By on November 17, 2013

prisoner-620x324

This week, we lined the seventy-eight prisoners up in the old football stadium. More for practical reasons than anything else; there were a lot of relatives involved and we needed to make sure they saw what happened before they, in turn, were sent to the camps. I think it was the first time that it had been used since the sport was banned by my predecessor a few decades back. The drifters that live there now were a nice touch. Added a sense of desperation to the whole event.

From my perch at the top of the official grandstand, I watched them as they were paraded by on the way to the Execution Platform, just like I always do. There were the usual young, skin-tinted, rebellious twenty-somethings. The typical Midwestern nutjobs who still clung to their cars and their outdated, backward belief systems. Unfortunately, this time there was a kid. No more than fourteen. Probably a result of a failed clone job, homeless, doing Pay Drives in the cities, trying to earn a fast dollar. I really hate it when we have to kill a kid, even if he was a D citizen. It’s probably more likely that he was an Unclassified. Never authorized to have been born in the first place, which meant that as far as decent people were concerned, he was already dead.

It’s still hard for me to understand why the “Drivers,” as they’re called, risk it. When I banned all automobiles at the beginning of my term as Controller, I did it for the good of the people. The synthetic gasoline costs were out of control, and the cartels that controlled them were escalating their power daily. I imagine that my ancestors thought that dealing with Venezuela and the Saudis was tough (hence their rush to get the gasoline-from-waste-plastic productionized all those years ago), but the chemical cartels were even worse. Crime was so bad in places like Miami and El Paso that we literally declared those cities “lost.” Even The People’s Army commanders refused to send in troops.

Plus, the price of cars had gotten so high that even driving one made you a target for all sorts of violent crime. When the revolution happened, people had thought that the economic disparity would simply disappear. They failed to remember the lessons of the October Revolution nearly two hundred years before: the money and power never goes to the people. So the “one percent” were dragged from their homes and killed. Their possessions were divided among the mob. And nearly overnight, a new “one percent” was born, but this time it was made up of the openly violent and ruthless. The disparity not only continued to exist, it got worse. Much worse. So the same unrest still existed, it just got redirected toward the new elite, who had proven themselves that violence was an acceptable means of continuing the national conversation. Just by driving a car, you were making yourself nearly twenty times more likely to be a crime victim.

So, yes, at the onset of my term as Appointed Controller of Upper America about ten years ago, I wrote the decree that no automobiles of any type could be bought, sold, manufactured, or driven, except, of course, by authorized law enforcement and government employees. The punishment was, and still is, death. Crude, yes, but in this day of state-supported Atheism and the disappearance of the afterlife myth, it’s a good deterrent. It was widely lauded as a popular move, except in the most distant parts of the Federation where, remarkably, they were still using actual tractors to farm actual food. Crazy, right?

We went door to door and we crushed the cars — right there on the spot! The KrushGroove, designed and built specifically for the purpose of mobile car destruction, was capable of recycling everything from the urban three-wheelers to the Massive People Movers. The Level AA and A citizens were compensated (behind closed doors, of course), but the B, C, and D citizens received nothing except an ID card that allowed them unlimited use of public transportation for the first three months. The C and D citizens supported the move, of course. Most of them didn’t even have a car, unless they had been able to somehow get sponsorship, and they still got the ID card! Naturally, we had to mandate that they all buy a card after that, otherwise the system wouldn’t have able to sustain itself.

But then the Driver Phenomenon started happening. At first it had been AA citizens driving the exotic automobiles they had squirreled away during the Great Crushing, but those quickly fell into disrepair and disappeared from the remaining service roads. Frankly, I had been inclined to ignore it and write it off as wealthy playboys getting their kicks. And, obviously, I’m not really all that excited about executing AAs. It’s tough enough to get them to keep appointing me even if I don’t punish their hobbies with death. No, I had really almost expected that to happen.

The real problem was when we started catching people driving the old cars. I mean really old. The ones that had been cheap, yes, but most importantly, they were uncomplicated and easy to repair. Even the D citizens, with their most basic implants, were able to scan them and fix them. Suddenly, they were seemingly everywhere. The car gangs formed in the bigger cities. That’s when I knew we would have issues. That’s when I knew we had to start making the executions public.

