Tag Archives: Science 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.

The Hundredth Post! Excerpts From “Timber” And Short Story Collection

This is my hundredth post! As of yesterday, you all have blessed me with 2,000 visitors to this website in 2020. Because of this, I figured I would let my readers choose the content of my hundredth post, so I held a poll to let everyone decide what this post should be and the option selected by popular opinion was an excerpt from a work in progress. I have multiple works in progress, so I decided to include a scene from Timber and one of the short stories, Moving On, from my upcoming collection to be released at the end of this year.

For some context, Timber is a book that follows the main character, Sarah, through her divorce, loss of her existing friendships, and change of identity as her perceptions of reality are challenged and reconciled. The scene I picked is from the middle of the book.

Enjoy!

Photo by Hisu lee on Unsplash

Excerpt From “Timber”

Charity smiled sweetly as her large pale blue eyes with opalescent pupils caught Sarah off guard. She never noticed Charity’s eyes before, or the eyes of any other zombie for that matter. Her extremely pale skin, a deeper blue at the tips of her fingers, had been rarely this visible. She rolled up her sleeves and lovingly arranged baskets filled with children’s books and miniature prints of famous art.

“What will the children do with the baskets?” Sarah asked as Charity’s careful and loving movements prepared each basket.

“They’ll eat them and become smarter. It will help their brains develop and they will better be able to communicate with the world around them.” Charity responded with a hint of exhaustion at having to explain.

“Why not just give the children adult books. Wouldn’t that be faster and better?” Sarah inquired while reaching for her own stack of baskets to begin filling.

“You can’t just give a child a book at a higher reading level! Our brains develop similarly to humans – the solid foundations for learning must exist before we can advance. When a child tries to eat books more advanced than they can handle they get very stressed and sometimes sick. Sure, they might regurgitate the material, but they could end up confused with disjointed information because they couldn’t digest it properly.” Charity handed a stack of children’s books to Sarah.

“So, zombies eat in order to learn?”

Charity stopped filling the baskets and looked up at Sarah, her direct eye contact forcing Sarah to shift weight between her feet. “We do not call ourselves ‘zombies’. Humans came up with that term and forced us to take it with the addition of bad literature and even worse movies.” Charity cleared her throat, took a deep breath, and continued. “And yes, we must physically consume material to learn new information.”

“What do you call yourselves?” Sarah asked, apologetically. Momentary silence stretched into an eternity between tics of the wall clock’s second hand.

“Phagoneurites” Charity sighed. “Individuals are Phagonuers.” She paused and pointed to fabric basket covers. “Hand me the wraps, will you? These are ready to be sent to families.” She indicated to the full baskets now covering the table.

Sarah grabbed the wrap and started helping Charity enclose each basket. “If Phagoneurites learn information so efficiently, why aren’t more in higher paying jobs?”

Charity paused in silent contemplation as her posture and face saddened. “Take that question to your politicians, your judges, your lawyers, and your education system.” She tightened her jaw with a deep seething breath, “The way things are now, we can’t. There are policies against us everywhere, both written and unspoken. The written ones are carefully worded as to prevent us from challenging them. So, we have our own universities, but most businesses refuse to accept degrees from them. The human education system refuses to give our programs accreditations.” Charity began picking up baskets from the table and shifting them into the large bins labelled “outgoing”.

Sarah chewed her mouth, trying to understand her desire to argue with Charity’s words. She’d learned her whole life that the policies were ‘anti-discrimination’ and that it was a choice not to attend human schools. Her brain tried to understand the words Charity said while she kept silent. “I’m sorry,” Sarah managed to say before she even realized she spoke.

“You’re here. That’s a start.” Charity looked at the cleared table and opened a box of books labeled ‘Young Adult’, grabbing more baskets. Her blue lips pursed as she closed her large eyes, appearing to be weighed down by the long white eyelashes. “What was your favorite book as a kid?”


Moving On

The crisp fall air ebbs with the emerging early winter’s night, whipping my hair into my face. It is too cold to meander lost in thought, but too comfortable to be set on edge. The familiar streets twist and turn while the sidewalk cracks etch their places under the moonlight. Hands in my pockets, I fiddle with the once broken necklace. I trace my path with the motion­ sensor front porch lights and barking dogs from across the brick-paved streets.

She loved this walk. Sunday mornings, we dabbled in conversation. She beamed, with those golden curls framing that face – emerald eyes the hidden gems beneath. Her shoes clipped those cracks; she faltered and tripped. Calling herself clumsy, she would hit herself if she stumbled. If she didn’t catch herself, I tried my best to be the arms where she fell. Each time her face reddened: rosy cheeks and the embarrassed grimace. She glossed over that fluttering heart against my chest by enveloping me in a desperate hug. So many surprises emerged from her square, youthful features. I somehow forgot she stood two inches taller. Then again, in those days, I never stopped smiling like an idiot.

At the end of the road, a park hides among an old orchard once part of a larger estate. I approach it as my thoughts flash pleasant autumn days against my will. Under that tall one. They pull me, pointing. The one with the spread branches and the old board nailed to the trunk. My imagination carefully fills in the apple load that weighed down the branches. The scene bleeds memories. The apples from that tree tasted best. She stole apples. I stole a kiss.

I roll the memory around on my tongue. Her eyelashes caressed against my cheekbones. The sound of her soft breath and the rapid beating of her heart against my own as they synchronized: everything I wanted, presented to me with a button nose.

She smiled with such serenity. I boosted her into the tree. Her necklace, the little gold filigree cross pendant on a delicate chain, snagged on a branch, breaking the clasp. In a surprise, she slipped, and I caught her. Through her tears, I held her promising to retrieve and repair it.

Under that tree, in the darkness, I pull the necklace out of my pocket, tracing my fingers along the charm’s sides. Looking up to the branch, I see the stars on the other side of the barren branches.

The pendant was a gift from her parents. While repairing the necklace, I stared. I longed to meet them every time she chose never to invite me to join her at a family dinner or event. I sought out pictures to prove to myself that they looked like her. I fantasized about which bits of her personality she inherited from whom. I wondered if they ever knew my name.

I lost my taste for apples. She disappeared. She never really loved you. Answering machine messages blinked in and out of existence without response. Notes I left under her door sat in my mind, their words echoing my insecurities from inside their sealed envelopes. Why did you ever think you were deserving of love? Why did you think you’d be more than someone’s phase or experiment? Removing the repaired necklace from my pocket, I kiss the pendant one last time. I loop it on a tree branch and turn to leave – following the brick road to a home of boxes and goodbyes. In my periphery – my mind playing tricks – I glimpse her walking our path alone.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this hundredth post. If it speaks to you, please let me know by liking, commenting, or sharing. This helps me know which posts my readers like best.