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. 


Boiler | The 50th Precinct | Kingsbridge, The Bronx

by Monk, New York City, NY, USA

The 50th Precinct rises four stories above bullet-ridden aluminum walls, a soot-stained brick box only two blocks from the new W. 238th Street el station, itself a symbol of Mayor Jimmy Chu's urban renewal plan. Took two days for the train station's support branches to congeal, another three for its pollution-absorbing carapace to harden, then two weeks to install the responsive sub-flooring into the platform, made of blocks that depress slightly under the force of human steps. The blocks' slip against one another as people walk the platform, generating power through the dynamo principle, converting motion into current, fed directly to the third rail. Mayor Chu's motto is 'New York: Powered by the People.' 238th Street station, a twisting ceramic and chrome thing grown by Brasilian engineers, is a monument to that credo. By contrast, nearby Kennedy High School is 1,534 students over its legal limit, staffed by a skeleton crew of tenured crones and guileless substitutes. Chu closed the Senior Services office on 232nd Street, suspended weekday recycling pickup, stripped the 50th Precinct's staff to its bone marrow, and staged rolling blackouts all summer to plug his hemmoraging budget. That's just in Kingsbridge. Chu's privation of the central and northeast neighborhoods have become legends to scare children at night: abandoned ghost stations on the 4/5/6 line, home to bizarre subterranean monster tribes. Cannibals roaming the abandoned gardens along Pelham Parkway. Packs of mutant dogs on Webster Avenue. Rogue bands of Bangladeshi death-midgets pillaging White Plains Road.

Throughout the Bronx, Mayor Jimmy Chu is burned in effigy.

Detective Tiny Schwarzbaum steps over Mayor Chu's torched likeness and some lightly toasted protest signs, waddling through the 50th Precinct's security checkpoint at Kingsbridge Avenue. No one greets him. He is a breathing version of 238th Street station: segmented tentacles where his arms should be, flat red plates instead of eyes, weird metamaterials woven into the fatty tissues that make up most of his ungainly mass, and the pairing apparatus in his head that painfully emotes omniscient Big Bug's needs. He's a chimera, and not a cheap one. Real cops collect welfare so Tiny Schwarzbaum can wipe his ass with multi-million dollar snake-arms. Another reason he works his beat alone.

50th Precinct's lobby smells of piss, blood, and vomit. Biological decompilers keep the big white room sterile, but the stink predates the floor treatment. Wall straight ahead looks like ink pressed between sheets of glass. Ripple in the surface brings up the Precinct's compiled intelligence, really just an overgrown administrative routine written with generic, inoffensive front end. In this case, an ethnically neutral matron dubbed 'Marge', whose kindly monotone pours over the intercom.

"Detective Schwarzbaum," the lobby drones. "Your shift does not begin for another fourteen hours. Do you need assistance?"

"Left something in my locker," he replies.

"Very well," the compiled intelligence says. "Have a good evening, Detective."

Walls to the left give way to staff facilities. Door to the right is the booking area and holding cells. Off hours, Marge won't let him over there. Too many 'escaped' prisoners. 50th Precinct's staff facilities were offices until fifteen years ago, since converted to a single common space, dotted with modular data cradles where detectives process their case footage, and Marge processes forensic input. Cube-bunks for midnighters to sleep off their shifts. Plastic lockers for a few personal effects. Mixed command center/barracks. Schwarzbaum duckwalks past cot-like data cradles to his locker, where he grabs a heavy lacquered box filled with lead slugs, and swaps it with an equally weighted brown plastic bag. Marge keeps track of locker content by weight, which is the upside to Chu's cutbacks. Modern precincts down in Manhattan can actually smell personal items, and would know the brown bag is filled with half a pound of sprocket: black tar heroin stamped out with synthetic Sonoran desert toad secretion. Opiate and powerful hallucinogenic. Street value of a small house on the Long Island Sound. Schwarzbaum's swag from an earlier shakedown, and the gift his Captain has been expecting.

Because while Tiny Schwarzbaum may be a monster, he knows what loyalty is.

After all, the basement IED that tore him apart could have left him a cripple. It was Captain Ranjitsinhji who made it his personal mission to ensure Schwarzbaum got his due. Was it the sleek cosmetic job that legendary Tom Dunwitty got? Of course not, because Lt. Dunwitty caught an explosive shell to the torso, saving then-Mayor Abdullah, and worked the Financial District. Up in the Bronx, Schwarzbaum was lucky his prostheses weren't powered by rubberbands or wheel-spinning hamsters. But Captain Ranjitsinhji used his connections to get at Lt. Dunwitty, and finessed the public figure into taking pity on poor Tiny Schwarzbaum. Suddenly, the newsfeeds were running stories day and night about the poor cop up in Kingsbridge breathing through a tube after disarming a bomb in the projects. It became an election issue. Mayor Abdullah, who owed his life to a cop, was seen as ungrateful for not approving Schwarzbaum's medical procedures. Jimmy Chu's sloganeering pushed the public over the top. The three-time incumbent lost. Bitterly. And knew exactly who to blame. From the reaches of political oblivion, Abdullah reached out one last time, and sabotaged Tiny's future.

