Hello there, so in my story Subjectivism I wanted to flush out some of the characters and give the player the option to romance someone of their choice. Now, because I don't want this story to spiral out of control, as many of my longer projects do, I'm limiting myself to four romance side-paths. That being said I currently have five romance ideas, so I've put together short blurbs on the two characters who I'm considering taking out, as well as a basic summary of the story. If you could read the blurbs below and suggest which one it is you like least, I'd be very grateful. Thank you for your time.
The story as a whole:
Subjectivism is a sci-fi story where you take the role of a soldier who's a part of Cynosure, a branch of the League of Stars (essentially an evolved League of Nations comprised of several planets.) More than that, you are an 'Angel', or someone resurrected from the grave for the sole purpose of being a part of Cynosure. The reason for this is by reanimating the corpse you can still maintain thought and basic human consciousness, but you won't have any vital organ functions as necessities (i.e. breathing in oxygen, needing to survive in a specific range of temperatures before organ failure, etc.) so you can go to otherwise uninhabitable (by humans) planets for diplomatic negotiations. They're planning to extend their research to revive the races of other planets, but since the project is still in its early stages humans are the only race with which they've had success.
So here are the two I'm considering taking out:
Dexter. Dexter isn't real... not necessarily. He's the person who was supposed to be alive as an Angel before he failed and they had to use the equipment they were using on him on you, and in quite a rush too. The result was... not quite the proper procedure and now you have some of his memories and, in consequence, some of this mind stored within. He's a little bit of a prankster, which can be a great cause of anxiety for you when his mind decides to take over and sleepwalk a prank set up for you in the morning. Politically he's... a little twisted. He doesn't really trust the system as its set up and he wants it shut down. If that means sabotaging peace talks and starting a war? So be it. (If Dexter stays in there would be the chance to get him his body back and transfer his consciousness into his own body so you won't be stuck romancing... yourself.)
Helena. Helena isn't an Angel, but she is one of the people who creates them. Helena is a reanimation researcher, someone who studies how Angels tick and what happens when they're critically hurt. So, for all intents and purposes, she's a doctor. She's been assigned to your particular ship and is basically the crew's physician, minus the fact that she collects blood samples in order to make sure you don't clock out and... well, die... again. She's generally kind but also pretty serious about her work, and she's unfazed by most things. Bringing dead people back to life? No problem. That means working with non-alive corpses of a different species on a regular basis? Great, bring it. She'll tackle pretty much any and every challenge thrown her way. Politically... well, she doesn't care for politics. Her job is to create the diplomats, not be one.
If there's any other information needed I'll be happy to oblige. Thank you for the help.
Good point. If that's so... I would probably go towards Helena. Helena just has the stronger personality, probably because I can actually have her express her emotions from the beginning instead of later on.
Your story sounds quite interesting, although I'd question the need for Angels to even keep their bodies if they don't really have functioning organs and are hence operated my machinery or something, instead of having their consciousness uploaded into a robotic body.
I guess ultimately the decision is really yours to choose, but personally I'd get rid of Dexter's romance because it seems a bit creepy to be attracted to the voice in your head, but it's not a big deal. Nothing wrong with a bit of self-loving, or self-loving while also getting off the weird voice in your head.
I suppose technically they could just be uploaded into machines... but it'd make negotiations a little bit hard, no? Since they'd have to be there in-person and some worlds aren't very technologically advanced, so they wouldn't really have the necessary technology to support someone non-organic. So that's really the main reason why they went through the trouble of digging up their bodies as well as reactivating their consciousness.
Yeah, that might be slightly creepy, especially since nobody else can hear him until you get him back his own body... Try explaining that to your parents. "Hey mom, I'm dating the voice in my head." Could make for an interesting comedy, though.
So how old are these bodies they're digging up? If they have the technology to rejuvenate a rotting corpse and rebuild all the pathways in the brain (seriously, they do this instead of transferring the consciousness, or at least an exact copy somewhere at the time of death?), cloning entirely new bodies would be simple.
A robot body or just a stored consciousness on a ship's computer that could be projected as a person onto a screen or a hologram as needed seems like it'd also be more straightforward to do. 'Not having the technology to support them' doesn't really fly as an excuse when traveling on a space ship. Unless this is some kind of goofy space opera nobody's going to just hop in and get halfway across the galaxy before they realize they left their robot charger plugged in at home, they're going to have equipment and backup equipment and back ups for the backups with every possible emergency covered. And in fact supporting a robot body would likely be easier than supporting a human one.
I'll just leave this here.
