[going through my laptop for any writings i abandoned, and I indeed found several. at the beginning of the year it turns out i attempted this apparently cyberpunk short story. The depressing effort I put here for all to see, because why not.]
Depressing Attempt at a Sci-Fi Story
10 JAN 2018
The sky is the color of smoke, like grey maybe, or something similar. It is also raining, and there maybe a few lighting strikes here and there. What do we hear? Do we hear thunder? Yes, that too. And it makes our heart skip not just a few beats, but a lot, and we’re worried now if this is going to happen every time there’s thunder. I used to be a brave child, you would say, one who is unafraid of loud noises. What happened, you’d ask. Was it something I ate along the way?
You place one of your two hands, either one, just choose one right now, on your chest. The point is to feel your heart. Is it still there? Wait, there’s no beating. Holy shit. We wait a few seconds, and oh shit, fuck, okay, there it is. Still ticking. Phew.
Now that the sky and the heart has been sufficiently described, we describe now the city. It is an urban hellscape, like in one of those late 80s early 90s cyberpunk B-films. The poor live in hovels while the rich and powerful live in gated high-rises. One can imagine them looking down at all the poor, dirty smelly people, while sipping their sugary alcoholic drinks which are also very expensive. They are doing this looking down behind a thick glass mixed kind of with plastic, like plexiglass maybe. The entire side of their apartment, which is the side of the building is just this clear plexiglass. This is so that they have a wonderful view of all the hovels where the poor people live. Robots that look somewhat like large spiders clean the glass from the outside. There he is, looking down disdainfully, that’s the adjective, at the slums surrounding the high-rises which are in this heavily-gated/walled/guarded circle and or square. I think ‘block’ is the word. They pay a lot of money for security. ‘They’ being the capitalists and the managers of the money of the capitalists, and the various technology innovators and financial speculators of the city, and also of the country. In this gated block/community also live senior and high officials of the government. There are a lot of these gated communities with high-rise buildings in the country.
Now we describe where the poor, and the majority of people who are not rich live, and go on with their lives. It is a high-tech future. By this we mean, at the very least that there’s electricity. There’s also some form of mass communication, both two-way, and one way. Two-way (and or multi-way) communication would be similar to what is called ‘cellphones’ these days. I am still using the old term, for I am an unrepentant hipster, but the more popular term these days is ‘smartphone.’ I don’t have one of these, but that’s beside the point. The one-way communication system are of course things like television and massive LED screens that just continuously play all sorts of advertisements – new shampoos, new soaps, make-ups, new religions, new weapons, etc. The streets are all mostly unmaintained, for there are privatized roads now where only those who can pay for it can go through. The streets are all cracked and there are potholes, and there’s not even any asphalt, so the people have to make do with filling these in with sand and or soil. So that when it rains, it gets washed down and becomes muddy so it’s fucking useless, and this just underlines how shitty the public infrastructure has become. The privatized roads meanwhile isn’t something the rich use for traveling here and there. They use it for the transportation of goods. It shows how unequal this future cyberpunk society is that the goods of the rich and those who can afford it travel much better than those people who have no money. These goods, what are they? They’re futuristic goods, and we’ll look at these later. Maybe they’re energy sources or something.
The rich travel by flight. They have flying or rather levitating cars now at this dark future. It’s like Uber, but there’s no driver as the cars are guided by AI who are connected wirelessly to the overall private transportation system computers, or something futuristic like that. They can of course choose to drive it themselves, but it’s too much effort, and they’d rather do some other things while going to and from their destination. You can imagine what sort of things these people would do on their way to wherever they’re going. It’s not something for those of the more delicate and refined sensibilities to see. Though some of these rich young people are educated and refined and decent, most are just plain unlikeable since most of the culture and morality they learn come from watching their holo-televisions. The programs produced by the various holo-television channels and or corporations are just plain shit. They cater to the basest and lowest instinct of human beings, so that they cut through the class divide. There are shitty people of all the strata of this society, and they all like watching the same shows. One of these shows is basically just pornography. The theme of this show is so abhorrent that I would leave discussion of this in order not to offend those with refined and cultured sensibilities.
How did things become this horrible? The simplest answer would be that this is just how capitalism works. But that sounds too ideological and leftwing, and it wouldn’t be palatable to my imaginary readers. It is because of capitalism though. Money and power, power and money, these two go hand in hand. The State protects the property of the rich. The rich keeps getting elected into all these seats in government, and of course what do they do? They won’t act towards dismantling their influence, that would be irrational of them. What they’d do is make sure that their influence and power remains, that this gets handed down to their family and friends and followers. So it’s basically kind of like now, only this future has high-tech stuff. But we also have high-tech stuff now, so what I wanted to say was that this dark future would have more high-tekky stuff than what we have now in this current sad capitalist world.
