What if thousands of writers, economists, philosophers, scientists, teachers, industrialists and other many other people from other professions besides were able to pool their intellectual and creative resources to script one epic fantasy-fiction story?
Such an idea would probably form the crux of an average to poor book idea, but the story itself would be awesome, methinks.
Here’s an example. Every great writer, most notably Asimov, whose works of sci-fi/fantasy I’ve read has speculated upon the rapidly changing nature of different professions in their works.
The simplest example manifests in Asimov’s 1957 short story Profession. In the story, children are educated no longer within classrooms but almost instantaneously through a brain-computer interface, a process called taping.
Where are the teachers in this world? They, it seems, would come later, in the guise of professionals who compose and compile those information-heavy tapes. Seeing as Profession is set in the 66th century of human civilization, the taping scenario is entirely plausible. We could get there.
But this is one man’s way of constructing a possible future among infinite others. Upon closer scrutiny, many inconsistencies between Asimov’s world and ours could be chalked up. For one, the author could have presupposed events in our future which might never really happen.
However, such scrutiny would be meaningless because that is not the purpose of Asimov’s work. He writes to amaze, to draw parallels – not necessarily contiguous ones – between our world and a one in the future.
But what if Asimov had been an economist instead of a biochemist? Would he have written his stories any differently?
My (foolish) idea is to just draw up a very general template of a future world, to assign different parts of that template to experts from different professions, and then see how they think their professions would have changed. More than amaze, such a world might enlighten us… and I think it ought to be fascinating for just that reason.
The cloak of fantasy, the necessity of stories to engage all those professions and their intricate gives-and-takes and weave them into a empathetic narrative could then be the work of writers and other such creatively inclined people or, as I like to call them, ‘imagineers’.
This idea has persisted for a long time. It was stoked when I first encountered in my college days the MMORPG called World of Warcraft. In it, many players from across the world come together and play a game set in the fictitious realm called Azeroth, designed by Blizzard, Inc.
However, the game has already been drawn up to its fullest, so to speak. For example, there are objectives for players to attain by playing a certain character. If the character fails, he simply tries again. For the game to progress, the objectives must be attained. That’s what makes a game by definition, anyway.
My idea wouldn’t be a game because there are no objectives. My idea would be a game to define those objectives, and in a much more inclusive way. Imagine an alternate universe for all of us to share in. The story goes where our all-encompassing mind would take us.
The downside, of course, would be the loss of absolute flexibility, with so many clashing ideas and, more powerful, egos. But… play it.