You do make an interesting point. Although I feel like creating whole new robot bodies would be a lot harder than simply reactivation the old one? Like here they're all reviving people who died at a specific age (20-early 30s) because it's ideal and still easy to reactivate them. You don't have to move the consciousness anywhere, it's just already there and all they have to do is dig it up and make it work again. And like technology hasn't even developed to the point where they can revive someone who's not human. So the idea of being able to both revive AND transfer consciousness into a program?? I feel like eventually, maybe, Cynosure would try to do that, but they just aren't that advanced right now. But I can see how tech would be a lot more portable than even the human body. But also probably not very cheap, and I'm not sure the diplomats who (as you'll see) are already pretty against the whole "bringing the dead back to life" thing would also not be a fan of bringing the dead back to life and then putting them into a nearly indestructible metal body. So... they probably wouldn't have the funds to even do that yet. It could be something Helena is researching though.
In which case would definitely be something to talk about with her should she end up as the romance.
A person's consciousness isn't just hanging around in their decaying body, though. I mean I'm not a doctor or anything but the brain is dead, the tissues start breaking down, the body is just rotting meat at that point even if you're going with the idea of a separate consciousness that works like a soul. At that point it would be more a situation requiring necromancy than technology.
The way I've seen transfer of consciousness done in other stories and the way that makes the most sense realistically IMO is the person's memories and thoughts--all the electrical impulses going on in their brain, which basically works like a computer anyway--being uploaded either right before death, or else it's something they did at some point before it.
It's a pretty common nerd debate whether a consciousness generated that way is that person, seeing how they have all the same experiences creating them, or just a convincing copy. But for all intents and purposes they function and think the same (though honestly I don't know if they would IRL once you remove hormones and other chemical influences on emotions from the mix...) and so in a society where that's just a thing that's done I don't see it mattering to anyone but maybe their friends and family.
This is what got me thinking of Star Trek, btw. It's a debate that used to come up a lot, whether the transporters would actually be killing and replacing people when they disassembled them on the atomic level, then assembled an exact copy elsewhere.
Yeah, yeah, that's all true but you'd still have to transfer the electrical impulses and data from the brain. And they don't have any tech that would support something that complicated, nor do they have the funds to develop such things. But I can definitely see Cynosure working towards that as a possible future outcome of the Angel project. Sort of like... this is currently pre-industrialization of the revival industry, and that'd be post/current industrialization technology.
Oh you mean kind of like a SOMA-esque plot? Yeah, again, that'd be more towards what they're currently working towards as a future but haven't fully developed yet.
Aha, yeah, that debate is a tricky one. Especially so if you take into account that while they may think like said previously-dead person, that may just be the way their trained to, or "hardwired" as the case may be, so is it really them thinking that way or someone else? All fun questions.
That's... a really creepy thought that hadn't occurred to me before. Like just the original is long dead and the copies are always dying off but nobody notices? Weird.
I'd find it absurd that Dexter would somehow be stored in the equipment, so...
Yeah, Dexter's ship isn't really fitting without it being forced and weird.
We're talking sci-fi. "Someone's consciousness being stored in technology" is extremely common, so how is it absurd? Isn't that like saying "this dragon realistically shouldn't be able to fly"?
Besides, I've seen ships like that work quite well. Weird, yes. But in a strangely likeable, even compelling way.
Sci-fi does have the tendency to venture into the realm of "stretching-the-suspension-of-disbelief-to-the-point-where-it's-almost-breaking" and this is a common trope of the sci-fi genre... but is it too absurd as they say? I guess the kinks haven't all been smoothed out with the idea of "here's someone who was being revived but, whoops, now they're in your mind as well because we messed up", even so, you also make a good point that sometimes these kinds of ships can be oddly likeable... I suppose the main decision factor would be if/when I come up with exactly how Dexter ended up sharing your mind?
I don't think the concept is too absurd because I know it's worked before, to the point where I personally really felt for the people involved... but to your last question, I'm gonna say yes.
Oh, I missed this one somehow.
Really? A consciousness, or copy of one being uploaded into a computer is an extremely common scifi concept that's been around for decades.
Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga was written in the 70's and I'm sure not even the earliest example, just the one that first comes to mind for me.
fake edit: Anne McCaffrey wrote the Ship Who Sang in 1969. (But I prefer not to talk about McCaffrey in polite company)
I find Dexter to be the more interesting character. His light-hearted humorous pranks provide a sharp contrast to his dark and morally ambiguous nature, which makes me curious about his history and his motivations. The mystery of how he got into your head also raises some questions about the integrity of the organization. Call me kinky, but I think I would be more invested in a romance between the protagonist and the voice in their head. I could see a lot complexity unfolding in their relationship. Helena doesn't really spark my interest so much. Is there an interesting aspect in their relationship that changes things? Does her position require her to keep secrets from the protagonist?
