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Future imperfect

Future imperfect

Автором Alicia Feniuex

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Future imperfect

Автором Alicia Feniuex

Длина:
121 pages
1 hour
Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 1, 2016
ISBN:
9789563382136
Формат:
Книге

Описание

The author shows us in fifteen short stories a society that is just around the corner. A future which will offer scheduled euthanasia (mercy killing), memory implants, soul restoration and premium embryos. Taking a personal approach and using a sharp, direct style “Future Imperfect”, awakens within us a longing for a lost world, one none other than our own present.

Editorial Forja

Reminiscent of works by previous writers such as Huxley, Orwell and Dick (authors of classics of the genre), Fenieux has drafted a wide-ranging dystopian picture in which the features and intensity of our world are portrayed as both idea and nightmarish at the same time (science fiction is often referred to as tales about the present that take place in the future). One of the most significant characteristics of the genre, which in the reviewer’s opinion Fenieux perfectly accomplishes, is what could be called “the story of the emotions”, that is, what would happen to the way we humans might feel about and experience life in a society embarked on a process of rapidly increasing use of technology.

Ministry of Education, Chile

(Alicia Fenieux) is a captivating voice within the emerging narrative. Municipal Literature Awards 2011, genre short stories.
Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 1, 2016
ISBN:
9789563382136
Формат:
Книге

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Future imperfect - Alicia Feniuex

exists.

The Other Side of the Fence

That Sunday in 2050, Rous never imagined how her life was about to undergo a drastic change. She left the hive in search of fresh air, not heading anywhere in particular. The streets were scorching. Sunlight drenched her skin, magnified by the reflections from hundreds of blinding nano-satellites that hovered low in the sky that afternoon. Suddenly, she thought of the Ghetto, a sort of private park not far from the city center, a cool place that she had heard about but had never been to. Desperate because of the heat, she decided to go there.

She turned away from the hot pavement and walked up the stairs toward the tunnels on the second level. After ten minutes’ walk she arrived at the monokart station. As always, the pedestrian walkways teemed with people. She could smell other people’s breath and the dampness of their bodies. At a corner, Rous came face to face with a mirror. She took off her cap and protective goggles. She looked dejected, with rings under her eyes and an anxious look in them. Life in the hives was not easy.

At the station, the karts were lined up one behind the other on an endless track. She got into the first one available in the long line of karts and entered the coordinates on the panel, hoping that she had the right ones. She had never been to the Ghetto before. She sat back in the single seat and let herself be whisked away.

The city center began to recede and in less than half an hour she entered a residential area. The vehicle stopped at the entrance to a suburb of low-rise buildings, surrounded by brick walls and security systems. It looked like an oasis compared with the residential hives with their tangle of rails around them. A refreshing breeze heightened the impression. As she got out of the kart, Rous breathed deeply and, for the first time in a long while, felt the freshness of the air enter her body and fill her lungs. Above the main entrance’s metal gate it said 1980. She was in the Ghetto.

On Sunday afternoons its doors were open to visitors. Rous joined a group and began the tour. The neighborhood consisted of ten blocks of a housing area in an outdoor setting that had been kept intact since the 20th century. Along the streets, sidewalks and in the yards of the houses were lots of trees: some of them planted more than 300 years before. The majority were hybrids, resistant to the weather. The new existed alongside the old in this place, disguised in the trappings of bygone days. Their guide was a man who, despite the heat, was wearing a buttoned-up jacket, thick jeans and a shirt, as well as shoes made from real leather, tied with shoelaces. What a luxury! Each time he opened his mouth to speak, he adjusted his jacket by tugging down on it and, without meaning to do so, made the youngsters in the group laugh as protective bodysuits were the only clothes they knew.

—The Ghetto had come into being because its residents refused to sell out. Little by little it had turned into an island nestled among the hives, highways and chain stores. The original resident had even ceased to venture into the outside world. They opened a school just for their children and they had hung on to their own customs —he told them.

