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. 


In Search of... Pt III

By Chris Beckett, Hampden, ME, USA

Keenan Archer stared out the windows as they flew over the thick green expanse below. It was a stark contrast to the scorched earth that had greeted them as they’d come in off the Atlantic five minutes prior. Flying as low as they were made it seem as if this new verdant area went on forever. He shifted in his seat and leaned forward to the pilot.

“How much longer ‘til we’re there?” he asked.

The pilot didn’t turn, but grunted his reply, “You’ll know.”

Keenan leaned back in his seat. His hard features tightened as dark blue eyes turned to slits; he didn’t like being in the dark. Running his fingers through the short bristles atop his head, Keenan returned his gaze to the treetops skimming by below him.


It was only a few minutes before a large cut in the trees became visible. A huge mansion rose from the middle of the clearing, which appeared to have no exit routes spoking off from the residence.

The sleek chopper set down easily, and Keenan pulled open the door and stepped out. A tiny lump clenched in his gut. He tried to ignore it as the chopper rose into the air, leaving him in the middle of a wide lawn.

Keenan surveyed his surroundings. There was a lot of money here. The ornate lintel above the front doorway, the delicate woodwork framing the many windows, and the meticulously trimmed hedges illustrated that. But the guards standing behind the tall shrubs at either corner, as well as the four stationed on the roof, told Keenan all he needed to know.

Satisfied, he proceeded up the small incline toward the marble steps.


“You do understand. You will do this.” The old man wheezed as he steadied himself against the banister. The stilted movements of Elijah Kaczmerak were subtle, most people wouldn’t have noticed. The old man was wearing a sophisticated exo-skeleton under his finely pressed suit.

Keenan had been going back and forth with Kaczmerak for twenty minutes now, and they seemed no closer to a resolution than when he’d first entered. The only commodity worth trafficking in was information, but the old man refused to give an inch.

Kaczmerak wanted his daughter found, but had no idea where she would have gone. Keenan had prodded him for anything that could help – hobbies, friends, online avatars, strange behavior, family history – and Kaczmerak clipped off any discussion as if he were hiding some thorny secret. And that knot in the pit of Keenan’s stomach continued to throb lightly as he worked to remain focused on the withered face before him.

“Listen. Mr. Kaczmerak. If you’re unwilling to give me some shred of information, I’m not sure how I can be of service to you. It’s really as simple as that.” Keenan could hear the frustration rising in his voice and silently criticized himself for starting to lose control.

“Young man. I cannot see how trivial incidents in my daughter’s past might assist in discovering her current whereabouts. She has grown past any indiscretions of her tender years and you would do well not to probe any further.

“I do not think you realize with whom you are dealing.” Despite his obvious ill health, Elijah Kaczmerak spit out these final words with such venom that Keenan was momentarily taken aback.

“Now,” continued the old man, “I do have something of which you might be interested, if you can get past your affinity for tangential matters.” The old man’s eyes narrowed as he stared down the investigator.

“When my daughter was eleven she took ill – the details are unimportant – and she was rushed to the nearest hospital. It was necessary for her to undergo surgery, and I arranged for the doctor to implant her with a microchip, the better to keep track of her. I wasn’t sure I would ever need it, but felt it prudent to take such a precaution. I will share the frequency with you.

“But in doing so, you must understand that you will be agreeing to a contract that can only end one of two ways. I would suggest option A, which would be to return my daughter here. To me.” The menace in Kaczmerak’s voice was laced with a derision that Keenan had rarely encountered.

“And just to make sure you do not feel I am treating you wrongly . . .” Elijah Kaczmerak snapped his fingers and Gregory stepped into the atrium. The old man turned to his butler, who nodded subtly and told his employer, “It has been taken care of, sir.”

“Good,” rasped the old man. Turning back to Keenan, as Gregory softly removed himself, Elijah told the investigator to “check your account.”

Keenan reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his PalmCard. Tapping the screen, he accessed his professional account and saw the balance to be a million creds heavier than he remembered.

“Consider that a retainer,” said Kaczmerak. “I will also pay double your daily fee, plus all expenses.

