page under construction





- A Story of Dystopia -

by Kibo Lupp

- - - - - - - - - - -

The picture shows the hell where I live - though the word 'live' is hardly appropriate; subsist would be a more apposite term. And the hell: an interminable den of slavery. As for escape, if you could ever make it, that would lead only to a more execrable fate. With ducted oxygen-augmented air, breathing outside is virtually impossible for more than a few hours... and that's if just walking on level ground. The picture shows an unusually clear day. There's no telling when a smog-storm will move in. Frequently they descend and linger for a week or more, swirling toxic dust into every crevice... This was all predicted.

I suppose you're thinking: 'So what? It won't happen in my lifetime.' Maybe, but to me it's home; it's what I'm landed with. Obviously, I'm speaking from a different era to yours, but the philosophy and chaos that rules here began in your time: it is your generation who were the architects of this hell!

My name is Kibo Lupp - weird names are all the rage these days... they form a kind of substitute for creative expression (any excuse to exercise some iota of control). Since I exist way into your future - a time when neither you nor your grandkids will be around - let me describe a little of what's transpired over the centuries.

Disaster was clearly on the cards well beforehand, but decline began in earnest around 2090. That's when world resources and world population finally began to collide. Several subsequent decades of untold horror followed. Billions perished - and not just in poor countries. Most starved to death, died of thirst or went down with one of several new diseases. Others died in battles over resources: usually water, food, living space or medical supplies. The extirpation began, as one might expect, in the African continent; but soon spread like a rampant virus to every country. No society or culture was spared.

After several decades of unspeakable chaos, devastation and nightmare the main survivors emerged. These predominately comprised what remained of the nomadic cultures: Bedouin, Aboriginal, North American Indian, the Yahi, South African Bushmen, and the most rugged adaptable youth. A few wealthy ruling elite had managed to hide away in prepared isolation on remote mountainous islands in the Pacific. But humanity was plunged into a kind of moribund stagnation - a world shocked into silence. These events, collectively these days called 'The Cataclysm', lasted more than a century, a period when little changed. Life for most presented a makeshift amalgam of pre-Victorian improvisation at basic living combined with what could be salvaged of the more durable and robust 21st C technology: ie, primitive androids, refrigeration, crude transport machines, etc.

Sporadic pockets of entrepreneurial Fascism inevitably sprang up and as quickly perished in minuscule 'mafia' wars. These were run by feral mobs of aspiring oligarchs, 'Hitlers' or 'Murdochs', (taking 20th C figures for examples). Soon their strongest joined forces to form an elite no-other force could even begin to equal, and which expanded across the globe in a mere couple of decades. This was the start of the 'present' era - the aim of that elite: to confront, tame and dominate the rest of the world, bring it to heel. This sucked in virtually every malevalent entity on the planet, and swiftly evolved into a kind-of run-away international corporatism. Even those few stalwart governing bodies that had survived the monumental upheaval of the Cataclysm, the prolonged periods of sloth and other consequences of the mayhem that had followed, were soon overthrown by this new corporate elite. Any regulation that was not designed exclusively to their advantage, was soon erased. Benefits to anyone else were either an unintended side-effect or a means to an end. It was a monster elite like never before.

A key spin-off of this unregulated, unscrupulous 'entrepreneurialism' was, together with several peripheral utilitarian creations, the invention of progrow - a cheap nutritious gruel which in a single generation sparked an unprecedented re-expansion in world population. Since original factories for all kinds of manufacture had been long neglected and no development or research had advanced any designs or processes for more than two centuries, there were no technicians or engineers to run them. However, a few dilettante technicians were found: 'eccentrics' (mostly) who'd rescued and learned to repair and operate rare ancient hardware that had survived the travails of time and neglect. From these individuals it was possible to recruit enough to begin revamping several android plants and get them back into limited production. This in turn ignited a colossal repair and manufacturing programme, the former of which 5-decades later became what you see in that picture: reconstituted 21st C megatroplitis! Or rather: gigatropolis...

Suitable or otherwise, buildings were reclaimed to 'house' the new population explosion. Initially speculative - ie, to enrich the elite as the expanding numbers fought to get housed in what was becomming an ever more hostile atmosphere - depleted of oxygen and overdosed with various polutants - the entire operation burned-up what vast amounts of mined hydrocarbons remained from pre-Cataclysm times. Which - surprise, surprsie - caused a new surge of global warming, resulting in a new kind of internationally mobile smog of nitrogenous poisons. You'd have thought someone would have learned a lesson or two - but no, not when the planet is run by a coterie of ultra-competitive greed-driven entrepreneurial 'dinosaurs' (whose brains may as well contain no neocortex). So that's where we're at in 2411: set for yet another Cataclysm...

