Welcome to your future.

Spaceships. Jet packs. Laser guns. 


Fifty years from now, the future will still be shaped by the mundane, the stupid, and the petty, living side by side with the Big Ideas. Dirty, shining, poor, glorious, filthy, and wonderful. 50.YFN is where we tell our future's story, hangover and all.

In its short life,
50.YFN has already become a very sharply defined setting, with unique language and history. Because of the ongoing storylines and broad geographical setting, we strongly recommend using the archives and category tags before throwing yourself in the deep end. Read the guidelines, take a look around. There's a truly talented pool of creators breathing life into our world Fifty Years From Now.

You are welcome to be a part of it.

And remember:

This is not a land-grab. There's no turf.  If you're a new writer, you have the same access to Brooklyn as I do, and as much an opportunity to leave your imprint on it. Don't be intimidated. Leave your brand on the future alongside everyone else. It's your world too. 


The Deegan Pt. I

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

Inside the cockroach-shaped van, Anton Choudry brushes coconut burfi crumbs off his chest, licks his fingertips, and swishes cold tea between his cheeks to wash away the copper taste of bile. He’s six hours without a hit, and the DTs are crashing hard. His upper lip smells like ghee and stale sweat, thinning hair feels greasy and brittle, and his wrinkled white suit is a roadmap of New York marked with food and sweat stains, Albany starred by a hole in his lapel, where he nodded off and let a cigarette eat through the cheap linen. Thirty pounds ago, the outfit wrapped his athletic build perfectly. Now, it resembles a circus tent, pants held up by suspenders, untucked shirt reaching to his knees. His pant cuffs are tattered and black from dragging the streets. The roof of his mouth feels like sandpaper. He moistens it with the rest of his tea, slug of condensed milk looking up at him like dead larva from the bottom of the paper cup. Absently, he takes the soundbox from his breast pocket, rolls the little powder blue cube around in his palm, and marvels at its chipped, dirty surface. Earbuds and a tattered lanyard dangle, meant to hang the thing around his neck. 'Like a noose,' he thinks, not completely inaccurate. One side is devoted to a touch-sensitive screen big enough for his boney thumb to cycle through highs and check the device’s settings. There's a moment of panic when he sees the battery's almost flat, but remembers his shift is nearly up, and there’s a charger in his car.

This particular soundbox is not cheap, made in a San Jose sweatshop, surgically embedded in some poor bastard's musculature, and muled across the continent to the Rotten Apple, where it is prohibited by no less than fourteen different agencies. Anton’s favorite setting, rock3rblue, rewires his brain for nothing but endorphin production. It’s an ultra-caffeinated non-stop brainless rush. He can go three days without sleep, run a thirty-mile marathon, rescue a busload of children from a burning orphanage, leap tall buildings in a single bound...and crash for a solid thirty-six hours after each hit. NASA is less volatile, but he couldn’t feel his fingertips for two days after the last hit, and didn’t find the sensation of weightlessness particularly appealing. There’s beepboxxx, which some people on the street call sexk1tten, but he’s too embarrassed by cum stains on the front of his pants to experiment while on duty. That leaves Aiaia, the one high he hasn’t tried. The little blue and green icon beckons from the soundbox, but he’s heard nothing of it on the street. It’s a mystery high, and Anton’s just not desperate enough to leave the safety of rock3rblue, just yet. He could download new, recognizable highs from that one Latvian site, but it would leave fingerprints on his financial records.
It would also be admitting he is an addict.

And cops are not addicts.

Cops are hardworking civil servants who put their lives on the line every day. They may occasionally overindulge, but they are not addicts.

