March 13, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

H Trope: uncontrollable plague kills men/women/kids/dogs/bugs

I was inspired to do a similar post several months ago ( on this whole idea of surviving a world-wide plague. Lots and lots of YA lit has recently looked at the results of teens as the sole survivors of planetary plague:

GONE (series) by Michael Grant
GALAHAD (series) by Dom Tesla
UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks
ENCLAVE by Anne Aguirre

So what can you or I add to it?

How about this: Fereshteh (angel) Mazandarani has lived in the US her entire life – but has lived with her parents being harassed during the Iran Hostage Crisis from November 1979 through January 1981 – and long after; to experiencing fierce prejudice against herself when she was in fourth grade on September 11, 2001 – and long after.

Now the world is shaken by religious turmoil. Fanatics of every stripe have started to vie for supremacy. Even religions that once were seen as “peaceful” have resurrected their darkest sides. Buddhist terrorists hold thousands hostage in Australia during a soccer championship. Christian fundamentalists flood Indian subways with poison gas. Muslim fanatics use an ancient nuclear weapon to disintegrate Paris. Fringe groups of all religions battle in the streets of major cities. The governments of the world unite at the UN and declare that they have had enough and will force ALL religious sects into a single philosophy: the Unified Faith In Humanity.

This of course, forces the religions underground and finally to unite against the monstrous Apocalypse Demon. Sides are being chosen.

Fereshteh’s parents were gentle Muslims and her boyfriend Dain is a social justice aware Lutheran. Best  friends have begun to polarize as the world stumbles toward the End Times. When Fereshteh discovers an uncle of hers was a member of the Iranian Taliban early in the 21st Century; and Dain that a distant relative was convicted and executed for shooting doctors who performed abortions…they find that they are marked by the hate mongers on BOTH sides of the conflict.

The newly minted Corps For United Humanity approach them. The plan is to release a newly enhanced bubonic plague virus in Beijing, New Delhi and Los Angeles – and blame the fanatic terrorists for it…  

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