At first, it was really hard. Strictly speaking, we’re in the business of empowering citizens to live their most vibrant lives, free from the twin evils of judgment and hypocrisy, not killing them. I mean, I had gotten used to the post-delivery abortions. We all had. The science supported it. But the first time we put a bag over the head of an eleven-year old girl for driving a truck on one of the communal farms and shot her in front of her family, it was impossible to keep the vid from going viral around the world. We raided every house where we saw the checksum appear over the wire, and they responded by changing it over and over again, doing high-speed stegano. It put me in a very bad light with the other Controllers. Even the Global-C was concerned. I got a very terse and sharp message from her on my retinal screen: “So we’re executing kids now?”

I quickly got my Crisis Team together. I had them put together a fake bio for the terrorist in question. We made her a problem child. Created a false birth certificate that made her the daughter of a sex worker. Gave her a criminal record including speaking out against the state. And it worked. Public opinion turned back in my favor. It’s a good thing I control the news.

The number of executions has seemed to vary with the seasons. Virtually none in the winter months, astronomical in the summer. But seventy-eight in one week? That was a record by nearly twenty. Part of it was due to my latest decree which banned the possession or manufacture of any fuel that could be used in a car, but still. That had only accounted for seven. It worries me. People apparently don’t value their lives as much as I thought.

Regardless of the number, regardless of the age, regardless of the brutal nature of the executions, I am and will continue to be unyielding on this. Cars nearly destroyed our society. If we were able to solve the gun issue, surely we can solve the car issue with the same tools. The secret to ruling the masses has always been this: Take positions that were previously unthinkable and make them mainstream. Use the media. Use the pundits. Take advantage of the fact that the general populace still thinks there are two sides. Shout down the critics. Over time, the ridiculous becomes sane.

But the cries haunt me. The faces of the rebellious children. The desperate mothers clinging to their loved ones before they are hauled off to the work camps to be punished, themselves. Even as I stand at attention, proudly saluting the Federation flag with each gun shot, I have to guard against the tears. The vids are ruthless. Can’t show any weakness. It’s tough.

Thank goodness I still have my Ferrari. Nothing helps chase away the ghosts like a little jaunt around the race track with the other Controllers. Marquez from Lower America has been talking a lot of shit since last month’s track day in Monterrey. We’ll see who’s faster on my home track. Oh, shut it. The difference between a few leaders sprinting around a road course and the unwashed billions carbon-fouling the air is self-evident. Plus, I need this. I need the release. You have no idea how difficult it is, being responsible for all of you. I’m doing this for your own good. You need me, even if you don’t understand why. After all, I am the Controller. The most reliable of narrators. Because even when I lie, I can make it true.

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88 Comments on “Sunday Stories: “The Controller” By Bark M....”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    The French Revolution 2.0, with a healthy serving of fascism?
    Very nice.

  • avatar

    Nice twist at the end!

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Ah, chengguan.

    Have you ever wondered what all those TSA morlocks will be doing now that everybody knows the farcical nature of the GWOT?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Thanx .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    WTF does this have to do with TTAC?
    Someone thinks the government is conspiring to outlaw cars, first by requiring seatbelts and ABS, and this is how it will end? did Glenn Beck write this?

    If I want to read how the US will become a fascist dictatorship because we have a black President, I read one of the Ann Coulter books.

    Please stick to the truth and facts about cars in the here, now, the past and maybe the next few years. Stay away from political science fiction.

    I kow I’m free to not read every article here. But please put your respurces in articles about cars or politics related to cars that actually exists.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “did Glenn Beck write this?”

      That would take a lot of blackboards.

    • 0 avatar
      Bark M.

      It’s clearly labeled as “Sunday Stories.” We have a fiction story nearly every Sunday. In order to prevent future heartburn, I suggest skipping them.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        If you must have fictional stories, fine. but don’t ram your political agenda with made-up scenarios into our throats.

        Write a story about how we will have flying cars, or nuclear drivetrains… but for the sake of cars, don’t bring your own political theories into this.

        I hate both Fox News and MSNBC. I like to not read some of their stories here on a car site that is committed to facts.

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        You have been found guilty of wasting resources related to car articles, please queue in line 3 for re-education, grab a Brawndo on your way out.

        (Secondary offense of ramming the throats of the innocent with your political agenda is stayed until video evidence is available).

