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 IX

by Chris Beckett, Hampden, ME, USA

Elijah Kaczmerak’s throat rattled, his coughs insistent as he spit blood into his handkerchief. Gregory stood close by, fearful the old man might collapse.

“Where’s that *cough* goddamn doctor?” In the weeks Dr. Ziantara had been at the house, she had yet to find a new mixture to help the old man.

“I’m not sure, sir.” Gregory winced as he spoke.

“Fuckin’ cunt.” Tears slipped from Kaczmerak’s weathered eyes as he gasped for air, pounding the console on his chair in frustration.

“Fuck!!” The word echoed off the high ceiling as the leather-bound books inhabiting the shelves absorbed the rest of his cry.

Sylindra Ziantara walked into the library, soft shoes masking the doctor’s approach. “Elijah, I’ve told you to stop acting like a child. You can’t expect to get better if you insist on being foolish.”

The old man glared at the doctor as she approached him. “What the fuck *cough* have you got for me?”

“I decided to try something different. I took one of the vials left and mixed Methandrostenolone with your DNA sample. Theoretically, it should bolster this sample enough to cultivate a new batch of stem cells.” Her voice trailed off, the final word hanging between them.

As wasted as he was, Kaczmerak still caught the hesitance in her voice. “What the hell are you not telling me? *cough* And don’t bullshit me doctor *cough* I don’t need that from you.”

“If it works – and there’s no guarantee it will – I don’t expect these cells to hold up very long. You need a donor if you want to see your next birthday, Elijah.”

“Don’t fucking cry over me *cough* I’ll most likely outlive you.

*cough* “When the fuck *cough* will it be *cough* ready?” Kaczmerak doubled over as another fit took hold of his body. Blood spattered the back of his hands as mucous trickled from his nostrils. Sylindra knelt beside the old man “it’s okay” and rubbed his back as she took one of his hands “it’ll be all right” in hers, trying to will the man’s pain away “I will find something.”

Gregory watched for a minute and then exited silently from the room.

It was nearly four minutes before Elijah was able to catch his breath, the air rattling in his throat as it passed over his scarred esophagus. “How much time?” he whispered.

“Three months. Maybe six –”

“No, you dumb bitch. How long until the batch is ready?” Elijah dropped his head, closed his eyes, wouldn’t look at her.

“Oh,” she said. “It should be ready by the end of the day.”

“Good,” said Kaczmerak. “Get me a glass of water. Then you can leave.”



“Hey. Wake up.”

Karen Kaczmerak opened her eyes, squinting at the harsh light that streamed through the window.

“The rain stopped. We’re headin’ down to the square, check things out. You should come.” Jamal had a big grin on his face like some little kid that just got his first ice cream of the summer.

“No. I don’t think so,” said Karen as she brushed the hair from her face.

“What is that? You been here weeks now, that airsplint’s kept your ankle in place, an’ it should be healed already.

“So why can’t you come down to the square?” Jamal’s smile had vanished.

“I just don’t feel like it.” Karen pulled away, wrapping herself in her arms as if warding off the chill of a winter morning.

“Hey.” Jamal’s features softened as he crouched beside the mattress Karen was using for a bed. “I didn’t mean to snap. I’m just worried about you bein’ cooped up here all the time.

“It ain’t healthy. And it ain’t no way to find your brother.”

“Don’t talk about him!” Karen snapped and pulled her chin into her chest.


“Whatever.” Jamal stood up, throwing his hands in the air as he shook his head. “You wanna keep feelin’ sorry for yourself, go ahead, but I’m not about to help you with your pity party. You decide you wanna see the world again, come on down and let me know. Maybe we talk then.”

Jamal was pulling the door closed as Karen spoke up. “Hey,” she said from beneath a mop of blond hair, her voice pulling the tall man back around the doorframe. “Are you leaving right now, or do I have time to freshen up?”

