August 13, 2013


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.

SF Trope: Dystopia Is Hard
Current Event:

Adéla Stoica hung her head. She’d practiced abject submission just like all the other teenagers in the Orientation Class did. Beside her, Enio Cassar did the same thing.

What the Master before them didn’t see was Adéla open her eyes and shoot a sideways glance.

This time she beat Enio to the punch and could barely hold in the giggle that bubbled up inside of her when he opened his eyes an instant later. They were supposed to be contemplating the worthlessness of their own lives in submission to the Great Cause. She sighed – an acceptable sound – because the Masters of the Great Cause thought they’d beaten everyone down.

Standing before the class, Master Farkas scowled at her. He said to the class in Esperanto, the Language of Submission, “Estas bone ke vi kontempli vian propran senvaloreco ĉiutage, kaj konsideru la grandecon de la Lando anstataŭe.”

This time Enio sighed. It was the motto of the regime, “It is good that you contemplate your own worthlessness every day, and consider the greatness of the Country instead.” The education of the youth after fourteen years of the Society of the Great Cause was predictable. Master Farkas continued, “It should make you feel the weight of that responsibility so deeply that your spirit groans with the burden of it. It is only through sacrifice to society that the individual might live best. It is only through society that all wisdom, all knowledge and all discovery might be directed by the National Science Foundation. Through that wisdom, humanity might live again in the luxury to which it had become accustomed.”

Enio muttered, “Ai mund të marrë zbetë e tij idiot horseshit gojën dhe të fus atë deri gomar e tij, ku ai erdhi nga." Like everyone else at the camp, their mother language was the one they cursed and made love in; Esperanto was the language they learned to mock in; English was the language everyone could communicate across ethnic walls in. Of course, there were to BE no ethnic walls because the Great Cause united all of North America into one Cause – the betterment of humanity.

It was too bad Master Farkas was also a linguist from the Old Order. His gaze arrested Enio and he said in the same language, “Merrni ass tuaj i dobët këtu lart tani, ju mut pak.” Enio’s eyes bulged as Master Farkas added, “Your girlfriend can come up here, too.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Enio blurted.

Adéla elbowed him and they stood their ground. The line behind theirs shoved them forward and the lines in front of them opened up. She looked at them and said, “Cowards.” But none of them looked the slightest bit afraid. They looked bored. Like they wanted something interesting to happen; kill the mold growing on their lives of dull sameness. Like jackals. When Master Farkas looked up at them though, their faces transformed to slack idiocy then morphed into hanging heads.

He gestured to them and led them out of the classroom, his white lab coat flapping behind him. Two other technicians wearing the shorter, lower-ranked blue lab coats went into the classroom to take his place. Leading them down a half dozen short flights of stairs, he stopped at a metal door and used his passkey to unlock it. Pushing it open, Adéla and Enio could see that a huge screen covered one wall and that a face filled the screen, looking at them. Master Farkas grabbed Enio’s arm and shoved him into the room. Enio sighed and walked in. “I can’t believe you’re doing this…” The door slammed ponderously.

He touched Adéla’s shoulder and said, “You’re next.”

She knew exactly what was coming and shook her head, remembering the really fascinating books she’d read as a precocious two year old. First she grabbed her older brother’s copy of THE HUNGER GAMES and read it, then the other six sequels. She fell in love with Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES books. Devoured Haddix’s  THE HIDDEN. Every dystopian book she could find from HG Well’s TIME MACHINE to the seven LAST SURVIVORS books; she read and cherished in her heart.

Then the Great Cause overtook the countries of North America – and her life had been tedious boredom ever since...

Names: Czech, Romania ; ♂Albania, Malta

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