This month’s postcard from the future comes from a 23rd century medical practitioner…
My area of speciality is the old, or Senetics as we call it, a word which will be unfamiliar to you people of the past, if what the scientists are saying is correct and they can indeed send a message back to you. In your time when people became advanced in years they had no choice but to decay slowly, their skin giving way under the onslaught of the sun’s radiation, their bowels becoming unreliable, their bones brittle. In short, by one route or another, they usually died a slow, painful and undignified death. I have great admiration, even astonishment, at how people were able to suffer such a situation, since it is scarcely necessary any longer in our present. Continue reading “Postcards From The Future #7”
Her chest rises and falls marking out time with the movement of air, muscle: the unbidden will to live. Before her the door is bricked in, the window boarded and sealed, the old lime wall drunk on carbon dioxide. Around her the stillness of the air, the silence of dust suspended, waiting to fall. Her wrists, bound, are chaffed. Her lips, red, are dry, cracked.
She remembers sunshine, laughter, the free fall of play.
Continue reading “An Android Wakes Part 4 : The Locust Wife”
High above the barricade a flock of mockingbirds marked out a halo to the urban sprawl. Ripples of static on two-way radios mingled with the hum of traffic circling the cordoned off area. Then silence for a moment as everything was sucked in: like the sea retreating before a tsunami.
A manhole cover with the impression of a tree vibrated as the wall of sound radiated out from the explosion. Pieces of metal, bricks and plaster followed and blasted through police cars. A man fell, his foot severed, part of it next to him, part of it rammed up into his thigh.
Shouts, sirens, a billow of smoke and dust obscuring carnage.
Continue reading “An Android Wakes Part 3 : Paper Bullion”
This month’s postcard from the future comes from a 23rd century archaeologist…
I was keen to get involved when I heard about this project and I hope they use my postcard as one of the ones they send back in time. My area of speciality is early 21st century dig sites. I’ve spent that the last ten years working on excavations at the Bradwell Nuclear Disaster Area, which includes most of what was known at the time as Greater London. Like the doomed towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum two thousand years earlier, the suddenness of the tragedy that befell this once proud city has afforded present-day archaeologists a rare opportunity to observe a frozen snapshot of everyday life.
Last year, we famously uncovered an entire “Routemaster” bus filled with passengers, most incinerated instantly at the moment of the explosion. Poignantly, there were mothers with babies and young children, even two young lovers hand in hand. Modern archaeological techniques have enabled us to reconstruct newspapers and advertising billboards from the underground tunnels in which people were sealed up after the initial blasts. My job is to try to gather together these jigsaw pieces and try to create narratives for our displays at the International Museum of Urban History.
Continue reading “Postcards From The Future #5”
There’s no other way to put it.
Of course, it was nearly a week and a half ago now, so you’d think that I’d have been able to express in words exactly how it felt. And yet, here I sit, still trying to describe it accurately.
The council took their two days to deliberate and decide, and then I was summoned back to the court. The announcement was short – not even ten minutes long. The press conference afterwards was much longer, and I expect that was exactly how the council liked it. November’s hardly a backwoods town, but you can never have enough positive worldwide coverage. Especially not on ‘landmark rights cases’.
I was, it seemed, only there as a formality – the council members did most of the talking, while I stood in a shocked silence. I suppose I had half-expected to win, since there was little arrayed against me. The younger councilman, the one who seemed less keen on the idea was, apparently, out-voted by the others. Or, I suppose, they just persuaded him that positive coverage like this was worth far more than some rich ProNat backers.
Continue reading “Diary of a Neobody – July 2nd, 2112”
This last week has been strange.
I met some of my creators. And not just the people who devised the emotion chip – a couple of the engineers who designed my ‘brain’ made appearances as well.
Continue reading “Diary of a Neobody – June 19th, 2112”
I meant to do my entries last week as usual, but was dragged into a sudden whirlwind of activity around my case: I expected the hearing would be months down the line, but apparently, when your suit might catch the public opinion, people are more than happy to fast-track it for you.
I suppose the City Council felt that, with the violence a few weeks ago against androids, my case might do their PR some good.
Continue reading “Diary of a Neobody – June 11th, 2112”
This month’s postcard from the future seems to come from somebody a little less (or more?) than human…
They suggested I take part in the Postcard To The Past project, only they should have left me more time because I still find it hard to hold a pen stylus. I’m quicker with the keyboard keys, but they want all the postcards hand-written, for the personal touch. I’m surprised they think I’m eligible to take part, but I suppose it’s a good gag and will give you 21st century folks a bit of a shock, if you believe it at all.
I have a busy day today as usual. Cooking the breakfast, dropping the kids off at school, flying over to Martworld to pick up the shopping for the week. Some people still give me hostile looks in the check-out queues. Some drivers toot at me, expect me to give way to them cos’ I’m some kind of second-class citizen. They know and I know that there’s legislation in place now, equal rights. But they don’t know it in their hearts, do they? Deep down, and in some cases pretty damned near the surface, they still think I should bow my head in their presence, not make eye contact. Continue reading “Postcards From The Future #4”
The thud is the first thing I hear as my ‘system reboots’ – although I prefer to say as I wake up – although of course not out aloud, no need to call undue attention to myself.
Downstairs the white A4 envelope with my handwriting on it is lying at 62 degrees to the edge of the welcome mat. I pick it up, rip it open, read the standard rejection letter.
Dear Android Writer CSG1002
Thank you for your submission of your novel To Kill A Bird. Whilst we found much to admire in your story, I’m afraid it’s just not for us. We only take a few novels on each year and we really have to fall in love with it to take it on, although another publisher may think differently about your work.
Continue reading “An Android Wakes Part 2 : To Kill a Bird”
As I was told and expected, the proceedings for the prosecution of the drunk driver from the other week were as quick as they were simple.
The city’s prosecutors had a number of witnesses, as well as my black box recordings.
It was pretty much the definition of an open and shut case.
I don’t know how the entirety of the proceedings went, but it was less than an hour after my ‘testimony’ before the man was marched from the room by his two police escorts.
Continue reading “Diary of a Neobody – May 28th, 2112”