A few years back, the Evil Overlord magicked away half of the world population - they were effectively locked away in time, for all intents and purposes. Then, against all odds, the Super Team was able to overcome the Evil Overlord and bring all those lost people back in a flash - after several years had passed.

Now, losing half of the population was rough. Some cities and towns just collapsed because integral talent and specialized supplies were in short supply. Many migrated to nearby urban centers. And we seemed to be getting everything working OK again by the time our population was doubled overnight.

Well, I could just wave my hand and say, "look, it's a happy ending, everyone is saved." I might even try to throw a bone to the scoffers and explain how it was complicated, and now there are support groups for people who were disappeared for years, struggling because other people moved into their homes in the interim years when they were gone.

But my readers are smart, and I'm sure they're going to ask me later:

  • Uhh, how did they feed all those people?
  • Did the Super Team also have the ability to magically double the food supply? Then why didn't they also solve world hunger while they were at it?
  • What about the world economy - how did it suddenly absorb double the labor supply?
  • What happened in the aftermath, wasn't there widespread looting, famine, or war over the limited supplies?

I thought the whole idea of bringing everyone back for the happy ending was really fun, but now I'm worried that it just doesn't make any sense and my readers won't be able to suspend their disbelief. Can anyone help me explain how my world population doubling overnight could ever be better than a quick and painless end, and doesn't end in widespread misery and death?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just have one of your superteam member go back in time and reappear as an old man with evasive answers and call it a day. $\endgroup$ – maxisalamone Feb 6 at 17:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When the original disappearance happened, did the economy collapse? You said "everything working OK again", but how much damage was done? And what is your tech level, by the way? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 6 at 18:01
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It's not a violation of suspension of disbelief. I've no doubt one of your Super Team members regularly uses gadgets / abilities that equal the world's supply of power from a clean energy source and thus can provide power to literally the whole planet for pennies, yet no one seems to care. Or, to put it in trope terms: Reed Richards can't cure cancer. Superheroes can't help mundane problems, so they also get to ignore them on the back end. $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Feb 6 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Story sounds very familiar. screenrant.com/… gamesradar.com/… $\endgroup$ – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 6 at 18:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Seems to be the main arc in your story should be how they reintegrate their society. Everything else is just prologue. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Feb 6 at 18:58

The current world population went, in the blink of an eye from 7 billion to 3.5 billion. This would be the largest decimation of human population in history and would immedietly make the species endangerd by technical rules.

The world population hasn't been this low for a long time. In fact, you'd have to go all the way back to that amazing far flung year of 1970, when the population was 3.3 billion. Looks like your evil overlord forgot that humans really, really like to have sex. Like a lot.

In all likelyhood, the economic collapse will be due to a demand collapse not a supply collapse as is normally the case. The per year consumption of resources is reduced but the resourses will still exist in harvested form. Critical jobs will be in high demand meaning the barrier for entry is lowered and the availability for new mobility and cheaper cost of resources means the economy would boom... though a hit like that would probably take more than five years for global economy to adjust too and the chaos would be quite cost intensive. Although the low population wasn't a factor, one thing the 1970s is famous for is a horrible economic conditions.

And just to stress how quick the recovery would be if the magiciked away people never returned, it took the human race 200,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion individuals. From 1 billion to 7 billion, it took 0.1% of the time (200 years).

Perhaps your overlord should have listened to that goofier evil overlord with the gladiator ring once said: Life Finds a Way.

|improve this answer|||||

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.