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. 


King of the Californias Pt. XIII

by Monk Eastman, Uptown, NYC, USA

I tag Blue/Horse. As collectives go, mine is connected, with mobile journalists in almost every urban center on the planet. I'd be denied them if Cecilio Goncz hadn't slipped me a communication safeguard. Whatever jamming agent he's anticipating would probably block even a prosumer implant like mine. Whatever his reasons, they've left me a lifeline to the rest of the world. Cortical implant translates my eye movements into text, lets me interact however I need to with Blue/Horse. Doesn't suck up much bandwidth, little discrete 56k bursts. Five minutes later, my man in Anatolia gives me as close a rundown as he can before linking me with one of our editors in Halifax:

Yonge Street Ali. Born Ali Buryäk, maybe forty years earlier. Grew up in Ankara at the cusp of The Troubles, when the radicals were just gaining real traction. Long line of soldiers, the Buryäks, going all the way back to Atatürk. Secular, the way the French used to be: rigid, nationalist. When the JDP was put out of government and the army stepped in, Ali's dear poppa was apparently leading the charge. No one anticipated the severity of the riots that followed, nor that of the internal conflict that chased it. Ali came up in one of a dozen paramilitaries that succeeded the army: nationalists every bit as zealous as the religious fundamentalists they clashed with. As the conflict slogged on, and The Troubles turned into a full-scale civil war, Ali Buryäk established himself as some kind of logistical wizard, securing more arms even as his budget shrank. By the time he was twenty, he'd made connections with everyone from the Kurdish Workers Party to the Azeri Republican Front. Things get fuzzy around when Ankara falls, though.

Our editor in Halifax tells a less glorious tale, two years down the line. This one is of Peg-Leg Ali, who limped off a refugee boat in Nova Scotia alongside a troupe of disillusioned veterans. Set themselves up as a local syndicate before being rounded up by the RCMP. Turned up, alone, in Toronto, after a seven year stretch in Kingston Penitentiary. Started quickly working both ends of the longest street in the world: spreading mysterious wealth around the suits at One Yonge Street, then moving guns at the other end, out by Jane and Finch. Somewhere between Halifax and Toronto, Ali Buryäk had his leg replaced. Got a smart haircut. All the right implants, and even better connections. Theoretically hasn't picked up a gun in years, even to sell. These things just sort of move around him at his behest. When Alaska wanted out of the Union, it was his munitions that somehow found their way into secessionists' hands. No linear connection, of course, but The Word is The Word, and that is: Yonge Street Ali makes guns happen. Whenever, wherever. He's become one of the lowest profile high-end gunrunners in North America. Lives in one of those mobile low-orbit habitats. Hyper-exclusive. Never know where he'll be next week. Total anonymity, absolute freedom of movement.

Must be a nice way to live.

Especially compared to Oakland, Northern Republic of California. Growth market here, by all accounts. But not without risk. My contact at University of Michigan says Ali also armed the U.S.-backed Republica Libre party during their overthrow of Los Angeles, a coup that wiped away the old confederation of criminal cantons -- including that of Cecilio Goncz, my host and father. Not to mention Montoya Dred, who even now, twitches and shudders, almost foaming at the mouth from his Pilkner's Condition. So how is here here, now, without Goncz's teeth on his throat?

"Yonge Street," Goncz hails. "What it is."

"What it will be," Ali says, sliding into a chair opposite. He's got a soft face, lines around his eyes like he smiles a lot. He nods at Dred. "How you doing, Monty?"

"Duh-don't be fucking calling me that, yuh-yeeeew you..."

"Play nice," Goncz warns.

"Fuck you, CeCe." Rain of white spit arcs across the table when Dred talks. "And you tuh-too, fuckface."

"Still a lover, Monty?" Ali smiles. "You still talk to me like a lover. Would that help, maybe? If I gave you a little?"

"Fuh-fuh-fuuuuuuuuuuck yuh-yuh-yuh --"

"Don't be giving yourself a heart attack," Goncz says. "We're all friends here."

"Friends? Wuh-with him?"

"Oh yeah," Ali says. "Best friends. Especially today." For the first time, he turns his attention to me. "We haven't been introduced."