Not when they are on duty, and especially not when they are staking out the archeological curiosity that is the Deegan Motel, gone through many incarnations, but clinging today to its essence as a cheap two-story whorehouse. Choudry’s undercover police van is stuffed mostly with surveillance equipment, but there is a bunk for late nights like this, moon rising above the ragged Bronx skyline. No sleep for Choudry, though. No rock3rblue, either, as Captain Mammoud has called down Internal Affairs on his least favorite detective. There has long been an unspoken acknowledgment of Choudry’s condition, and for a time the Captain was tolerant. But with his partner dead, the 50th Precinct's Vice Squad has whittled down to Choudry, Vincent Scutieri, Jean-Pierre Ngekwe, Philip Proudhawk, Tiny Schwarzbaum, and the ghost of Peter Singh. The Captain needs every officer he can get, but isn’t stupid or frenzied enough to keep a quasi-functional flophead walking the streets with a paingun. He’s tired of Choudry’s antics. Old Pete’s death is the last straw.

Internal Affairs tossed Choudry’s locker twice this week, and have an appointment to interview him in the morning. Altered soundbox neurology may not show up on urinalysis, but Choudry is pretty sure a two-day hangover qualifies him for the court-ordered EKG where it does. They pinched Tony Vasili over in Robbery/Homicide for that. Before him, O’Brien in Anti-Terror. Too many times, Choudry has witnessed people go to jail or die for being stupid. Not him. So for now, he bombs the DTs with forty cups of intensely sugared tea, fluorescent orange power drinks that taste like boiled styrofoam, and a weird vitamin concoction bought off a mad Nigerian on 217th Street.

Anton Choudry is vibrating.

He praises himself shamelessly for once again dodging Internal Affairs’ traps, tucking his precious soundbox back into the nest of his breast pocket, fumbling at his paingun, and waiting for his partner's killer to step out of the Deegan into the cold Bronx night.


King of the Californias

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

Cecilio Goncz favors the Indian side of his Ecuadorian heritage, sort of an ageless quality trapped in his high cheek bones and almond-shaped eyes. His neatly-trimmed mustache is his only facial hair, livetattoos in place of his eyebrows. This week, they read 'Solamente El Dios Puede Juzgarme', solid animated monobrow in pulsing Old English type. His head appears recently shaved, beads of sweat popping between veins and faint wrinkles. Dressed in an informal black linen suit, matching cowboy boots, he sits on the balcony of one of Oakland's thousands of bistros, overlooking the twisted graveyard of the Goldengate Bridge, coolly sipping a blood-orange martini. I make sure the recorder sits prominently on the table so there is no impression of guile on my part, frame him generously with Bay over his shoulder, and listen, translation services running to keep up with his pidgin of Spanish, English, Korean, Tagalog, and Russian.

"I was maybe ten when the Little Big One hit," he says. "We lived in Pico Union back then. Few of us. Came up for work, ended up spending most of our time hiding from Customs, Immigration, Homeland Security. Little Big One hit, everything south of Santa Barbara became its own real estate. I mean, they say SoCal actually took it light, you know? Ended up an island overnight. NoCal's the one got screwed. Nothing left standing. Frisco...well, you can look at Frisco from here. Nothing pretty anymore."

When I ask Mr Goncz about the Inglewood Five, he smiles, showing off the seven-hundred thousand dollar organic alligator tooth graft that has become his trademark. When he doesn't answer, I ask about what most newsfeeds refer to now as The Shadow Years. The killings. The dictatorship. The narcotics factories. Rape camps. Slavery. Goncz chuckles, drains the rest of his martini, looks out at the Bay.

""It was bad days, right? Lot of bad days. The Fed pretty much walked away, right? 'Southern California is no longer viable for reclamation,' the President said. Well, I mean, yeah. Bad days and all, but we made it. And yeah, some people got stepped on along the way, and I'm not going to say they didn't, but ordo abchao, right?"

I check the translation services. Mr Goncz lays a callused hand flat on the table and looks at me. "Order out of chaos."

I ask about his diplomatic status now that Los Angeles has had its first democratic elections in twenty-plus years. He drums his manicured fingernails on the black matte table and looks out at the Bay. "U.S. wouldn't take me, but NoCal still got love for me. Put a lot of money into rebuilding up here. Californians know how to show appreciation."


