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How can I rebuild Society after an extinction-level event?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Sep 3, 2018.

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  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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    My name is Drax Blofeld, and I am one of the most intelligent and wisest human beings born on this earth. In my infinite wisdom, I have determined that humanity has become too decadent and corrupt, and must be exterminated. I will repopulate the earth with people who I determine to be worthy, and all others do not deserve to live.

    Using my cast resources, I have built a giant space station in space and have recruited the best and brightest to become citizens in this new world. We then developed a poison that is able to kill large numbers of people, but leave the beauty of the world intact. The poison takes the form of 70 canisters that were released into the atmosphere, each capable of killing 100 million people. With 7 billion people dead, the world is ready to be re-populated by my citizens. My heroic sacrifice has saved our species, but there is one thing we neglected to take into account:

    What to do with all the corpses?

    Billions of people decomposing all at once will certainly have harmful effects on the environment, as well as the health of my people. What is the best way to get rid of these bodies without harming my citizens? what other considerations should I take into account with this plan?
     
  2. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    =_=

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    Don't get me wrong, in character threads and articles can be fun, but genocide's probably not the best topic for it.

    Anyways, for the actual topic, the short answer is nothing. Leave them.

    Just sticking with the USA Motana has an average population density of roughly seven people per square mile compared to New York City's population density of 27,000 per square mile. Presuming a limited number of 'chosen ones' there's plenty of places where a city could be built to mitigate the health effects from the decomposition.

    As for the effects on the environment, well, even if all those humans just poofed without leaving a body that'd still cause a massive shift in the environment. The spaces humans used to occupy would suddenly be open for animals to colonize, pet cats and dogs would go feral, farm animals would likely die in mass without people to care for them, etc.

    Nature has mechanisms in place to balance that though, and in time that would balance for the human die off too.
     
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  3. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Troubadour

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    Yeah, I don't think the corpses would be the biggest concern here. Earth has handled extinction-level events before, on scales that I suspect would outstrip the biomass of human population. In the long-term, those bodies are just new dirt. In the short term, just colonize away from major population centers to avoid concerns of plague.

    Honestly, there are plenty of short-term concerns with moving into recently-depopulated cities aside from the disease factor. You now have vast swaths of complex architecture no longer seeing maintenance. Nuclear reactors running unregulated, dams holding back entire lakes, any number of chemical plants or weapons depots with no oversight. In the months and years immediately following the extinction, you'd have random disasters crop up around the world ranging from flash floods to poison clouds as various safety measures fail with no one to watch over them.

    In the long term all this will balance out, but in the short term the safest route would be to settle far from places where they might happen and teach people that the old cities are dangerous - if not outright convince them they're cursed/haunted. Assuming, at least, you don't want to go for broke and just carpet bomb every major city until they're smoldering parking lots. Either way, trying to move in is definitely not the answer - after such a mass depopulation you simply don't have the manpower to maintain such huge population centers, so it's more sensible to see such areas returned to nature until such a time as humans have the numbers needed for it.
     
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  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Your brilliant plan flopped big time. Aerosol dispersion of a toxic compound...well, developing hurricanes alone spared a dozen major metropolises, sending the toxins miles off course. Plus, ordinary rainstorms and wind gusts truncated the poisons spread in literally thousands of other locations. Plus, there are those nifty government bunkers and various alphabet spy agencies. Might want to check the scanners on your space station - yes, those are incoming missiles.
     
  5. Scavenging predators (especially domestic dogs and cats) will take care of the bodies if they can be accessed. Dead things don't last long in nature.
     
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  6. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    It's true that chemical weapons are more intended to cause terror and intimidation, and that actually exterminating an entire city would requiere a massive and concentrated offensive even if unbelievably powerful poisons are used.

    However, if a chemical weapon was powerful enough then using weather patterns to disperse it in the entire atmosphere would actually do the trick instead of thwarting it. I very much doubt that such a substance could ever exist, but if this is a Fantasy story then why not?

    A more practical option would be the use of biological weapons. Also, what if the poison or disease in question has the added effect of drying the bodies up like mummies?

    That would solve the problem.
     
