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Idea for a novel

Back in the 1960s or 1970s, Philip Wylie's The Disappearance came out. In the novel, from the point of view of boys and men, women disappeared from the world, and from that of girls and women, men likewise disappeared from the world. The story concerns the different ways that male and female humans handled their respective situations. Ultimately the world was restored to normal, and each gender had learned how necessary to their world the other gender was.

I had a brainstorm that might provide the core of a novel along those same lines -- except that in this case, all nonhuman creatures from bacteria and protoctists on up to animals, plants, and fungi disappeared from the world all at once. The humans left found that they could eat the contents of canned, boxed, and otherwise stored food, but there were no live animals, plants, or fungi to eat.

When humans died, unless buried, given a water burial, or cremated, their bodies lay on the ground or on the water without decomposing, and in some places mountains of those bodies began to accumulate. Panicked by the spectre of starvation, many humans began a war over increasingly scarce resources. Human flesh could be consumed, but that led to murder and cannibalism. Looting and the atrocities that went with it was rife.

Finally, when enough human deaths had occurred -- large populations of people died due to looting and rioting and even outright war for stored and processed food and the flesh of humans -- survivors began to come to their senses, gathering in small groups and trying to live lives of moderation and decency. But more people died due to despair and suicide, their reaction to living in a world devoid of any form of life other than human. No wild creatures of any kind. No work animals. No livestock. No pets. No birdsong. No calls of animals of any kind. The beauty of butterflies, the industry of pollinators -- all gone.

How this turns out I don't know, but I'd love to see the reactions readers had to confronting such a world.

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