Tag Archives: internet

Friday Fictioneers: Progress

phone-booth-jhc

‘…Power sockets in a swimming pool! One of the many reason homo-sapiens once stood on the verge of extinction.’

The teacher’s comments fell on deaf ears. In the foreground she sensed a trio of giggling girls, telekinetically tossing a hairbrush back and forth, and hidden away at the back several boys had clearly pooled their consciousness in order to play online games.

She gave a virtual sigh. Modern teaching was nigh-on impossible.

‘…And this – once the only means of communication; its ringing interrupting a deafening silence devoid of content. Can you imagine?

The kids stared at her blankly. For all their technology and privilege…

…They couldn’t!

 

Written for: Friday Fictioneers 

Advertisements

26 Comments

Filed under Flash fiction

One-Up-Man-Ship…(Friday Fictioneers)

fatima-fakier-deria1

‘You’re nobody in life unless you own a vessel sumptuous enough to accommodate a fully laden helicopter from which a bevy of scantily-clad uber-babes / Adonis’s (delete as appropriate) endlessly spill…

…Or at least, that’s the word on the street; a word spread by yours truly.

Boat building is all about leveraging insecurities.

You’re worthless without stuff!

My current arm’s race involves a pot-bellied platinum magnate, a wig-wearing premiership footballer and an Internet starlet who takes copious photos of her bottom.

As for me – I don’t own a boat.

But you should see the size of my house!

 

(100 words)

Written for: Friday Fictioneers

22 Comments

Filed under Flash fiction

Life in Dystopia…

There’s a long tradition in both science fiction and satire of predicting real-life events way in advance. Typically, when they manifest in reality, it’s in an even more ludicrous form then was previous jested.

Take the news for example. In the 90’s ‘The Day Today’ was a deliberately over-caffeinated parody of the emerging 24-hour coverage that is now commonplace – with unnecessarily grandiose graphics and brash, coiffured presenters. One of its creators (Armando Iannucci) has often been asked if he would ever consider bringing the show back, but has always cited Fox News as being far more pantomimic than anything he ever did as a joke.

In the 70’s Demon Koontz wrote ‘Demon Seed’- a book about a super computer that traps a woman in her automated house using an internet-like entity to take over all the applications in her house. There was a story in the papers last week about Russian spies hacking smart kettles and toasters (In the book the woman is also impregnated with a robotic abomination, but give the world time…)

The moon landing, cyber space, mobile phones, micro-waves, the atomic bomb and drones – all written about by HG Wells, Isaac Asimov et al long before they arrived.

And sixteen years ago The Simpsons did a sketch in which Donald Trump was president of the United States!

Here’s a dystopian thriller for you. It’s about a bunch of people who find out the most powerful country on earth’s been taken over by a monster and respond by going on social media and sharing comedy memes about it…

No, wait…That was Facebook this morning!

What has happened in America is insane. What is happening in the UK is equally crazy – not just Brexit (which I’m fervently opposed to), but also how vociferous many of the remain voters are about broad-brushing their opposite numbers as ‘idiot, racists’ and momentarily forgetting that we live in a democracy.

In-keeping with tradition I wrote a story last week that, this morning, happened exactly as described. It’s about a white, bald (Donald would hate him) male who rings up an energy company to complain about his gas bill. After speaking with a call centre agent he gets escalated up to a man with a Spanish name and a Spanish accent.

‘Could you go outside and check the meter for me?’ he asks.

‘Not currently,’ the bald man replies, ‘I’m in the bath.’

‘At this hour?’

‘Yes. I’ve got flu and I was up all night watching the end of the world on tele.’

‘Ah yes, the orange apocalypse.’

The Spanish sounding man calls back once the bald man is ensconced in a beanie hat and other apparel, and they continue to talk about politics rather than the bill. The Spanish man is an immigrant who voted Brexit, but now has buyer’s remorse. The bald man asks if it’ll even happen with all the anger and legal wrangling. No conclusion is reached.

At some point they resolve the bill discrepancy without partisanship or abuse.

‘Good luck surviving the nuclear winter,’

‘You too buddy.’

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Tuba Shame…

In 1989 I rocked a stone-cold mullet and whenever I walked into a room heavily coiffured heads would turn. I was thirteen years old and the world was my oyster / toilet. I had no mobile phone (they existed, but were the size of microwaves, cost a gajillion pounds and were only used by YUPPIES (Young Urban Professional (Take that you acronym obsessed Millennials – LOL))). In the evenings I generally pootled around on my Grifter bike, taped music off the radio, or wrote actual letters to my actual girlfriend with an actual pen (steamy smut about how I wanted to ‘hold her hand’ and other such filth). At weekends I’d rifle through LPs in a second-hand record shop, sit waiting for blocky games to load on my Spectrum 48k or hang around with an annoying kid whose dad owned a sizeable cache of video nasties and porn – the hiding places of which weren’t fooling anyone. I made things, played the clarinet, knew the location of dens…

Then one day it all changed, or rather – it didn’t.

In the 80’s it was compulsory for all Catholic schools to have comedy names. Ours was called Blessed William Howard (or ‘Blessed Bills’ to the initiated). One Autumnal morning me, my mullet and my fellow hilariously dressed classmates were shepherded into the ALF  or ‘Active Learning Facility’ (Couple of tables with some state-of-the-art ‘personal computers’) to be introduced to something called ‘The Information Super-Highway.’

Our teacher – “Mr quotey-fingers” proceeded thus:  ‘The “Information Super-Highway” or “World-Wide’Web” will “revolutionise” the way in which we view and share “bits and bytes” of “data.” Instead of seeing this computer as a single machine, try imagining it as a “node” on a “network.”‘

He turned on the screen and (once it had warmed up) a pre-Google / Lycos / Ask Jeeves white DOS-prompt flashed before our eyes.

We were asked to type in a phrase or “keyword” and see what came up.

I went first – ‘Boobs’ – nothing! (Can you even IMAGINE? (the horror)). A couple of guys followed suit – ‘Willies’ (nothing), ‘Kylie Minogue’ (nothing), ‘fart-face’ (nothing). Something said ‘try just fart‘ (nothing) etc. The kid next to me had tried ‘nipples’ and ‘poo’ all to no avail.

‘Try typing The Gross Domestic Product of China,’ the teacher encouraged.

We duly obliged and were rewarded with a string of text (no pictures) and links to incredibly stodgy academic papers.

‘I hope this demonstration shows you how the world as we know it has irevocably changed forever,’ he concluded.

‘What was that bullshit?’ someone shouted as we filed out (earning themselves a detention and 400 Hail Mary’s (Protestant kids these days don’t know they’re born!))

One thing was for certain – It would never catch on.

Anyway, I told this story to a grad last week and it was like I was talking about my hardships during The Great War.

My tuba shame‘Computers used to operate with less memory than is found in today’s lowest resolution photo,’ I proudly divulged like a luddite neanderthal banging on about the glory days before wheels and fire. ‘And data used to be stores on flimsy five-and-a-half-inch floppy discs.’

‘How did they fit in the USB socket?’ I was (genuinely) asked.

‘We used to roll them up and wedge them in,’ I replied.

Later that evening, tormented by the ridiculous notion that I might be old, I perused through a few photo albums and found that a good twenty-percent of my childhood pictures were in black and white…and that I was wearing flares in all of them!

Twenty years from now someone will be explaining cloud-computing and reality TV to a young person born in 2016 and they will be laughing their arse off at how quaint it all was back in the day…

…but enough reminiscing for now – granddad needs his nap…

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Guerrilla Marketing, Uncategorized