John Wants to Be Him | A Collaborative Story Concept

Management: I do other things outside of occasionally watching anime and writing blog posts about them. I also occasionally participate on podcasts. The podcast below is “Words, with Friends,” hosted by RogerMcSexington. During Roger’s podcasts, he and a guest (such as myself) come up with a story concept based off of two random story genre cast from a digital card deck of 9.

So after humbly accepting an invitation to Mr. Roger’s digital neighborhood, we did a podcast… after several attempts. Scheduling conflicts came up, my hardware was being uncooperative (the result of my previously dying and now very dead laptop), and there was a lot of workplace drama. We were finally able to nail a new date, I finally realized that my phone was smart, and I was able to negotiate my way to a better working arrangement. We sat down, we recorded successfully, and the audio was published without serious issue.

“Words, with Friends” is a creative writing podcast, of sorts. Out of a deck comprised of 9 genres of Roger’s construction (yuri included), upon command, a computer program would draw 2 genres at random. From those 2 random genres, we would create an original story concept, complete with plot, characters, setting, theme, and title. After making a mental declaration to myself in the voice of Dan Green, the 2 genres we ended up drawing were “Romance” and “Sci-fi.” They weren’t altogether bad genres to build out from, but I didn’t have any experience beforehand writing science fiction. So after a moment of brainstorming on Roger’s part, he suggested that come up with something inspired from an Overwatch short.

The Overwatch short he had in mind was “Alive Animated.”

I don’t own or play Overwatch, but I followed it up to its launch and watching its promotionals due to the sheer number and frequency of enthusiastic remarks made and slick advertisements promoted by my side of AniTwitter. Unfortunately, the narrative execution animating the feature characters of the Overwatch shorts disappointed me. Many of the dramatic beats were cheesy at best and jarring at the worst, the probable product of developers attempting to write something super mature for adults while winking at the kids. They probably wanted to  market their game to both age groups. Fortunately, I did take something of value from the specific Overwatch short above.

“Alive Animated” uses of one of the more interesting traditions in sci-fi storytelling: utilizing sci-fi elements as allegories for social issues. Racism is the flavor of this video.  The grand narrative illustrated in “Alive Animated” is the struggle of co-existence amidst difference, of robots and humans trying to co-exist amidst the lingering memories of a great and terrible conflagration that tore each of their races apart. But the small narrative that came to Roger’s mind, and caught my eye, was the scene of a male robot and female human. Like lovers and as lovers, they look on at a herald dreaming of a better world. They watch, holding each other, dreaming the herald’s dream. And then their prophet gets shot.

Ignoring that last part from the Overwatch short, Roger asked me a very important question. How would that sex even work? There’s also some stuff we discussed about loneliness, insecurity, introspection, alienation… Find out how about robot-alien sex and more (and more) by listening to the podcast! A link to the podcast is linked at the top, and a noted summary of our story concept (courtesy of Roger) is pasted below.

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Title: John Wants to Be Him

 

Themes:

– Romance between human and robot

– Metaphor for being unable to act on sexual frustration

– Perspective of the male robot

– Male robot is a human in all aspects except anatomy

 

Setting

– A.I. robots initially a big media craze, government decided to shut it down and let robots that were built live anonymously, robots forgotten when story begins

– Urban America with minor futuristic differences

 

Characters

– Robot male is peculiar, unsure of himself, introspective, self-absorbed

– Human female is friendly, genial, social, decisive

 

Plot

– The story takes place in the aftermath of the female finding out the male is a robot and still agreeing to be in a relationship

– Story is moment-to-moment and drifting, no major beats aside from the conclusion, deals with the protagonist’s inner monologue, Hemingway-esque

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