Tag Archives: fiction

A Journal Retrospective: Notes On A Dystopian Speculative Fiction Idea

Going through my old journals, I sometimes come across old story ideas that look like I wrote them late at night in a crazed state of sleep deprivation. “They” represents the government/society, I think? Here is one such example:

Breeders

Based on the date, I can only assume I came up with this idea after being called a “breeder” while walking through the Castro one day. For those that aren’t aware, “breeder” is a slur shouted at anything they assume has a uterus, and the individual shouting at it has had to make a whole slew of assumptions regarding the person possessing said assumed uterus. It’s rude and messy, and if you’re someone that does this, you should reconsider that behavior. The only times they have targeted me with this slur was while I was dating only women and was walking alone through the Castro in San Francisco.

Anyway, the concept of a breeder in this dystopian universe is that at birth, they screen humans for genetic diseases, genetic predispositions, and important or new beneficial traits. They then sterilize any that failed this screening (most infants), but the benefits (on average) life extension and increased intelligence. The detriment of being a breeder is a shorter lifespan with high variation in intelligence.

This creates a cast system with the first division existing between Breeders and Non-breeders. To children this is not apparent until adolescence, when they separate breeders upon reaching sexual maturity from their peers. While they worship Breeders as the genetic parents of all humans. Above Breeders there is a ruling class—the Royal class—retired, pampered, and in control over the government where only they can vote on legislation (non-breeders and breeders have no voting rights).

This whole set up began when a plague ravaged their human colony on a new terraformed planet, yet Earth kept in touch by regular transmission until there was a breakdown of communication. The Ruling Class told everyone that astronomical radiation caused this.” With a plague claiming everyone in the population with a specific genetic trait, the government established when the colony originally started and elder citizens set up a plan to help prevent diseases in the population and create a race of humans free of microbial and genetic diseases. Because the only people that may vote or be involved in lawmaking are post-menopausal men and women, the system persists. This creates further division.

They sterilized the lowest cast: criminal breeders. They only forcibly sterilize a breeder if they have committed a crime, or “new technology” reveals that their traits are no longer desirable, so they now are known to have a previously unknown rare genetic disease (as this is also a crime). In the first case, criminals lose all of their rights and are the absolute lowest class. In the second case, they and all of their offspring must be sterilized and join the non-breeders.

Select non-breeders are chosen as advisors based on their expertise in specific fields, such as the sciences. They also act as teachers, medical professionals, caregivers, and adoptive parents. In terms of the public education prior to adolescence, teachers may not know which students are breeders and which are not. Students much choose to “come out” eventually about their status once they have reached puberty, as this will mean separation from their peers and removal from the education system.

While adoptive parents (non-breeders) aren’t supposed to know the status of a child, it is not uncommon that they find out, and this will sometimes result in conflict and manipulation. This is a criminal offense that results in the child being removed from the parents.

When becoming an adult, the breeders go off to a resort city where they are provided with housing, food, pre-natal vitamins, and all forms of intellectual venture related items like art supplies and books to keep them happy. The work of the non-breeder class pays for this (and the former breeder class). And… I have a huge diagram about how the economy works in this society because a set amount of currency came with this society when they landed and started the colony. This doesn’t mean that counterfeiters don’t pop up, eventually.

In the economy, to allow for optimal success rate, Breeders are given no reason to stress and are encouraged to explore their passions openly from painting to water polo – whatever floats their boat as long as it doesn’t involve alcohol or anything that could affect their body adversely. In return for having their passions encouraged and patronized by all subjects that pay taxes, breeders must contribute a mathematically agreed upon number of babies to the world based on the breeder’s age at onset of puberty.

One conflict idea I had was that there would be a trial run of young adult breeders given the option to opt out and instead work alongside sterile humans to pay their taxes and can change their minds until they hit menopause once they hit a population maximum.

In order to become part of the voting class a woman must have produced at least one child (or however many are necessary per person to maintain the population) and men must not only have a long history of participating in sperm donation but whose genetic material must have been used at least once.

They match eggs and sperm using statistically based genetic profiles of the individuals collected at birth. When a match occurs a woman goes to pick up her fertilized eggs using IVF, then she gets pregnant, gives birth after gestation, and breast feeds until she decides with an adviser that the child is ready to be weaned. At that point they review adoptive parent applications. If a child is not placed, the child is raised in a group home, attend a public school like everyone else, and proceed on through the social steps. “

So… that was a trip. c_c

I rarely write Science Fiction. Partly because I write dystopian Science Fiction. Specifically. And this is a genre that was… TL;DR discouraged to the point I stopped.