“Just make sure you bring my girl home.”

Keenan’s head raced with questions – why hadn’t the old man offered the microchip information earlier being foremost – but instead he allowed himself a broad smile and told Kaczmerak, “It looks like we have a deal.”

To be continued . . .


King of the Californias Pt VII

by Monk Eastman of New York City, NY, USA

My subject steps onto the balcony as if his night just segued from a dinner party with foreign dignitaries. He sits, one leg folded delicately over the other, scoops up his abandoned martini, drains the glass in one gulp. Were it not for the pistol dangling from his free hand, there would be no obvious indication he'd survived an assassination attempt forty-three minutes ago, or that the sole survivor of the incident was perched in his hotel suite living room, pinned to the floor by a softknife. His livetattoos scroll by, a Gutenberg Bible worming across his brow, one prayer at a time.

I ask if he is alright.

Mr Goncz chuckles, extracts a vial of tobacco from his black linen jacket, some rolling paper, and reclines in a chair I reckon cost roughly the GDP of Guatemala. "I should be asking you the same thing, eh?"

I assure him of my condition, and ask who is attackers were, if he knows their motives.

"'Motive'," he says, popping the finished cigarette in his mouth, lighting it with a candle from the crystal tabletop. He inhales, brow furrowing. The livetattoos morph into a long line of question marks.

I tell him that if he doesn't know, it's an equally acceptable answer.

"Where you from, homes?" he asks.

I remind him of the dossier my employer forwarded to his press agent.

"I didn't ask about a presskit sent by some piece of shit necktie sitting behind a desk in Chicago. I asked where you're from."

Someone dumps a bucket of ice down my back. Heart rate spikes. Sphincter clenches. A battledrone built somewhere in Guandong swoops by. Someone has painted 'Central Coast Surfboy Nazis Say Hi, Niggers!' on its side. I wonder if whoever painted it thought the insurgents in East Oakland would ever pay that much attention, as the automated raptor dropped decompiler bombs on their nursery schools and churches. I think about the dead and dying just a few miles from here, and wonder if the Palma de Baís's security staff will be disposing of my body the way they disposed of Goncz's would-be assassins. I wonder if they would wake my mother from her voluntarily induced coma to tell her how her son died. Or if anyone would ever know.

I tell him where I'm from.

The answer pastes itself against Oakland's neon skyline, screeching ceramic warbirds flying past, bombing the Deep East End into a flatland of crushed mortar and powdered bone. Artillery thunders, cry of emergency sirens fifty stories below, soldiers clear Jack London Square; sound of bent-hip California thrashing in its bed. Cecilio Goncz, warlord and entrepreneur, still as a baby's corpse, his thousand-dollar-a-gram tobacco wasting away as his cigarette dangles idly from the corner of his mouth. The moon above seems to hold its breath.

"If that's the case," Goncz says slowly, "then you know 'motive' isn't always what does it."

I ask if he thinks the woman in his living room would agree with that sentiment.

"Ay," he growls. "Don't be getting smart with me now. Just because you're—" He stops, flicks some ash, uncrosses his legs. The livetattoos turn to lightning bolts. "Just because we're talking here, like people, doesn't invite you to get all fuckheaded with me, get it? It's a whole world out there, would kill you for something a lot less rational than 'motive.' Things in this world, you can't always put a name to them."

I agree, and tell him so.

He looks at me sideways. "Figured you might." He finishes his cigarette, flicks the butt off the balcony. Stares at me for a moment, then brandishes his pistol. "Am I going to need this around you?"

I ask why he didn't ask that before accepting my interview.

"Because I used to have an assistant. And a chauffeur. And a bodyguard."

And now he doesn't. He has to be his own security. Reminder that the old days of murder and pillage are not so far away, even at the Palma de Baís hotel. And that maybe, just maybe, he's grown tired of them. I tell him he won't need the pistol for me. He smirks, lays it on the table.

"For my peace of mind, then. Or maybe for mi amor in the living room."

When I ask him what he intends to do with his prisoner, his shoulders move a little. It's almost a shrug. Given his time in the bedroom, communicating with the shrinking community of expatriate Los Angeles warlords; I ask if there have been an similar precedents.