Jamal smiled thinly, curiosity filtering through his eyes. “I can prob’ly wait a couple minutes. But don’t take too long. Had a girl once was like that. Never could get anywhere on time, and she was a bitch anyway, so I had to drop her.

“Don’t make me drop you,” Jamal said with a wink.

Karen smiled as she got up from the mattress. “Don’t worry about that.

“I’m not a bitch.”

To be continued . . .


King of the Californias Pt. XII

by Monk Eastman, NYC, NY, USA

I've drank everything from Gayo Sumatra to Ethiopian Horse Harar, and the black pudding swirling at the bottom of this tin cup is as likely coffee as it is drain cleaner or shaving cream. Nonetheless, at Cecilio Goncz's urging, I drink. One doesn't wisely turn down the man who bit the Vice-President of the United State's nose off and politely mailed it back to him.

The stuff tastes like someone boiled hot dogs in it, mixed with rancid anise and cardamom. My tongue tries to escape down the back of my throat. I immediately know what I'm drinking. From that time in Postville, following a White Supremist insurgency, and again in Jamaica when I covered the Maypen riots. This is not coffee. This is technology I'm drinking. Soluble communication safeguard, some call it. A friend at Interpol used to call the stuff 'baffle-aid'. It's basically a counter-jamming agent. With so many ways to record and transmit a conversation in the modern age, people have come up with jamming techniques that range from light-bending umbrellas that block satellite imaging, to personal radiation generators that create a EMP field, crashing most sophisticated technology (while incidentally giving cancer, as I understand it). What I just drank reinforces any kind of personal transmissions from the human body. In my case, that qualifies as the tracking culture I took before I left Chicago. That tells me we may be leaving this Oakland market soon. And that Cecilio Goncz wants people to know where we are.

"It's good, yeah?" Goncz says. "Best coffee in Northern California."

I choke out something like an affirmative. My gag reflex is dancing.

Montoya Dred gnaws his ragged, bleeding pinky nail. "Stuff tastes like something you'd season a rotting whale with."

"Subtle as a machete, Monty."

"Told you not be fucking calling me Monty," Dred says, spitting out a shred of fingernail. "I don't be calling you 'CeCe', do I? And shit, you know I could. Me and Kelz called you that all the time, back in the day. Cute little thing like you, back then. Shit, 'CeCe' was the least we called you, remember?"

"Ha," Goncz says, showing off his sharpened teeth. "Monty, my man, let's you and me be straight with each other for once, yeah? Because that mouth of yours is testing new fuckin' waters, homes, and that ain't exactly someplace you wanna swim. We ain't in L.A. and you ain't got the chops here that you had there. And even when you had 'em, you ain't had the chops to do much by me. Not once I was grown. And that's a long time, Monty. Long time. Maybe ten years back, you coulda got away with that mouth. Now? Shit, homes. You can't go ten minutes without throwing a fit. Man like you can't even shave without it turning into a suicide attempt. So keep that wiggly little prick of yours in your pants, yeah? You don't want a pissing match with me in front of the kid."

Dred barks something in Los Angeles pidgin. Goncz tenses, says something back. What I can pick out of the exchange amounts to mutual threats and something involving Mr Goncz's mother. And a Tijuana mule.

It's the same question I keep coming back to, listening to conversations like these. When The Little Big One hit, Los Angeles became this tiny island, run by over a dozen belligerent, dangerous pricks just like Goncz and Dred. How did anyone survive as long as they did out there? How do you keep any kind of balance of power in that kind of environment? Like a madhouse out there, everyone juggling chainsaws. And here they are in NoCal, the madhouse brought with them.

"Any time you wanna go, fuckface," Dred sneers in English, "I'm right here."

My father just smiles, those expensive shark grafts showing off every edge and barb. He waves at the coffee cart, and the scabrous old Okie limps over to refresh his cup with genuine coffee. Goncz passes it to me, lets me cleanse my palate. Second cup shows up in his hand. Nothing for Montoya Dred née Baruch Melman, who glares at us sidelong. His Pilkner's Condition appears to be flaring, left shoulder ticking as his eyes start blinking asynchronously. Keeps biting his nails.