I’d like to change that.

Book Review: Trajelon By Alyssa Marie Bethancourt

Front cover of Trajelon – The Way Of The Falling Star Book 2

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Trajelon in exchange for a review. While I attempt to keep my reviews as fair and unbiased as possible, it is important to note that I received this copy as a gift and read it in two sittings while traveling to/from Seattle while planning our upcoming move. Also, I have known the author since 2011, though I was unaware of her writing endeavors at the time.

Summary (Low Spoiler)

Before you proceed reader, I insist you go back and read the first book in this series: Mornnovin – you can buy it here. The digital version is currently on sale through 7 January 2021.

Welcome back to the world of Asrellion where, over 3,000 years later, the elves and humans are finally signing a peace treaty to officially end the genocide that sent all elves into hiding to the extent they were assumed extinct. Our Míyahídéna is still waiting for her prince of Grenlec to return from his quest to seek out the Elven god Vaian in the sea, and her coronation day is quickly approaching. But what will happen if he doesn’t arrive? And what evil forces lurking beyond the sea could be involved in preventing his return? As the ruler of Elvédíen becomes more erratic in her behavior and eventually disappears, what will her kingdom do?

Response (Spoilers & Content Warning)

Driven mad by the absence of the one other being to which her soul is magically bound, Loralíenasa descends into the depths of despair, bringing the reader along for the ride.

Dear reader, if you have never experienced a major depressive episode, dissociative episodes, personality changes due to severe trauma, or have first hand knowledge of various types of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse… you will. For readers that have experienced these abuses first hand, be assured that Bethancourt has taken great care in her writing on these topics. Chapter breaks, perspective changes, and timeline retrospectives are all used as mechanisms for grounding the reader when the scenes become too intense.

On the bright side, you won’t have to go through years of therapy after the fact to be able to recognize the warning signs for these traumatic experiences. Plus, you will enjoy the educational ride along the way through the incredible story telling mechanics, much like all of the Magic School Bus kids with their super secret Stockholm Syndrome.

If Mornnovin was the book to introduce us to Asrellion and the universe’s clashing cultures, Trajelon is the book that introduces us to the wide cast of characters. With this cast of a new and old characters, we explore the Elven world with new depth and breadth. With no character fully innocent, it’s easier to see these characters as flawed when put under duress. One thing is certain: every character has a unique perspective on events driven by their own motivations and this influences their actions accordingly. We also gain better understanding of how hard they work to appear as a singular presentation of their choosing on the surface as per their training with the Qíarnos – the “Seven Principles of Wisdom” and how these principles impact the culture we’ve come to expect from our cold, pointy eared companions.

With expansions on language and trade relations intermixed with customs, history, and a powerful storyline that will leave a reader emotionally scarred, but begging for more, Trajelon is the sequel we needed.

Yet another brilliant work of art by Bethancourt, Trajelon reveals that she can write epic adventures of the mind and spirit in addition to the sword.

LGBTQA

Major and minor characters represent all potential combinations and it is revealed that elves are very sexual creatures in ways that tend to be left to the imagination. While there are many questions I still have as a reader (re: Galvanos), I’m sure these will be answered in upcoming sequels. So many details have been slow, subtle reveals that are delightful puzzles in this series and I highly recommend readers paying attention to the uses of coding by the author.

Grammar+

This book meets or exceeds the 1/10,000 word error industry standard.

Twilight Zone Moment

What happened to the wedding ring? I know this is a very small and minor question, but I had to wonder.

About The Author And The First Book

You can read more about Alyssa Marie Bethancourt in her interview from last year here or on her website. Follow her on social media via Twitter. You can purchase a copy of Trajelon for yourself here or through amazon here (the digital versions of Mornnovin and Trajelon are on sale for $1.99 through 7 January 2021).

New Short Story: Our Dearly Departed – My First Western Gothic

Martha Mallory of Butte, MT ~1900

Today my story “Our Dearly Departed” went live on Coffee House Writers. Thank you so much to my friend Seth for all of his help on the fact-checking and historical research for this story. He’s actually the inspiration for writing a western and has been a huge encouragement to me breaking out of writing in the American Gothic genres in more regions across the United States.