"Don't worry about him," Goncz says coolly.

"Yuh-yeah," Dred chuckles. "He's a peach, that one. Nothing to worry about at all."

Ali shrugs, folds his hands on the table. "If that's what you say, that's what you say."

"Do you have them?" Dred snaps.

Ali sniffs, looks slightly stricken. "Poor form, Monty. Whatever happened to etiquette? I've been sitting here five minutes already, no one's offered me a cup of coffee, a glass of water, not even a half decent hello, how's things?"

"Oh," Monty says. "I'm sorry. A cup of coffee? Maybe I could fetch you some water? How about wine. You like a little vino? A nice red? Nah, it's hot out today, you'd like a nice white. Maybe some of that good Sonoma? Stay right here, let me get it for you. No, wait, what am I saying -- here, let me get one of the fine waitresses at this wonderful establishment that is so obviously NOT a fucking glorified fruit stand in the middle of this dinkhole Fourth World fucking republic to bring you a glass of finely purified water in a crystal fluted glass, you screaming piece of --"

"Monty," Goncz growls, and Dred deflates. Goncz waves over the Okie with the coffee pot, takes off his shades, showing off those eerie nictitating eyes that belong on some kind of dead animal. "Let's get the man a drink, then get down to it."

Which is exactly when the other shoe drops, and America lowers its foot onto the neck of Northern California.


Applebaumology Part I

by Rabbi Ben Newman, The Bronx, NYC, NY

Manendra Applebaum sat at his cubicle desk. His computer interface, the electronic desktop superimposed over his normal vision, flickered that it was 9:25 am. He reached for his paper tea cup holding a macha-ocha blend. He sat back and mentally scrolled through his video and text messages. Twelve from the Mayor in the past week cluttered up his in-box. All of them were asking for modifications of Chu's Artificial Intelligence computer advisor, SOPHI. A full year of this dreck. Why won't this guy leave me alone!?

Manendra blew on his hot green tea. The smoke momentarily fogged up his vision and obscured the visual desktop. Every message from the Mayor was a request for a new Belief Subroutine. When he initially designed her program, before the Mayor was sworn in, he used a Buddhist model when programming the spiritual subroutine, thinking that the philosophy of the Middle Path perfectly suited the needs of an AI of this manner. Then, the Mayor began having a 'relationship' with the Construct, seeking its council, and getting angry at it for not giving the advice he wanted. First Manendra reprogrammed the construct to hold the beliefs of Sun Tsu, then it was Hinduism, then Christianity, then Judaism, then back to Buddhism, Satanism, Pragmatism, Existentialism, etc...until he exhausted pretty much every philosophy in the book. At first it was difficult for Applebaum to untie the knots in the program to insert a whole new belief system. After a few times through, however, he developed a shortcut. He knew that he would probably have to come back and do it again, so he found a way to make the Belief Subroutine a detachable function of the overall program, and though a bit less stable over time, it successfully changed the subroutine with only a week's effort. He would have loved to walk away from this particular job but his boss would fire him on the spot--So he continued detaching and reattaching new beliefs to SOPHI. The Mayor of NYC is crazy, he thought to himself. I can't handle this on my own. I'm just a programmer. I need someone who can help me make sense of all this. He scrolled down, and opened the first message he saw that was not from the Mayor's office. He gently sipped at the paper cup containing the bright green liquid. It was a text based message. It read:

To: IHS Employees
From: IHS Management
Subject: New Mental Health Coverage Benefits

Message: Due to the increase in funding we have received from the city, we are now able to provide every technician in the company with full metal health coverage. Any visits to metal health professionals will be reimbursed by the company's insurance company only upon receipt of the doctor's bill and diagnosis. All information will be held confidentially and will not in any way effect an employee's standing.

Thank you for your continued service to our company,

The Management.

Why not give it a try,
he thought, drinking heartily from his cup. He wiped the green residue from his lip as he metally scrolled through listings of psychologists in the NYC area. He dialed the first listing-- Aardard, Dr. Sean. An IA receptionist designed by his own company picked up the call.

"Dr. Aargard' office, how may I help you today?" inquired the affable electronically generated image of a brown haired girl.