No sleek bionic arms.

No new miraculous, life-like eyes.

Just these horrific flailing things, flat plastic lenses, constant annoyance of Big Bug paired to his frontal lobe, and transfer from Anti-Terror into Vice: the NYPD's graveyard.

In the end, Schwarzbaum knows he got off lucky. The sprocket in his locker is his Captain's painkiller. Only thing that evens him out these days. Mayor Abdullah had a lot of people invested in his incumbency. Powerful people. When the house of cards fell, it mostly landed on Ranjitsinhji. Or more accurately, on his beautiful family.

Who have been missing since Mayor Jimmy Chu's inaugural address.



by J. Cheek, Austin, TX, USA

The car looked out of place as it rumbled over the freshly paved, jet black surface of Manor Rd. The neatly manicured leaves on the little trees planted on the median stirred as it drove past, as if in revulsion at the small trail of blue smoke wafting sickly out of its tail pipe. All around, everything new and fresh looking, and here, a ‘41 Ford with a maroon paint job and a light blue right quarter panel lurched past, hung over on off-brand gasoline and oil oozing through cracked gaskets.

Marcos sympathized with it as he stood on the bright, clean concrete curb, watching as it drove through the intersection, around a bend, and out of sight. Thank goodness for a little cloud cover this morning, so that he could bear to be outdoors. In his head was a dull pressure and in his muscles, a jittery tiredness. His eyes had bags and his short, black hair was flattened and pushed upward at odd angles all over his head. In his mouth was an odd taste, a combination of morning breath, liquor, and her. Two flights of stairs were a chore, but he kept his head upright as he climbed up them deliberately, fumbling in his pocket for the keys to his condo as he reached the top.

Walking in, he set them on the counter, and crossed the hardwood floor to the fashionable sectional sofa, on which he dropped down unceremoniously, yawning. The clock on the TV told him it was 10:42 on this Sunday morning. He pondered this as his phone buzzed insistently in his hip pocket. According to the caller ID, it was Steve.


The voice on the other end came back far too enthusiastically for Marcos’ current state: “Southsiiiide!”

After a brief grunt, he replied, “What up, pimp?”

“Shit. Just tryin’ to be like you, man, gettin’ down with them freaks.”

“Shut up, puto. Don’t even hate. That’s what I get for goin’ down to SoCo.”

“Man, that shit was fun. I’m not even hatin’. ¿Que te pasó? How was it?”

Marcos wasn’t in a condition to relate everything that had gone on that night. Even if he had been, the exact details were a little bit foggy, due to the liquor and weed. A few details stuck in his mind clearly, however. He traced back the start of their evening to Fusion, a swanky lounge on 7th with glowing blue glass tubes and pricey drinks; the sort of place where one could meet a pretty, blonde personal banker or paralegal, hoping eventually to find someone a little higher up the food chain, but you’d do for now.

Austin had grown rapidly in the last 45 years. The technology industry continued to be good to the city, and brought tens of thousands of new jobs to the area, and people to fill them all. The city had nearly doubled in population since the millennium and there was a lot of money here, much of it in the interest-bearing checking accounts of young professionals such as Marcos and Steve. The University of Texas continued to be a major hub in the city, with a population of roughly 72,000 students. These two facts combined to make an ever-expanding demand for nightlife, and the already large downtown nightclub scene had nearly tripled in size in the last 50 years.

Thus, they had to take a train when they took the 13-block trek down to Florentino’s on South Congress Ave. to meet Steve’s cousin. The bar was dim, and a mix of Tejano, dance, and slow jams boomed roundly out of the jukebox. The crowd was a mixed bag, but the two young men stuck out in their dress shirts and expensive-looking shoes. Truthfully, they may as well have been white people in this crowd, because once you took the bridge over Town Lake, it was like a different city. Austin was always segregated to some degree, but gentrification on the east side, former home of its lower-income (and mostly non-white) citizens had pushed them south. Even Marcos’ luxury condo sat on land that had been check cashers and low rent apartments 20 years ago.

He’d taken a break from the loud, joyful, drunk conversation of Steve’s cousin’s friends to speak to one girl, however, and ten minutes later, found himself dancing to a sad, slow Mexican waltz with her. As the tune faded out in the flaccid jukebox speakers, she whispered something to him, and a nod to Steve was all the notification he gave that they were leaving.

“Oh you know,” he spoke into the phone. “We went back to her place, it was good.”

“Right on. Did you…?”

Indeed he did. Tiny ,one room apartment. Squeaky bed. Roach end of a spliff still burning in the ashtray. Heaven.