Family name unknown – Kirksville, MO 1890-1910s

This story focuses on the subject of post-mortem photography and how it was used in the era of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. For those that could afford photography sessions in the territories, a luxury service not afforded to most people unlike in eastern states, it was all about creating a facade of preserved standard of living to share with the family back home. This involved false windows, painted backdrops, and curating a scene that matched what people wanted their families to believe, even in death. Given the expense, the photographer was called out to a home for births, deaths, and marriages only if they didn’t have a studio set up yet. Most photographers traveled until the 1890s – 1900s when the railroads allowed town populations to grow enough to sustain studio spaces, as opposed to the photographer traveling to each individual business request. These areas would later become “the flyover states.”

Family name unknown (this is also a hidden mother photograph) – Omehee, ND 1890-1910s

I will write more on the subjects of western cabinet card era photography (post-mortem, momento mori, mourning, etc), as well as how it differed across various regions of the United States, and how it intersected with American Spiritualism and legal fraud in the future. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short story inspired by my research so far with cultural and historic details assisted by a dear friend and someone I would consider extremely knowledgable on the West. Hopefully my skills at writing American Gothic style period pieces pertaining to this region of the United States improves.

Knute, Hauge, and Welhalle – ?, ND (I’m not certain I’m reading their names correctly as the handwriting is difficult to decipher) 1890-1910s

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day! Remember to breathe 🙂

Short Story: Aquarium

This experimental short has been rejected by a few different magazines at this point, so I’m going to go ahead and post it here.

“Why? Why do you let us go on doing such horrible atrocities to each other?! We commit genocide! We destroy the most precious of creations! The very God you serve gave us this planet and now you mean to tell me you sit and watch, and enjoy, with pleasure as we rip it apart?” The human thrashed against a darkness as it spoke.

The angelic creature paused, swirling a glass of white wine as it materialized out of the infinite. This thing projected fabrication; created for demonstrative purposes only. “I know this may be difficult for you to understand, but we are not your caretakers. Your view of “God” is all wrong. It’s from the bottom up. There are no guardian angels watching over you, for any purpose, and as far as you should be concerned, I serve no one.”

Alone in a void in the presence of an ethereal being, the human failed to notice whether or not this projection of himself included the rhythmic rising and falling of his chest.

“Your world is like one of a series of fish tanks, but this one I like best.” It walked along a sudden wall of aquariums illuminating the vibrant fish in the darkened room. “What makes humans special is that no matter how vile, how sinister, how awful, how petty any of you are, you are trying what you genuinely think is best because human lives are precious. Each moment is meaningful.”

The angel paused, its finger caressing the glass of one tank, watching the fluorescent yellow and Prussian blue fish trail their brief connection. It detached from the aquarium, returning its attention to the human and stepping away from the dissolving wall. “Immortal beings lack that.” Taking a seat at a cafe table, the creature invited the recoiling human to sit. “When humans destroy this world, we will create another. It is “old hat” as you say – a trick we have seen a million times before.”

The human gawked, but received rolled eyes from the unamused creature. “And we will see it a million times more.” In a long slow sip, its eyes flared across the table. The angel’s face relaxed, an eyebrow raised then the shoulders, before it replaced the wine glass on the table and rocked itself up from its chair, addressing the pantomiming human. “We’re waiting to be proven wrong though.”

“So what about Jesus, and Muhammad, and God… and… and the Saints?” The human reached an arm out to stop the angel as it began to saunter away.

The angel paused.

“What of heaven?” The human and angel’s eyes connected for the first time revealing piercing eyes of not one color, but a sea of ever morphing reflections of all colors known and unknown.

“What of them?” Those eyes relaxed as the human watched the most joyous and horrible of moments of his life laid out before him in blinding light and contrasting piercing darkness.

The human choked and knelt to the floor, reaching for his throat and crown as a once unencumbered mind drowned. “Believe whatever you wish. What matters is what you do with that belief.” As the angel turned around it added with a smirk, “And as for heaven, that is the mystery even I am not allowed to reveal.”

That Cheshire smile evaporated and the human’s memory grasped at the descending details of the encounter, but his attempts were for nothing. Instead he was left holding only empty palms facing upward.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this short story today! If you enjoyed this story, didn’t enjoy this story, think I should expand it, or have any additional thoughts I would love to hear them! As always, liking, commenting, or sharing is the best way to let me know which posts my readers enjoy the most.