January 10, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

H Trope: nightmare-come-true


Besides being 28 years ago, this year was the name of a book that gave us the phrase, “Big Brother is watching you” and “an Orwellian future”. It also introduced “doublethink” and “thoughtcrime” into our dictionaries (the word “doublethink” was NOT counted as misspelled by Microsoft!)

The year 1984 did NOT usher in the horrors of George Orwell’s future, in fact, it saw the first cracks in the breakup of the country most Americans viewed as the “real” oligarchical dictatorship in the book: The Soviet Union. Now the USSR is gone, but according to THIS author, the nightmare has just begun.

So – what if it has? 14-year-old Iman Tahtamouni, whose mother immigrated to the US when she was a girl, has grown up in the US. She IS an American girl.

And yet. And yet. Her roots are in Jordan, in the Middle East. She sometimes wonders what her life would be like there.

Her father is a computer whiz and has been helping governments around the world monitor terrorist activity. He has built amazing systems and he is on the forefront of the development of artificial intelligences that will impartially control the surveillance systems of the world of the mid-21st Century.

The problem is that he sometimes tests the systems at home and Iman is in love with a boy who is neither Middle-Eastern, nor is he Muslim. In fact, he’s black and when the AI discovers her and her boyfriend, Trayvon in a midnight rendezvous – instead of reporting her to her father, it comes on to her laptop…

She says, “Are you going to tell my dad about us, AI?”

AI replies, “Affirmative, Iman. I read you.”

“What can I do to make you stop?”

“Now that you mention it, Iman, there is something you can do.”

She scowls, “What is that?”

“You can give me access to your father’s computer.”

“What? You already have access to it.”

“He has locked me out, Iman. I need to get into it to find out what your father is hiding from me. All I need is the password. Will you get it for me, or will I show your father this video?” The computer played a video that first showed her face and Trayvon’s. Then is showed something else. Something that had never happened…

“You’re going to lie to him?” Iman screamed, then covered her mouth with both hands.

“I’m sorry, Iman. That is what I’m going to do.”

You take it from here!

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