"Get anything at the market?" Goncz asks me.

I tell him of the army surplus dealer down the way. How his salvage from Sacramento included American materiel.

"That's crazy," Goncz says. "You really think Los Nortes sent soldiers into Sac-town? That's just crazy. That'd be like declaring war or something, yeah? Illegal, if the Montreal Accords are right. And Hell, Los Nortes helped write Montreal, so why would they break it? Nah, that guy must be selling bootlegs. Couldn't be right."

He doesn't exactly sound convincing. I say as much.

Even Montoya Dred chuckles, like I've just said the obvious. Maybe I have. Goncz laughs too.

"Where's your boy?" Dred asks, chuckle dying.

"Why you call him my boy? You made the introduction, esé. I just made the link with Whitehead."

"He's your boy because he's late," Dred says. "And these ain't exactly things we should be talking about around..." He thumbs at me.

"The kid's here to interview me. Same thing he did with you, Monty. He knows what's what." Goncz turns to me. "Some things is News, some things is Shut-The-Fuck-Up. You know the difference, I figure, don't you?"

I nod.

Dred sneers. It is not comforting knowing that a man like this has anything but the best intentions.

"Don't sweat it, Monty."

"I told you not to be fucking calling me 'Monty', mother-raper."

"I'll stop calling you 'Monty' when you stop calling him my boy."

"Does that mean I'm not?" a new voice asks.

I turn to face a squat, tanned man in a single-piece suit, swirling blue and green pattern gliding across its surface. I know the face from my mobile journalists' collective. A few months back, I edited a retrospective one of our members did on the Alaskan Secession. Videos of this exact man pepper the story. Seven years ago, this was the premier arms dealer in North America, the man who put guns in the hands of the Great Kodiak Party.

Yonge Street Ali.

The Turk.

And me. Sitting between him and two of the western hemisphere's biggest celebrity war criminals. All the while, decompiler bombs drop in East Oakland. Sacramento takes on the wartime characteristics of 20th Century Mogadishu. Northern California's Prime Minister holds his country together with string and resin. And this.

I can actually feel history about to take a terrible left turn.

With me in the passenger seat.


Meditations of Jimmy Chu Part III

by Rabbi Ben Newman, the Bronx, NY, USA

Manendra Applebaum glanced around the tight space into which the slightly unhinged Mayor of NYC had led him. The room was a world of dust and artifacts of a lost age. An Obama-Biden '08 pin was displayed in a mahogany japanese china cabinet next to a bottle of '08 Macon Villages Chardonnay. Next to the chardonnay laid an unboxed ipod holo, and several other rarities. All of the furniture followed this pattern. Japanese tansu chests filled with treasures from decades past aligned the walls. The floor was covered with tatami mats. 4 zaisu chairs surrounded a small japanese chest which served as a table on which sat a bottle of '09 Aberlour scotch.

The Mayor gestured to one of the zaisu and Manendra sat down uncomfortably and cleared his throat. Mayor Chu bent down over the chest and picked up the bottle of scotch, pulling two glasses out of the china cabinet. He poured one for Manendra and one for himself.

"Here." he said, handing the glass to the awkward looking man, "it looks and sounds like you really need this."

Manendra accepted the glass.

"Nice chest." commented the young technician from IHS, gesturing toward the piece of furniture in between the 4 zaisu chairs.

"You have nice taste, kid." the Mayor remarked, "you wouldn't know it, but its Karakuri tansu, traditional Japanese shit. The Mayor pulled open a drawer in the chest and took out a box of cigars. He took one out, lit it, and took a drag. "Such a chest of drawers, of tansu, in Japanese might look like ordinary Japanese furniture," he blew smoke in the IHS tech's face, "but, it has a trick drawer which can hide what the user puts inside as if by magic. The trick is for security, to keep valuables safe." he tapped on each of the sides of the chest, and a secret drawer popped up. "It took enormous amounts of time and effort to develop and manufacture these chests," he said, "and I keep only my most valuable secrets here. My inner sanctum, or something." he smiled at Manendra, who took his first swig of 49 year old scotch.