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        And it’s a fine piece of fiction in the dystopian future genre, Bark. Don’t let the ankle-biters get you down.

        I’ve always enjoyed this genre, though I’ve been amazed at how often the genre the genre is actually prophetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I understand you’re frustrated with the article, but other people enjoyed it.

      I can’t tailor all the content for you, or Glenn Beck, or Leon Trotsky, or even Jean Lindamood.

      Thanks for reading the stuff you *do* enjoy, we’ll work on bringing you more of it.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        I realize not every story is written for everyone. And honestly, almost every story here is really good, even if the topic isn’t 100% my thing. But what all the good stories have in common is they are based on cars, and if politics is involved, are not too biased or hypothetical (realizing everyone includign myself has a bias), but based on facts.

        The government is after our cars and anyone driving one gets shot, really? I realize this is supposed to be science fiction. But does science fiction have to have a fearmongering political agenda?

        I realize there are people that honeslty think 9/11 was an inside job, the landing on the moon was fake, and the government is after our guns and cars…. and everyone is entitled to expressing their opnion.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’m not super political but I much prefer the dystopian future fiction over the “sort of wealthy late 40s guy with a BMW Z8 has sex with a flighty but beautiful 25 year old” stories that sometimes get posted.

          At least here I can picture the Controller dressed as Cobra Commander.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “At least here I can picture the Controller dressed as Cobra Commander.”

            I thought I was the only one.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            The next piece of erotic fiction will contain a Cobra Commander costume.

            Wait, that isn’t what you’re trying to say?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        These are the hallmarks of dystopian fiction with a spin on automobiles. The world running out of oil resulting in limiting or the destruction of automobiles is a well established theme in this vein of fiction. Two that spring to mind are the novel Down to a Sunless Sea and a film called The Last Chase parodied by MST3K in KTMA Season Episode 20. In the novel the US turns into a crime riddled third rate power with the loss of its oil reserves and the subsequent collapse of its currency, and then other stuff happens (don’t want to spoil it for you). In the film, a similar theme of “gas running out” after a plague occurs and gov’t confiscates and destroys all automobiles. The protagonist who was a Formula 1 type race driver buries his car and it emerges ten or twenty years later when he escapes fascist New England and drives west to “Free California” while being pursued by a ruthless US gov’t. The film is farfetched but entertaining and highlights the precedents in the genre. Given a major geopolitical event such as a plague, peak oil, limited nuclear war, economic collapse etc what do you think would really happen? I would argue whoever is still alive and in power would do anything to maintain that power and keep the masses in check.

        • 0 avatar

          Not to mention The Last Chase had Lee Majors (actually a Can Am style, sorry) and Burgess freaking Meredith as an F-86 pilot! It was awesome.

          Also, I really enjoyed this piece

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Been so long I forgot about the epicness of Burgess Meredith as a likeable recovering alcoholic F86 pilot.

          • 0 avatar
            Dirk Stigler

            Holy crap, I remember that movie! Probably the most dated bit now is that their goal is to cross the fascist police state of the southwest to reach freedom in …California. But yes, the F-86 scene is crazy, and I bet I’m not the only one who saw a Can-Am car for the first time in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Josh_Howard

      1. This Fiction was entirely car-centric.
      2. Just because YOU don’t like it… doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
      3. Nothing political was really brought up until YOU brought it up. It’s a tale of a dystopian future much like 1984 only car-centric. I don’t think Beck or Coulter or Obama or anyone has anything to do with this story.
      4. In the time it took to complain, you could have been writing what YOU wanted to read as fiction. Just think about that and submit what YOU want to see. Sunday Fiction is for everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      We continue to muddle along towards this.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    That we have a black President at the moment is incidental. The problem is that Washington’s reach has far exceeded its ability to grasp for decades. Of course this is fiction, but the underlying animus is reality.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think the story would have worked better if things were more like Rubicun III from Star Trek instead of like North Korea.

    Even at my most dystopian I don’t see the government straight up banning cars. There is just too much bureaucracy to be had from them sticking around.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Chilling.

    Thanks for writing it, Bark.

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Awesome.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Too many people read politics into this.
    This is just the greatest common fear for all car guys, and that’s it (I hope)

  • avatar
    JoelW

    Why couldn’t the controller’s car have been a red Barchetta?

