The Grumpy old man paradigm. I’m deliberating whether to become a grumpy old man or a kind, smile-wrinkled old man. I’ll probably end up just being grumpy because it’s easier and I find them hilarious. Whether this story comes over as funny is a topic of discussion in itself. Written around the time I was warming up to write a story for the “Best of Times” comedy competition in Queensland I often discussed with Dave whether this should be made into the comedy. At one stage Dave even said the comedy was written…I’m not sure how serious this comment was? Anyway, I placed this character in the year 2040 at the same age I will be at that time, just to make it personally interesting. And no, it’s not meant to be a comedy.
One of the ideas of this story, the “zero-age death” generation comes from something Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has been harping on about for years. That is, that in the face of genetic modifications and genetic cures for disease we are the last generation that had to die. So that was the nucleus of the idea. Of course people getting hit by trucks and throwing themselves off buildings would still splat, no vaccination is going to cure us of that, but a person dieing of old age might become something of a novelty in the not to distant future.
As a story that had several attempts at coming to life before finishing in its current form, it’s not a story that immediately flowed onto the page. I do like the way you have to work for some of the intentional gaps in the story though. Once again, a small protest against the ‘art’ of television where a story like this would HAVE to tell you why everything happened. A story that tries to emulate a little of life in that you don’t get to know everything and in the short story format, how can you. Even two or three paragraphs explaining the science of what happened would bog down the pace and trip up the story delivery.
Hope you like it…