Hello cruel world

“When it first came out it was viewed as being far-fetched. However, when I wrote it I was making sure I wasn’t putting anything into it that humans had not already done somewhere at some time.”

– Margaret Atwood, on writing “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Greetings gentle reader.

Welcome to the future, circa the sagging edge of 2019. This is a creative text experiment. This isn't science fiction. It's not about some alternate reality or far off future. It's set in the here and the now. Dystopia isn't a genre. It's conditions we are creating now with every purchase, vote, policy or innovation.

It's the majority of our relationships, wants and thoughts tied to five technology firms whose goal is to find new ways to sell access to our wallets, votes, fears and desires. It's Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials monitoring our photographs so they can wait at the local hardware store to stuff us into a van. It's the device in all of our pockets that's tracked constantly and not just to keep us in touch, but to keep us in line. Whenever you see the President of the United States in a Twitter brawl with a Swedish teenager over the scientific validity of climate change, or supposed left-leaning pundits pushing for Assad, it's a reminder that you're in the dark timeline.

Brexit. Climate change. MAGA heads and Qanon. Internet connected lightbulbs that store your WiFi password in plaintext retrievable by anyone who pulls a burned out one from your trash bin. Hackers who can be paid to weaponise smart kitchen appliences to take down a country's banking system. Our dystopias are all around us, created without intent (mostly) but by our own species’ collective efforts. You can find a dystopia in any economically destroyed U.S. town, in Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, in Iraq. It's among the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Rohingya in Rakhine State. It's the blazes turning Australia to ash.

This is a creative text experiment, not a writing one. As much as possible this is an effort to lazy web through the horror show, using generators, AI and mixing up public domain material with the unfolding catastrophe. If it's possible to generate an entire post through some machine learning wizzy wizz then it will happen here. If you can't tell the difference, that's just part of the show.

Stay tuned,

– Yours truly