Welcome to your future.

Spaceships. Jet packs. Laser guns. 

No. 

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. 

7.31.2007

Browning

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

Danny Felder hears his dad's girlfriend slam the front door, screaming Estonian in a pitch that scrapes the spectrum heard only by dogs and orbital surveillance equipment. His father meets her in the living room, where the battle unfolds something like this:

Her: "Little Indian bitch stole my phone!"

Him: "The one I got you last week?"

Her: "With a gun, she stole it! What kind of country is this where old ladies rob their social workers at gunpoint?"

Danny shakes his head. He helped his father pick that phone specifically because it was one of the few models with local memory. She insisted, 'In Estonia, all systems hacked. I want phone holds my information in hand. No netmemory. I want the real thing.' His father, technological prowess of a mildly intoxicated sea-otter, relegated research to his smarty-pants son. Who doesn't hate his prospective stepmother so much as reserve her to a pantheon of Demon Bitch-Goddesses, drawn from his father's generous lineage of mistresses and candy wives. Now Svetlana has lost all her contacts, afloat with some well-armed dowager in the Bronx wastelands who has either sold it for diabetes medication, or is making calls to the Pacific Rim. 'Which is what you get, buying high-priced toys for low-class hookers,' Danny thinks. 'Hey, dad, why not get her a new, more expensive phone to make it up to her? And maybe some jewelry, so she knows how petite you think her ass is.' He sighs, scratches his chin, comes away with a handful of mottled white skin, and smiles.

The treatment is working.

Brushing a curtain of skin flakes from his shirt, he disrobes, heads to the shower. The Felder penthouse is equipped with real water showers, a rarity even here, on the Upper East Side. Danny's private shower qualifies as a minor World Wonder, ranked just after World's Fastest Orbital Transport. Twenty-six individual jets of chemically purified water from delicate rotating pipestems blossom from the smooth ceramic walls. The twenty-seventh pours water from the ceiling with the tenderness of the Virgin Mary or the fury of Poseidon, depending on Danny's mood. Today he goes for gusto, those twenty-six jets working his body like a shiatsu, shower floor soon carpeted with great irregular sheets of dead white skin. Danny lets the shower work him while he motions at the wall for communication options. He goes for 'nonverbal', and is greeted by projected avatars that slide across the shower curtain like an oil spill. He spots a well-armed Orc, yellow canines dripping blood (Marty); a pulsing red sphere (Zhang); an ultra-retro Bugs Bunny (Amit) and finally; a balled up kitten (Diana!!!). He waves his fingers and the shower lights with a glyph for 'good morning! how r u?' The kitten uncurls, and Diana responds with a blueish, sort of unenthusiastic glyph indicating that she got his message, acknowledges Danny is indeed alive and marginally sapient, but doesn't really want to pursue a conversation. Satisfied he got that far, Danny signs off, enthusiastically scrubbing excess skin from his arms and thighs.

Diana is the living embodiment of all that is good and pure in Danny's universe. It took half of forever to get her chat ID, tortuous nights of playful coaxing before she added him to her buddylist, and he's not about to make the same mistake every other adolescent male has made by getting pushy. No, the goal is to get her to want him. He's gone weeks trying everything—anything!—to rubix cube his way into her life: livetattoos squirming all over his body, metal fins in place of hair, not bathing, webbed ear like batwings, flashy media embedded all over his face, organic grafted fangs, nylon muscle implants, androgynous traits, bullying other kids, sports, a replacement eye with built-in movie projection, and an on and on in almost infinite combinations. Combing her preferences had been damn-near impossible until she added him to her buddylist, gateway to her personal mediavault, which included all sorts of stuff on past lovers. She had a thing for desis—South Asians—in all shapes, sizes, and genders.

Danny is not South Asian by even the broadest definition.

So while he sleeps, a tiny signal transmitter in Broca's Region of his brain has been receiving modular wave signals from NYU's Eastern Language Department. He awakens each day with a new language mastered: Pashtun, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Indonesian, and Filipino-Creole, thus far. His dermatologist's gene therapy is clearly taking, and by this time he steps out of the shower and towels off, he will be a smooth brown. It'll take a few days for eye pigmentation to respond to treatment, so until then, his blue eyes will look sort of exotic; and yeah, it might look a bit like he has dandruff throughout the day. But otherwise, when he meets Diana in the cafeteria for lunch, he'll be able to pass as up to five different South Asian nationalities. It cost a lot of his dad's money, but what the Hell else is the old man going to spend it on: his Estonian whore? Danny's needs are greater.

It's not easy being 12 years old.

4 comments:

FireBrand said...

You sick bastard

Words from Monk. said...

You think kids today are bad...

IKE MALVO said...

ten years from now (then) will he re-whiten to get a job or is he gonna keep chasing the South Asian fetishists and work in a call center? that is the question.

Aaron said...

Haha...the incongruous dichotomy of the absence of services typically expected in a place like the US and the hyperdeveloped electronic communication medium is already clearly present in China, where on the same street a man is dying from videogame marathon exhaustion and another man is negotiating the pitted dirt road on a rusty bicycle. Throw in a dash of wealth disparity and a half century of technological advancement, and here we are.