    (That’s my version of “Sunday humor”)

    :)

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, I hadn’t stopped by TTAC for a long time and thought I would see what is going on here these days. What a shocking disappointment to find this bit of melodramatic nonsense here as Sunday’s top story.

    • 0 avatar
      Josh_Howard

      It’s Sunday’s top story because it’s Sunday Fiction. Every Sunday a fictional story is put up. There are not rules except that it’s car-centric. Some weeks are cheery, others are sad. You just so happened to hit a sad week. Don’t let it stop you from returning! :)

    • 0 avatar

      John,

      If Bark M.’s bit of fiction about a dystopian future isn’t to your tastes, perhaps you’d prefer some automotive history:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/the-three-ps-of-motordom-pierce-arrow-peerless-and-panteras/

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    These Sunday Stories are great – usually some of the best reading of the weekend. I really don’t care if a good fictional story is a semi-regular offering on “car” website, or a monthly feature in the New Yorker, if it’s worthwhile, I read it.

    So what if the story has a political viewpoint woven in to it? If you demand a clear separation between culture and politics in all of the literature, media, and art that you take in, you’re going to miss out on a lot of good stuff. (And in my opinion, almost everything written by JB and Bark M. is good stuff, or at the very least, thought-provoking.)

    When I find something I don’t like, I don’t whine about it and demand that others cease and desist, I simply move on.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Who’s idea was it to have bedtime….I mean Sunday stories for grown men to read?

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    I liked it, Bark, even though your dystopian setting seems to be something that I encounter quite a bit in fiction, these days. I like to look at stories such as yours, and novels such as CenterForce, and Down to a Sunless Sea as cautionary tales, as well as entertainment. Still and all, It’s Sunday, the story is car-related, and the twist at the end was nice.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is meant to be accompanied with this piece: youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8diYlkaVE

    I stood near the Controller on the grandstand and gave my men the order to begin shooting when he nodded. I had seen so much bloodshed in my career one might think I wouldn’t think twice at a little more. I had my hand crossed against my chest in party salute and pounded my medals as I gave the order… but as I shouted the order to fire something felt different inside of me. I was raised to believe after the collapse it was up to wise men to save us from… being human. I supported the Controllers, I served them, I took lives for them, and almost lost my own in the process. I believed in the antiquated notion of honor and as I played executioner to this mess of Drivers I now realized my life was a lie. The other generals had tired of the Controller’s ineptitude they had plotted to end him and seize control. They begged for my assistance since I commanded the Praetorians but I always refused. My men once caught General Hasso’s adjutant trying to pump nerve gas into the Controller’s headquarters. My men eliminated the traitors but I was too reluctant to investigate my friend, in a way I had betrayed my country that very night so this was no different. I watched the Driver’s corpses fall to the grass one at a time and kept my hand to my chest in party salute. I had told my son and adjutant if I gave the traditional salute to not set the timer, but if I had not, to set the timer for one minute. Years back an Army engineering company found a cache of nuclear weapons which I then had buried in a salt mine near the capital. Last month I had one unearthed and placed under the grandstand. I turned my wrist from salute and my watch read fifty five seconds past my salute… excuse me while I kiss the sky.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Thank you Bark, sometimes all you need is a little inspiration. I love classical music and was initially leaning toward Arvo Prt but decided on Handel, I’m glad we agree.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      What do you think of this one:

      youtube.com/watch?v=TJ6Mzvh3XCc

      I love the piece but I didn’t think it was dramatic enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Bark M.

        Part’s minimalistic style has never been my jam. I am not a huge fan of twentieth-century “classical” music, in general, but if I had to pick, I’m more inclined toward Stravinsky and the like.

        I might have gone here:

        http://youtu.be/gkVuU6G9h6o

        I was a college music major, so I’m always down to rap about music!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Coltrane… nice.

          My exposure to Jazz (and music in general) isn’t up to snuff with yours I’d imagine but my grandmother used to play a little Duke Ellington along with Bing Crosby and Sinatra growing up. “Take the A Train” is one of my favorites in the genre. I’ll have ot make it a point to listen to more jazz till I find my groove as it were.

          I tend to enjoy large orchestra pieces esp from the turn of the century. Sibelius’ 1904 piano concerto is on my favs list and check out Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead if you want twenty minutes of imagery of souls being carted across the river Styx by Charon (Sergei is prob my favorite composer).

