In a dystopian world, a geeky geneticist invents a super-seed to avert global starvation and finds himself pursued by dark corporate profiteers.
What is the cause of the Dystopia? Maybe the geneticist has a cure to the dystopia (e.g. nuclear war – a cure for radiation poisoning, or the like). The comments above about who’s interested in this breakthrough could be broader, governments or militias or newborn “states” would be more engaged and likely to chase this breakthrough. It should be as important and urgent as water in the desert.
see 12 monkeys, soylent green and district 9 as examples of causal dystopia.
The dystopia is already here. “Dark corporate profiteers” already have developed and own the patents to GMO ‘super-seeds’ for crops like soybeans, cotton and corn as well as the technology to create the ‘super seed’ genomes. They enjoy monopolies enabling them to reap enormous profits. (The genetic engineers who work for the corporations cannot file patent claims for themselves; the corporations own all products and technologies developed by their employees.)
So I fail to see the novelty of the concept.
Perhaps add a time frame by which the MC has to do something rather than just be pursued by bad guys for an arbitrary period.
What if the MC has 48 hours to live and must publish his finding on the web or else? But as DPG wrote, even then the basic dramatic premise of the story is in some ways already a reality.
What if his research into genetics gave him an easy and cheap cure for all cancer? (hard to believe but in the correct context could be made to work for a film) This doesn’t exist yet and could prove to have as great a stakes as the need for a reliable food source.
Hope this helps.
I think the manipulation and monopolization of genomes is a serious issue. But it’s not a “sexy” issue, one that hits people’s emotional hot buttons, so it’s not one that can be easily dramatized. In order for stories on technical issues to succeed they must have a strong human element that enables people to connect to the story emotionally. (Because 1st and foremost, a good plot is an emotional delivery system.)
Well, isn’t the prospect of global starvation, billions of people suffering and dying from a famine, a strong human element? Isn’t that an emotionally powerful theme? Well, in terms of drama, it depends.
The ruthless Russian dictator Joseph Stalin is alleged to have said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” That cynical observation has a practical application to drama in terms of getting an audience to identify and respond to the dramatization of a problem with global consequences. Stories like this one need to find and focus on singular stake characters. People most readily connect and respond emotionally to stories through the struggle and suffering of (a few) particular characters — not masses of humanity. (Although the mass aspect can augment the emotional response first evoked by the individual predicament.)
The first and last parts are clear and succinct, but maybe the middle can be tweaked? I would assume a geneticist character to be fairly geeky by default, so what does the description add? Is there a different part of their personality which could be better brought out? Or, perhaps emphasise aspects of their geekiness which have an impact on the narrative – e.g. ‘naive’, so the character is very shocked and unprepared when the profiteers come for them.
I think the motivation is clear – the overarching being ‘avert global starvation’, with the immediate issue being surviving the profiteers.
However, the solution – the ‘super-seed’ – is quite a clumsy low-tech way of describing the crucial sciency part of the story. As a sci-fi fan, I want to be intrigued by this ground-breaking new technology.
I disagree. By reflecting real developments, and then amplifying them to an extreme context, a story can be more engaging precisely because it implicitly comments on real-world affairs.
Of course, if the story was then written in a cliched and formulaic way, a lack of originality in the concept certainly won’t help.
I also suggest that “pursued by dark corporate profiteers” needs to be clarified, perhaps refocused. What does that mean, that he’s being “pursued”? Are they trying to steal the technology, wrest control of the patents? Are they trying to kill him?
And as suggested, “dark corporate profiteers” is rather vague and generic. The logline (and story) would benefit by stipulating a particular corporate bad-guy who is his arch-nemesis — put a human face on the antagonist as well as on the victims.