All Rights Reserved: a YA dystopia where every word is copyrighted


Originally published at:

In Gregory Scott Katsoulis’s All Rights Reserved, we get all the traditional trappings of a first-rate YA dystopia: grotesque wealth disparity leading to a modern caste system, draconian surveillance to effect social control in an inherently unstable state, ad-driven ubiquitous entertainment as the only distraction from environmental collapse – but with an important difference.


Roger That! $9.99


I’m genuinely curious; why the double hyphens?

I’m a big proponent of the spaced n-dash (as is Robert Bringhurst, author of The Elements of Typographic Style) but even an m-dash would be preferable to this now-archaic holdover from typewriter usage.

Is Cory looking out for the interests of those stuck browsing the web using monospace fonts, or (god help me, I’m going to say it) are they charging more for n-dashes these days?



That set-up sounds disturbingly plausible, given the trajectory of expansive abuse copyright and trademark are now on; this seems a little too close for comfort.


It reminds me of TeX typesetting systems. They automatically substitute double hyphens encountered in input file with dash.


After an anguished encounter with Speth on a bridge, he flings himself to his depth

Depth? Death perhaps? @doctorow - needs more proofreading (as ever)


by “every word is copyrighted” you @doctorow actually mean “every word is trademarked”. please change the headline because all works after 1976 are trademarked err I mean copyrighted. but you know that.


I’m guessing a preprocessor failure. Some Markdown-like converters will automatically replace a double hyphen with an en-dash (like the Discourse one I’m writing in right now – that en-dash just there was typed as --), and for whatever reason the one Cory was using didn’t.


I haven’t read the book, but charging for usage sounds much more like copyright than trademark. You generally only have to pay to license a trademark if you’re going to sell goods under it.

Bu then this is a dystopian future, so I guess all bets are off.


@doctorow Didn’t you right a short story in a similar vein? I seem to remember a character being presented with an electronic invoice for whistling a popular tune as they walked across a park. Or am I misremembering?


All the excellent review and commentary here aside, this is what need our ‘fitbits’/iWatches to become: the Leela armlet. More screen real-estate and at least some hope for some user interface (y’know: finger screen sliding)


“Depth” was a cheaper word, the poor kid couldn’t afford a premium word, like “Death”.


Touché. :wink:

Given the vast keyboard distance between a and p this would be plausible if it had been dialogue from the story, but it was Cory summarising. Do we suspect voice-to-text that thinks ‘death’ sounds like ‘depth’, and it got missed in the read-through?

Whatever. I’m now going to throw myself to my depth the depth of my bed, to dream words of unimaginable richness. G’night.


Working in a bookstore, it seems like half the teen fiction section is dystopia stuff. Part of me wonders if the current generation of writers is just throwing out every possible bad scenario, hoping that if they cover enough of them, the teens-turned-adults will be prepared to rescue us from whichever one inevitably comes true in a decade or two.




Anyone here recognize the artist who did the graphics for the trailer, etc.?

Looks to me a bit like Patrick Farley of e-sheep fame.


Sounds too much like real life. Pass. My generation are practically endentured servants already and are blamed for the boomers mistakes. 33% less earnings on avg compared to our parents, how is this (I.e. The book) not real life already?


Most keyboards don’t have a key for that. The effect is the same either way — why bother with extra fancy symbols that take extra typing?

Don’t look in the current events section. The ratio is even worse there.

At least you’re optimistic about the timeline!


Or maybe Animorphs made a shit load of money, followed by The Hunger Games making a shit load of money, so now dystopia is the new vampire :slight_smile:


Really? This seems like one of those “take an unpleasant trend to fantastic extremes to call attention to the actual problem” cautionary tales, not the “this could literally happen” kind.