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Plot - Stay with me


Abstract imagery reminiscent of a liquid stain of blue ink as it expands and acquires other colors within a white liquid.

Literary plot genre: science fiction; utopia | Los Angeles, 2122


Main characters

We are in a world that has achieved a perfect balance: everyone has jobs, wealth and good health. The price to pay has been high: freedom, but by now no one cares. Every choice, action or decision is regulated. Travel outside one's cities is forbidden, while marriage, births, work, and social roles are defined thanks to Equilibrium, an algorithm that governs the new society.


Nick and Linda are a young couple in love and committed, like everyone they know. They live on an old ranch outside Los Angeles, working and enjoying the benefits of a regulated society.


The call to adventure

The Equilibrium algorithm controls information in all its forms of expression. Careful and strict censorship selects news, but also books. Videos, films, past texts are destroyed to avoid temptations or reflections outside the given settings.


But one day Nick, at the foot of a hundred-year-old oak tree on the ranch, finds a metal box containing a few objects and a very old book titled “On the Road” by one J. Kerouc. For the first time Nick holds a paper book in his hands.


The conflict

Nick knows that it is forbidden to own such a book, but he does not resist: he hides it even from Linda and when he goes to the fields to work he finds time to read it. He relives the author's passages, his descriptions, the spirit that pervades the work. He empathizes to such an extent that he begins to understand that there is a world he has not known.


Suddenly he feels like a prisoner. He becomes restless and Linda notices immediately. Nick's friends and Linda herself realize that the young man has a malaise, but they cannot name it. Nick, for his part, escapes discussion and evades questions. After several weeks Nick is forced to confide the secret to his companion, but Linda's reaction is unexpected: she rejects him!


Linda is afraid of retaliation and does not want to venture into anything that is not allowed: the price to pay would be her life, and it makes no sense to her. She tries to convince Nick not to commit foolishness, but perhaps fearing for herself more than for him.


The key

Nick decides not to cross the boundaries designated for them by Equilibrium. His love for Linda is great and so he gives up all intentions. In the days to follow, life returns to normal, but at night Nick continues to dream of the streets of Kerouac. When he can he tries to understand if someone else knows the past, if there is something beyond the known spaces.


He begins to believe that perhaps there really is another world to explore. He returns often to the buried box, the book, the feel of the paper, and the malaise becomes an obsession. Nick realizes that he cannot give up his dream and must leave, but Linda denounces him so as not to be compromised by her companion's choices. Nick is arrested and taken away.


Alternatives

The quest for freedom is a very heartfelt theme, and leaving the main structure unchanged, the changes are simple, just playing with the imagination starting with the locations and characteristics of the characters. In addition, one can move toward elements of fantasy or steampunk. You can imagine other famous titles determining the call, perhaps titles you have read and know well. But it could also be an old documentary or a movie.

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