23rd Street SmokeZone

by Rabbi Ben Newman, the Bronx, NY, USA

I woke up to the buzzing of a skillsaw on Wednesday afternoon. It cut through the soft flesh of my brain just as it cut through the brick that the Iranian workers outside my window were replacing. Shut Up! Another 30- 90 days - my doorman told me. By then my summer of freedom will be gone. I got most of my information from Ron, the doorman who worked between four o'clock and midnight. I made it a habit of trying to sleep during the racket, so I went to bed at sunrise, and usually awoke when Ron's shift began and my somatic impulse had faded enough to let in the skillsaws. I learned on Wednesday night that Ron was a vet of the Arab-American Wars. A news story was finally released about some of the senseless killing that went on there, and I brought it up in casual conversation.

"Did you hear the news about The A-A Wars?" I asked

"No, what news?" He said. Ron's grey hair and austere lifelong New Yorker attitude matched his uniform. We stood on the stone steps outside the building. He lit a Marlboro, I followed suit with a Natural American Spirit. Though smoking cigarettes was, for the most part, illegal, there were specially designated "smoker's areas" on every block. Luckily for Ron and I, the "smoker's area" on 23rd street was directly in front of my apartment building.

I held out my arm and showed him the wireless tattoo on my fore-arm.

He threw my forearm a squinty look and said, "Can't read a thing without my glasses, and they're inside... why don't you just tell me, Simon?"

"Ok," I said, "Some top government official who was in the Middle East had a press conference and said that his unit killed and raped a whole village of innocent Iraqi women and children." I took a drag off of my cigarette.

"Yeah?" He said, "Well, then thats not news to me. Shit like that happened all the time out there. In that hellish sandtrap, you could barely tell the difference between you and your fellow soldiers, let alone between you and the rag-heads."

"You were in Iraq?"

"I did a two year tour," he said. Ron started eyeing a middle aged well-to-do woman walking to the garbage can with a bag. Did he think she looked suspicious?

"Anyways," He continued, "I'd been studying at school non-Matriculated when the draft came, and I didn't have time to matriculate before they pulled my number." The woman Ron was eyeing stuffed the bag into the overflowing street trash can, Ron continued to eye her.
"You can't dump that here!" He yelled.

"What?!" The woman retorted. She marched over to us, bag in hand.

"I said you can't dump that here, lady, it's illegal. You people keep dumping your trash here, because your buildings are too cheap to pick up your trash. Well, you mess up the street, and its illegal anyway!" He spurted raspily. He inhaled on his cigarette, and furious smoke flew from his mouth.

"You wanna see whats in here!" she started to open the bag and shove it in Ron's face. Ron shrank back.

"No thanks, Lady, just find somewhere else to dump it."

She shoved the bag in his face,

"It's SHIT!" She screamed, "I just wanna throw away my goddamn dog shit!" She stormed off down the street, shoving her dog shit bag amid the empty Doritos bags and broken glass. I looked at Ron, my eyes dilated like saucers.



3rd + C

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

Avenues A through D. Used to call it Alphabet City, until every Puerto Rican, Ukrainian, Jew, and Chinaman from Union Square to City Hall got cooked up and served at the same buffet. Chomp-chomp-chomp. New moneyed bastards filled their plates with refurbished tenements that cost millions of dollars per room or those glass and chrome things you wouldn’t wish your mother should live in. Weird little guys from the middle of nowhere. Middlebury, Connecticut. Webtoe, Minnesota. Pigsfoot, Virginia. Moved right in, never blinked at the cost, and set up shop. Natty little graphickers and webpeople at their little cafe’s with clever names, paying a fortune to live in gut-renovated slums. I lived on 3rd and C back then. My parents owned Hunan Cuisine, just downstairs, fourth generation Lower East Siders, second generation Alphabet City. Of course, the newbies already called it The East Village by the time I had short hairs, but we used the old name. Rent went up, of course. Happens when that type moves in. Broke my dad’s heart when he had to close the shop. Replaced it with a salon or something, Sold very clever t-shirts. Neat thousand dollar haircuts.