"Hello. I'm Manendra Applebaum."

"Oh, Manendra." the computer offered, "I remember you. How may I help you today?"

Manendra put down his cup.

"I'd like to make an appointment." he said.

* *

The office of Dr. Sean Aardard was nestled into the basement of an old brownstone on 77th st. and Broadway, amid high end shops, bars and restaurants. Only the priviledged few could pass the subway security checkpoints to enter this part of the city. Only the elite minority could afford to shop there. Ordinarily, Applebaum was neither, but now, due to his recent relationship with the Mayor, and the success of IHS, he was able to pull some strings with his very grateful boss, Mr. Braithwaite, and obtain a priority level security rating on his Metrocard.

Manendra swiped his card at the turnstile, a green light went on, and a poorly synthesized electronic voice sounded for him to proceed.

He descended the steep steps to Dr. Aardard's office and rang the bell, looking up at a small security camera. The door buzzed, Applebaum opened it, and walked into a short corridor, at the end of which was another door. As the buzzer continued to sound, Manendra quickened his step for fear that it might stop before he got through the second doorway. As he turned the knob and walked through, the buzzing stopped. He found himself in a living-room type atmosphere. Comfortable couches and side-tables brimming with magazines lined the walls. A short blond woman sat at a pine desk with US Weekly in her hand. A small name-tag with the name Mrs. Theresa Bishop engraved on its surface rested on the desk.

"Mr. Applebaum, I presume?" She inquired, barely looking up at him.

"Yes. I'm..." Manendra bit his thumbnail absently. Maybe this was a bad idea. he thought.

"Here for your three o'clock?" she pulled out a piece of chewing gum and began masticating.

"Uh. Yeah..."

"Dr. Aardard is with another patient now. Sit on one of the couches and I will call you when he's ready."

Manendra picked out a fuzzy brown couch, and sat down. He engaged his ocular implant, and began scrolling through his electronic mail. After a few minutes, Mrs. Bishop spoke his name.

"Manendra Applebaum!" she called out, as if she hadn't actually met him before, 5 minutes earlier.

"Yes." he stood up and gathered his backpack.

"The Doctor will see you now." she said, and went back to her US Weekly, and fruity gum.

* * *

Dr. Aardard's office seemed more of a small museum of antiquities to the technician Applebaum, rather than what he had imagined a shrink's office to be. African tribal masks, strange looking pipes and swords were littered about on tables throughout the dark room. Dr. Aardard, a blonde haired Norwegian looking man in a blue pin-striped suit sat at one of the tables. He looked at Manendra inquisitively, and gestured to a comfortable looking chair.

"Please, sit, Mr. Applebaum," he said, "make yourself comfortable."


In Search Of...Pt. X

by Chris Beckett, Hampden, ME, USA

Screeching vocals radiated off the walls, swirling around Keenan Archer in his booth near the club’s entrance. He could feel the bass rippling up his spine, punching through his gut. Archer had been hitting up clubs across the city for weeks hunting for the Kaczmerak girl. He’d found little to help so far.

Keenan swirled the ice cubes in his glass, took another drink. The barkeep claimed it was bourbon, but Keenan found that claim dubious. At least it wasn’t as watered as other places.

It took a moment for the detective to recognize the buzzing in his pocket wasn’t coming from the stage. Reaching up, Archer tapped the earpiece once and spoke: “Take a message.”

Lifting his glass again, Keenan knocked back the last of his drink. Sliding the empty glass to the edge of his table, Archer made eye contact with the woman singing on stage. She held his gaze for a few seconds and then smiled before dancing away to the opposite side.

Archer smiled too. He wouldn’t be spending the night alone.

The waitress came over to retrieve his glass. “The same?” She thrust her hips forward as she spoke. Whether working for a tip or something more Keenan couldn’t say. He considered breaking the news that her efforts were a waste of time – skin taut over wasted bones, sunken eyes falling into shadow, devoid of the forced smile in her voice. It all said junkie, and in a better light, Keenan imagined her track marks would be visible. He didn’t look at her as he replied, “sure” and returned his gaze to the stage.