Now for me. I was born in 2384. It was a world that, for all anyone could tell, poised on a cusp - at any moment liable to burst into conflict: the elite versus the rest. Universal discontent has not waned, but the battle seems lost (to us plebs, that is), since now the last oases of freedom have finally been seized. Even so, existence here remains a precarious balance between ordered toil and chaotic exclusion - between the mindless drudgery of an endless ant-nest gigatropolis and the alternative: struggle to survive in some unmonitored crevice - if you can adapt to the climate and atmosphere. And everywhere about us, in every aspect of our lives, there lies the surreal contrast of advanced technology beside abject decadence - a toxic mixture that emboldens wielders of power so they become instruments for tyranny, exploitation and repression. The unremitting dilemma for us lackeys: conform to corporate rule, evade it or actively rebel? Efforts of the authorities, the 'social controllers' - to subdue, indoctrinate, manipulate, oppress and enslave - is in continual flux as power struggles ripple through the upper echelons. One has to be continually alert to the changing consequences of falling victim to their schemes and punishments.

If that doesn't set the groundwork of my little treatise, I can't imagine what will. At least it should give an idea of the kind of place I'm in. We are victims of an evolving tyranny that by any estimate can lead only to some new catastrophic implosion - like a dying star, and with the same inevitable cold slow withering death. And if it's your job as reader to criticise, to enjoy the elation you feel from your circumstances being so much more favourable than in the story you're reading, then it's mine to try and keep your attention so you can identify with the people here, me for instance - as representative of some future 'self'. This account, you see, may act as a warning of the predicament that lies ahead. Are you able to sympathise (or at least empathise), sense the despair, even the few pleasures... though I warn you, there's scarcely any of those... that if you reflect on your current direction will appear inevitable.

Physically, I'm the same as you... more scrawny and undernourished, perhaps, and less fit, but with genetic repair therapy (in the form of recently developed drugs) and a diet chiefly of synthetic gruel, there's virtually no illness now. I'm five foot nine, ten stone, 27-years old, and male - the latter despite a prevalence of oestrogens in the water we underclass flunkeys who reside in the lesser dwellings are dished-up with. More significantly, I'm a white clone from land-mass 'K15' that was once known as 'The UK'. Like 8-billion others in this infernal hole, my function is to serve the Corporate Oligarchy (CO). It's what we were born, reared and trained for. Like it or not, no one complains - we're programmed to adapt. Those who fail to adapt have it tough. I've somehow fallen in the middle: I've adapted against my will. By some incredible fluke, I see with blinding clarity the programming, the propaganda, the machinations... and as a consequence, unlike most, I approach my fate grudgingly forever ruminating on some mad scheme or other for escape!

The year is 2411. Already I know the history. To access the archives, one needs security clearance... or some way to circumvent authorisation... which wasn't easy, but now I've been through all that... though, as you'll have surmised, beside it the most violently extreme holo-fiction looks pathetically tame! What else with a past of mass genocides, starvation horrors, germ wars that wiped out three-quarters of the remaining population of the world, and thousands suffocating in lingering smog clouds.

Do you ever reflect on your preceding century? Maybe you do, but if so, then it's as sure as smog you don't bother with the century before that. So for me to examine as far back as two, three or even four centuries must be almost unique these days. Moreover, though, it's the present that counts: the NOW 'A day in the life of... in the year 2411'. Isn't that what you'd like to know? OK, but be warned: you won't like it... you won't like it any more than what you've just read.

Here goes:

Dawn, summer. I've been woken by the sound of gulls - virtually extinct now, so an archive recording. What else? See all those little dots on the freeway? Pods - or to you 'cars' - battery-powered, of course; agonisingly old-fashioned as a concept, but what's the alternative when you want to move people and things around? One will appear for me pretty soon - a 3-pod, containing its usual two appointed captives, destined like me for terminus ML004 and 10-hours of futile 'duty'. These small plastic bubbles we call pods zip quietly around as commanded by the mysterious remote 'intelligence' referred to as Gawd... from which everything one doesn't need is provided 'free'- and by which everything one does need is rejected or beyond the reach of one's credit. At least, that's my cynical, and largely accurate, take on our 'great provider'. There are other ways of acquiring things: we humans might have allowed ourselves to be turned into automatons, but we're not completely stupid (or some of us aren't). As I crawl off the bed still tired, as ever - my apartment, incidentally, is a few floors from the top of the third tallest building on the left - as I crawl from my bed, my brain automatically struggles to prevent the drudge that faces me from replacing the lingering and much-preferred ultra-weird fantasy that was my last dream...