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Another hypothetical question

Having received news that a distant relation you have never even heard of before has died and left you a house, you take a long weekend to investigate this unexpected inheritance. No one else can get away for the long trip, so you have to go alone.

There is, as you might expect, a quite unusual door off the kitchen. When you open it with the unusual key you’ve been given, you step through and find yourself…

You find yourself standing on a grassy hill on a beautiful sunny day. Stretched out below you is an archetypal futuristic city of many a utopian imagination. There are tall white buildings, shining white monorails and pavillions, etc. Not to mention people flying around with actual jetpacks.

Nearby, a robot trims the park grass, and some distance away you can see an family having a picnic. The family looks like quite ordinary people, except that they’re all wearing futuristic outfits.

You glance behind you and see that the portal is slowly closing. [added later] And your key is gone. You have maybe 4 or 5 seconds to decide if you are going to lose what may be your only chance at going home, or to stay here in what appears to be a futuristic utopia.

All you have with you are the clothes on your back, a week’s worth of personal medications (if you need them), and anything you would normally carry for a long trip, like your wallet/purse, phone, glasses, etc. All your luggage is still out in the car.

Do you jump back through the portal, returning to your family, friends, job, and position in society, or do you stay and explore?

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 30th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Leave my *family*? No way!
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
That's my answer, too.
Mar. 30th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Given that scenario, I would be unable to resist exploring, but it wouldn't be a real well-thought out decision.
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
I appear to be the only one of your LJ readers who is an optimist. ;)
(no subject) - burger_eater - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'd close the door. But: it would stain/change the rest of my life to some degree or other - obsessing over "what if" scenarios, trying to find the door again, trying to find the portal, etc. I can't say my life would be ruined because of it, but it would definitely change the way I saw the universe, which in itself would be something of a door opening up.
Mar. 30th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
I would try to pull an "elevator" on the door and get in the middle of it and stop it closing.

Barring that, if forced to choose in no time at all, I would almost certainly go home. If I had a bit longer to think about it, I would likely convince myself to stick around in the fantasy land.
Mar. 30th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
I thought about trying to wedge the door open, but that seems like an invitation for nasties from futuretopia to come into our world, and to hell with that.
(no subject) - barbarienne - Mar. 31st, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
I don't trust futuristic utopias, and I love my life here. I go back through the door.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Would you have a different answer for the fantasy utopia? (I'm guessing not, but would it be more tempting?)
(no subject) - rosefox - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Mar. 31st, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Mar. 31st, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Mar. 31st, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Mar. 31st, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 12:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Close the door, terrified.

Consider: it's a futurist city! Haven't you read "The Gernsback Continuum"? We've done futurism. Futurism gave us Hiroshima and Auschwitz and Brutalism.

As for the jet packs -- just imagine your neighbour's 15 year old son, tanked up on beer, joy-riding overhead.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
It's not a futurist city, it's futuristic!

No, I haven't read the story (the gaps in my reading would appall many fans), but if someone from the year 1011 had a chance to pop into the year 2011, don't you think they'd find it a world of wonders (even if they faced significant challenges?)
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Wedge the door open with my shoe, find a permanent wedge, stick it open, find the key later.

Mar. 30th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
But from which side would you perform this wedging attempt? :)
(no subject) - burger_eater - Mar. 30th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Mar. 30th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a techno PC hell to me...
Swords are probably banned, along with all aggressive sports. Even without my family to draw me back, I'd be diving through the door to the 21st faster than you could say "Bucket of swords in corner of my study".

But whatever was through there, I would not abandon my family.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Sounds like a techno PC hell to me...
What makes you sure aggressive sports are banned? I'm not saying this to challenge you, just because I'm curious. We don't have gladiator fights any more, but we do have American football and MMA.
Re: Sounds like a techno PC hell to me... - zornhau - Mar. 31st, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 31st, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
Any old growth rainforest in sight, with funky chicken coops? Nothing in the description so far has attracted me (except maybe the jetpacks, and they'd bring problems). Sounds sterile, artificial, controlling.

I'd jump back in the kitchen, lock the door, and look around for the owner's diary or some other clues. Maybe try the door again in hopes of a faun with an umbrella. After getting my phone etc. And leaving a message for my family.
Mar. 31st, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Now, if the place was something I WOULD consider a utopia, I probably would dive into it (after leaving a message for my family).
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
I'd be sorely tempted to explore, but a forcefully closing door greatly increases my suspicion, so I'd almost certainly go back.

Even if it really existed, isn't a trap, and *looked* exactly like your version of utopia (especially if that varies from the original question), that's still no guarantee. Is the biology compatible[1]? Is the society[2]? Is the technology[3]? Is the culture[4]? Etc.

1: You'll enjoy utopia just long enough to die of starvation. Or disease[1b]. Etc.

1b: Or flipped around: You've found utopia, and it's got everything you want. Congratulations! It's a pity that one of the asymptomatic diseases you carry is killing everyone off, including the people who perform essential maintenance on the robots that do everything.

2: E.g. an ubermensch utopia that achieved world peace via killing/enslaving everyone else. And you're certainly not from these parts.

3: You'll technically still be part of the utopia if you're dissolved by a nanite pest control swarm.

4: All Jersey Shore, all the time.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
And what's their immigration policy?
(no subject) - kowh - Apr. 4th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 31st, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
If you want to write this story, you need a protagonist who is either hapless (doesn't spot the door closing, or thinks they still have the key), or has a reason to flee.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
I'm not planning to write this as a story; it's just a question I thought would be interesting. I find I learn a lot by the way people try to a) game the situation to create some third, more agreeable option and b) jump to conclusions about the situation.

This question was inspired by the post I put on your blog about readers who read in the genre because they wanted to live their. I was curious how many people would Ditch It All.

Turns out, they all read my Wordpress blog, because the few people who answered there were mostly for it.
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Apr. 2nd, 2011 04:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 06:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Apr. 2nd, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Apr. 2nd, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Apr. 2nd, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 5th, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
These are fun! I like to read what everyone else wrote.
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )

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  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:47
    Oh, yeah, excellent point.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:46
    Oh yeah. Like the lawyers who get obvious really venal criminals off because it makes their success rate look good. But those are not the ones I am referring to in meaning well. These guys are mixed…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 20:37
    This reminds me of the time my wife was injured and the insurance guy handling her case did everything possible to deny and stall the payment. We had to put her surgery on a credit card because this…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:24
    The creepiest part is that some of them are actually well meaning.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:08
    Yeah. It's godawful what people will do when they have authority and no fear about using it.
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