New sf story: "Huxleyed into the Full Orwell"


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I wonder if Shandra subversively smiled for her mugshot. After a 2012 Occupy event,

“Jason Dow was arrested for projecting a protest message on a Bank of America building. Feeling good about his act of civil disobedience, he decided to put on a nice, big smile for his mug shot. Again, the deputy behind the camera warned him that he had better stop smiling. Dow responded that he could not and spent the next 12 hours in the isolation cell.”


This is awesome! Normally, I’m not too much for short fiction, but I really liked this Cory. I found it relevant, easy to identify with and scary plausible, near term. Count me as a fan hoping more like this shows up here on Vice. …and I don’t want to write this, but I’m inspired a little too. A story of this size and punch seems accessible, like something a person could do when they have some time, little bits here and there.

For some time now, I’ve been mulling over the use of basic story and drama to punch through what is otherwise a sea of Pokemon style talking points. Seriously, like everybody has their favorite cards, with each new issue or current event triggering the insatiable need to collect new ones for the battles to come that day. Instead of a news cycle, we have a compo now. Jenna has her “gay marriage big bigot warfare elite battle card set” pitted against, Joe’s “But God really did say, because think of the kids +3”, while Greyson trumps the both of them with his, “Elite anarchist, fuck the system, scorched earth special collectors edition warcard +10…”

Everybody is thinking just the right combination of cards will get the mythical sea of uncommitted people to see it there way, resulting in some movement or other to fix everything, when the reality is nobody seems to notice how all those cards never quite add up to a consistently winning hand.

Worse, there are facts and there is opinion. Clarity ranges from reasonable to a complete mess, and what the facts mean has become such a mess of triggers, skirmishes, misinformation and general angst over the state of things as to render them difficult to employ directly as advocacy. While it seems to make basic sense, the data scientists work can help us understand what will work better for us, the reality is facts are just not enough in the face of regular misinformation coupled with powerful emotional and character arguments blaring non stop, 24/7 every day.

If there is money to be made in denying something, you can bet there are deniers out there for the money alone. A painful fact is easily dispatched with yet another one of those battle cards denigrating the character of those who publish them, or maybe washing the fact away with some strong emotional appeal or other.

This has had a strong impact on even personal experiences! Normally, these are very difficult to deny, but there again, ask Sandra Fluke about how her honest expression was turned into a brutal media campaign where her very self was put under intense ridicule while at the same time propelling her into politics Marvel Comics superhero style. They quite literally created her, enriching the battle while also fueling that which marginalizes any meaningful discussion all in one fell swoop.

Perhaps short fiction can get around that. Trigger phrases, people and character to abuse, piles of facts and misinformation all stacked neatly into self-neutralizing piles… But short stories can make us think, and visualize and most importantly, simulate what it really could be like without so much potential for getting sucked into the noise machine.

This is close enough to see it clearly, but not so far as to be irrelevant. Again, nicely done.

(comment originally contributed to VICE, but not yet through approval…)


Flamewar CCG

Is black, white? Is global warming really a plot by liberal aliens? The game revolves around defeating your opponent in an internet argument by playing powerful contrstuctive argument cards, destructive flame cards or psychotic derails. Push rhetoric to it’s limit and win imaginary ego points to demoralize and defeat the bad ideas! But be careful or you might Godwin the thread and lose the game.


Cool story, Cory @doctorow bro.

Met you on the top of Burj Dubai in 2525, we were unfurling an anti-nuclear fusion banner. You reprogrammed my bionic arm which had frozen on the scaffolding and had bent the antenna into a hello kitty face. Say hi to your doppelgänger clone for me, he was stupid but fun to write Dadaist poetry with. -gotta run, I can hear the thought police are cutting through the glass-they’ve found our pirate website hidden on the window washer swing stage. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Saved to read for later, but a quick observation:

That Koren Shadmi header art is LOVELY and he sells prints and originals and god, I feel compelled to buy one and add to my collection of too much stuff.


Ditto; seems to me, ‘Huxleyed into the full Orwell’ is a pretty fair description of the zeitgeist.

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