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 VII

By Chris Beckett, Hampden, ME, USA

It was later than Karen would have preferred. Three weeks in the city and she had yet to acclimate fully; she couldn’t remember landmarks, seemed unable to focus. Anxiety followed her like a stray dog. Karen would catch herself looking over her shoulder, hoping not to get caught staring. It was more than she had expected and Karen wondered if coming here was a bad decision.

Retracing her day, Karen tried to find the time that had gone missing. As she’d wandered a derelict building near Highbridge Park a heavy veil had fallen across the city. Even with the constellation of lights burning from shops and bodegas and above the odd street corner, there was something in the night that clutched at Karen’s stomach. For years she had refused to give in to her father’s bullying, but this feeling in the pit of her stomach wouldn’t go away.

Karen’s feet beat out a rapid staccato on the pavement as she weaved through small crowds of people, head down, holding tight what items she’d found, her mind continuing to roll back over the day.

She had been scavenging, and there was so much to go through up at Highbridge. Unlike her struggle with New York’s maze of concrete and broken tar, Karen had adapted quickly to the barter system on the street, though it was still difficult at times for her to differentiate items of value from ones of little import. Indecision had kept her occupied, meandering through the refuse of others’ lives, the taint of this peculiar voyeurism clinging to her long after she left.

Fatigue weighed heavy on her eyelids as Karen turned east on to MLK Boulevard. Rubbing at the sleep setting in, Karen glanced around at the fires now dotting the alleys. Gathering places for scores of pilgrims in search of the American dream, they – like Karen – had encountered little more than a nightmare. She could not stand it for long and had to look away, raising her head to the dim moon above, its ghost image piercing the gray clouds skimming by.

What was she doing here?

Money stolen during passage to the city had long since evaporated. Karen had expected to find work easily; anything would have been acceptable. She only needed enough to keep afloat while she searched for Cedric, but there seemed even less opportunity here for Karen than if she had stayed in Maine. She tried turning tricks but was lacking an exotic look with no body modifications, which most of those she’d encountered were looking for. So she got by, rummaging through garbage piles and rusted dumpsters for something to trade – or worse, something to eat. It had sustained her so far, but each day was tougher than the last.

Things weren’t going as planned.

One Hundred-Twelfth Street loomed ahead (where had the other streets gone?) and her steps became lighter. Closing the last two blocks, she turned onto Central Park North. She wanted to run but her legs resisted; the Thai noodles from earlier had long since burned out.

A tall man was approaching from the opposite end of the park. He wore a ball cap, his face lost in shadow. Karen’s pace slowed as he passed her, his smile making the hair on her neck stand up. She turned to follow his progress, the glow of the street light falling on a tattoo at the nape of his neck, coruscating in a swirl of Asian symbols. Karen had no idea what it said, but was happy to see him continue on without giving her a second glance.

She gave the man a few more steps before turning back toward her goal, stepping from the hard black onto soft green and walked west to a close clump of trees. In the middle, a massive oak rose above them all, its trunk unlike anything she’d seen in Maine. Karen was home.

Ignoring the tension still resting on her shoulders, Karen mounted the lower branches and climbed a third of the way up. Two large branches crossed at this point, forming a cradle for Karen’s tired body. Pulling what she’d found from inside her jacket, she slid the items into the small opening just above her head.

Pulling down her backpack, she slid her laptop out as leaves below her rustled. Karen’s breath caught in her throat as a lower limb creaked and someone grabbed her ankle, dragging Karen from her perch.

To be continued . . .


King of the Californias Pt X

by Monk Eastman, New York City, NY, USA

The corner of Broadway and Embarcadero smells like fresh earth and mother ocean. The sea breeze is signature California: rolls across me like Nirvana. My shoulders unbunch. The tension in the middle of my forehead loosens. Suddenly I'm grinning like some kind of drugged idiot. Back in the 20s, a professor at UC-SB theorized the local flora stimulated human production of endorphins––California as pheromonal Feelgood Factory. Only the Department of Tourism was sold on the theory, but fresh-faced tourists from every corner of the globe still walk, bicycle, and skate past, that same subtle grin on their mugs. It's got mythical qualities, California, and when you've got it good, the place is Eden.

