Thursday, 7 January 2010

No smoke, no drink, no dreams, just drugs.

And so it came to pass that the methods used against smoking were applied in exactly the same manner to drinking, and the pubs became places of tea and cakes until those were banned on the grounds of caffeine, tannin and sugar toxicity. Secondary caffeine agitation and passive obesity became things of the past, and the populace were content in their uniform blue overalls, marching in step to work and home again, free of the encumbrances of the motor car and the evil Public Transport. All were equal and all were identical in appearance, thought, word and deed.

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).

----

Ghosthunters.

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. Gary reached for the coffee pot and poured himself another.

One pair of screens flashed. Gary nearly dropped the pot as he rushed to replace it on its stand with one hand while the other tapped at the keyboard in front of him. That pair of screens transferred their images to the larger monitors in the centre of the wall.

Each screen pair showed the same scene. One showed reality, the other a series of moving numbers. Gary squinted at the paired image but there were too many people in view, too much movement. He tapped a few keys and overlaid the two screens.

“There you are.” Gary picked up the phone. There was no need to dial. “Camera office five-one-seven. I have a ghost.”

“Location?” The voice at the other end was all business. The ghosthunters were like that. Humourless and mechanical. Gary sometimes wondered if they were human at all.

Charlotte Street, heading north.” Gary checked the screen again. “Male, around thirty, heavy build, wearing jeans and white shirt. No bags.”

“Keep him in shot. We’re on the way.” The phone went quiet. That did not mean nobody was listening. Gary plugged it into the speakers and set the handset down.

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. Gary followed his progress to the limit of the camera’s range then tapped his keyboard to change to another camera.

“He’s now in Wilson Street, moving east.”

No response came from the speaker but Gary expected none. The ghosthunters didn’t do small talk.

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 Gary wished his cameras had sound. Instead, the scene unfolded in silence.

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.

Gary sighed. Another one off the streets. Job done, he reset the phone to normal and dropped the signal from the main monitors. All along the wall, the paired monitors hummed and Gary, now wide awake, scanned them for any possibility of action.

There were no more ghosts that day. It wasn’t until Gary’s next shift, three days later, that the real problems started.

-----

It's fantasy. Pure made-up fantasy and impossible to imagine in real life. So bizarre and unbelievable that I'd never sell it.

Isn't it?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Codex Alimentarius

Dick Puddlecote said...

"Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies/Everything you think, do, or say/Is in the pill you took today"

Righteous paradise.

Giolla said...

Seems plausible to me. If you're going to ID everyone you've got to deal with those without Id's other wise there's no point.

Junican said...

There is just one problem with your projection of the future. I wonder if you see it? All projections of the future suffer from this problem.
The problem is that there is always an assumption that mechanican/electrical/other functions of civilisation will continue to exist. This is a fault which pervades many stories including 'Metropolis', 'Animal Farm', 'Brave New World' etc.

The probability however is that these necessary functions will fail. No amount of coercion will make them work. Why? Because the supply of necessary goods and equipment will also fail.

This propensity for autocracy to be followed by failure of essential services is all to visible historically.

Fortunately, the pace of modern life seems to 'bring on' this process more rapidly than in the past. For example, in a simple way, our recycling bins have not been emptied for about six weeks now. They are ramjam full. How are local authorities able to justify this failure? In the space of a couple of months, the failure of 'civilised society' has been brought to our attention - just because some snow has fallen out of the sky.

It is not unlikely that hunting bans, smoking bans, global warming bans, eating bans will all collapse once local authorities find BLACK HOLES appearing in their finances as people stop using direct debits to pay their council taxes? There is every reason to believe that the authoritarian behaviour of local authorities could be stopped in an instant if enough interested parties stopped AUTOMATICALLY paying their council taxes, and were prepared to argue about what their taxes were being used for - eg persucuting people standing in doorways (but not quite outside) having a fag, not quite parking their cars correctly, dropping ice-cream on the pavement, etc.

I think that there is a lot that people can do individually to stop the nanny state persecution which is not in any way contrary to the law. I think that such a 'solution' to nanny state bullying (simply cancelling direct debits and paying by cheque or cash at one's disctetion) is a real possibility once we begin to understand that it is a really good way for a MINORITY to make itself felt. The majority have no influence.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I think the Ghosthunters excerpt isn't just plausible, but fairly accurate. Like Giolla commented above, ID cards are pointless unless you keep ghosts off the streets.

Arthur Chappell, very talented chap, has a series of short stories from when the whole ID card notion was taking off with NuLab. Well worth reading.

http://arthurchappell.me.uk/contents-id.card.short.stories.htm


Also I'd recommend "We" the russian novel by Zamyatin,it's the precursor to 1984 (Many critics would comment that 1984 cannibalised "We" wholesale for plot).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_(novel)

As a ;shudder; Amatur Writer (sp) who's also keenly aware of these sorts of things, I've been circling and prodding at the concept and trying to find something that could succintly apply to Dystopia UK. I think the term Technocracy could apply - The machinations of the state are all technologically based. It's almost like we're building some kind of omnipresent CCTV god.