We have to give agency to the poor and downtrodden too, otherwise it would be too hopeless, and what’s the point of reading something too depressing? The politics of the poor in this future dark society we would look at. Maybe finally there’s some sort of popular anarchist groups or something. They’re not outright anarchist, though some are. It is their methods that should be looked at. Do people still vote at this dark timeline? What would the government look like? Finally, does this story have one main character that the readers can follow and be sympathetic with? These are all general questions and we’ll turn to this concerns later on.
10 JAN 2018
11 JAN 2018
So in this future cyberpunk dystopia, the poor can’t buy much food. Therein the Catholic Church found a new role, well it’s not really a new role, it’s just more technologically-advanced. What they did was to provide food for the needy. And their specialization in this regards is sweet potato. The nuns administer this system. There are still land owned by the Catholic Church, and this is where hey grow the sweet potatoes. The particular variety they grow is a GMO. They don’t just grow one variety, that would be monoculture, which is at this point considered a sin by the Catholic Church. More than one varieties of a crop shall be grown in a field so that if there’s a pest, whether this pest be micro-organism or insects like beetles, the crop would not all be gone. There would still be left. People would not starve. The variety they grow came not out of their own research but it was handed to them, stolen, or broken out of the laboratory by a Catholic faithful, a young research scientist. The young research scientist felt that there was little that he could do to fulfill his moral duty, he felt stifled working in that corporate lab for the giant multinational corporations that put profits before people. So he contacted one of the nuns who was his biology teacher in high school, and it was through her that the Catholic Church acquired the methods, the genetic techniques for the production of this sweet potato variety.
The more enterprising among the orphans and or street children can be seen selling this sweet potato. It is a common scene in this urban hellscape, among all the other not so miserable scenes, it’s just images of people trying to survive. It’s quite a homely image if you think about it actually. Street carts, street vendors, children walking to and fro selling things. Still, it’s child labor, but it’s not strenuous at all. Well I guess that’s enough with the sweet potatoes.
The research scientist wakes up after a night of hard liquor and even harder anime and levitates himself through sheer effort of will to the bathroom. There he blasts himself with cold water. Amidst the cursing and shouting, his coffeemaker turns on, it’s pink blinky lights turns on, indicating that yes, indeed delicious coffee is being made. For all his faults and shortcomings and other personality issues, he is at the very least consistent and punctual. Emerging from the bathroom, having also defecated and brushed his teeth and dried himself, he then puts on his clothes, and on top of that he puts on his work/lab uniform which is just basically a simple white coat with several buttons on the front. He’d put the mask and goggles on once he is at the front door of his apartment as that is where he places them, at this rack on his door so that he never forgets it. He still remembers that time when a dumb workmate got one of his eyes exposed to acid vapors, and now that guy only has one guy, and that’s why you should always wear safety goggles. He doesn’t sit in his house upon waking up. Once he starts the day, he makes it a point not to sit as much as he can. He does a lot of sitting enough in his work, and he read articles online that this sitting a lot, this lack of physical activity. His place doesn’t have mirrors or much reflective surface really. He has self-esteem issues, having grown up fat and being teased for it in school. He feels his pudgy middle, and sighs. He just has issues with food, among other things. He feels good when he eats, then he feels bad afterwards, but he has learned to drown these feelings and emtoions with alcohol, because is an adult now, a working adult at that, and working a research laboratory for a major multinational corporation. So at least he has that in his life, he thinks.
He lives in corporate housing. His place is basically just a large enough cell to house a bathroom, a sleeping area, his computer, a small kitchen … etc. Other workers and researchers live like this too. As you go up the corporate ladder, you get better and better amenities, bigger rooms, etc. As for a love life, he’d rather not talk about it. So we won’t. Just know that he lives alone, drinks at night and falls to sleep watching anime.
Anime at this point in time has become a large massive wonderful industry. That’s a consolation in this hideous hyper-capitalist society. Anime cuts through all classes of society – the rich, the poor, and the middle-class all watch anime. There are anime for all sorts of tastes. Most don’t even know at this point in time that anime was a shortened form of the word ‘Japanimation’, which is an amalgam of the ‘Japanese animation.’ It’s just one of the things that has been forgotten at this time.
The corporate leaders don’t really have to see each other face to face. Like now, they just tele-conference, and then delegate the work to the on-site managers. But what do we care about these people?
He places the glass cup on the glass table, then he walks back in front of the window overlooking the hovels of the poor at the distance. There was a time when they would shoot firecrackers, missiles at the buildings, so the security company added anti-rocket defense among the other systems already in place to protect life and property within the compound/block. He sometimes sees a kite flying, the kite is made of cellophane, the frame from strong but thin plastic. So the string would not slip the maker of the kite would use super glue to secure it, and that’s how the kite is made. He sees this and is fascinated. He considers the slum area as places where interesting things might come out of … It’s his hobby, poor people watching. Does he like them? No, he doesn’t like them. He’s just curious. His view is like a scientist looking at virulent microorganisms under the microscope.