"This is the Palma de Baía, homey," he says reproachfully. "They don't call it a 'bedroom'. They call it a 'sleepvault'. Bed's this bean-shaped fucking coffin, filled with warm saline and those acoustic things that shut your brain off. And yeah there's 'precedent', and yeah, I'm going to have a little talk with my new ladyfriend at some point, but you don't need to hear all that. Take your ass downstairs. Go to sleep."

I ask him when he will sleep.

The livetattoos fade. He raises his chin to California's sky, closes his eyes. "There is no sleep. I maybe rest, some time. Maybe later, if the night lets me. But the biggest maybe is maybe you fuck off 'til tomorrow, write up your little write-up. Let old Cecilio do what he does best without those eyes of yours on me."

I make for the door, pause as I look at the woman nailed to the floor.

"She ain't gonna hurt you. Just go."

Look back, and those organic, grafted alligator's teeth leer at me from the darkness. If he has not had me killed in my bed, and I am alive in the morning, I will continue the interview. Do my best to remain objective.

And find out exactly what kind of man my father is.


The Boulevard of Broken Glass

by Nicolas Papaconstantinou, Southampton, UK of elephantwords.co.uk

ân Hannigan crossed from nTown into nHigh via underpass, the carriageway traffic rumbling above her. She exited onto the broken-down street, paused to get her bearings, and moved on.

In some parts of town, the ground crunches underfoot—accumulated years of discarded glass, broken and ground down, coat the concrete pavements. The city gave maintaining these streets. Crossing the imaginary boundary from nTown to nHigh, Siân stepped onto one of these glittering pathways. Like a native, she took it in her stride.

You’re going to Northam High, you wear boots, you walk careful, and you try not to fall down. She thought.

Pretty good advice in general, she realised.

The early evening street was deserted, and well enough lit by the moon and the streetlights that she could see anyone coming from a mile off. The mix of buildings here was odd—local commerce jostled with worn red brick residences, the results of Noughtie gentrification that didn’t stick. Mumbling of music and raised voices came from behind pub doors.

She pulled herself in, hunching against the bitter cold. She had expected a lift to the gig, and wasn’t dressed for winter. Goosebumps prickled her bare tummy, and the fuck-me boots and lissom skirt left her legs exposed. She felt stupid wearing the skirt. The LCT material it was made of, designed to pick up and visualise ambient transmissions, and calibrated for local traffic, stayed a static, light grey. Every now and then, it would pick up some stray wireless activity, wordflicker shifting across it like a placeholder.

nHigh was a satellite dead-spot most of the day—very few locals had the means to make coverage worth providing—besides, they liked to keep things wired down and difficult to intercept. So here, after dark, the skirt was nothing but an impractical fashion glitch. At least her top was better insulated then it looked, bra well padded, black lace over it interwoven with temperature regulating micro-filaments. Her hair gave some comfort, too, long and feathered against her back, the black bushiness of it extending down almost to her arse.

October nights were cold this far from the remote-heated city centre, where Christmas crowds frenzied. Christmas was like a habit that the country got into years ago, and never thought to drop.

Not here on Mary Street, though. Here there were just drunks, hiding in the orange light of the pubs, vents spurting smoke out into the crisp air. Siân breathed it in as she walked. You weren’t allowed to smoke, most places—she felt comforted by the subversiveness going on down here.

The gig was going to be shit—she had known it since getting the assignment. The venue was an old converted church that acted as a rest-stop on the way to whatever mean fame real artists could muster now. The band, some fuckdog faux anarchists whose name refused to stick in her mind, were allegedly on the way into that particular celebrity cul-de-sac. Her editor wanted a positive review, but Siân already knew what she thought of their music—same as it ever was. She had heard it all before. They were a copy of a copy of a copy, like everything else in her life, the signal and the noise eroded through time by repetition.

Siân knew that she had to show willing. But at twenty two years old, she sensed that the music she was covering shouldn’t be making her feel so old.

Where the light hit the pavement, the glass looked like a million tiny cut diamonds, spots of crusted blood here and there.