A simple “Yup,” was all he related of this to his friend.

“How was she?”

At this point he became slightly more animated, “Man, shit is crazy down there. You wouldn’t believe.”

“Right on, right on. Manchaca mackin’. I see you, pimp.”

In truth, she didn’t live near Manchaca Rd., but this was no time to get caught up in details. The ride home in that world-weary car hadn’t been too pleasant, but it was nice of her to offer, anyway. When he got out, he kissed her and said he would call, but they both knew that was unlikely. She was quite clearly from the south side, and he, equally as clearly, was not.

Steve asked, “What are you doin’ later?”

“Pssssh…sleepin’, fool. I’ll holla.”

“Holla at me then, guey!”

As he flipped the phone closed and set it on the floor, his eyelids were already closing.


Dry River

by zesi, Atlanta, GA, USA

The Rio Grande, the border of Texas and Mexico

The name Trevor Reyes, Border Control glints off his badge in the unbearable sun, unsympathetic to all human life, regardless of lado. His green-blue eyes are the only safe water in sight; he has a Camelback IV keeping him hydrated. Otherwise, he’d be dead and stinking like the viejos he picks up, lucky enough to get through all the border shit, but run dry and ragged like so many of the creeks here. They flooded the Rio with all the water they could find around here; hired a biologist, who, in his supreme rational mind, decided that to make the territory more dangerous and less livable, they needed a river of waste to stay flowing, and the land around to die. It’s only Texas, after all. It’s only Mexico, tambien. Care has been carefully excised from his scientific method, the concerns of human life beyond that of a man beyond humanity. Green should grow in pockets.

Trevor’s badge is what keeps him and the others from being picked up here. Ex-coyotes, gangstas, gangsters, petty thieves, drug runners, and tejanos sin viviendas, como Trevor, whose town has turned into a gashed land, the land cracked deep enough to lose a baby or dog in, hemorrhaging its residents, who would pray at their altars if they still believed in the strength of altars, of gods. “Dios ya se fue,” said Trevor’s mother, and she, too, fue a otro lugar, al norte. At one time when she was little, she’d say, she could cross the border, see her other family, the home language ringing loud in her ears, the home food siting warm in her belly, the home people everywhere, to touch and to watch be. With the coming of la fuerza at the border, their voices became echoes, and with the land dead now, the home language just faintly sounded, and only between her two ears. She sent him a letter, Hijo, she said, I stay in Oklahoma, Hijo, she said, why are you still there?, Hijo, she said, why not move here with me? Hijo, she did not say in ink, but in the faint hum between her ears, don’t you remember me, the music I come from?

Trevor sits, sighs, no dead bodies today, their remains smell likes God’s farts, powerful, lingering. Reconnaissance, maybe they have moved further down the river. This is his favorite, to walk in an abandoned place, the work running in his subconscious, his alert mind contemplating dinner, a new shirt for his date, sex with air conditioning. They can run, but they can’t hide, his commander said and smiled, his gold tooth the same color as his sweating skin. He does not think of his mother here, he does not think of Mexico. He thinks of the border, of himself simultaneously as a cowboy, a vigilante of justice, a gatekeeper. He has never been to Mexico-Mexico, it does not exist at the border’s jointly-controlled no man’s land. He could never go because he could get stuck there, his passport stolen or his body held for ransom. Still, when he was little and the wind was right, the smell of Mexico would go over the river and reach him. But that his been some time now. And even with his mother’s food and her Mexinglish, he knew that there was not the same as here. He has convinced himself of this country being his patria, this Texas, this United States, his for the taking. Like his mother had, like los blancos that had crossed so long ago. While the taste of promised freedom had become bitter, acrid in his mother’s mouth, he ate it all, like a plate of meat and three. Consumed by the hunger, he digested without tasting. Maybe he could marry Brittany, Mexican in that 1/16th of her that is her last name, blonde, perfect, a could-be willing wife, a supplicant to his ambition. Their kids could have his eyes, her skin and pedigree, his smarts. Could live where they want, do what they want, take care of Mommy and Daddy when they get old.

His eyes search for the border language, directional signs, rosaries, shoes, worthless money of their home saying in its silence, come this way, you can get there this way. When he finds it, he pockets it. He searches for the satellite jammers, homemade from computer parts and stolen telecommunication parts, that the smarter ones plant to give themselves some lead time before they meet La Llorona™, the anti-illegal security system. He marks all that he finds on his map, beaming his data back to satellite, the data they’ve been collecting for twenty five years, an ever shifting collection of dots around the Rio’s expanse, moving like the desert this has now become. They joke on both lados and call it the Little Sahara.

He sits down for his lunch, unpacks some shade from his backpack. His alert bracelet sounds. Shit, he mumbles with mustarded bologna crumbs falling out his mouth. Illegals fucking up my lunch.