Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Like Soylent Green?

Stories must be made of people says Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds, and yes, yes, that’s true, but it struck me as funny because of this real-life new Soylent product.

Which is unbelievable, because the question: What if you never had to worry about food again?

Is a lot like the question: What if you never had to read a book again?

Or: What if you never had to pat your dog again?

I mean, what? Where are these people who “worry about food” and are longing for the simplicity of never bothering to eat anything but people chow ever again? Surely this cannot be a large market? I wonder what proportion of the people who purchase this product buy the 84 meal size? (I wonder how many people buy Soylent twice.)

I don’t really need to read reviews of the new Soylent to be pretty sure that it is not going to replace real food. And that it wouldn’t, even if it had a different name.

It may cause a whole new generation to look up that Charlton Heston film, though.

Meanwhile!

What gets interesting about a story isn’t when some Big External Plot is set into motion. What’s interesting is when the agency possessed by multiple characters competes. This push-and-pull of character motivations, decisions and reactions is how stories that matter are created. Because they’re stories about people, not about events, and people are why we read stories. Because we are all made of people. Our lives are made of us and all the other people around us. We live in a people-focused world because we’re solipsistic assholes who think that unless we behold it and create it, it probably doesn’t matter. And in stories, that’s pretty much true.

Stories must be made of people.

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