Children. Does this power make your infertile? Especially fertile? What happens when you don't age and your family does? Or do you run the risk of aging with your family and potentially being killed in a stupid accident?

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 09:59:53 PM »
Good idea. FWIW, some of these ideas are frequently explored in urban fantasy where vampires do not age, and live until accident or some other person or vampire kills them true-dead. In most vampire stories they cannot have children, though I'm not sure why this should be, unless it's because they are dead. Often, but not always, they are very wealthy, since they've had so long to invest. Sometimes they are wise, but more often they are unwilling or unable to accept modern technology. The old ones always knew all the famous people of the past, which really doesn't make a lot of sense, since very few of the contemporaries of famous people knew those people.

Another parallel is that in most versions they have to drink human blood, and in the oldest versions they invariably killed their victims, though in a lot of urban fantasy today they take blood without killing, or they drink animal blood. Or the "good" vampires don't kill people and the "bad" ones do. In the Demon Accords series by John Conroe, there are sects of vampires, one of which only takes blood from willing donors and never kills unless by accident, while the other regards humans as cattle and treats them accordingly.

You might want to specify how your Forever Young are different from vampires.

(Off topic: Where there are vampires there usually are werewolves. I find myself liking the werewolves more.)
Daniel
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 10:05:17 PM »
I am an ancient coder, determined to keep banking systems running on COBOL software because it was modern back when I learned coding... it's a dystopian novel.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline lubbarin

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 11:10:17 PM »
To me the interesting part is in the distant future.
We're talking forever, here.

So you survived, somehow, the next century. You lived to see humans figure out how to drink the oceans, to re-terraform our own planet, and finally escape to space ahead of the demise of the solar system.

And what are you now? That weird, freaky apeman that wouldn't die. Humanity has evolved all around you, and you're totally unfit to function in society, let alone be of any use.

Okay, that's out of bounds..  but won't our FY'ers have some anxiety about this fate? After all, that's the best case scenerio.
Every other scenerio is the extinction of humanity, and who wants to be around for that?

Also, these are people, I would think, who should be risk averse in the extreme.
I have, at this point, 20-40 years to lose. Our forever young have eternity on the line, every time they climb into the car.

I can't imagine such a story without the character dealing with crippling anxiety, fear, and ennui.
Maybe the story is about something they see in humanity which seems so excellent to them that they're willing to risk being in the world to pitch in. A social movement, or a technology.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 11:15:33 PM by lubbarin »
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Online arthwollipot

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 04:36:37 AM »
I think that if Jesus was a life-stealer, then the whole death and resurrection thing was staged in order to deflect interest in him, and after his Assumption into heaven, he changed his identity and went on to have a long, long and productive life.

Perhaps his first mistake upon discovering that he had this power was to use it too much out in the open, such that people noticed him, so he conspired with Judas to get turned in to the Romans and crucified, so that he could disappear. But someone discovered that the rock had been rolled away from his tomb, so he had to make a couple of last appearances and then one big number where he was assumed bodily into heaven. Only then was it safe for him to disappear.

He's probably still alive today. Smart of him to drop hints so long ago about the second time he'll be discovered.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 07:40:36 AM »
To me the interesting part is in the distant future.
We're talking forever, here.

So you survived, somehow, the next century. You lived to see humans figure out how to drink the oceans, to re-terraform our own planet, and finally escape to space ahead of the demise of the solar system.

And what are you now? That weird, freaky apeman that wouldn't die. Humanity has evolved all around you, and you're totally unfit to function in society, let alone be of any use.

Okay, that's out of bounds..  but won't our FY'ers have some anxiety about this fate? After all, that's the best case scenerio.
Every other scenerio is the extinction of humanity, and who wants to be around for that?

Also, these are people, I would think, who should be risk averse in the extreme.
I have, at this point, 20-40 years to lose. Our forever young have eternity on the line, every time they climb into the car.

I can't imagine such a story without the character dealing with crippling anxiety, fear, and ennui.
Maybe the story is about something they see in humanity which seems so excellent to them that they're willing to risk being in the world to pitch in. A social movement, or a technology.

It doesn't have to be out of bounds. We would just need to agree on what that future looks like to be able to write a relatively consistent set of stories. What about the same tale told today, by someone born in the 1700s? In their natural lifetime there were some big developments, but in the last 150 years their world has changed so drastically that there is practically nothing left to recognize.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 07:42:17 AM »
I think that if Jesus was a life-stealer, then the whole death and resurrection thing was staged in order to deflect interest in him, and after his Assumption into heaven, he changed his identity and went on to have a long, long and productive life.

Perhaps his first mistake upon discovering that he had this power was to use it too much out in the open, such that people noticed him, so he conspired with Judas to get turned in to the Romans and crucified, so that he could disappear. But someone discovered that the rock had been rolled away from his tomb, so he had to make a couple of last appearances and then one big number where he was assumed bodily into heaven. Only then was it safe for him to disappear.

He's probably still alive today. Smart of him to drop hints so long ago about the second time he'll be discovered.

