I wish I could write fiction. The likelihood of that happening is the same as “I wish I was taller”.
I admire anyone who can make up a story. The more they can make up, and the more engrossing it is, the more I admire them.
Still, I was contemplating a fiction theme, or plot, the other day. Sometimes I watch TV dramas and I feel it has all been said. There is this theme, that plot, this little twist, on and on almost ad infinitum, or at the very least, ad nauseam.
Suppose, though, just suppose, you could write even mediocre disaster, mystery, spy, catastrophe, thriller, adventure, fiction of some sort. What kind of a story would it be?
Perhaps you could start with a disaster. A 10.5 off-the-scale earthquake occurs in the Pacific Ocean. Modern skyscrapers in Tokyo, Singapore, San Francisco, and L.A. crumble, just like those hot special effects in low-budget, high effects disaster movies.
But that’s just a start. A tsunami inundates half of Japan, wipes out the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and floods Los Angeles halfway east to Victorville, CA. A raging torrent of water races across Death Valley all the way to Pahrump, Nevada.
As if that isn’t enough, nuclear reactors in these locales are decimated and destroyed, releasing massive quantities of radioactivity that render the remaining survivors near them with severe radiation burns, writhing in agony and praying for a swift demise. (I don’t work for GE or Three Mile Island, but I am very pro nuclear as an energy source, so I don’t like this part.)
Speaking of praying, halfway around the world the natives are restless. I’m not referring to the massive slaughters of people in Rwanda, Darfur, the Sudan, Somalia, the Ivory Coast, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, or the like. Those things go on all the time, we just look the other way.
I’m referring to a religion that has gained a massively large number of participants. How, I’m not sure. There is always that high birth rate thing among poorly developed areas so that one insures the continuance of the tribe as well as helpers to work and sustain the minimum survival level. It’s definitely not intellectual, “this is great where do I sign up”, recruitment. It’s just that everyone is doing it, so you’re born into it and not allowed to leave. The women (thanks to the men) procreate like rabbits and “ShaZam!”, six more adherents!
The religion actually seems to subjugate its participants, requiring them to follow a huge list of rules, regulations, and rites. I guess that beats thinking for yourself, but we in the good only U.S. of A. might find that a bit constrictive.
Now let me say right here and now, I have no problems with God. (Werner Erhard always used to say “She’s black”. I don’t have evidence one way or the other.) I do feel certain, knowing what I don’t know, that God is in his heaven and all is right with the world, at least as far as he is concerned it is. I do have a problem with many of His franchises that have sprung up since time began. I suspect some of our fellow man (and woman) have led us astray from time to time. There is evidence throughout history that major wars and killing of men (and women) have been perpetrated “with God on our side”. Perhaps the collective We have erred from time to time (surely not ALL the time).
But enough about that. Back to our fiction. The restless participants of this religion are really getting restless. We can’t be sure if they want to be more restricted or less restricted, but they’re restless! They are fairly well kept in line where they live by authoritarian regimes that make sure they keep to the rules, but these people seem to want something different.
Anyway, they start rioting and protesting like crazy. This is totally alien to their supposed nature and religion (or is it?). Regardless, some regimes where they live cave in easily, others reply with ruthless shooting and killing. It’s not even certain these protestors themselves know what they want, but they sure are stirred up! Many say “God will help us”! (This may be a bad sign, because God or no God, one must earn his daily bread and eat. Dare I say too much faith in a higher power might cause us all to lay down and await enlightenment and bliss? To the point of starvation I suspect.) Oh well, I’m not trying to figure those things out, I’m just writing fiction!
So here we have this mayhem and catastrophe all around the Pacific. At the same time we have all this mayhem and catastrophe far away where these religious people are rioting. And nuclear disaster can appear near the rioting too, in the form of man-made atom bombs lovingly tossed here and there.
Well, I see the problem with fiction. It just goes on and on. No wonder I’ve read so many books that appear eventually to take a shortcut to finish the story. The author just seems to get tired of writing. That is kind of where I am with this fiction plot. How could it possibly all end? I haven’t even come up with some fantastic man and woman, half James Bond, Jason Bourne, Nancy Drew (!?!) to follow through this whole mess!
Besides, you just can’t make this stuff up.