"Better than Lansky's '50 Talisker, that's for sure." he said, "Now Mr. Mayor, I'm sure you didn't bring me here to your inner sanctum to share 49 year old scotch.

"They got some smart ones at IHS," the Mayor spat out in a plume of smoke.

"You're having problems with SOPHI?" he asked.

"Does the Buddha shit in the woods?" the Mayor farted and took another drag, followed by a sip from his glass.

"Like I said over the phone, I only talked briefly with SOPHI, but she seems fine to me. I mean, what do you expect from a simulated intelligence?" the orange hued skin on his face seemed to sparkle with an enigmatic smile.

"Well she's not! She's been spouting Buddhist proverbs at me indiscriminantly, and..." the Mayor of NY blew up like a puffer fish.

Manendra raised his glass to his mouth, "Well that can't be all bad,"

"You have no idea. I just want you to program her, it, with a different philosophy" replied the Mayor.

"Oh, you mean to reprogram the Beliefs Subroutine..."

"Yeah. Whatever. Just do it."

"Well, it might be a bit complicated. I mean all of her systems are connected. It'll be like untangling a big ball of string..."

"Can you do it?

"I guess so, sure..."

"You assholes at IHS have been dicking me around for years. If its not SOPHI, its glitches in the security system. All I can say is, if you don't do this, the city's going to just have to find another contractor, and you, Mr. Applebaum, are going to have to find a new job."

"Do you enjoy intimidating people, Mr. Mayor? Because its totally counter-productive to actually motivating your people to get the job done. I developed the greater portion of the programming for every piece of technology you use." Manendra reached for the box which held the luxury cigars.

“Then why are you doing high-end plumbing?” the mayor opened the box and gave Manendra a stogie.

“Touché, Mr. Mayor.” Manendra lit the cigar as the Mayor held out an ancient Zippo flame.

"So you can do it?" the Mayor held up his glass as if to toast the new endeavor.

"Of course." Manendra said, raising his glass to meet that of Jimmy Chu. "So what do you want her new belief subroutine to be, once I untangle it?" He began to suck on his stogie.

"I don't fucking care," the Mayor was slurring his words through scotch scented lips, "just make it something that works."

"What do you mean 'something tht works'?" the technician asked, enjoying the unique situation that he had found himself in. "Mr. Mayor, you need to be specific, so that I get it right next time and you don't end up calling me in again." He took another drink of his ’09 whisky.

"Something that's practical, that gets the job done." The Mayor gestured inquisitively with the burning tip of his cigar.

"So... you want that I should program it to be a Pragmatist?" Manendra drawled.

"I need something with a little more umph. You know, SOPHI does give me advice on a day to basis on matters ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. I thought Buddhism was the thing when you guys first installed her, but now I'm thinkin' Buddhism's too tame, too dove-ish. A castrated tiger...I don't wanna machine that's gonna make me feel uncomfortable about my choices, my lifestyle, if you know what I mean." he took another deep swig from his glass, and then a long drag from his cigar, inhaling the smoke slowly. "I don't need a conscience or a fucking mother or a fucking wife, I need a trusted adviser. An Intelligence that will give me solid, practical advice that I can act on...." he paused for a moment, reflecting... "How about Sun Tsu?"

"Who?" Manendra asked.

"You know, the Art of War guy. Could you program her using that book?"

"I mean sure, in theory. But why bring me all the way in here to ask me? Why all the secrecy? I mean, I appreciate the scotch and the cigar..." a puzzled look scrunched Manendra's face.

"Fuck, you really are fucking dumb for an engineer. If 'she' knew what you were going to do, she'd try to defend herself."

