None spoke and none smiled, for to speak invited the wrath of the Silencers, and to smile at one but not another demonstrated a forbidden preference for one over another. No toxic meat passed the lips of the people, no poisonous fumes were emitted by the factories which produced nothing, but which provided a place to spend eight hours producing tax for the People.
The terrible and tedious food preparation methods of the Evil Years were long past and all were sustained at the pharmacies. All food was in the pill form devised as Perfect for Sustenance by the Brown Gorgon who showed us the way. To each was allocated his fibre pill, his carbohydrate and his protein pill, each according to the Book of Perfection. For leisure, synthobooze and nicopatches could be obtained by the few trusted ones among the faithful. Although such things were sinful, the time had not yet come when the People were perfect and identical, so such barabarism was tolerated, though strictly regulated.
Work eight hours, play eight hours, sleep eight hours. Deviation is a sin.
(Extract from the Book of Toynbee, New-new Labour Bible, 2018 edition, two years before the Pisshead Wars).
Ah, the future dystopian fantasy. A very popular genre in the past, with Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World', George Orwell's '1984' and Ray Bradbury's 'Farenheit 451'. It's a much harder genre to write in now because the watching eyes of Orwell, the baby factories (we used to call them schools) of Huxley and the severe censorship of Bradbury are no longer some imagined future terror. They are here. When a writer sits at his keyboard and tries to imagine a future dystopia, he has to ask himself - how much worse can it get?
The answer always comes back... not much.
Smoking, something that used to be a pastime enjoyed by between 80-95% of the population, (who, incidentally, had much the same incidence of lung cancer then as now) is now only allowed as patches or gum. No other nicotine delivery method, especially potentially enjoyable ones, is allowed. Drinking, that other pastime enjoyed by so many, is about to go the way of Big Pharma too. Dietary supplements that nobody on a decent diet should ever need have been on sale for ages. Why? because your diet has been made deliberately crap in order to sell the essential parts separately. The day when you come home from work, pop pills for your supper and slap on a nicotine patch and a booze patch while you sit in front of the 'X factor' or 'Britain's Got Tyrants' or 'I'm A Celebrity Dancer On Ice - Get Me Out Of Here With A Cheque' is coming, within your lifetime, even if you are eighty-six. Cheques are, of course, to be phased out and are already not accepted in many shops. It'll be an update to your embedded chip soon, rather than a cheque.
Here are the opening paragraphs to something that would once have been labelled a dystopian fantasy. It's not reality. When we read '1984' in my youth, when we watched 'Logan's Run', we all thought 'Good story, but it'll never happen'. The question is, can you comfortably apply the 'never happen' approach to this?
(I don't ask for the 'good story' label because it's a quick bashed-out idea with no editing. Only the 'is it too incredible to be possible' question applies here).
The pairs of screens blurred in front of Gary Fenton’s eyes. He shook himself and rubbed his face. Eight hours was too long a shift for this job, especially after a night of whisky-gum and poker. Two more hours, just two, and then home for an early night.
One pair of screens flashed.
Each screen pair showed the same scene. One showed reality, the other a series of moving numbers.
“There you are.”
“Location?” The voice at the other end was all business. The ghosthunters were like that. Humourless and mechanical.
“Keep him in shot. We’re on the way.” The phone went quiet. That did not mean nobody was listening.
On his screen, every human figure was accompanied by a number. Their ID, transmitted from implanted chips to roadside receivers, identified every one of them as a legal citizen. Except the ghost. No number accompanied his image.
“He’s now in
No response came from the speaker but
On screen, a nondescript white van pulled up just ahead of the ghost. As the man approached, the back doors flew open and two ghosthunters, in their blue and green uniforms, leapt out and dropped to a crouching position with guns aimed. It was always at this point that
The ghost raised his hands. One of the ghosthunters approached, keeping clear of the second hunter’s line of shot, and checked the man for weapons before handcuffing him and leading him to the van.
There were no more ghosts that day. It wasn’t until
It's fantasy. Pure made-up fantasy and impossible to imagine in real life. So bizarre and unbelievable that I'd never sell it.