Sunday, June 1, 2014

Idea Garage Sale: Talking Animals of the Apocalypse

No way I'll ever use this one, but I bet somebody could do it right.

This was a story-dream. The post-apocalyptic dystopia was going on, and one of the features was, that anthropomorphic animals societies were A Thing. The totalitarian rulers were all what the dream was calling cis-humans (I know I'm appropriating the term cis here, way out of original context of contrasting the cisgender from the transgender, but it works pretty well to express the idea of "what society treats as the norm"!) while the oppressed classes were both the cis-human poor and modified animals much like the Talking Animals in Narnia - larger than their non-talking counterparts, with humanlike intelligence that didn't interfere with the specializations of their animals from which they derived. I specifically remember wild foxes and domestic goats. The "wild" talking animals lived separate from humans and the "domestic" talking animals were integrated as equals into the poor human communities, who regarded them as human equivalents; but the ruling classes regarded both kinds of talking animals as animals. So that at one point, for instance, one of them shot and skinned an intelligent fox because she wanted to wear the fur. At another point, the protagonists were saved from patrolling oppressors because the goats fooled them into overlooking the humans they were looking for - the goats were not considered seriously as intelligent agents.

So the oppressed are all working together, right? Not quite. It turned out that the Resistance had a number of different factions, all made up of cis-humans and intelligent animals (hmm, does tranimals work as a term here?) working independently and with little knowledge of each other. Something was preventing them from communicating and coordinating. Not from cooperating - the main thrust of the dream involved following the attempts of two parties who crossed paths in the field and jeopardized each other's missions to clean up the resultant mess, carry out both missions, and keep everyone safe from the oppressors who were suddenly swarming everywhere.

And there was some sort of boarding school that was becoming the locus of resistance because it was one of the few places that people from different communities could meet face to face? But the boarding school taught only cis-humans and was run by the oppressing class. (Think, Indian boarding schools of 20th century America, where Indian children were taken to be brainwashed out of their culture.)

I will never use this, because I don't even like dystopian fiction as a rule. Real life is as dystopian as I care to get and a little more, thank you! But if you came up with a premise that made the tranimals work, the whole story would work, and would fall into place.

BTW, the cis-humans? Should all be brown. Because in the future, we will all be brown.

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