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    My first thought upon reading the OP was 'Bond Villain.' Specifically, this guy:
     
  8. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    That looks like a really strange movie!

    Well, if the poison in question is a nerve agent then we would be talking about a Fantasy weapon. No nerve agent would ever be lethal to humans while harmless to other species, they just do not work that way.

    That kind of selective killing would be much more plausible if a biological weapon is used instead of poison.

    I would ask: How far is the space station from Earth? How fast was it built? Has it ever been regarded as a threat by Earth governments? What are its defenses?

    Targeting Earth's electric grid with powerful EMP weapons would be another interesting possibility.
     
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  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    You never watched the older James Bond movies? Early era action flicks, featuring the world famous secret agent and assorted feminine fatales (often literally). And the villains are...unique, tropes in their own right. You might try watching them on You-Tube with a bottle of wine sometime.

    I agree with you about the nerve agent, though I point out an even 'wipeout' distribution is pretty much impossible for reasons stated earlier.

    Biological weapons (killer virus) could be targeted on humans, but those things have a tendency to mutate, and the CDC tends to be pretty good at catching those things. Plus, there are always immunes.
     
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  10. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    Would there be some with natural immunity and people who were not exposed? If so, there will probably be many people who survive but are completely alone or in small groups. This could create a resistance to fight against Drax. You also need to consider power plants...unless the goal is to back to pre-industrial society. Who will take care of all the nuclear power plants around the world. With no one monitoring them eventually their cooling systems will fail and cause meltdowns releasing radiation. Watch a show from a few years back called "Life After People". It shows what would likely happen if people disappeared from the earth.
     
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  11. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    Question: (speculative and philosophical)
    If denizens of the Earth have mastered the ability to live long-term in an orbiting space craft without succumbing to space-sickness in ways that could carry thousands of passengers-- generations of passengers--- in a self-sustaining fashion ...Wouldn't they use the same advancements in miraculous technology to make the Earth a less sh#tty slightly better place to be living? Or, just terraform Mars already? Why not just ease some of the excessive population to these orbiting ships or planetary space colonies?

    Genocide and mass extinction make a mess. So, if this plan calls for trashing the Earth to the breaking point, poisoning the atmosphere indiscriminately with first the poison and then all of the malfunctioning fruits of human industry- Great Plan! If the goal is a pristine Earth, that's not a smart strategy longterm because of nuclear fallout and chemical catastrophes... In the scale of time as it applies for the Earth, it won't matter. But again, if you can live for generations off the Earth ...you have the ability to fix said Earth.

    It would naturally then be a strictly political decision to--- per usual--- not utilize available technology to improve conditions for humankind globally because of [insert justification here]. Or, genocidal maniacs have gained power and agreed on a plan.

    The better option is a world-wide chemically induced sterilization program that lasts for 35 to 45 years. You'd see a very signifigant shift in population density without all the corpses piling up...and the nuclear winter/ chemical wastes ruining the Earth.
     
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  12. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    No, not really.

    First, the OP bears an extremely strong resemblance to the villain's scheme in 'Moonraker' - an old James Bond flick from the late 1970's. That villain was a billionaire megalomaniac.

    Billionaire's of dubious ethics abound in the world today, and unfortunately control the finances/resources needed to make things like cool space stations. And many of these oligarchs have a distinct dislike for ordinary folks. Not going to put up a link, but a few months ago I came across an article where an academic was invited to give a speech to a cabal of the 1%. He expected to field questions about future technology and sustainability. Instead, they wanted to talk doomsday bunkers. How to keep their people loyal. No interest, period, in offsetting Armageddon; as far as this bunch was concerned, it's 'baked in.'

    Not all the super rich subscribe to such grim beliefs, of course. But many do.
     
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  13. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    For the purposes of this conversation, please note that there is the operating assumption that all so-called political representation via Republic, democracy, etc. is wholly-owned by said trillionaire megalomaniacs that could in fact care less about the survival of the human species. I say trillionaires, but that will likely underestimate their net worth once inflation is factored in. I don't expect governments to be free agents of actual citizens IRL anymore than I do in this Moonraker doomsday scenario.
     
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