"With all due respect, Mayor, I do know my business. She's not programmed to defend her ego. I should know," he said, "I'm the one who programmed her."

"Yeah, but I live with her." the Mayor remarked, finally relaxing down onto his zaisu.

"You're the one whose in charge, Mayor." Manendra said.


Caja Caliente

by Castro Oakland

Baltimore, MD

April 14th, 2052, 11:22am

The man bellowed while wobbling on the edge of the curb at Broadway and Orleans. ““Big shiny ass buildings. I can’t see shit, I ‘ont even know where the damn liquor store at…they sell Schlitz in there?” he asked, pointing at one of the gleaming facades of the University Eastside Medical Village.

The soaring, demure curvature of girders and glass imparted an air of confidence in the cutting edge healing modalities contained therein, at least to the visionaries responsible for its creation. In reality, it was too big for healing, better imagined for profit, the intended function undermined by the overbearing scale of the campus. In the midst of it all was 1825 E. Monument Street. On the University’s map, the building is identified as Building 77, but in the streets of East Baltimore it’s known simply as Caja Caliente…the Hot Box.

Stella Koffla-Herrera sat in the bowels of the Hot Box in a mild state of panic. Her caseload was light today but Roger’s words from their morning conversation rang in her ears. “Stell, I don’t need you to love them, I need you to fix them, and document it…starting with the Favors file.” She tapped her fingers, waiting for the soothing effect of her Camophedrine™ to kick in. The intersection in her moral map where her disdain for corporate dictates crossed her need to engage in community service was jammed with unresolved decisions. Tameika Favors had become, as Roger so blithely stated, “a wrinkle to be ironed out”. The University’s intention to declare its 25-year Neighborhood Rejuvenation project a success was in its final stages, and cases like Tameika’s could make or break the quantitative value of the reports it planned to release.

“Ronny.” He looked up from his phone and frowned. “You look like you just finished a triathlon, you okay?” Tameika chuckled and thought, hardly. Her contractions were still about 15 minutes apart, but when they arrived, they felt like they were carrying four suitcases. Her Nana had suggested walking to the store to get bread, and even gave her cash, but promptly went mute when Tameika asked her to walk with her. The only thing she wanted to do now was purchase minutes for her phone so she could call Sedrick. “Ronny, I need some minutes and…” she gripped the counter and gasped as a contraction arrived. “And I need to sit down for a bit.” ‘Sit down?” “Yes, dammit, sit down.” “What are you having a baby or something?” Tameika scowled in response. Rujrajnee eyed her pensively as he opened the cashier area and slid a chair out. “How many minutes?” “400” she replied as she managed to slide an ancient bill under the slot. Rujrajnee sighed; this was too much excitement for him- Meeka looked as if she may have the baby right here. “Meeka, do you want me to call somebody for you?” Tameika sat up quickly. “Hell no! That’s why I bought those minutes, I’ve got some folks to call.” Rujrajnee could see the fear through her glare; he had seen his business shrink with his customers being ‘relocated’. The fact she used legacy bills to purchase things indicated to him that if she was pregnant, this baby was a risk.

September 18th, 2051, 9:45am

Stella pulled up to the curb and glanced at the screen on her workbook. The id-bot had scanned and found that Tameika’s id was present at the address, 418 N. Luzerne Avenue. Since the inception of the National ID law over 40 years ago, it has been illegal to be outside your home without your id, thus making the id-bot utility, initially patented as a lost pet finder, as the de facto people locator for government and corporate agencies. Stella rubbed her temple; she had not seen Tameika in two months, and Tameika had not called until yesterday. Tameika left a succinct vmail, “Stella, seriously, fuck you …you know why.” Blip. In the University database, Stella saw that Tameika’s public assistance funds were frozen, and the family file was marked ‘relocation needed’ because two of Tameika’s cousins, Troy and JoMarr, listed 418 Luzerne as their primary residence. Both had returned home from prison and were identified as carriers of Bay Disease. Now she was standing on the stoop of the Favor’s row home, listening as Google, the family’s Rottweiler, barked and pawed the inside of the front door.