As the girl pranced off, Keenan’s pocket began to vibrate again. He reached to his ear, but this time as he tapped an angry voice shot through.

“Archer! What the fuck are you doing?”

Keenan fell back in his seat as if punched in the chest, eyes wide and unfocused. “Who are you? And how did you override my phone?”

“I’m your employer, you fuck! Now answer my question!”

The detective paused. “Mr. Kaczmerak?”

“Well. You do have some detecting skills after all.”

“I didn’t recognize your voice, sir.”

“I don’t care! Excuses aren’t worth my time, Mr. Archer,” the old man continued.

“Yes, sir,” said Archer, sitting up.

“Where is my daughter?” asked Elijah.

“I don’t know,” Archer yelled, barely audible in the club. “I have some leads I’m following right now. But it’s going to take some time.”

“A month. Which is more than you deserve. Have something by then Mr. Archer,” spat Kaczmerak.

“Yes, sir,” but as Keenan uttered “sir,” the line went dead.



Sylindra walked through the foyer to the library, stopping just at the doorway. Across the room, sitting in a chair with his back to the doctor, Elijah Kaczmerak stared out the window. Beyond the deep green of the pines and firs bordering the grounds, a blank slate rose above everything daring Kaczmerak to come outside and mar its serene countenance. Winter was coming fast, and the skies were dressed accordingly.

Dr. Ziantara cleared her throat, but the old man gave no indication he’d heard anything. Sylindra knew better, but said nothing, preferring to wait him out.

A minute passed.

Then another.

Dr. Z shifted her feet, relieving the pressure settling in her heels.

Another minute passed, the steady ticking of the mantel clock – a family heirloom – calling out the seconds that Sylindra now counted silently.

Four hundred forty-two seconds. Over seven minutes. That’s when Elijah finally spoke.

“Yes, doctor.” The wheezing was gone, replaced by a soft baritone Elijah and his physician had not heard for some time.

“I just came to check on you. How are you feeling?” asked the doctor, still standing just beyond the threshold of the library.

“Unsatisfied,” he said. “I do not care much for your prognosis.”

“Well, I’m not sure what I can do about that, Elijah. Would you rather I lie about the time you have before we need to take more serious action?”

“What I would rather, doctor,” said Elijah as he lifted from the chair turning to face her, “is that you would do your job. I expect results Ms. Ziantara. Failure is not a concept with which I am overly familiar.” The lines were gone from his face, the stoop with which he’d walked (when he was able) a memory, and the fire in his eyes burned brighter than it had in years. The stem cell therapy had worked, stimulated by the steroids added to this new cocktail. But it was only temporary.

“If you hadn’t been so reckless with your body, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. You understood going in that this probably wouldn’t be a permanent solution, but at least it could be a stop-gap while we searched for something else.” Dr. Ziantara had her hands out, palms up, sick inside about the deficiencies of her science.

“It’s like a virus,” she continued. “Becoming stronger, mutating and evolving to counteract the old remedies so that we have to come up with new ones. Your body has become accustomed to the therapies we used before. It recognizes them and burns them out faster now.

“You did this to yourself, Elijah!” Dr. Z’s voice was even as she thrust her finger at her employer, her patient.

“Your job is to cure me, doctor, not render judgment upon my lifestyle. That will come later from someone far more qualified than yourself.”

Elijah stepped around the chair and moved toward the foyer, stopping at the doctor’s shoulder as he reached the doorway.

“You have managed to forestall your dismissal for a while longer. But do not fail to understand that your time with us is limited. So long as you are useful you have a place here. But otherwise . . .”

The old man walked off as Sylindra watched him go.



The Meditations of Jimmy Chu Part IV or The Meditations of Jimmy Tzu Part I

by Rabbi Ben Newman, The Bronx, NYC, NY, USA

For 3 weeks Manendra Applebaum and his over-weight friend Howie had been working on reprogramming SOPHI's Belief Matrix. On the 21st day, the work was complete. One week later, Jimmy sat in his office smoking a cigar, and reading the book The Art of War, which Manendra had given him as a gift. 

