Tag Archives: dystopia

Dreams of the Future

13 Sep 2009

Picture a skyline, and it goes on for as long as possible till it’s cut off by the edge of the horizon.   Even at that distance you can see great buildings and towers rising up like giants to worship the rising sun.   The buildings, the skyline, is not pristine and beautiful.   It’s dirty and grimy, and in that sky you can see bridges, little specks of life moving about, cables hanging, things moving.   Platforms and odd-looking vehicles.   Signs everywhere, a suspended sea of architecture and neon extending for what seems and feels like forever.

The future is not something I view with much hope in terms of progress.  When I see the future I imagine in some cases a mere continuation of all the crap and garbage we have to put up with now only on a larger scale.  Sci-fi authors, in the 40s and 50s seemed to have some sort of uptopian delusion wherein they pictured the future full of chrome and high-technology complete with self-cleaning houses and flying Cadillacs.  My grandfather used to ground me a lot when I lived with him and as a result the only things I could spend time with were old sci-fi and western novels.   Believe me, when I tell you he had a lot of them.   Apparently he’d buy whatever the public library would be phasing out of their book stock at the little store they had for a huge discount.  Most of these books were not classics by any means, don’t get me wrong some well-known works were in my Grandfather’s library.  H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Some various works of Issac Asimov.  Tons of Louis L’amour westerns, which, from what my grandfather says, is basically the most accurate western fare you can find.  The rest was all stuff with corny titles and features such as hilarious cover art depicting some dude with a mullet on mars holding a ray gun with a fawning space-babe on his shoulder.

So you can imagine me, grounded for something stupid, curled up in a ball in the back bedroom reading nothing but old dreams of the future day after day during most of the year.   A lot of these books were from the 40s through 80s.   Almost nothing current but I made due.   When reading these books some were surprisingly good, some were utterly forgettable.   The future was a shining place, filled with high technology and adventure.   When I was older this stuff could be real.   I could leave earth and go into the space fleet, scour new territories, explore the stars.   As time went on and I kept reading westerns as well.   I began to see romantic parallels between cowboys and space explorers.   Rough and tumble types always using thier meager resources and thier wits to save the day and get the girl.  

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Monolithic Horizon – Station to Station

04 Jan 2009

Station to Station

The train passed through Amersterdam, my headphones pounding the tunes of a past century’s long-dead music. They were corrupted files downloaded off an ancient database, audio that came through perfectly clear, the only flaw in being the gibberish file names that scrolled by the LED screen of my side box as a series of garbled characters. The names had been encrypted to avoid detection on the networks. Old files were considered dangerous, regardless of their content. I had been riding the trains as it passed from station to station; to my right we glided by a patch of post-apocalypse. It was a cityscape ruined and charred, looking like a fried circuit board that had been shelved and never repaired. Everything was covered in dust, dirt, and grit. The settled dust of ancient fallout had covered everything in thin layers. It vaguely reminded me of those old black and white movies.

The buildings and skyscrapers were collapsed and ruined, resting on top of other buildings and even more skyscrapers, making it look as though a giant had played dominos with them. Retrofitted chunks of old buildings had been turned into slipshod shelters and businesses that were capped with bent and twisted metal and crumbling pieces of concrete. All over the streets there were kiosks that had set up for the days business, some of them sold bioware chips v-pak upgrades, ‘softs and OS upgrades; some even proclaimed to have “newly developed AI” available for installation, but everyone who had a brain in their head knew that was a scam and had avoided those places. A fool who walked up my be jacked into some sort of new v-stim and fried right down to the last synapse. There were, after all, a lot of unemployed scientists who needed to further their research without the testing resources of most of the high-end corporate labs. It was not uncommon to plug in some new software into your v-pak or PAN only to have a DataStream the size of the Internet flood your head. The human brain could only take so much stimulus before shutting down. These people weren’t very good at setting limits to the amount of data they could unleash with their “revolutionary” technologies, without a cap it just become a flood that spread across the mind of the user like wildfire; amateurs.

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Random Quote

People talk about the horrors of war, but what weapon has man invented that even approaches in cruelty to some of the commoner diseases? “Natural” death, almost by definition, means something slow, smelly and painful.

— George Orwell, “How the Poor Die”, Now (November 1946)