Workshop Episode 20 (Guest Host: John Mierau)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 20, with John Mierau and Jay Langejans John Mierau – whose literary endeavors span genres and media with intriguing tales that explore the boundaries of speculative fiction – returns to the Big Comfy Chair at the Roundtable to help workshop a tale offered by writer and podcaster Jay Langejans. Jay’s dystopian aquatic scifi story generated a lot of excitement around the table and everybody dove in and splashed around.  This is classic Roundtable goodness, friends… a fabulous story idea, a brilliant guests, and literary gold flying around at every turn. (and check out John’s Showcase Episode for even more literary gold)

PROMO: The Full-Cast Podcast

Workshop Episode 20 (Guest Host: John Mierau)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Check out this and all our episodes on iTunes…

John Mierau’s Fabulousity…

  • Just finished Tools and Means
  • Editing “Pyre” (to be released late summer)
  • More Enemy Lines
  • Possible book deal in the future
  • Possible shared world project


More from Jay Langejans…

And Dave’s Garden…

Because John was curious.

The Garden - 2011
The Garden – 2011

Because of the merciless heat of the this Summer, a picture of this year’s garden would be… well… depressing. So here’s a shot of last year’s cornucopia of botanical awesomeness.

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Comments (4)

I like the choice of an undersea setting.

That the Caretaker and the Mentor oppose each other seems obvious to me.

I had another thought for your “control box” mcguffin. What if it was an override device that lets the user take control of the dome away from the caretaker?

I don’t know what your trade commodity should be, but salt and minerals would be too common.

The shorter life spans could be an intentional change by the people who have been guiding the “breeding program.” Shorter generations means that genetic flaws and benefits may develop and show faster. Perhaps it is entirely artificial, even with a killswitch gene that can be activated to begin the end of a person’s lifespan.

It would also have a possible beneficial effect on resource use which would be very valuable in a closed community. Much shorter lives might mean that few people live beyond their “working” lifespan, ie beyond the point when they are fit to do useful work. Older people need to be supported but no longer generate useful work, taking up more of the already limited resource pool.

I loved this concept. Consider me as one on the waiting list to read when it’s done.

I think Salt would be the last commodity you’d need in a deep see setting though. I know what was said in the episode about precious metals being extracted from trace elements in seawater, but I can’t help but wonder about very rare elements, like iridium, that are essential to modern electronics that that would be almost impossible to get in a community that small, no matter how much seawater is being filtered (I didn’t see the Ted talk, so this could be complete and utter bullshit).

What they would be doing with it, I have no idea. Good luck though.

Wow… great comments and insights. Thanks for chiming in everyone!

I had another thought occur to me as I was discussing Jay’s story idea with a co-worker. What if… the civil war that divided the dome was orchestrated by the Caretaker? All the other domes had failed because the societies that had evolved in them eventually tore themselves apart from the inside because they didn’t have a societal pressure valve. Maybe the Caretaker decided to divide the culture to provide a sense of an “other” – and adversary – for all the people of the dome to fear or hate and thus motivate towards adhering to and supporting their own communities.

I like the idea of the Caretaker being a kind of crazed-puppeteer… or a coldly rational manipulator. Plus, this take could allow Jay to infuse a little commentary on human nature (our confrontational/adversarial natures). Can you imagine if people of today’s culture were suddenly trapped in a dome together?

The currency issue… I agree it’s important to define the economy for a culture to understand how it’s social and political strata evolve and work, but I wonder if maybe they would have evolved beyond a “X” standard currency? Whether it’s a gold standard or a salt standard or whatever, it seems a little too contemporary. Would a capitalist free trade market even work in a community of 20K people who live with the constant threat of death and destruction? I wonder if maybe they’d employ a more Socialist paradigm where everyone has quotas to produce and the resources are distributed by an appointed administrative caste. In an environment where population and resources (even air) is so critical to existence, I wouldn’t want a free market “survival of the fittest” mentality.

Although, if you wanted to contrast the Renegades and the Civils, that would be a great way to do it. The Civils claim enlightenment, but they make people compete for resources, while the Renegades make sure everyone has a share of everything.

Interesting possibilities… 😉

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