The Trolley Problem and My New WIP

If you're into philosophy, you might have heard of the commonly-cited thought experiment called the Trolley Problem. It goes like this:

A train is barreling towards five people tied up on the tracks, and you have the ability to pull a lever to divert the train to a different track before it reaches them. However, there is a single person tied to the other track, and you would be responsible for their death if you pulled the lever. Will you decide to be blameless for five people's deaths, or guilty of one person's death?

(Of course, you could argue that refusing to pull the lever is also a course of action, so you'd be responsible for the deaths either way ... but I digress.)

Now, I'd like to pose a variant of the Trolley Problem. Let's say the train was barreling down the tracks towards only one person, but that person happened to be your brother. If you pull the lever, you can save him, but you'd be responsible for the deaths of four innocent children instead.

This is basically the plot of my brand-new YA contemporary/speculative project, WAVES OF TIME (I know that title sounds kinda lame, but I'll probably come up with something better later). It's a concept I've been sitting on for a while, and now that NEUROPATH revisions are (possibly? Maybe?) coming to a close, I decided it was high time to start something fresh.
Three years ago, Arden Hayes' brother, Tristan, drowned in a river while she stood by, powerless to save him. After his death, she became a lifeguard so that she could save other people's loved ones from suffering the same fate, and ended up saving no less than seven children from drowning.

One day, she is given the opportunity to travel back in time and save her brother, which she does. But upon returning to the present, she finds that she is no longer a lifeguard (she had no reason to become one, since her brother survived) -- and four of the children she had previously saved ended up dying instead. When she is given one more opportunity to go back to that fateful day and make it the way it was before, she must make a choice -- refuse and doom four children their deaths, or accept and let her own brother drown.

I've set a project target of 65,000 words, of which I've written *checks Scrivener* 316 so far. Hey, it's a start :P

Anyway, I'm super excited, since this project combines a lot of things I love -- philosophy, speculative fiction, emotional angst -- plus, I've been a lifeguard for almost two years now, so I can draw off my own experience for the rescue sequences.

Here's to not drowning!


A WAVES OF TIME novel aesthetic, because why not?

Don't want to miss out on more posts like this? Subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates delivered directly to your inbox!

No comments:

Post a Comment