Echo: A Dystopian Science Fiction Novel

I go through decon, snap my lab gloves on, and enter a thrice re-spun, astrally locked room known as the Semiotic Kitchen.  This is my first go-round as a Muse.  I’m in charge of growing ideas and premises which can be formed into viable ideas for writers and artists.  I take my job seriously; I honestly think there’s no more important calling in this plane of existence.

I reach in the incubator and withdraw a container (looks like a rectangular baking pan you might cook a casserole in) filled with imaginal substrate; upon its gray metal surface there lies a rich layer of winking, glowing icons—galaxies, archetypes, arcs of to-be-named color…you get the picture.

I give it a critical eye and poke the surface with my right index finger.  A multihued jet of light blazes up and briefly forms into two glowing figures that fence for a couple of seconds, then disappear into luminous wisps of smoke.  Right—looks like the substrate’s fully ripened and ready for inoculation.

I walk to a vault at the far end of the lab, lock my psyche into its security mechanism (a radiant haze extends from my forehead and bleeds into the gargoyle head mounted on the vault’s doors; the head sniffs once, twice, then grunts in satisfaction), and it opens with an intimidating hiss.  Gaseous coolant flows from the opened vault and pools by my feet, and i reach inside and grab a syringe full of concepts.  I slip the syringe into my lab coat and close the vault.

Standing over the substrate, I take a wipe soaked in critical thinking and rub it all over my hands.  Then I uncap the syringe, ready to wipe the needle down as well.

Suddenly the labs’ doors burst open and a pair of jerkoffs—they may lay claim to the title Muse but in reality are filthy, unimaginative hacks—walk in.  Their names are Blake and Spencer, and yes, they look and act exactly like their names:  backwards baseball caps, popped collars, and excessive hand gestures that evoke trends a few steps behind cutting edge because they aren’t astute or brave enough to properly navigate urban mannerisms that are currently in vogue.

“Yo bro, that rom-com you harvested last night was SICK—”

“No way dude, get me some more of that emo-poetry!  What do you—you just write whatever the fuck you feel like, right?  No structure, no consideration for the reader, just some random blast of concepts that say ‘fuck you’ to whatever power structure happens to be in place.  What the whaaaaaaatttt!!!!”

I grit my teeth and hiss, “Gentlemen.  If you’d wait your turn, I’ll be finished here in a few minutes.  I’m in the middle of something delicate and I’d appreciate—”

Blake leans over my substrate, his moronic mouth dangerously close to leaking drool onto my carefully prepared breeding ground for ideas.  “Whatcha gonna put in there, Kent?  Fucking robots?  Lasers?”

Trying to be polite, I stiffly manage, “Societal and spiritual commentary as well.  I’ve been experimenting with some new ways of iterating conflict in order to—”

Spencer jumps in:  “BOOOOOO-ring!”  He starts rifling through his pockets, picking out fistfuls of dirty, nasty concepts that are mixed together with lint.  “I got what you need right here, bro; some Happily Ever After, a series of amusing yet slightly alarming hijinks that boy and girl experience before falling in love, ooh—here’s what you REALLY need:  a glob of plainly-stated, in-your-face, Social Justice!”  He holds up something that looks like a fist-sized booger and I try not to retch.  “This is it, bro!”  His eyes gleam.  “Let me cook it up with your other shit!”

I hunch protectively over my substrate.  “I’ve been working on this for months; there’s no way that anything but the cleanest premise is going to inoculate my—”

Blake and Spencer start shoving me, trying to push me away from the substrate and I clamp down harder on it.  “NO YOU IDIOTS!” I yell.  “GET AWAY FROM MY IDEAS!”

“Dude come on; everyone loves rom-coms—”

“Social Justice is the THING nowadays man!  Just lemme—”

I’m about to lose months’ worth of work.  Maybe I could beat the snot out of one of these fellows, but even if I chose to fight them, I’d risk contaminating my concepts.  Out of options and nearly out of hope, I look desperately around for an alternative.  Then I see it—right by my feet is a sack of powdered concept-spores labeled “ECHO.”

I dart my hand into it, grab a fistful, then throw them up into the air.  Magic flash.

Blake and Spencer stand up straight, and their pupils roll back into their heads.  I see a multiversal whirl of possibilities blink through the whites of their eyes in a blindingly fast display, much like you might see on a Vegas slot machine.  A few seconds later, they burst out in sobs.

Blake:  “THAT’s what I am???”

Spencer drops to his knees and does like Anakin in the Third Shitty Prequel (yes that’s its official title; can’t ascribe holy words to something that shitty):  “NOOOOOOOO!!!”

Through a series of hitching wails, they bemoan the true core of their beings:  not only are they unoriginal, but they’re fated to be incarnated as dumbass cockfaces that peak in high school, ride it out for a few more years in college, then slowly wither away in the confines of corporate culture, eventually being cursed with a sickly-looking dad-bod, low testosterone, and emo-children who rebel against them in the most asinine fashions. 

I can’t help but feel a little sorry for them.

A quick look at my substrate reveals it’s accepted the spores; I now see little cyborg-soldiers running across its surface, two-gunning the hell out of some big ol’ wolf-creatures.  By the edges of the pan are miniature future-wizards, casting blazes of energy at each other and dueling with a force called kaia. 

Blake and Spencer stumble off, hugging each other and sobbing.  A huge grin widens on my face.  Lay low your enemies?  Give birth to a sci-fi concept that’s home to giant robots and gritty one-liners?

I’d call that a good day’s work.

 

Are unimaginative fools trying to tamper with the delicate balance of premise and setting that you’ve spent months setting up?  Never fear!  Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here:  Vol. 1 on Kindle.  Vol. 2 on Kindle here:  Vol.2 on Kindle  Vol. 3 on Kindle here:  Vol. 3 on Kindle  #kindle #kindleunlimited

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