|Exploiting the end of the world for fun and profit
||[Feb. 11th, 2009|10:41 am]
Had a really weird scifi dream last night.
It mostly took place in a grim, industrial, overpopulated future; something like that portrayed in the film Hardware. The world was starving for resources.
Somehow a form of cheap and easy two-way method of time travel had been discovered, but it had very important limits. It could only bring you to a certain point in time a couple of hours before the end of the Earth's life, at some point long after humanity had vanished from the Earth (either dying out or departing into space, nobody knew for certain) as it went crashing into the Sun. Afterward it could bring you back only to the time from which you originally departed.
Scavengers and adventurers had begun exploiting this, zipping to the apocalypse in order to gather up as much scrap and raw materials from the long-dead planet as they could and get back before the world ended, allowing the declining world to subsist on the detritus of its own future. Things like worldwide earthquakes, volcanoes, and other death rattles of the dying planet made this an extremely hazardous occupation beyond the simple time limit and competition from other scavengers.
Of course, you couldn't scavenge the same exact part of the ending world twice; you'd be competing with your younger self and risking paradox. Additionally, other scavengers would not only be able to kill you to stop you getting something they wanted for themselves; they could also find an unsuspecting younger you on a previous mission to attack. It all got very complex and paranoia-inducing; you couldn't trust anyone you met during the apocalypse, just in case they had some reason to dispose of a future self of yours.
I know there's a story or two in this. I may write one myself, but I know quite a few of you out there are writers as well, so please feel free to use this if you like.