We were set to move, you know? Same as everyone else. Dad was all ready to open Hunan Cuisine II out in Sunset Park when the Little Big One hit. I know people say it’s bullshit, but I distinctly remember the tremors here in New York. Biggest quake in human history, so why wouldn’t I feel it all the way over here? Cracked California right off the map, they say. I know we like to talk about New York like it’s its own little world, but let me tell you, I felt it. One of the biggest economies in the world out there, wasn’t it? Kept the country afloat for a long time. Little Big One took all our Pacific ports, entertainment industry, links to Asia, Silicon Valley. Never mind the human cost. Economy crashed, yeah? All the pretty graphickers on Avenue A suddenly didn’t have jobs. And what were they going to do, move in with their parents? The ones whose pensions and social security just took a collective nose dive into the Pacific Ocean? Hell, you remember all the homeless senior citizens once the foreclosures started? No, sir, they were stuck with the rest of us.

They stayed right where they were, in those half-finished glass tower thingies. Squatters, yeah? I mean, the renters, they all got kicked out in droves. Whole blocks went empty. Boarded up. Those unfinished buildings? No one cared. Money wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, so barter kicked in. Jewelry, gadgets, clothes. Hell, to eat, people were trading time with their kids. BAD time, if you know what I mean. We saw a market, so we stayed. American way, right? Capitalism at its finest. Hunan Cuisine and Pawn Shop.

Twenty years, right here on 3rd and C.

Same as the squatters.

48th Street + Avenue of the Americas

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

Some call him the International Man.

About five-foot-three, built like an overgrown badger: most of the mass in the upper third of his body, especially around the neck and shoulders. He's seen a lot of life in his time, and almost as much death. Formative years in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, then when that fell apart, in the Counterrevolutionary Army. When that fell apart, he joined an Azeri ethnic insurgency cell, picking Iran's carcass like the rest of the jackals. When the scavengers grew too thick, he snuck into Azerbaijan and got a cousin to vouch for him. His next five years were spent in the Doorkicker Squad of Baku's police department, breaking up terrorist and slavery rings, before rushing to the front lines in the Nakhchivan Secession. When the Federalists lost and the country split, he found himself in the oil-impoverished half of What-Was-Once-Azerbaijan. On the road again, this time to a cousin's house in Gush Katif, where he got a job as security in an an international shipping company. His legs got blown off in a botched hijack, woke up in Beth Israel Los Angeles. He liked the meat on his Mexican nurse's backside, and decided to stay. One day he just wheeled himself out the front door, and the next, he was staying with her in a one bedroom shack in South Los Angeles, just in time for the Little Big One, which wrenched southern California out of the continent's pelvis and tossed it like a severed penis into the Pacific toilet. Like most refugees, he ended up in Phoenix. Not exactly content with the gelatin quality of the air, he used his last three gold fillings and the sale of his slightly pickled kidney to fly him to Paterson, New Jersey, where he stayed with the brother of his dead Mexican nurse. After the first week, they opted for separate living arrangements, what with the knife he'd buried in his roommate's chest. His time in the overcrowded prison was mercifully short given he wasn't technically a citizen. But, then, there wasn't a whole lot of paperwork confirming his citizenship anywhere, so when the New Jersey State Police delivered him to the Azerbaijan Embassy in Manhattan for formal diplomatic eviction, there wasn't a whole lot the ambassador had to say.

New Jersey didn't want him.

There was no Azerbaijan to ship him back to.

Properly vested in purgatory, the International Man got himself a room in Rego Park, Queens from a Bukharanian woman with terrible scars on her face and neck, but full heavy breasts and thighs you could crush aluminum girders between.

The International Man has seen a lot in his time, but not with his own eyes. Those were blow out back in his Counterrevolutionary days. These were re-grown for him in a lab outside Isfahahan, along with most of his jaw. His ears haven't worked in eighteen years, function replaced by a second-rate cochlear implant implanted by an unexpectedly skilled surgeon in backalley Baku, recently expatriated from Nigeria. Well, loosely Nigeria: most of Africa was desert these days, and the borders were more than a little blurred. All that mattered was the surgeon's steady hand, and the tinny quality to the cochlear implants were better than no quality at all. His right arm is mostly short-string polymer and fiber optic cable, plugged indelicately into a mauled shoulder socket after a rocket attack on the warehouse in Gush Katif. Built somewhere in a Tel Aviv factory, with the same warranty as a Yugoslavian ultracompact car. His legs below the knee are noticeably darker than the rest of him. That's probably because they were salvaged from someone of African-American descent, and transplanted hastily in a West Los Angeles hospital by a Korean-designed surgical robot. His biological arm is something of an art piece: animated tattoos from a carnival of anonymous donors, some in Farsi, some in Arabic, some in Hebrew, some in English, dancing languidly across his skin like a sun-scorched movie screen.

