The Last Generation was written from a video prompt, which challenges the viewer to write from that prompt perpetually for ten minutes. The writing prompt video will be embedded beneath this article. The writing prompt reads:
Write a scene from the point of view of a character who happens to be a scientist, and they’ve been working on an invention that could change the course of history.
The catch? This invention can stop ageing altogether, and with it make death a thing of the past.
Double catch? This invention works on most of the population, except for a small percentage. A percentage that your character happens to be a part of.
The aim of these writing prompts is not for the writer to write something perfect, but to write as much as they can in ten minutes based on that prompt. What you’re about to see is a stream-of-consciousness draft that may not even be edited at all after being written.
Questions to consider:
- Does the protagonist know the invention won’t affect them?
- Is the invention a genetic device, a psychiatric effect, or a machine that can be used for a fee?
- Does the protagonist know their invention could cure death?
- Why is the protagonist continuing to develop the project, knowing that everyone else will become immortal?
- How does the protagonist cope with being one of the last Humans to die?
The first line was provided by the prompt.
Life is unfair. But… so is death.
My whole life has been leading up to this moment. It was inevitable. The universe is chaotic. We are born, we live, we die. And hopefully, in that time, we’ve been able to reproduce in order to continue the existence of life. As we combine our genetics, eventually something evolutionary will happen. From the primordial slime, to the creatures that first learned to walk, chaotic combination has led us here. Any cycle, which maintains itself for long enough, will eventually create a different reaction. It’s chaos theory. All it takes is one clever enough, and for the right technology to have developed, for life to become immortal. My contribution to the world was always going to happen, it is evolution’s way for death itself to eventually become an inconvenience we shed. I suppose I should feel honoured to be the one that does it. Even if at the cost of my place in history. For some time now, I have been developing a system which will allow Humanity to live forever. To never die, barring accidents. And should I choose to activate it, then 99.9% of every Human currently alive will cease ageing. From that moment, their stories will become infinite. The sandbox of their lives will be never-ending. Everything they wish to accomplish will eventually be fulfilled. Nothing will ever be in doubt anymore. There is no such thing as uncertainty in this universe because I am in control. We call it “Miraculous”. For a century, two teams of scientists, on both of the Earth’s magnetic poles, have been mining through the Earth. It’s taken us longer than we at first expected, because we had to mine around the Earth’s core. What we’ve created is a vast transmitter that we call “the Eternity”. Upon activation, the Eternity will broadcast what we’ve named an “Immortality Field”, which will suspend Humanity in a permanent homoeostasis. Heartbeats… bloodrush… it will all just… stop. Even the children will cease to grow. And everyone will live. Everyone will only ever live. My mortality no longer means to die, but that everyone else will not die.
Personally, I spent so much time explaining the mechanics that I didn’t explore the character much. But at least this got me writing for ten minutes. A lot of this is inspired by Torchwood: Miracle Day and Doctor Who – The Woman who Lived.