So this week I’m reading Brave New Worlds, an anthology of dystopian-set short stories. Because, you know, real life isn’t depressing enough these days.
In addition to some classic stories like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (my favorite so far), the collection includes various newer stories as well as a short graphic story by Neil Gaiman which was not easy to read. This is not because by “graphic” I mean “extremely descriptive and disturbing”, but because by “graphic” I mean “comic book style” and the word bubbles weren’t particularly legible on the eReader. Score one for print there.
The story from which this teaser is taken is called “Pop Squad”, by Paolo Bacigalupi. This one is set in a future New York (evidently turned tropical by climate change) in which children have been outlawed. Not as in “55-and-Over Community” outlawed, but as in “Will be rounded up and shot” outlawed.
Blasting across the Causeway toward Angel Spire and the sea. Monkeys diving off the rail line like grasshoppers, pouring off the edge ahead of my cruiser and disappearing into the mangrove and kudzu and mahogany and teak, disappearing into the wet bowels of greenery tangle. Dumping the cruiser at squad center, no time for mopdown, don’t need it anyway.
Also outlawed in this dystopian future? Complete sentences and most verb forms other than present participle. Don’t need them anyway.
Meanwhile, editing continues on Father’s Books:
On the other side of the ravine they entered a slightly run-down commercial area where everything looked to be kept afloat by nostalgia and cheap rent. He saw tattoo parlors and pizza places where you ate your slices off paper plates while standing on the sidewalk and questionable dental offices and tired shops selling flowers or secondhand clothes or used books or off-brand medical supplies.
Sounds like a rather dystopian place to shop. Plus, it has no monkeys. Because everything is better with monkeys, isn’t it?