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Zappa’s “Watermelon in Easter Hay” sprang to my mind, particularly for the image of herding victims to their execution in the relic of a formerly free and prosperous society i.e., the football stadium.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    That there are people that would complain about this is hilarious. Anyone should have been able to read the first few sentences and figure out whether it was something they wanted to bother to open and read in its entirety or not. That a bunch of fascists needed to take the time to cry about the mere expression of views they don’t want expressed speaks volumes.

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      But…but…. intolerance of intolerance isn’t really intolerant. Ersumshit.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I’d like to think I’m stating the obvious here, but stories like these are often used to prime a website’s community against the ideological group being caricatured. And yes, that’s mildly upsetting. Practically all of us who are left of center have no desire to impose atheism, kill babies, ban cars, and kill their owners (seriously, we’re car enthusiasts or we wouldn’t be here). And I don’t think Bark M. was trying to say that, but given how many talking points he covered it was impossible for it not to cross my mind.

      But there are already comments in here agreeing with what the author was possibly not trying to say. There are always a lot of those, and they’re what make people overly sensitive to this sort of article (in other words, it’s only a problem if it becomes a pattern). I’ve seen it play out before on other sites, where you end up with an atmosphere of groupthink and a lousy place to hang out. I think it was the Car Connection that was like that; though I might have it mixed up with another site. It eventually emptied out until it was an echo chamber on conspiracy theories. A site’s editor in chief can decide if that’s part of his vision for the site. If not, he’ll pay some attention to feedback.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Wow, some people here are so touchy, did you also stop going to the library when they introduced a fiction section? Do you happen to burn books on your time off? What’s your favorite authors books to burn?

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I stopped reading pretty much everything on this lame site over a year ago. I’ve written them several times kindly asking them to unsubscribe me over the past several months to no avail. I even posted on 2-3 articles asking them to, but the stuff keeps piling up in my email. It looks like I’m going to have to go to my master screen name and block them from sending me anything else. This site doesn’t teach you guys anything worthwhile about cars, it’s all lame stuff. You guys aren’t car guys, you are career TTAC members.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      As a career TTAC member, I’ve never received an email from them without subscribing to an individual post.

      This site doesn’t just spam people without some sort of action on the part of the commenter.

      Do you have the “Notify me of new posts by email” box checked below the reply box or something?

      You could also just change your profile’s email.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Same here, visiting for close to 10 years and no email alerts. Only email I received was from Farago telling me to stfu. Nice guy.

        It’d be easier and less effort to send the alerts to spam, alter your subscriber settings, or just block the email sender. But probably not easier than all the other efforts you’ve exerted for the TTAC staff to not care.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The fact you took the time to articulate your thoughts and post them suggests you are looking for either validation or hoping things will change more to your liking. If you truly thought everything was lame you’d either say nothing or just post hey how can I unsubscribe without additional commentary. Why not jot some of your own thoughts on what’s worthwhile and submit them either to the editors or just in a lengthy reply in another article?

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      Every e-mail program on the planet has the option to block a sender.

  • avatar
    tedward

    There is no greater fan of science fiction than myself, especially sci-fi that challenges political viewpoints or takes current trends to an absurdly unlikely but educating extreme. From that perspective I like this as much as I can given the short word count. Keep doing this kind of stuff, hopefully in novella format.

    That said, this line, “but in this day of state-supported Atheism and the disappearance of the afterlife myth, its a good deterrent” was frankly a let down. It’s superficially insulting to atheists, but far more so to the religious. Are you saying that church-goers need their religion to keep rape and pillage impulses at bay? A dig like that could be awesomely potent if it was supported by the same kind of hypothetical framework you built to support the other points in the piece. Standing by itself it comes across as a smear or a completely unsupported (and thus uninteresting) assumption. First rule, make it interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Just re-read my post and I want to make clear it was meant as constructive criticism. Insult and challenge is integral to this type of work, and you provide it here. I only wanted to point out that when the net is cast further than the work is built to support you end up with a miss. That line deserves a work all on it’s own if it is going to fly.

      • 0 avatar
        Bark M.

        It was taken as such!