No boots for pigeons.

She grinned, despite herself, and tried not to think about the dogs that lived in places like this - brutish, slab-headed things, pre-bred with hard, calloused paws and broad grins.

In the shadows, only the sharpest glass caught the light, glinting like stars.

Siân tried not to get pissed off, but it was hard. With so much of the stuff out there either estate-authorised tribute acts for decades back artists, or worse, digitally generated new songs from those same old, dead twats, bands like this one tonight should be a source of hope.

Slim hope.

Siân felt her hands forming fists, and stopped for a second. Breathing exercises, half remembered.

She heard glass break nearby, and pricked her ears in its direction. She could hear something, a sound from her childhood. Crossing the road towards the noise, she felt the cold prickles of a pressure drop on her face, and her skin flustering out toward it.

She stood outside a pub. The sound was voices, older voices, raised to sing, a piano being played, badly, inside. Not, to be fair, as badly as some of the singing. But the song... the song was one that she remembered sung by her parents, always in the winter.

Her dad was the kind of Irish that all English was around St Pats—envious and not Irish at all. Her mum was middle-class Winchester, married down. But this particular song was traditional to them, and to the people inside the pub - she could tell from the feeling that hearing it put in the pit of her stomach.

...Sinatra was swinging, all the drunks they were singing...

Fuck yes... she hadn’t put her finger on it, because it wasn’t there to touch in music any more, but this was what it was supposed to feel like. Triumphal. Tragic. Aspirational. Messy.

She wanted to know the name of the place, so she looked up. At around the same time that the sky opened.

In her four years in this dirty old town, it hadn’t snowed at all. Now, it came down. Millions of snowflakes, tiny and unique. The music played, and Siân felt young again.

She couldn’t read the name of the place, but didn’t suppose it mattered. The gig would not be good, she knew, but now that didn’t matter so much either.


What Is Lost.

by Dr Reed Levine, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Tuesday. The South Shore of Long Island.

What transpires when an immovable object is confronted with an unstoppable force?

I returned home to find things oddly unchanged from what my memories told me. Even with water everywhere, it more or less looked the same, only greener. Floating above the house, looking down, it looked just like it had on Google Earth when I had last looked about 40 years back. Our house, unlike every other one for miles in any direction, was unique.

Prior to my family taking ownership, it had been the homestead of the man who was responsible for building 90% or so of all the other houses in the neighborhood. Those other houses were all from one of five cookie-cutter models. Over the years, various owners had made renovations and updates but behind the make-up was that same old face. As a child, it was bizarre going to various friends’ homes and discovering they all lived in the same home with different furniture and wallpaper. I could go to anyone’s house and know where the bathroom was or how big the closet in their sister’s bedroom was. How many stairs led to the basement…

My home though was different. It was a brick box, supposedly built for free courtesy of all the people the man who used to live there hired. You want the contract to supply copper wire to four hundred homes? Wire my home for free. Want to sell us the cement for this entire neighborhood? Lay my foundation gratis. And so on.

So it was a flat-roofed brick home I now floated idly above. Living on the shore Long Island, we had periodically heard of the threat of erosion slowly eating away at our property. The true end came much faster.

It had taken roughly eight months for the water to rise from doorstep to rooftop. Now it was deep enough that a motorboat could cruise over the roof without threat of damage to their submerged prop. A horseshoe crab scuttled menacingly through a broken window. Jellyfish in my kitchen, shrimp swarming in my parent’s bedroom.

Down there I once ate breakfast in an innocent warm summer sun, lost my first tooth, planted peas and smiled when their sweet pods swelled, vanished into comic books, played angsty drums after returning from high school, got splinters in my feet every summer running barefoot on the deck. I don’t have the heart to dive down and swim through my old bedroom. Instead I swim back up and surface. I climb back into the worn boat I chartered a mere 12 minutes after diving off.

“Back so soon”, the pilot asks, looking at his watch, “the boat is still yours for another hour and a half.”

“Take me home,” I exhale, my face dripping with a saline wetness that well conceals my tears.

What I say next is lost under the roar of the outboard’s motor as we turn and begin the long ride back to the mainland.