The group padded along behind the guide. The houses had tiled roofs. Their windows and doors set in permanent as-built locations. There were still some small shops along the streets. A stand selling fresh fruit and vegetables caught Rous’ eye. They are of the same size and shape as they originally were, without any transgenic or genetic modifications, the guide related. Rous went closer for a better look. She noticed a box of small apricots, about the size of baby-kiwis. Their skin was covered with barely visible soft fuzz. She had never seen apricots like these. She bought one out of curiosity and tasted it. Its tangy-sweet flavor filled her mouth.

—It’s from the apricot tree in my backyard.

The vendor appeared to be enjoying the situation. Rous looked at him.

—You have a bearing tree at your house? —The revelation surprised her.

—Everything we sell here is from people’s yard gardens —he replied.

He was a soft-spoken, slim young man, about her size, with delicate features and hair down to his shoulders. His eyes sparkled as if he was laughing. Rous took a liking to him immediately.

—Do you want me to show you the tree? You could pick an apricot. Fruit that you yourself have picked fresh off the tree is especially tasty.

—Of course, I would love to!

He stood there looking at her for a moment and then said:

—You are pretty; your eyes squint when you laugh. I’ll wait for you to come back in one hour.

This comment immediately made Rous feel warm inside. When she came back, she was not wearing her cap and her hair fell coquettishly over one side of her face.

His name was Irvin. His house was across the street from a round park that had in the middle a giant tripod from which two porch swings hung. They called it a swing set. A little boy wearing cushioned tennis shoes and faded jeans stood on one of the seats, pumping to swing back and forth. The whole neighborhood, inhabitants included, had remained in the past! Irvin used a metal key to open the gate. The clink of the key and the creaking gate transported Rous back in time. She felt a strange thrill of expectation.

Irvin lived with his mother and sister. They had plenty of space. They went into the backyard. The family even had its own park hidden behind their house!

—Pick as many as you like —said Ir­vin, showing her the apricot tree—. There are so many that they fall to the ground when ripening or get eaten by the birds.

Rous came closer and picked two while Irvin sat on the ground under the branches. She followed his example. Only a few times in her life had she ever sat down on real grass. She felt the energy of the Earth well up through her body and the sensation made her tremble.

—You live in a paradise here! —she said sincerely.

Irvin shook his head and replied without much enthusiasm:

—Yes, it’s a nice place, but it is not the real world. We are not allowed to use holograms or karts or view parallel worlds —he shook his head. A grimace of displeasure spread over his face and wrinkled his brow—. We have been left behind in the era of computers with keyboards!

—I could never imagine anyone not liking this place —she mused. Rous remained pensive for a moment, then added—: Can you leave whenever you want?

—It’s not easy —his features hardened—. We are not immunized like you are, and those outside think that we could give them diseases. Besides, where would I go? I have no place to stay… I don’t even have the right kind of clothes.

—I would be happy living here —she said.

Rous rested her body against the tree trunk, leaned her head back and stared at the light and shadows shimmering through the leaves. In her reverie she was sure that she had heard a bird singing.

—Where else in the city can you rest under your own tree? —she reflected.

—But this is not real life! —retorted Irvin, raising his voice— I ought to be living out there where everything is happening: simultaneity, the integrated world, real life in the flesh as you say.

—You really don’t know what it is like to live in the hives —this time it was Rous who arched her shoulders in displeasure—. You don’t know what it is like to be drowning in a sea of people who push you around and not having to share your cell with anyone else. It sucks big time!

Irvin’s expression changed and he smiled.

—I remember that grandmother used to say: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

They sat there quietly; she lost in an unpleasant remembrance and he left observing her with growing interest as if he had just found in Rous something he had been searching for all his life.

—Do you want to stay?

—Are you serious? —She sat up. She could not believe what she was hearing.

—Of course you could. My mother likes having guests and my sister would love to hear you tell about your life and what is happening in the world outside.

—And you? —Rous lowered her gaze.

Irvin gave her a roguish wink, stood up and held out his hand to help her get up.

—Me too… You and I have a lot in common.

Rous stayed. There was nothing important and nobody close to her waiting for her out there, the term she had begun to use for the world that she had just left behind. She immediately took charge of the busiest shifts at the fruit stand and she joined in on the household routines as if she had always lived there. Soon she had made some

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