        Without showing you too much behind the curtain, it’s more of comment on how much non-religious people or those with doubts might fear death more than those with deep faith in an afterlife. You’re right, it deserves more development.

        Thanks for the sincere feedback and for reading so closely! Much appreciated.

        • 0 avatar
          Dirk Stigler

          So in the spirit of honest reaction, I wasn’t really able to buy the Controller’s thought train. It sounds more like his enemies listing out his crimes. That said, I’ve done some writing myself and it is very, very hard to do the inner thoughts of someone who’s supposed to be a true believer in some terrible ideology (My cop-out sofar is to do inner monologue from a conflicted subordinate and let the bad guy be described by the observations of all the other characters)

          Anyway, nice story. Thanks for posting, and hope you’ve got more on the way!

          • 0 avatar
            Bark M.

            Thank you for the feedback. My goal was to show that the Controller was somewhat internally conflicted by his own policies. Clearly I have some more work to do on developing that theme. I think the Controller may make another appearance someday, so that’s good to think about.

            Thanks for reading!

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I enjoyed it. I always enjoy dystopian futures, and this one was more complex than I’d expect in a story of this length. Great twist, definitely in keeping with history.

    But the politics of the story do make me think a bit, based on what Ive seen at other automotive websites, those that played up the lefties-are-out-to-take-your-car narrative. Those who didnt lap up that narrative got tired of being on the defensive all the time and left. The articles themselves dont do it, but rather the commentary they invite. The community they attract. And repel.

    This is such an article. Its fairly obvious, given all the other political issues it mentions. But its just one story without a pattern behind it, so no problem.

    And for those who worry this could come true remember that things get banned when their fans become a narrow and unpopular niche. Keep the umbrella wide.

  • avatar
    Travis

    This was an enjoyable sunday story. Good stuff.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Very good writ. Those who think a scenario such as this is unlikely to happen, obviously do not know what Cuba was like in 1959 and how it is now. Yes, a flawed country back then, but a true hellhole now. And Venezuela is fast-tracking the Cuban model.

    I think the most key statement in this story is this one:

    “The secret to ruling the masses has always been this: Take positions that were previously unthinkable and make them mainstream. Use the media. Use the pundits. Take advantage of the fact that the general populace still thinks there are two sides. Shout down the critics. Over time, the ridiculous becomes sane.”

    Bark M., looking forward to your next one.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I actually thought about writing a dystopian future piece where everyone lives by the way of the gun. It would need some clever storytelling, since the way things are trending in America right now, Bark’s scenario is much more likely. I also realized that, no matter what, someone’s gonna take it too seriously and get butt-hurt.

  • avatar
    Rasputin

    Great story! I love metaphors.
    I am thinking that those here complaining have not as yet received their cancellation notice from their Health Insurer. Not to worry; you’ll get yours – so to speak.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I think this would have been stronger if it wasn’t trying to hit me so hard with its moral. If you want a kick-ass example of what an entertaining, semi-believable dystopian future story reads like, I’d recommend checking out The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

    Obviously you’re not going to write an entire novel here, but polemics in this style, that get right to the [thing-I-hate/fear]-bashing only serve as red meat for the people who agree with you, and being obnoxious as hell to those who don’t.

    Not the end of the world, just a thought.

    I should add that I think the writing style, here, is good, and avoids the worst sin of all fiction, which is to be boring. Keep it up.

  • avatar
    CoffeeLover

    I was thoroughly entranced by this Sunday story. I don’t agree with some of the political parallels, but I don’t care. I don’t need my fiction reads to reinforce my beliefs.

    I liked the way the larger worldwide back story was revealed slowly without being didactic. This takes real skill. Keep writing.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    This is the most satisfying fiction piece at TTAC I’ve ever read. If you keep this up, I’ll have to bestow you the title of preferred son over your brother.

    The piece will really rankle the proto-totalitarians (prototalitarians?) and communist-sympathisers lurking in our midst. Expect an IRS audit soon.

    • 0 avatar
      Carzzi

      Reading through the comments, the desired provocation has been achieved. The oft-encountered leftist disavowal/denial of Bark’s illustration, of the historically precedented culmination of their ideology as the always unintended result of ideologically impure implementation, is indicative of the author’s success.

    • 0 avatar

      I just saw this comment. Thanks for your appreciation of the story!


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  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India