Manendra had handed Jimmy the worn leather volume covered in Chinese characters on his final day of work opened to a page somewhere in the middle. There was one sentence that the technician had highlighted for the Mayor's benefit-- "The more you read and learn, the less your adversary will know." Manendra had explained to him that Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and military stratgist from the 6th century BC. Chu had played it off as if he had known all about the author of the great work all along, but in truth it was a split second decision. I made the decision, he thought, and if I have to call Manendra again, who the fuck cares anyway. I own him and his company. They're my pawns. So far, the new SOPHI has been very helpful. He ashed his cigar. 

"Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness, the Mayor read. I think I'll change my last name to Tzu, he thought.

The Mayor put down the book, and laid his cigar in a pewter ashtray.

"SOPHI!" he said. He stood up and began pacing the room. The holographic image of a young dark haired girl in samurai armor appeared before him.

"Yes, Sir? Would you like some strategic advice?" the flickering girl moved closer to the Mayor.

"Actually its a personal and practical thing. I would like to change my last name to Tzu. How hard would that be?" he asked, picking up his cigar again.

"Not hard at all sir, you are the Mayor after all." 

"Do it." he said. He took a long drag off of his cigar, and grabbed the leather volume.

"Yes, sir." She said.

"Great. How long will it take?" he inquired.

"Its already done. Afterall, " SOPHI said, "Speed is the essence of war." an uncharacteristic smirk appeared on her holographic visage.

*                             *                                         *

Mayor Jimmy Tsu sat at his desk, his copy of The Art of War in one hand, a vial of Cobol, the new drug on the street in the other. He sniffed the intoxicating aroma of the vial and began reading from the book. 

Suddenly, a gong sounded and SOPHI appeared. 

"What now?" roiled the mayor.

"Mayor, with all due respect, I am but a lowly servant," 
she said, "but does not Sun Tsu say: 'the consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success?' the AI queried. The image of the samurai woman approched the mayor at his desk. She reached for his hand, where he held the drug, but it passed through. She said "This Cobol is a distracion, and it prevents you from maintaining your method and discipline. Please put down the vial. I have MARGE from the 50th Precinct on the line. Lt. Dunwitty wishes to speak with you. You need to be focused."

Remind me to have her belief subroutine reprogrammed again. Call Applebaum. But she does give some useful advice...

"Fine, have it your way." He took another swig off of the vial and put it down again.

"Yes sir, I am asking MARGE to put the Captain on now. Just remember, 'A leader leads by example not by force...'" the small girl disappeared but her voice continued to resonate from a speaker on the mahogany desk. I have Lt. Dunwitty on the line now, shall I put him through?"

"Yes, by all means," the Mayor said as he wiped his nose with his sleeve. He put the Sun Tsu volume onto his desk. 

"Hello, Mayor Chu?"

"Actually,  Tom, I legally changed it to Tsu, but I may change it again," he said. "How can I help my favorite law enforcement officer today?"

"I know, Mr. Mayor, that you owe me a few favors, you said you would never forget what I did to help get you elected. I need you to help me."


"Its my friend, Captain Ranjitsinhji, I owe him big, and he's asking a favor for his friend Tiny."

"Schwartzbaum-- of course I know who he is you idiot." the Mayor opened the desk drawer, and pulled out a Cuban cigar. He bit off the end, and then lit it.

"Well, sir, his synthetic limbs are slowly malfunctioning, and the only way to help him will be to get him a new body." the timid voice wheezed from the speaker. 

Mayor Tsu blew out a plume of smoke. "How do you expect me to do that?" he asked. "I don't know a thing about medicine."

"Only you have the resources at your disposal to help him."

"So what can I do for you to nullify the favor you did for me?"

"Can you get someone to help him?"

"Not sure. I'll think about it. " he put his cigar down on the desk. 

"Thank you, Sir."

"SOPHI, hang up call." he said, he picked up the vial of Cobol and held it to his nose, sniffing generously.

The holographic image of the AI appeared before him, arms crossed disapprovingly. 

"I think you should help him. The Master says, "If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity. I Think you should help the Soldier Schwarzbaum" she intoned. 

"Who asked you, you fucking algorithm?" 

Shit, I'll probably have to have her reprogrammed again. Mayor Tsu mused.