Parts of this scenario of all adults disappearing were explored in the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Now that I think of it, many of the issues in the book were revisited in the much more recent TV series Lost, which also dealt with the survivors of a plane crash on an island. Of course, one major difference was that Lost included females and adult males. And I’ve also read a book by the name of Gone by Michael Grant but this book had a bit of “Magic/Superpowers” and that's not what I'm looking for. So I was wondering what your ideas were on this matter was, and if you had any ideas of what the consequences would be.

Edit: here are a few questions I would like to be answered: how long would a Walmart last having food objects inside? What would be the governance, if any, be? How long would it take for a city/town to make its new laws? What about the "ecosystem"? What animals would be affected by the disappearance of adults? How long would medicines in a pharmacy last?


closed as too broad by Mołot, MichaelK, Monica Cellio Oct 8 '17 at 19:31

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Worldbuilding Ian. What do you think would happen? You have a High Concept going here, that is all fine and well. But we cannot build this new world for you. You thought of this concept, so you need to start building the world that results from it. If you run into problems with that, then post a question with that problem. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Oct 8 '17 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ Adding to the list: Jules Verne's Two Years' Vacation and possibly Captain at Fifteen. You may notice that all those are high quality works by authors who used their effort and imagination to flesh out the consequences. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 8 '17 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Ian and welcome to Worldbuilding. You've asked a broad set of questions here, which don't fit our Q&A format well. You have some good seeds for a discussion, but we need you to focus it more in order to make a good question for our site. Please check out our short tour. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Oct 8 '17 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ A key point you don't address: are you saying that all present <17 year olds will disappear upon turning 17 such that there will never be anyone 17 and older, or was this a one time disappearance and from this time forward, 16 year olds will turn 17, then 18, then 19 and so on? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 8 '17 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ This might be interesting for you: How would government change if everyone died by the age of 25? $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Oct 9 '17 at 7:16

This question is a little broad, but I'll throw some ideas out there.

For one thing, amenities like electricity, running water, and the sewage system would eventually stop working. If there are teenagers that can drive, then supplies of gasoline will eventually run low. With no wide scale agriculture, food will run scarce until crops can be established.

When the sewage system fails, then that will be a potential vector for disease. There wouldn't be anyone whose a professional at medecine. There would probably be a very high mortality rate among the very young. That's not even getting into the dangers of hurricane areas, wildfires, floods, or a nuclear meltdown.

I'd recommend checking out History Channels Life after People, it should give you a good timeline for what things would occur when. The episode on decaying grocery stores is particularity chilling.

  • $\begingroup$ For a good timeline, also check out the Wikipedia article (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath:_Population_Zero) --- I'd give those 16 year olds about two hours before they start committing suicide on account of their cell service and game systems have all shut down. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 8 '17 at 19:56

As if 'Lost' didn't wave wavium magic.

Human survival is not just a matter of raw genetic power and encoding, it is about how genes become expressed. Much of this process is environmental, and comes from experience. 17 year old humans do not have this experience.

The field is called epigenetics

It's also interesting to note that the human mind has not stopped developing until around the age of 21 and higher. The last region to develop is the higher reasoning frontal lobes. Humans under the age of 17 have fewer internally-moderated higher-order constraints, and tend to rely more on external societal rules. That's why they send 17 year olds to fight in wars - they don't have the mental skills to question what they are doing, and tend not to think so much about the consequences of their actions. They feel invincible and take unqualified risks.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's not how epigenetics work. 17 year old humans have already inherited a complete configuration of epigenetic switches from their parents (hence why epigenetics are heritable). Now that configuration might indeed change over time due to the person's lifestyle (though it's not about "experiences", rather to do with chemical and hormonal factors that are affected by nutrition, disease, sleep habits, etc..), but it's not as if humans are born without epigenetic traits. I'm pretty sure you're mixing up epigenetics with nature vs nurture. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Oct 8 '17 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @AngelPray By gawd, I have inherited a gadfly. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Oct 8 '17 at 19:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Honestly correcting someone's mistake is not synonymous with provocation... By contrast mocking someone's attempts to genuinely contribute and be helpful cannot be viewed in any other way. If you cannot resist the urge to use Ad hominem arguments (such as comparing someone to a fly) when you are politely corrected, I dearly suggest that don't participate in an active forum where such is likely to happen atleast once in a while. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Oct 8 '17 at 20:02

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