11 JAN 2018
12 JAN 2018
There she is, the Ukrainian maybe Russian beauty singing her heart out for the Lord and His Kingdom here on Earth. This Kingdom here on Earth is in Davao to be precise. It is led by the Appointed Son of God, who is this intense delusional person who has somehow managed to spread that delusion virulently to other people, so much so that it has made him rich, and he has a white helicopter, he has a large white mansion, they have this large massive cavernous worship hall, which is round and so brightly-lit, it looks like the inside of an alien spaceship. It’s sad to see someone so beautiful so weak-minded. It is also a sad thing, tragic even, that they put make-up on her that makes her looks like she’s in the 80s. Massive poofy hair, too much red on the cheekbones. And she’s singing in Russian or maybe Ukrainian. SHe’s not the main singer though. She’s just a member of this chorus. The camera sometimes focuses on her. It’s all so weird and surreal.
Who’s dating who, what’s dating what. It’s the future and people are still concerned about the lives of celebrities and actresses. It’s about who’s getting married, who are dating this person, break-ups, secret love child, etc. It’s disgusting, and the people swallow it all up. Here’s one of them on this massive LED screen on the side of this massive building. She is being interviewed, and she looks so kind and smiling and benevolent and harmless. The streets are grimy and dirty, trash everywhere, and up there, just a few floors above are the twinkling, glittering, flashing neon and LED lights. Neon has made a comeback. People are really liking that aesthetic. Here are abunch of old women and out ofo work folks, those who cant work because of phsysical impairment, and they are sitting on the central … looking up at the interview going on. there is no audio, as per city regulations to mnimie noise pollution, so they make do by reading the subtitles on the massive screen.
She’s been holding up fine, she has moved on, she’s dating someone new. The death of her boyfriend was hard on her, but she has survived that time in her life, and all she wants is to move on and focus on new projects, movies and dramas and new singles and albums all that stuff. Footage of the carnage and the destruction in this massive mansion. It’s been about a year since the incident. It was a bombing, it was on the news for days, massive close-ups of the various damaged objects from the house which was ejected hot and burning and scalding onto the perfect manicured lawn outside, but inside the gated compound. It was a terrorist incident, investigators claimed. There was a note that was left, but it was half-burned, and only half the message remained. The notes said that people should wake up, rise up and stand up for their rights, don’t give up the fight. This one here dead celebrity came from the scion of a family that has oppressed this county for such a long time, like how are they still active in politics and government in this country? Like why do you fucks keep electing them? So we decided to kill this fucker, the note said, let this be a warning to the rich and powerful. We are coming for you, we do not forget, we are anonymous , we are everywhere. The interview continues, and she dabs a folded handkerchief on one of her eyes, the left one, and she continues speaking. The face of the interviewer meanwhile is all sympathetic and understanding and occasionally, at the right times, he would nod and make sad faces, good use of the brows especially to indicate concern and understanding.
She says how she has found religion and faith, how she wasn’t that faithful in her life a while back, and she has changed now. Her family is Roman Catholic, and they go now with her to this church, a pilgrimage, where the crucified Christ is said to be miraculous.
Those watching on the grimy street below talk and nod while watching. They like how beautiful she is, and kind and religious now, when she wasn’t religious before. There really is a space for change in this world, to be a vessel once more for Christ’s love. A sweet potato boy walks in front o them shouting sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, hot sweet potoates, and some of those sitting would buy sweet potatoes, and they’d give the child money, and the child would go and sell more sweet potatoes. They munch on their food while continuing to watch the show. Then the advertisements – they’re showing herbal pills, these are supposed to cure this or that disease, or to prevent this or that disease . But they don’t claim this directly. What these people do is they have one of these people who claimed to have been cured because of these herbal pills talk and make testimonies to convince people of the truth of the makers’ claims. Then there’s that quick and mandatory fast-talking caveat which essentially warns people that these products are not drugs and should not be taken to cure ailments and such. But they still allow the showing of these ads because they are revenues for the broadcasting companies. People buy these pills, making the companies rich, then those companies pay people to make ads which are then shown on televisions and massive LED screen on the sides of buildings in pedestrian-heavy places in the city.
Where I really like to be in this helhole of a city is on the top of a building. Maybe I’d be a security guard, and working in a team, and then it’s my turn to do the rounds – from the ground up, then from up there back to the first floor. Most of my colleagues hate this job because it’s tedious and tiresome, but I like it because I get to spend around fifteen minutes tops at the top, just sitting on my chair, either looking at the sky where all these blinking lights are passing by, the LED from aircrafts, or I’d be looking down at the traffic of vehicles and pedestrian below.
12 JAN 2018