Across the street, construction on the Memorial Promenade continues. They wanted antique, sun-bleached cobblestone walk, and have actual workmen digging up Embarcadero all the way to East Street: picks and shovels, grunting and sweating. What they used to call 'honest work' before that kind of labor became pointless. Some would argue when I say 'pointless'. After all, could an engineering firm wave a magic wand and generate the same rustic artisanship? Would there be the quaint imperfections of hand-quarried stone? Any good fabrication engineer would agree with me and tell you that science has square-rooted the subtlety of natural-looking limestone down to the final decimal. That as a civilization, we're so far removed from even knowing what natural quarried stone looks like; the fabricated stuff is indistinguishable. Antiquarians swear we'd know the difference, though. Normally, I'd ridicule, except I can taste the difference between locally-farmed coffee and the fabricated stuff, which isn't supposed to happen. Score one for the antiquarians, I suppose. They get their hand-crafted promenade.

I'm just glad the men are working by the waterfront and not sitting idly in the East End, waiting for the rain of decompiler bombs.

The Promenade falls in the shadow of what locals call the Embarcadero Curtain: a brand new skyline that blocks the sun. The Palma de Baía is one of twenty luxury hotels on the strip, and one of the few with rigid construction: solid frame for the hotel, but a liquid interior, meaning its iconic, candied shell is constant, but the interior layout and decor is customizable and programmable. Al-Ansur/Menschowicz+Yiu (realspace Saõ Paolo, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Boston, and Kingston) maintain the interior fabrication based on designs by the Hubert Vokker Firm of Soho. Its immediate neighbor, The Bacon-Yeates, is a growth culture, shaped like a giant green jellied dome. Yesterday it was a beautiful blue 35-story porcupine quill. Beside that, the Auld American looks like the Washington Monument. The owners are Japanese, and keep a rigid, highly-publicized schedule. This time next month, the hotel will look like Mt. Rushmore. My mother's wife has an alarming desire to spend their anniversary in Theodore Roosevelt's nose, and who am I to deny her? There's a world of frenzied tourists looking to cash in before the Republic of Northern California falls apart, crashes the economy, or both.

I turn up Broadway, towards one of a dozen markets, marked by bright pastel tents and kiosks made of stray bits of wood, plastic, and corrugated steel. Sounds of farmlife bleating and the somber capitalist mewling of people with nothing useful to sell. A bent crone offers recycled cotton from the back of a mule marked 'property of NGen'. The company leases clones all over NoCal. 'Telefauna', they call them. 'The ultimate renewable resource.' NGen has been banned in Europe and South America for usury. There's even a bill waiting in Congress to penalize the company, but it's pretty toothless, by all accounts. New England, the Greenbelt and Florida have banned clone leasing, but otherwise, there's not a lot regulating NGen in the States--or here in California. If the old lady sells every scrap of cotton, she'll probably still owe money on the transportation she used bringing it downtown. Rough market, Oakland.

I purchase an orange from a toothless Okie no older than fifteen, swastika and crossbones in the middle of his forehead, little black lightning bolts dancing across his knuckles. I wonder if he even knows what they mean. The orange is bitter, probably grown at one of those terrible organic farms up in Mar Verde. Buy coconut water from a Jamaican woman shrouded in full hijab, smile visible even through her veil.

Mill past stalls offering scavenged junk from the ruins of San Francisco, stalls selling hand-carved wooden toys, stalls selling home-made housecleaning robots, stalls selling 'salvaged gourmet' from luxury hotel garbage...block after block of stalls, voices risen in English, Gonja, Ewe, Portuguese, Spanish, Farsi, Cantonese, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Arabic, Russian...every exile in the world, here. Say what you will about Prime Minister Pivens, but his open door policy for refugees has probably saved more lives than his domestic agenda could ever ruin.
Stop at a tent selling military surplus, supposedly from Sacramento. Cracked pieces of ceramic armor, optic fragments from siting equipment, scraps of camouflage. Hunks of metal, twisted by unimaginable fury. I linger over the military patches. Mostly Golden Bear stuff. A few animated paramilitary patches. Then I spot the sword with three lightning bolts. U.S. Special Forces' patch. 

America in California.

It doesn't even sound natural. I'm about to ask the price of the patch, when I spot a great terrible smile beaming at me from across the market, made of alligator's teeth grafted into a human mouth.

Cecilio Goncz raises an espresso cup in my direction, seated delicately at a small folding table by a steaming coffee cart pushed by a crusty-looking Okie with flat eyes and a bent nose. The subject of my project's smile is ghoulish in dusk light--in daylight, it's positively frightening. He waves me over, pointing to his drinking partner, a creature I recognize on sight.

Montoya Dred.

The Devil of Laguna Beach.

Sitting for a cup of afternoon coffee with my father.