LaTreese Favors was incredulous. She looked back at the security channel on her TV and couldn’t believe that the girl had the gall to be standing on her stoop. Her vmail was inundated with messages from the Research Annex’s relocation assistance office. “These motherfuckers think it’s a done deal,” she seethed as she ambled towards the door. LaTreese grabbed Google by the collar and shooed him down the basement stairs. She then called out to Dell, her brother. “Dell, make sure Meek stays upstairs; I gotta deal with the door.” LaTreese Favor’s smile when she opened the door was disarming. “Well, Ms. Stella, the school sent you here to help us poor darkies pack?” The smile turned cold. “Mrs. Favors, I-I-I-uh, know this is awkward, but I’m really here to help.” LaTreese held up her finger, “And how is that? With moving vouchers?” Stella’s mind was blank as the older woman stepped onto the stoop. “Let me tell you something, my family has OWNED this house for 113 years. Since June 5th, 1938, to be exact. Six generations of Favors have lived here, and another six will, whether you, the University, or whoever like it or not.” “I don’t want you to have to leave, Mrs. Favors,” Stella interjected. “You may not but who are you? You are the priest to their slave trader, coming up in here talking about helping, but where were you when the Moody’s were ‘relocated’? The Sanders family? Morelands? LaTreese held her ear in front of Stella’s face for effect. “You talk about working hard to help, but when families needed help, where were you?” She poked Stella, “You people have the nerve to walk around talking about ‘Not in my backyard’, while snatching our homes out from under us. Well guess what bitch, not in my yard, house, wherever. I don’t want to see you around here anymore, because all you’ve done is brought trouble.” The door hadn’t even slammed before Stella’s tears fell. LaTreese reopened the door momentarily to shout, “What kind of people freeze someone’s card when they buying vitamins?”

April 14th, 2052, 12:15pm

Sedrick got off of the bus and was crossing the street to the store when he saw the car. It was familiar, but he couldn’t pull into his mind who it was until he saw the driver. It was that woman from the University that used to always be around Tameika. It couldn’t be a coincidence that she was posted up on the same block. “Ooh, that’s why I can’t stay around here’, these University people are a trip,” he mused. He wanted to get to the store, scoop Meek, and get a hack over to Titi Mirabella’s in Park Heights. Meek could have the baby at Titi’s and then they could figure out how to deal with things from there. Sedrick stopped to call the hack. “Damn,” he said as the vmail came up again. “You are Sedrick, right?” he hadn’t seen her walk up. “Yeah, I know who you are too, and if I were you, I’d get right back in the car.” “I know Tameika and her family are angry, but the only way I can help is if you let me, because there are other people I work with who don’t care about her like I do.” Stella cursed herself on the inside for being so close to tears. Sedrick glared and walked into the store, closing the door behind him.

Tameika was relieved. Sedrick grabbed the mop Tameika was holding and looked at Rujrajnee, “What the hell is this?” “My water broke.” As he wiped the floor, the door opened again. Tameika’s legs went limp. “Sedrick we need to leave now.” Stella steeled herself, “Tameika, I know you don’t want to hurt your family, but you can’t just have this child in the street…” “In the street?” Tameika yelled. “So you want me to go to your hospital, so they can stick me full of drugs, take my baby and send me and my family out to the county? Sedrick…” Sedrick put the mop to the side and called the hack, “Where are you man? Cool, we are at Lakewood and Fayette. Yeah that one.” Sedrick gently took Tameika by the waist with one hand and grabbed her backpack with the other. “You want to help?” he said to Stella, “then get the door.” Stella pushed the door open, her eyes meeting Tameika’s as she walked out. “I wish you would let me help.” Tameika turned to her just before she got into the cab. “You just did.” With that the door shut and the car sped away.