Yes, I know...I'm not even remotely close to the finish line with MINIMAL, but my mind works in weird ways--and I've already been thinking about what to do for the next book once I am done. Now, mind you, I won't actually finalize anything or make even a close to final choice until MINIMAL is at least through the first write-through; but I'm thinking about my dystopian sci-fi story.
Yeah, I hadn't mentioned that yet. It hit me a bit ago just perusing Reddit.com, and as you know I like to hang out on some of those forums they have. Anyway, the whole idea is this:
Would you purposefully choose to be a slave? Would you be willing--mind, body, and soul--to give up your dignity, strength, honor, and discipline to be entwined, perhaps forever, to someone that controlled you, owned you, stole from you, and possibly even hated you? Are you so sad, poor, alone, or desirous of love and affection that the idea of giving in to that lack of responsibility is attractive? No faith so strong, no god so powerful, that you will be able to break free once the applied drug--aptly named Servitus--courses through your veins. Unerringly, you would be chained by physiological and psychological reactions beyond your control and condemned to obedience in order to divest yourself of all previous choice for your actions: All future thoughts would be made for you. All ideas expressed by your master would become your compelling command. It is so easy for someone to give in to it, as it makes the every waking moment bliss of unparalleled magnificence. Therein lays the hope it brings to the masses. In accepting the terms of the indemnitude, all debts are wiped clean, all crimes forgiven; and the so-controlled are then assigned an owner, called a "Handler": a person utterly responsible for their actions from that point forward. The servant is free to do anything they like, provided it's what their Handler desires and commands them to perform. Normally, this servitude is for a specified period--month, year, or more--but there is usually an end-date wherein the drug-induced subjection comes to conclusion; but this is not always the case, as some prefer the freedom gained and have no remorse for their lost cognizance. Regardless of the time-frame, your Handler controls the drug, and the drug, in turn, controls the servant; and the will, the essence, the mind of the servant is locked away, fully aware but unable to act, in the cage that is his own mind.
That's it's opening--in a nutshell. The low-down is this: There's a girl, named Claire, who has been for the last few years under the "spell" (if you will) of the drug Servitus as punishment for past crimes. Her "Handler" (i.e.: Owner) is one of the wealthiest men in New York City, a man named Alan Furer. And Alan is about to release Claire from the drug because her sentence is served. (And Alan's bored of her.)
Claire is released back into general society, which is not a good thing. Society in the latter-half of the 22nd century consists of two castes: the insanely wealthy, and the poor. There is no middle-class--they were destroyed by the rich, which simply drew the line of "who is poor" higher up in the income ladder. In essence, if you're not rich as Midas, you're poor as dirt--and chances are you might even be "blank."
Blanks are people who are so low on the economic scale they don't even register as people. They don't have identities, not even an ID card. If you're found by the police to not have an ID...that's a crime. But to get an ID costs money, and if you don't have money... Well, see where this is going? Anyway, the penalty for being blank is to have an identity assigned to you, and Servitus applied, and an owner as well.
You're a slave that cannot resist.
The world population is approximately 16.2 Billion people. NYC alone has more than 45 million people. It's a madhouse--a veritable sea of faces from which you can't really escape. And all but a literal handful are destitute, and close to a million are blanks.
But be this as it may, some people would rather submit willingly to Servitus than be nobody. Even if they were a slave, or a plaything for some rich person. That's better than being homeless. It's better than being a blank.
And all your worries become someone else's problem. But as bad as it is for blanks, it could be worse...you could be a Hiver... And those are the folks you definitely do not want to be. Hivers are the only people on the strata lower than a blank; and that's bad news for them--but great news for everyone else! (I may explain Hivers more later, but this post is already insanely long, so I'll curtail it here.)
Well, that's the idea. We'll see how it goes. Heck, I might chuck this for another one in the interim. Like I said: don't know, we'll see.