Monday, August 27, 2012

Childhood Never Ends, Episode 1

Childhood Never Ends is a dystopian sci-fi series written by J. Frederick, who is also known as Saparmurat Niyazov on Tumblr.

Gavin woke from his unintended slumber with a start. He had been asleep for only a couple minutes, and he wasn't exactly tired, but train rides were so damn boring. Everywhere one looked, it was the same thing: an endless expanse of dusty scrub-land littered with the dilapidated remains of forgotten towns and farms. Crossing the Midwest was to tempt insanity. What a desolate place it was! Gavin, like every other citizen, was dumbfounded at the stupidity of their ancestors. Who in their right mind would try to farm a barren dessert? When the ancient Europeans arrived in North America 600 years ago, they began staking claim to huge swaths of land, as the history goes, hoping to grow grain and raise cattle in what was, and still is to this day, effectively a desert. Of course they dug canals for irrigation, and when the industrial era began in the 19th century, they built machines that carried water to the fields and developed industrial fertilizers in laboratories that eked out a bit more of a yield from their meager crops, but it was such a useless endeavor. It was hard to believe that it wasn't until the 2050's that hydroponic farming had been adopted wide scale, and ended the problems of world hunger, non-renewable fuel sources, and unsustainable resources for industry: textile, building materials, et cetera. Such was the world of the capital socialists. Their idea of utopia was that of a welfare state that was held up on the backs of the bourgeois. Thankfully for Gavin, and everyone else in the world, the class struggles which created a seemingly endless stream of ideological excrement (capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, theocracy, democracy, monarchy, and on and on) was finally solved in the 2040's when the greatest man who ever lived, David Golan, created a revolutionary societal system: predictive redistributionism.
Life in what used to be the United States and Europe was perfect, as far as Gavin and practically everyone else was concerned.  David Golan, the first Chancellor, united the old world with the new, and created the Trans-Atlantic Federation, rescuing the United States of America and the European Union from economic and societal collapse, famine, and civil war.  Western civilization, at its zenith, was the greatest society in human history, but then began to spiral downward and collapse in the early 21st century.  With the creation of the T.A.F. and the implementation of predictive redistributionism (often just called Golanism, after its creator), Golan somehow rescued the western world from collapse and made the absolute perfect society.  No one in the T.A.F. ever wanted or needed for anything.  While that was the objective of socialism, which made its best efforts to create a just society worldwide in the 19th and 20th centuries, it failed to address one basic human need:  the desire to achieve, succeed, and the value of merit.  Golanism united the two seemingly opposing problems of creating equal opportunity for every man woman and child while rewarding the achievements of productive individuals by the key component of the term "predictive redistributionism":  prediction.
Through a scientific process of biological and psychological analysis of every man, woman, and child, the Golanist procedure of "predictive analysis" can determine what the best choices for any person are to achieve their personal level of maximum satisfaction in all aspects of their life:  education, occupation, even family and leisure.  Giving everyone a clear path in life to follow has made the most productive society in all of history.
Gavin rather liked his "life path" (the best course of action for one to take as recommended by predictive analysis).  He was steered into a career as an information architect, creating content for the social media outlets used by the Golanist party, which has ran the government of the T.A.F. since its inception.  Politics in the T.A.F. were inclusive, embracing the freedom of speech and expression.  Just because the Golanist party had dominated the T.A.F. about 50 years, it did not mean that other political parties and ideologies were oppressed.  There were still all the archaic political parties:  republicans, democrats, socialists, conservatives, communists, nationalists.  There were new ones, too:  Neo-theocrats, singularitians, anarcho-capitalists, anarchic collectivists, and neo-fascists.  Everyone was given equal say in debates, which were staged constantly on a wide array of media, but the infallible nature of Golanism always won due to it's purity and perfection of reason.  Those who were members of those other political parties were just in a difficult stage in their "life path" and simply needed a little guidance to their final destination:  Golanism.  Everyone went  through this, even Gavin himself.
He mused quite often about those days, as he was doing right now on his transcontinental train ride.  When he graduated preparatory school and began going to university, he was as rebellious as an 18 year old boy could be.  He read about the communist revolutionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries (Marx, Lenin, Mao, Guevarra) and decided that he wanted to be a communist himself.  He didn't like the competitive nature of Golanist education, and just wanted everything to be easy and equal, which was the promise of a communist society.  It wasn't until his professor of Golanist studies had shown him the values of merit and hard work had he finally understood:  Golan's way was the best way.
An inoffensive, yet obstreperous tone notified Gavin that the train was reaching its next stop.  Although the train had been zipping across the Midwest as 600 kilometers per hour, thanks to magnetic levitation propulsion, the ride from Chicago to Denver had seemed to take two and a half weeks rather than two and a half hours.  Gavin wished that he could have taken a sub-orbital plane, which could have covered the same distance in less than half the time, but was a type of transport that was only used for extremely long distances because it was simply inefficient for shorter jaunts.  There were only a few routes, such as Los Angeles to New York, Washington to London, or San Francisco to Tokyo, and sub-orbital flights were also prohibitively expensive.
"Denver, E.T.A. 15 minutes.  Please prepare for departure, and thank you for riding Intertrack." said the synthesized voice of a computer generated hologram of an attractive, yet completely average looking woman.  Her projected form looked gently from passenger to passenger, nodding slightly, and meeting everyone's gaze with a pleasing smile.  Her form evaporated into a series of commercials, acted out by three dimensional holograms of people, mostly computer generated, for products ranging from toothpaste to underwear to automobiles.  All the passengers began the routine of gathering their carry on luggage and then having a seat and fasting their seat belts.
Everything seemed perfectly normal, except Gavin had noticed a woman across the aisle from him behaving strangely.  Her stringy black hair hung over her pale face, but could not conceal the bags under her eyes and the quivering of her bottom lip.  Her piercing green eyes darted about the passenger cabin, and she wrung her hands about nervously in her lap.  He thought she seemed to be an odd contrast:  she had looked disheveled and perhaps a bit crazy, but she was dressed in highly fashionable clothing and wore tasteful jewelry denoting a successful person of high status.  Gavin looked away and decided to think nothing of it, until everyone in the cabin was shocked when she bolted upright from her seat a couple minutes later and began screaming.

To be continued in Episode 2...

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