Oo. I like the idea of the resurrection being an accident. Could Jesus redistribute life into others? The healing of lepers comes to mind. Who did he feast on?
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 07:50:59 AM »
Good idea. FWIW, some of these ideas are frequently explored in urban fantasy where vampires do not age, and live until accident or some other person or vampire kills them true-dead. In most vampire stories they cannot have children, though I'm not sure why this should be, unless it's because they are dead. Often, but not always, they are very wealthy, since they've had so long to invest. Sometimes they are wise, but more often they are unwilling or unable to accept modern technology. The old ones always knew all the famous people of the past, which really doesn't make a lot of sense, since very few of the contemporaries of famous people knew those people.

Another parallel is that in most versions they have to drink human blood, and in the oldest versions they invariably killed their victims, though in a lot of urban fantasy today they take blood without killing, or they drink animal blood. Or the "good" vampires don't kill people and the "bad" ones do. In the Demon Accords series by John Conroe, there are sects of vampires, one of which only takes blood from willing donors and never kills unless by accident, while the other regards humans as cattle and treats them accordingly.

You might want to specify how your Forever Young are different from vampires.

(Off topic: Where there are vampires there usually are werewolves. I find myself liking the werewolves more.)

Perhaps we could explore a FY who has assumed the vampire mantle because they are insane?

Or a story about how some of the older FY used religions to rule parts of the world, and how the practice continues today with some becoming true believers in their own vampirism - when in reality they are not vampires at all.

Hm. That could be a fun way to satirize other kinds of true believers.

I can't think of any plausible mechanism for transfer of "life energy" since that doesn't exist, so we'll have to take that as a gimme.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 09:42:20 AM »
To me the interesting part is in the distant future.
We're talking forever, here.

So you survived, somehow, the next century. You lived to see humans figure out how to drink the oceans, to re-terraform our own planet, and finally escape to space ahead of the demise of the solar system.

And what are you now? That weird, freaky apeman that wouldn't die. Humanity has evolved all around you, and you're totally unfit to function in society, let alone be of any use.

Okay, that's out of bounds..  but won't our FY'ers have some anxiety about this fate? After all, that's the best case scenerio.
Every other scenerio is the extinction of humanity, and who wants to be around for that?

Also, these are people, I would think, who should be risk averse in the extreme.
I have, at this point, 20-40 years to lose. Our forever young have eternity on the line, every time they climb into the car.

I can't imagine such a story without the character dealing with crippling anxiety, fear, and ennui.
Maybe the story is about something they see in humanity which seems so excellent to them that they're willing to risk being in the world to pitch in. A social movement, or a technology.

I, too, would have trouble with the "forever" part. What happens when the sun goes nova and you are the only remain person on a dead planet, or worse yet, floating through the vacuum of space and unable to die?

However, in my version in the other thread, I just get to live a lot longer, while the living is good.

You do raise another very good point, though: I might be a lot more risk averse if I thought that my body could last another thousand years than I am, with at most another 15 years of slower and slower hiking if I'm incredibly lucky, and then a few years of rapid decline and death.

But young people often do extraordinarily risky things. So maybe the fear of losing that extreme length of life would not be crippling
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Fast Eddie B

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 09:50:50 AM »
Not too spoilery...

A similar conceit is put forth in a series of books I'm reading now, Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. Currently plowing through Green Mars.

In short, a treatment reshapes and restores one's DNA such that one never ages beyond a certain point. The books touch on how the prospect of very, very long life affects a person's attitudes and life choices. And how access to said treatments, or lack thereof, leads to strife.

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 08:07:19 PM »
A lot of science fiction has included rejuvenation as a part of the setting, if not the plot itself. CJ Cherryh's Cyteen comes to mind.

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 08:16:05 PM »
One of Vonnegut's short stories from Welcome to the Monkey House also delves into the subject.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 11:19:47 PM »
This shared universe would definitely not be totally new territory, to be sure. I just think the life-stealing combined with a clear historical alternate-history might be interesting, especially if stories are written by many authors.

I haven't read much Cherryh or Vonnegut, so I'm not familiar with either tale. I've read lots of other rejuv stories though. Some of Niven's work comes to mind.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 09:11:48 AM »
This shared universe would definitely not be totally new territory, to be sure. I just think the life-stealing combined with a clear historical alternate-history might be interesting, especially if stories are written by many authors.

I haven't read much Cherryh or Vonnegut, so I'm not familiar with either tale. I've read lots of other rejuv stories though. Some of Niven's work comes to mind.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a really good story written by multiple authors. It sounds like a fun game, but I'd be surprised if a really good story came out of it.

I once read a story about two serial killers meeting each other. Alternate chapters were written by two different authors, each from the point of view of one of the killers. It was kind of a good story, but not great, and it was clearly strained, as each tried to get the better of the other.

Click & Clack once read a letter, ostensibly a story written alternately by a man and a woman, which was quite funny as each tried to make the hero of the story into their own idea of what he should be, macho or sensitive.
Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Forever Young, I want to be Forever Young
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 10:26:02 AM »
I wasn't thinking of one monolithic narrative, but rather a series of short stories. The Thieves World stories and Wild Cards stories are examples of shared worlds with many tales by many authors. I liked them when I read them a long time ago.
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