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Creative Brief

What’s this crazy thing about? The idea started during the era when Mars One was hoping to send a bunch of regular people to be the first Mars colonists. I started thinking – wouldn’t that be kinda miserable? Like living in a submarine for the rest of your life. Never again to have the wind in your hair, your feet in the sand and the sun in your face. It would be long periods of boredom with occasional moments of sheer terror.

And the food would be terrible.

That’s when the idea of “Space travel is not possible without chorizo!” came from. At first I thought I could just write a short campy novel like the dozens of 60’s scifi books I read as a kid, but quickly I discovered that wasn’t going to happen. But then I realized I could write it like a “blog”, do it all online and that opens up all kinds of possibilities – hyperlinks, animations, and a free-form approach that one can’t *do* in a paper book so easily.

I wrote a few disjointed posts, and was jotting down ideas in my journal when one night while driving home from work a whole plot narrative streamed out of my head – the story arc I’m writing now.

Here’s the situation in brief:

Society has more or less broken down on Earth in weird ways. Disconnected from the Earth, Bradbury Base on Mars also had a social breakdown leading to the survivors forming separate, often bizarre and competing societies of their own while they do their best to emotionally deal with the situation.

Enter our main hero, José: A former engineer for Amazon who smuggles himself to Mars to escape his dead-end life and his ex-wife. Once on Mars he discovers that being a colonist isn’t as glamorous as the brochures make it out to be and with our other protagonist, Beth, they crack a plan to get back to Earth.

The narrative is intended to be a humorous mad-cap dystopian romp through a colony on mars where everyone is doing their best to survive.

In bullet points:

  • What I’ve got written so far, while it is live to the world and I’m encouraging people to read it, it functions as a first draft. Not expecting it to be done, let alone “perfect”.
  • Not “hard science fiction”. Move the narrative along fast enough and the reader won’t have time to consider the impossible things, and the bits that don’t add up.
  • Mainly satirizing the endless flaws of people. We’re stupid, vain, selfish, etc though sometimes heroic and wonderful.
  • Also satirizing society and tropes of science fiction
  • Any current or historic figure could show up in the Tiki Bar, after all, colonies are a great way to escape! I’ve already picked on golden age scifi authors, Mike Pence and Elon Musk. Why not more?
  • Unless it’s required to set the scene, we’ve all seen so many tv shows and movies that I don’t think the physical environment needs much embellishment, allowing the reader to fill in what a colony corridor or command center looks like.
  • It’s a bit of a “Lord of the Flies” situation (only funny). Disconnected from Earth, no one’s really in charge any more. How do people react? Those who made it through the initial breakdown on Mars (which is only discussed obliquely and implied to have been bad and violent) are each trying to get through each day without thinking too hard about the implications of their situation. It’s been unspoken so far, but thanks to entropy the base will slowly fail component by component unless something changes.
  • Meanwhile people are mostly living in their own escapist fantasy worlds…
  • José’s arrival sparks an effort to re-connect with Earth and finally get some fresh snack foods and other supplies, prompting some halting co-operation between the sections.

Bradbury Mars Base is made up a number of fully self-sufficient modules, each which has broken off into their own societies. No complete list of these exists yet, I’m just adding them as I think them up! Here’s what we’ve got so far:

  • Engineering Section: This is where José ends up and is befriended by Beth, our heroine. These appear to be our most down-to-mars people, but they have their own quirks. This is also where the Tiki Bar is.
  • The Trek Deck: Many of the bases scientists gathered in this section. They have the best communication gear. Gave up on Earth when they couldn’t connect past Phobos Station. Now attempting to contact The Vulcans instead. They cosplay the characters of Star Trek on a rotating basis so on any week someone new might be The Spock, The McCoy, The Scotty, etc
  • The Temple of the Last Steak: They have The Last Steak on Mars. Real Food. The Grill Monks worship this steak and are lead by a fanatical leader named Elron Muskatel, a former billionaire from Earth who moved to a place where money has no value.
  • The Mothers: Radical revolutionary females who are pretty darn happy to be out from under the thumbs of dumb, selfish, destructive men.
  • Phobos Station: the place that has the vital communication link José has to fix to re-connect with the Earth, inhabited by two women scientists who got stuck there when the shit went down.
  • Coming up:
  • more to come as they’re thunk up