Set your story in a society where everyone is constantly aware of unwanted surveillance.
Posted in Dystopian on Jan 20, 2023
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✍️ 27 stories
“Hey Streamer” by Michał Przywara
With any luck I’ll be able to eat today. The food court of the Silver Gardens Mall is notorious for the greasy factory produced shit that corporations insist is technically edible, but a bottom feeder like me doesn’t have much choice.I see the place is packed with squirming bodies. Seniors, students, families. Lots of have-people. A band of high school boys throwing fries at each other. They don’t even know they’re haves. A couple more years and they’ll learn.All of this, under the watchful eyes of the PanoptiSafe s...
“My Apology to You for Camp Crescendo” by Zack Powell
Content warning: Themes/mentions of physical abuse and death***I apologize in advance. For the lateness of this, and for any details I get wrong. Twenty years has been nothing but one long tidal wave, crashing onto the beach of my memory. I can never quite recall what all I told you out there, how much of myself I let you see. I only know for certain how it all ended.***Camp Crescendo looked like any other summer camp you'd find in Iowa, and maybe that was th...
“Sunset in Burma” by Laurel Hanson
Note: I have retained the historically correct place names, though they have since changed.I promised myself I would tell this story when I came to America in 1974. And I tried. But then I found out that most people didn’t know Burma was a country in the first place. I couldn’t tell a story about what was happening in a country that didn’t even exist in their mental geography. That’s something people can’t hear.To be fair, I didn’t hear what I was being told either, even though I was there.&nbs...
“New Eden” by Chris Campbell
“You are entering New Eden’s demerit-free zone,” the voice on the tannoy system announced. “For your own safety, all demerit-positive citizens must turn back now… Remember, rations are a privilege. Demerits are a scourge.” I hear these repetitive warnings day after day after so many others, that I’ve lost count. They are a constant reminder of the oppressive regime’s total control of the populace. The long line of green-overalled men and women, shuffling slowly past the automated scanner, share a mutual fear of t...
“Grave New World” by Patricia Merewether
“With technology tracking us everywhere we go, “cosplay” may be our best defense against surveillance” Annalee NewitzDear Violet, 06/03/2055I hope you are well and happy. I wish I’d emigrated to New Zealand when you did. Americans can’t get asylum anywhere! So I’m in the same little house at the edge of Detroit where you and I grew up. It is much safer in this part of the country. Florida is practically gone and is almost an island. People left Florida in droves, mostly old folks like you and me, and migrated to n...
“I KNOW YOU SEE ME” by Helen Karas
I see all. I am poised in many places. In the stores downtown. In your phones and watches. In your world I will always see you. You. You who works the days and nights at an office building, high up over the world. I see you through the glass from a bird's eye view. It is not something I haven't seen before. Every day I see you. And you knew it. Everyone knew it. I see all people. I watch them sometimes. I...
“Influenced.” by H.R. Glick
Skimming through today’s Featured Filters, I smile, then frown, then purse my lips and blow a kiss into the smart mirror. I spend fifteen minutes tilting my chin and twirling my body, examining the different filters’ effects on all the angles of my face and figure, eventually settling on “Retro Sunrise”, a golden glow that illuminates my skin, smooths my wrinkles and blemishes, extends my lashes, and bleaches the tips of my dark blonde hair to a shimmering ombre sunrise of creamy yellows and soft orange. It is a very conservative look; no...
“Beat You with a Shovel” by 𝔊𝔲𝔞𝔡𝔞𝔩𝔲𝔭𝔢 𝔗𝔢𝔩𝔠𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔞𝔯
Content Warning: Threat of impending doomNo matter where we are, Uncle Julio always ends up the center of attention. He’s not trying to be the center of attention, yet it happens all the same. At his bar and grill, he usually sits at the same corner of the bar, with a group of laughing, talking friends who go silent if he leaves them for only a minute. At the bars in the town where he grew up, people congregate like moths around a porch light, slapping him on the back as the Packers game blares in the background...
“One Day In the Nursery” by Murray Burns
One Day in the Nursery Willy: “God dammit! Do they ever turn the #%&! lights off around here?! How the hell am I supposed to get any sleep?!” Nate: “Do you eat with that mouth?! Watch your language, Willy! There are ladies present.” Gert: “Knock it off, Nate. This is the 21st Century. We don’t need any of your machismo-laced, pretentious bravado to protect us. We can take care of ourselves.” Prissy: “I think it’s sweet, Nat...
“وحدة الوقاية (The Prevention Unit)” by Adam El Nabli
(Brigadier General Mohamed) العميد محمدI started out in the police force about 10 years ago. Never asked why once. I always figured my superiors knew what was best. ملازم، نقيب، رائد، مقدم، عقيد، عميد، لواء..(Lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general...)That’s all I knew. That's all I know. The more stars and swords you have on your shoulder, the more aut...
“Dinner Party” by Jon Burge
Jake heaved himself out of the deep passenger seat of Paul’s rented sportscar and sighed heavily. Paul had just parked the car by himself to avoid the confusion that might come with knowing whether or not he needed to tip the valet. Even though Paul was much better at pretending, he knew that both he and Jake were out of their element, and he didn’t want the rest of the world to see an awkward interaction. Paul ...
“Under The Surface.” by Anna Komora
Everyone knows of the cameras in the streetlamps and on the tops of every doorway. On certain benches or decorative pots filled with plants. They are aware they have no red light, or shuttering lens to announce their presence, but are there all the same. Most try to turn away from them, as naturally and innocently as they can. Often it is useless, and all the seemingly meaningless movement does is put th...
“Augmentations & Ice Cream” by Cora Weaver
Note: This story contains brief references to mental health (intrusive thoughts), death, and self-harm. On the day of Raven’s fifteenth birthday, the monitor was installed in her right arm. It was standard procedure, and it had been in place for as long as anyone could remember. Even those who were part of the upper class, such as Raven, were unab...
“The Follicle Chronicles - Pt 2: A Fistful of Follicles” by Jim Firth
Apparently, the best spot for a clandestine wig-slinging operation is the basement of a laundromat whose opening hours are zero. Well, zero for everyone except those clutching a fistful of follicles, like myself. I’m fresh off of my first job with Mace, laden with more hair than I dare carry in the streets, and I’m wondering how much the wigmaker pays for a spectacular haul like ours. There’s 15 grams of my own hair, 42 grams of my wife’s, and a sheaf of blonde lifted from the elite madam whom Mace and I robbed like the highwaymen of old....
“Social Conscious” by Kenneth Kendall
Sharon’s gut wrenched when the thought bubble appeared on her screen, “Would you like to reconsider your search request?” She typed, “I have a code.” “Enter code.” “8836473b74” “The Premier has personally selected the following resources for your learning.” Nine articles about euthanasia appeared on the screen. Before the title of each was the crisscrossed infinity logo of The Pre...
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