Hey /lit, just need an opinion on my short story thus far. It's rough, not finished, no spellcheck etc but still, would be good to get some feedback. So in 6 posts here is what I have.
People were pissed off. Global warming was still having its day in the spotlight with half of New England under water, overpopulation was pushing up to the 15 billion mark making it impossible to walk down your street without stepping in someones shit and Governments all around the world were continuing to smile politely in the face of catastrophe. All the while mind you increasing the tax on something that was the impotis behind most peoples "getting on with it". You see overpopulation meant a surpluss of lower - middle class workers to cater to the aristocracy that had taken to recieving the finer pickings of a dying planet whilst others languished. The thing about that 1% is, it stays 1%. You've got a lot of very poor people feeling very on edge and then Stahn's disease happens. A fungal pathogen that wiped out tobacco crops around the globe with the 100% efficacy of a tactical strike dropped directly onto the world as we knew it.
Cigarettes had continued to raise in price over the years. Not steadily but in bounds. What was once a pack a day vice was now more like a delicacy you spaced out over a fortnight as you watched the world around you suffer till next pay. The cheapest pack of cigarettes when the tobacco plague hit was 90 bucks. No shit. The beauracratic talking heads argued that the tax was to ensure minors wouldn't be tempted and to make people reconsider whether they really wanted to spend upwards of a 100 dollars to kill themselves. But they knew the answer to that, we all did, so we let them fuck us. The percentage of smokers around the world had not dropped, instead it had dramatically risen steadily across all sectors of society. Cigarettes became their own form of currency, favors owed or debts collected. Illegal grow house operations were shut down aggressively. More than a few people who tried to shake the fabric of the web they were caught up in disappeared.
Then like that, Stahn's disease had the finally rectangled boxes disappearing out of store fronts at your local tobacconist; "come back next week maybe", they would say, tensing their grip on the weapon under the counter. People had started stockpiling, selling at hugely inflated rates, everyone was running out. Everyone except the tobacco companies who had everything on lockdown, trickling out their stocks to select customers and shops. Smokers were becoming volatile, lucky to get a drag a day as it was. The upper class are killed in the streets, everyone gains 10-15 pounds, people stop going to work, people start looting, and then something... weird happens.
The smokers (59% of the worlds population) decide that if you're not with us, you are against us, triggering a mass hysteria the likes of which made Jonestown, Apartheit and The Third Reich look like your childhood bully pushing his influence on the school playground to get lunch money. Anti-smoking activists lynched by mass mobs, non smoking sections in bars and public venues targeted in IED strikes, and tobaconnists strategically parting with dwindling wares to the highest bidder were always a fire bomb waiting to happen; only after their stocks were raided of course. Several co-ordinated raids of heavily guarded Tobacco compounds by groups of smokers armed with homemade explosives, molotovs, assualt rifles and armoured SUVs drew more than a few comparisons to Pablo Escobar era Colombia, only difference was, this was happening everywhere. Fat cats making money off the Tobacco Industries dying corpse were constantly going missing towards the beginning of the end. Turning up in drainways, riverbanks and even propped up overnight in a public area for mass exposure, surrounded by pickets or graffiti carrying the message of the "people". Their bodies heavily mutilated, extremeties cut off, cigarette burns covering their bloated blue flesh, faces bug eyed with dozens of whole tailor made cigarettes crammed into their mouth, their throat widened and bulging from the trauma. Not all, but most of these early cases died this way, from asphyxiation. Yes, this was the message of the "people" all right.
This radical offshoot of humanity, dubbed domestic terrorists by the media, were called, you guessed it, The Smokers. Not very original I know, but neither was the media calling them domestic terrorists. No, the news were wrong once again, big surprise. The Smokers had no leader, no dogma or creed, wern't in it for the money, or even the honey. They wern't already fragile members of society lured into a cult organisation by emotional, pschological predators. And anyone could be a Smoker, almost everyone (59%) already was. There was no pattern, preperation, FBI test or rampart that could stop the stampede heading humanities way, it was like some mass synchrnoised morphic resonance had rippled throughout The Smokers the moment Stahns diseases took effect. It came down to one question in the end. Are you a Smoker, or a Non-Smoker? Are you with us, or against us?
The underdogs of the ensueing war, The Non-Smokers (really) and The Great Tobacco War (seriously) as they became respectively known, were wobbling on the presipace of the whole affair for a long time before they realised everything was really as bad as that one "nut" in every neighbourhood was saying it was. Yes it was hard to ignore the fact that everything had gone to shit when June, your 70 year old landlady from three doors down, a smoker, walked out of the tenament in the middle of the afternoon with a carton of smokes tucked under one arm and a kalashnokov under the other. A trail of smoke issueing out behind her as she fires off rounds into a News-Van driving down the street. The Non-Smokers were galvanised and armed by their Governments, who were largely comprised of upperclass non-smokers who had the wealth to pursue healthier avenues of enjoyment; if you consider substance abuse and cocaine healthier avenues of enjoyment, which after Stahns disease, most would. This isn't to say no one in a governmental position smoked, but those days early on, a lot of people on both sides took a look at their position, and their smoking status and made an executive decision. Only problem was, there were a lot more lower-class non smokers becoming smokers than there were panicked elites quitting smoking to ensure a future in their high society descent into decadense and immorality. In the end the tables were set for The Great Tobacco War (it doesn't even sound good as an acronym. TGTW. try saying that shit phonetically) at 66% of humanity for the rag-tag Smokers and the remaining 34% for the militarised Non-Smokers, whose numbers had already been pushed way down by the domestic violence leading up to all out war. Yes the tables were set and the world was on its way to it's final bleak predestination. The world wasn't ending with a bang or a whimper, but with a heavy smoker's cough.
Its ok here are my views:
>You talk like your talking in a point of view from a character. Why not introduce that character first as to get an idea of what he or she stands for
>Why would everything in the world collapse because of tobacco plague. I could understand food or water shortages but tobacco? I am impressed however that you took something that hardly anyone ever thinks about and made it your premise for this writing
>Try adding new descriptive words for the groups instead of just the "Non-Smokers", "Smokers", and "Tobacco War" I understand that this is the premise of the writing but you use them over and over again making it very bland and repetetive
>Overall ok story with an interesting premise.
>Not bad rough draft learn to make words come together smoothly however
>4.5/10 with improvement could turn out to be a promising read
Thanks man. Um the crux of the tobacco thing, was to take a silly premise and make it scary. I guess some would have gone for outright satire but I'm really going more for a sci-fi/horror feel. It's part of larger "art project", and other stories, visual art etc will have a similiar absurdest feel.
Very true on your last point, i'm new to writing again, having not done it in a while, no excuse. Was thinking about likening them to vampires or other fictional monsters, describing the way they roamed in packs, or their certain characteristics. Will try do something with the narrator, was thinking of making them a-political in the whole thing. Cheers buddy
Does /lit/ not like curves? my bad