Anyway, gonna cut this short before it becomes an essay. Salutations.

MrA said...

You're quite right Leg Iron. I recently started planning a dystopian novella based on my hatred of all things Righteous and instantly ran into trouble as it was difficult to make things much worse than they actually are. Even the wildest speculations were conceivably only a few years away - some I discovered, had already been proposed by the wingnuts in fake charities and the BMA. Hell, look at the film adaptation of "V for Vendetta". It only came out a few years ago and it's already outdated. Their dictator was at least elected, and there was no mention of another level of unelected dictatorship in Brussels, so at least they had sovereignty. In addition, as V takes down the corrupt Government what are the public observers doing? Sitting in pubs and smoking, something we've not been able to do for 2.5 years.

It comes to something when you can watch a dystopian film and not only think, "Wow, things have changed - that's happened!" but watch it and actually find yourself feeling nostalgic for the freedoms the people in the film have. Even more scary that the film is only 5 years old. Have we really sunk that far that quickly?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Junican. We can all make life very dificult without breaking the law. Stop giving blood and don't put your name on the donor register are two more suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to pay by DD even though I'm punished financially by the companies for refusing. It's the only little bit of power I've got. There's something very wrong when companies don't just expect payment but are able (insofar as punishment can be dealt) to dictate how you will pay. It's one of those things that I mean to raise with the OFT but there are just so many things to rail against (and very dispiriting when the courts find in favour of the companies, as appeared to happen recently wrt bank charges).

Jay

Bugger said...

Oi

Are you The Pub Curmudgeon?

Chalcedon said...

I'm afraid that I can easily belive it. Mind you, I would probably be in prison for not co-operating.

Fausty said...

One of your commentors suggested that you write childrens' stories. How about a book of fables, Leg-Iron? You certainly have the talent for it and the public appetite for such a book would appear to be enormous.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World wasn't just a novel. He was keen on such a world and keen on population reduction. Many believe that these issues were merely fashionable in the first half of the last century but lo, they've taken hold.

Rather than these ideas being fashionable, it seems there was indeed a conspiracy to make Brave New World happen. At the time he wrote it, all such talk was out in the open. It was only public outcry that caused plans to bring it to fruition went 'underground'. They've been beavering on them ever since, assisted by the silence of the media.

Crises they fomented - financial, health (swine flu), terror and global warming were to birth "stillpoint". Operation Stillpoint, according to Christopher Story, is now dead, thanks to Interpol rounding up of colluders in the fraudulent globalist operations. If Geithner is convicted (which Fox thinks likely), more convictions will follow and the winds of change will be on our side.

However, we still have structures like the EU and the UN's "sustainable development" organisations to dismantle.

If Geithner is not convicted, it will be because he has friends in high places, who have much to lose on his conviction - not because he is innocent.

My long-winded point is that the slide into global totalitarianism might have stalled, it being starved (by Interpol in December) of the $47 trillion heist that would pay for its implementation at COP15.

@Junican

When the incompetents fail, they become more draconian. That's all they know, which is a measure of their incompetence. Zimbabwe is an example of that. I like your idea of only paying by cheque. Should cheques be banned, we can write our own - individual instructions to banks to pay certain people. If enough of us do this, the system would be overwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

Tagging people is already under serious review by the Government. I'm surprised this hasn't made more of a splash on the blogsphere.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/6858769/xmashold-Bus-passengers-could-carry-electronic-tags.html
"Passengers could carry electronic tags to use buses and trains under plans being examined by the Government."

Tony

Anonymous said...

Jay at 12.39pm

"(and very dispiriting when the courts find in favour of the companies, as appeared to happen recently wrt bank charges)."

Our government was on our side until it became the banks' owner.

Fausty at 5 pm

"One of your commentors suggested that you write childrens' stories"

Leg-iron would have to be CRB checked for that.

Happy New Year

DP

Make the election your referendum.

Leg-iron said...

I did once try to write a children's book.

By the end of chapter 1, two of the principal characters had been eaten by a shape-shifting monster and the remaining character faced a wood-elf with a machete and a bad attitude.

So maybe writing for children isn't my thing. Unless it's for children you don't like.

Giolla said...

"So maybe writing for children isn't my thing. Unless it's for children you don't like."

On that basis you've got a hell of a market I'd buy quite a few copies alone.

Anonymous said...

"By the end of chapter 1, two of the principal characters had been eaten by a shape-shifting monster and the remaining character faced a wood-elf with a machete and a bad attitude."

Oh I dont know. Sounds all rather Roald Dahl to me.

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