May 23, 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.

SF Trope: sanitation in the future is non-existent in cities…

Trey Jackson and his family live in rural Nebraska – but the city of Omaha is a big part of their lives.

Especially the smell.

The city has been nearly buried under its own waste since, in 2029, the state legislature banned Omaha from dumping outside of a 20 mile radius. While few people in the CITY agreed to the law, legislators from outside the urban areas voted them down.

In 2041, Omaha has been walled in and in order to deal with the trash situation, they have moved their garbage to the edge of the city and hire companies to come in and search through the trash to find reusable, recyclable and useful things. Because the US economy slid into The Really Great Depression after an unprecedented eight Democratic Party dominated legislatures from 2008 through 2040, few people work – but everyone continues to produce garbage.

Trey and his family are part of a garbage caravan heading into Omaha to collect and distribute the trash West. When they arrive, they make camp in their covered wagons in Collector’s City and file for a permit to dig through the trash of a particular dump Trey’s dad and mom have researched. His twelve little brothers and sisters wait for their permit to clear.

In the meantime, Trey’s parents allow him to take the older of the siblings to the Collector’s Carnival. There he meets the amazing Francine La Flesche, descendant of the Indigenous people for who the city is named. She’s not supposed to be there, though.

In fact, she’s missing from her parent’s home – and they are powerful lawyers deep in the center of Omaha, living among the city’s wealthy elite. On the Ferris wheel ride, as it stops so that they are at the top and can see the Core City, she tells him she’s run away to see the world and was wondering if she can go with his family…

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