I can see that. Dexter's romance would probably be the more dramatic of the two. As for whether or not Helena's job would require her to keep secrets from the protagonist, the answer would have to be yes. Since her reports are strictly off-limits she would have to constantly lie to the protagonist, romanced or not, about their condition and what it means to be an Angel. The drama of her romance would probably be centered around what she knows that the protagonist doesn't know, about themself no less.
Just for the sake of my own sanity and perspective if anyone wants I'll put the current votes here:
Get rid of Dexter: 2
Get rid of Helena: 1
Helena seems boring in comparison to Dexter. How many science fiction books let a possible romance be a doctor? On the other hand, how many science fiction books let a possible romance be that crazy guy living in your head?... Not too many.
Plus, Dexter seems pretty interesting with his pranks. "I wake up in the morning and realize that all of my shirts have been taped to the hallways. Dexter is at it again." The options for adding humor would be limitless. From the sounds of this book, it would be rather dark; therefore, Dexter would be a valuable addition to the story. Helena... not as much.
My vote is to keep Dexter.
Also, does a massive, white sphere resurrect the Angels? I hope not.
Helena would end up in the story no matter what, but if she's not a romance she'll just be that one side character who's mainly used to transition in between the different chapters. Dexter would really be the only one who if he's not a possible romance would be taken out of the story completely.
And, yeah, I can see the value in that. Especially if the protagonist wakes up and has to explain to everyone why they've been sleepwalking and taping up all their shirts during the night. That'd be awkward to say the least. But good comedy to break up some of the more serious aspects.
And, luckily, no, a massive white sphere does not resurrect Angels. It's more of a mad-man's lab, strapped down to the table when you finally awaken just in case you happen to go crazy upon being awakened.
I stopped reading that book when I realized it was by Stephanie Meyer. Wasn't the whole romance between two individuals in one body loving the same individual? Do they get into a romance with each other?
I saw the two consciousnesses / one body romance thing way before Meyer ever did it. She doesn't own the concept and it has been done well.
I've read a few that are similar, although I'm no familiar with Stephanie Meyer's work (heard of her... vampires, right? Twilight? I gave it a go when my friend urged me to, but promptly dropped it because the protagonist was just... unbearable. Not a fan of her style, so I've avoided her other work.) But none in the actual "hey, here's this person who is literally in the same body as you, have fun." More in a telepathic-communication kind of way. But if so, should I change up the idea a little then to make it more original?
As for not writing him out... well, he doesn't really serve much to the plot other than his romantic side-plot and a bit more information on how being an Angel works (something both he and Helena can explain, hence it came down to the two of them since they were the most interchangeable), so either way I think he's going to end up being a romance option you can chose to pursue or just befriend (in which case he will get his own body back still, so you won't have to go through the awkward experience of romancing someone else with this other person constantly commenting in your head), or just not be in the story altogether.
Also, thank you very much!
I've only seen the movie which wasn't great, but if I recall that was two consciousness in the same body that both wanted to romance different people, rather than each other.
Shit, everyone's making good Points. I gotta change my mind and vote in favour of keeping Dexter as a romance, now.
I hope the protagonist gets consent every time he masturbates or else this relationship will be a disturbingly abusive one.
Update on votes:
Get rid of Helena: 2
Well I'm not going to cast a vote but I like the concept of Angels and these two characters that you've created. I feel like Dexter would be the more interesting one, especially if you're going to romance him, but you've said yourself on this thread that you have a stronger voice for Helena. I think it should be up to you and what you feel is right. Unfortunately, as a writer sometimes you do have to cut loose the ideas that you do like for the good of the story overall. Is it possible that you'd remove either one of the characters are a romanceable one but then keep them as a non-romanceable one? Or was that the idea in the first place?
Dexter would probably be removed completely, since both he and Helena would have supplied more information on how the Angels worked I figured they were the most interchangeable romance options plot-wise. Helena would still be kept around if she's not romanceable... but on a very, very minor scale. Perhaps Dexter could be kept in if it turns out he's non-romanceable, but as a previously failed experiment? Instead of an actual person you meet he could play into the protagonist finding out more about the Angels and the consequences of it going wrong through data files about someone named 'Dexter'. That would be pretty interesting...
Thank you very much for your advice! I think it'll help me whether or not Dexter turns out romanceable.
Okay so the current votes are now
So it looks like Helena is probably going to be the person who's non-romanceable, which means Dexter's going to stay in.