I had a dream two nights ago which could be turned into a science fiction short story, maybe even a novel. I the Dream I was one of a race of Immortals (I think in the dream we were Humans who had just solved death, like in Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which I’ve only listened to the first couple of chapters of as a podcast), In this society no one worked, all menial labour was done by clones who were treated a subserviant race.
Also in this society criminals rather than being incarcerated were just paralysed from the neck down, for the duration of thier sentences, they were walked about in wheel chairs by clone servents.
At some point in the dream it became apparent that we were no longer immortal, this meant that people who had no need to worry about death suddenly had this enormous shadow looming over them.
I think there a multiple facets to look into in this story, I think the Immortality bit is a bit Down and Out and a bit BSG. It would also be interesting to look into how the same circumstances would effect something non human, like the Endless from the Sandman, or more traditional dieties (I guess this is probably what the plot of American Gods is about, I’m only hafway throug it though), it’s also a bit Highlander I guess.
The treatment of criminals is something I’ve never encountered before, most science fiction seems to assume either incarceration, freezing, some form of game where they fight for thier life/freedom/fame, or just the death sentence for everything, not very many take the view of a more lenient society… Arguably paralysis is not nessisarilly more lenient, at least in prison you can move your own body even if it’s within the confines of your cell. When your body becomes your prison I think thats possible a worse punishment.
The third aspect of the dream, the subserviant clones echos my blog post from a few months ago, maybe the clones will notice that they are treated like shit, and rebel. Maybe it’s a criminal who is being served by the clones who makes them realise this fact? It wouldn’t be the first time a criminal sanctions criminal acts while imprisoned, then again is freeing a race who are subjugated and treated as slaves really a criminal act?
All food for thought.