This got posted today at io9 by Charlie Jane Anders, about new plotlines for science fiction stories to replace the ones we currently have. Of particular relevance was the following portion of the piece (attributed here with more care and credit than sister site Gawker gave the Washington Post, he typed with a smile…):
Statelessness.The collapse of the modern nation-state may be one of the big stories in the next decade or two. On the one hand, you have multinational corporations getting more and more powerful, and global challenges like climate change will require stronger international responses. On the other hand, if our current econom-ick goes on for a decade, governments may become more impoverished, overstretched and weakened. Result: More countries will start to look like Afghanistan or Somalia, with governments that barely govern.
What kind of science fiction could we get? Pirates! Please, let there be pirates! Preferably space pirates as well as futuristic ocean pirates in the style of Waterworld.
I tend to agree with most of the sentiment above; my one divergence from her point is acknowledging WATERWORLD. Yes, it’s a movie with pirates in it; let’s speak no more on the subject…
It looks like we’re already moving into a new age of SF pirates, though, with Warners announcing that they’re doing a space-based version of CAPTAIN BLOOD. Is this a case of sighting the sail before she shows o’er the horizon?
Since we may be looking at an SF swashbucklers boom in the near future, maybe I best give my own scenario now, throw it out there to go back and build into a new work later while having this posted online as a spot marker (which may beat the heck out of mailing myself a closed envelope):
In the near future, when the world’s inter-connected economic ties collapse, some advanced weapons-producing states will be unable to hold onto their monopoly of more advanced systems and keep them out of the hands of non-states. Hand-in-hand with this development is a movement among these (suddenly well-armed) groups that feel that it’s these powers that are the cause of all their problems.
Soon, it’s not enough for these folks to just go after what little shipping is left on the waves. They decide to revive a pirate tradition as old as the first theft at sea: Raiding sites on land and grabbing what resources they can. Goods, data records, people; anything that can be ransomed off or sold goes to sea with the raiders…
OK, we’re talking Somali pirates becoming Vikings. Hey, it’s a rough sketch, but we can take it forward from there with a few rewrites.
And besides, my other SF pirate idea got shot down when Pirate Bay went legit…