His English is pretty thin, but he's mastered the epithets. I'm a bit of a pussy, by his reckoning, using my cellphone to check my mail, the news, weather. He points to a new glowing tattoo on his forearm that streams news from Al-Jazeera, Ha'aretz, the Daily Wallstreet Post, and a bunch of esoteric feeds I've never heard of. He refers to my phone as a 'woman's purse' and my only argument is that I hate the idea of live tattoos, because of all the GPS crap embedded in them. I ask him if his right arm is the only thing made out of pipestem parts, or if maybe he'd had the optional upgrade done below his waist as well. He flips me the pincer-equivalent of the bird.

Which is polite compared to the nearby street vendors, who call him 'Blackfoot' because of his mismatched limbs. When I see him, it's the same lop-sided ceramic smile, pat on the shoulder from his tri-pincered arm, and offer of high-octane diesel coffee and stale baklava. Sometimes fresh halvah from a store in Kew Gardens, cut into slices from a turd-shaped loaf wrapped in wax paper. Always the same fare: tin carafe burning sugar, coffee, and distilled tap water over a small upright propane burner. Buck-seventy-five for coffee and a pastry.

Some people call him the International Man.

I just call him the coffee cart guy on 48th Street.

The Little Nothing

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

White. Sterile. No roof, no walls, no floors. No shadows. Make a sound. Hear anything? Of course not: no acoustics. You look nervous, Ben. Don’t. We’re not there yet. This is just a test. Plugged into your parietal lobe, running a line into your implant. The real deal takes way more power than I have in this little box. No, for a full-on semiotic transplant, you’re going to sit in the Big Chair down in Valley Stream, and they’re going to plug you right into the Nassau County grid, along with the rest of the recalcitrant douchebags who can’t seem to stop shitting in society’s mouth.

You’re sweating, Ben.

That's okay.

I’d be scared, too. I mean, this little corner of eternity’s hardly scenic, and you’re slotted for a good thirty years. Where do you sleep? Oh, Ben, you really don’t get it, yet, do you? The whole point to this is you don’t sleep. Don’t eat, don’t talk, don’t hear, don’t listen. It’s just you and the the long white nothing. The Little Bardo, they call it. No sleep. What’s sleep when we’re technically plugged into your REM mode, anyway? No, you’re doing your full thirty wide awake. The Nassau County grid dumps into the National Readjustment Processor down in Quantico, where your personality will sit in happy reconstructed nothing for the entire stretch of your bid.

It could be worse, Ben. In the old days, they filled the Little Bardo with all sorts of terrible stuff. The best bits from the Bible, used to scare you to sleep at night. Fire and brimstone. Punishment, y’know? Retribution. No one really came out of that in one piece, though. Lot of catatonic freaks. Couldn’t control their piss function. Terrible smell. Lots of screaming. Then they tried to pamper them with a Heaven meme. That worked like bunk. I mean, for half you rotten sons-of-bitches, Heaven is raping kittens and stabbing nuns. Ever see a smiling coma victim? I hear half the Federal budget that year went to buying clean sheets, just to cover up the number of wet dreams you freaks had. So, then they came to this. Nothing. Nada. Nirvana, baby, for thirty years. The Little Bardo. Time to think, right?

Ben, if you have to goe to the bathroom, just ask. On the floor like that, someone’s going to have to mop up after you. Not very considerate is it?

What? How are you going to receive visitors? Your mother? Ben, look at me. Does this place look like it’s got the facilities to hold your toxic miserable ass for thirty actual years? We’re going in through the parietal lobe, champ. That controls time sense. You’re going to be in and out of here in twenty minutes.