Metropolis Fallen – The Concept

taken from the Inquisitive Arts wiki page of my friend Deirdra’s website:

Theme

Irresponsible industry and commerce leads to cataclysmic environmental and sociological upheaval

Concepts

Dream Job: Story about a future society of non-gendered people who work in their sleep, as well as during the waking hours (by Lee Mc., influenced slightly by Samuel R. Delaney’s Stars In My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, and stylistically by RAW’s Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy and Joyce’s Ulysses)

The Great Pyramid Project: Story about a manufacturing company that is building a strange and extremely environmentally dangerous factory (by Lee Mc., slightly influenced by The Venus Interface, by Lou Stathis)

Metropolis (Redux): Story about workers rebelling against a machiavellian executive class that keeps the nobility and working classes completely separate. (by Thea von Harbou)

Smallcreep’s Day: The adventures of a factory worker who travels down the line to learn what becomes of his work. (by Peter Curell Brown; album by Mike Rutherford, which is where I know the story from)

Backstory

Tabyss is the largest moon circling a gas giant barren, Mars-like planet (Minerva) with 20 perhaps one other moons, in a solar system light years away from Earth. The people who live there are scientists and colonists who all work for a giant multiplanetary corporation called The Great Pyramid Corporation. They are responsible for the manufacture of nearly everything available to colonists in the 36 solar systems that have been colonized throughout the Milky Way galaxy so far. There has been some success in faster than light travel, but transporting goods from one planet to the next is still a time-consuming enterprise, with livestock and grains being put into suspended animation to keep them from expiring while in transit. These trade ships often take as much as a few decades to reach their destination. Naturally, this is not nearly fast enough for a multiplanetary corporation’s needs. They are working on something to remedy this.

The current Chief Executive officer of the GPC is a man called Frederick Jolsen. He is a genius, and is responsible for much of development of the colony cities on Tabyss, which he has made his home. He actually lives on a space station overlooking the moon, which is where many of his chief executives and their families live as well. The planet is entirely populated by lower class colonists who all work in the mines, farms and factories that cover about 20% of the moon’s surface. The colonies are mostly built around arcologies, large metropolitan sprawls that house most of the colonists. There are a dozen of these arcologies, surrounded by farms and factories and schools and parks and numerous highways connecting the arcologies. The moon itself has an artificial atmosphere that is perpetuated by one of the largest factories on the moon, which generates the right levels of oxygen and other gases to sustain human life on Tabyss.

One of the interesting features of the landscape of the moon outside of the cities is that there is a great deal of largely unexplored territory, which early surveys claimed to be uninhabited. This has since been disproven, as lifeforms have indeed been found to live underneath the surface of the moon. A strange form of life in several species that scientists have not been able to completely understand, due to their strange, plasmic physiologies. They seem to process matter into energy by conversion of ambient cosmic energy into units of energy used to break down solid matter like rocks as well as any of the carbon-based life they have been encountering recently. Some human colonists are convinced that some of their missing numbers have been lost to these creatures, and live in fear of them coming into the work sites and habitats of the cities and farms. Communication as not yet been established with these lifeforms, and there is only an hypothesis that some of the higher organisms in this ecosystem might be sentient.

All of that is beside the point, as the main thrust of the story is about how people live in these colony cities, and what they do to make a living, while the executive class lives above them in relative ignorance of the conditions most folks endure to meet production quotas. People work both day and night jobs, the latter being done as a means of directing computers and machines in their sleep. This came about because scientists studying dreamstate consciouness discovered that it was possible to use implants to train a sleeping mind to focus on specific tasks, a sort of cyber/biochemical extension of the concept of lucid dreaming. In this state, humans are conditioned to perform simple series of tasks that are implemented by computer interfaces commanding whatever machines are needed to perform the physical tasks needed.

What happens in this story is that a growing movement is stirring secretly in the working classes. The beginnings of a class rebellion founded on officially discredited studies that show that humans who are not allowed to dream naturally begin to lose their sanity and become self-destructive and aberrant. One of the ideas that I have to put into the story is that people are disappearing all of the time, and investigations are non-conclusive. One of the other things I have to get across is that, whatever the GPC is working on in space, it may very well be having dangerous side effects down below.

(minor text corrections – LMc 2007 05 30)

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