Worldbuilding — LA Rejectionists

Sam Slattery
4 min readMay 19, 2021

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In a post-apocalyptic world, after years of the Covid-19 virus ravaging communities, cities began to split into factions. Without adequate government support, people found themselves increasingly relying on likeminded neighbors to protect and provide for themselves. In the city of LA, one such group could be summed up as ‘rejectionists’.

Rejectionists in Los Angeles were frightened by the rapidly crumbling infrastructure in the city — and the inability to provide for themselves. Not trusting the government to keep the lights on, water running, and food imported, these people decided to leave in search of self-sufficiency in the face of out-of-control circumstances.

The idea for this group was the result of what I felt was missing from my group. We had created wealthy, working class, and impoverished groups, as well as a class of technocrats. I felt a key ingredient to this story would be a group of people who entirely rejected the newly formed class structure.

In defining this group, I first decided that there would be 2 groups. The first group left with the government’s approval, in order to grow food. The second are people who left ‘under the radar’.

In the end, I decided to focus entirely on the second group; a more interesting possibility.

I went on to brainstorm what could possibly matter in providing a remotely clear picture of what this group would look like.

Following an initial brainstorm, I thought of three different subcategories — based geographically. Headed north were people fleeing into mountains, and eventually forests. Eastward were desert refugees. Westward would be a small group of people living on self-sufficient boats. For the final project, I ended up focusing primarily on the northbound group in the mountains and forests.

Within this community of semi-isolated families in the forests, I explored government, housing, education, religion, economy, communications, and art. Ideas were based on a stance that these people would choose to remain mostly ungoverned, slipping out of modern advancement to a lifestyle more focused on living off the land.

I decided that as time passed, formal education would take a hit in favor of practicality in a newfound purely survival based lifestyle. I suspected that a people returning to life off the land may grow in spirituality, however, not in any organized sense of religion we think of today.

To end my presentation I flashed pencil sketches of machines these rejectionists might attempt to build or flee with. These included things like radar projected mapping, drones with topographical scanning and heat sensors, and soil testing equipment to return the best crops to grow.

The presentation itself certainly left things unclear. While these people were said to be living off the land and generally impoverished, I also went on to say that they brought some pretty advanced technology with them — which may not add up. Additionally, my explanation of culture among and between families was insufficient. This project would have been greatly moved forward with a deeper dive into how daily life in terms of survival and recreation would have looked. Looking back, I would hope to assist this clarification with more developed sketches and drawings.

I think this project was interesting in premise, but severely underdeveloped on my part. A more comprehensive look would have yielded what I think could have been a very intriguing way of life, not seen in these regions in hundreds of years. A modern reimagining of life in south-central Californian forests was the goal. However, outside of basic identities, this was not elaborated on.

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