"The decline of Europe" – Six near-future stories

The six main stories

  1. Sunrise – Released, August 2012. 40.000 words. To be found and downloaded here. What would you do if your economy is based on oil and the oil-wells will someday run dry? How do you re-invent yourself as a country?  “Sunrise” sketches the story of Enakshi Tharoor and is the basis of how everything started.
  2. Limiters – Amost ready for release. 40.000 words. “Limiters” is the story of two people in Europe in 2060. It explores some of the differences between “post singular Africa” and “Locked-down Europe”
  3. Dreams – Written. 67.000 words (oops). Dreams picks up the story of Eva: introduced in “Limiters”. How is it to dream of having something you can never get. To work for a law firm, to kill the dreams of others and fall in love with someone who seemed unreachable?
  4. To sing my songOutlined. What does it mean to be a composer on a continent where everything is already done? Locked up, copyrighted, unaffordable outside the “Factories”? In what way will you achieve your goals? Break through? Sing your own songs?
  5. How to kill a cityOutlined. In “How to kill a city” we see Florence (Italy) become an empty Disneyland of shops and “restaurants” owned by food-chains, through the eyes of a 60 year old gay poet.
  6. The Invisible manOutlined. What happens when two relics from the 2030 wars in Africa run rampant in Europe, like modern time future spies and killers capable of deep-hacking any system, change their face and their identities. What if they both have the same target, but one is also hunting the other, going for the kill?

Themes

  1. Freedom – What is freedom? What does it mean to be free? What belief-systems play a role? What is the effect of the limitations of the human/biological system? Can we break free from this all?
  2. Strangeness – What does it mean to be an outsider? What is the common denominator? What role do outsiders play in change, in society? When do you join? What makes you welcome?  When and what not?
  3. Change – What creates change? What stops change? What is the consequence of change?
  4. Aggression – What influence do “systems of aggression” have. Is it possible to create alternative choices?
  5. Love – What kind of love is there? When is it violent, hurtful? When not?

5000-word spin off work

The Spin-off stories are short stories of maximum 5000 to 6000 words. They take specific parts of the main stories which deserve more attention then they are given there. To get them published I can not put them online to be downloaded and read.

  1. My first six days in Saudi prison – Describes the first six days of Enakshi Tharoor in prison, including her arrest. Short: what if there is a data-leak as big as never before, leaking 10 years of R&D data  on biotech, electronics and software to all of the world? And what if you get arrested for it? The main question: did she do it?
  2. The Pluto Murders – This is a fun story/murder mystery I wrote beginning of October 2012. It plays in 2083 and sketches one of the darker sides of post-humanity. Where people are given a purpose and body-cells can be switched to hibernation mode.
  3. Future history – “Future History” plays in 2027, Zambia, and takes the beginning of the first IP war between the US and China. It is about the trustworthyness of journalism, foreign politics, falsification of facts, modern forms of colonialism, the justification of an indirect invasion and what if people do not take this anymore and throw it all right back in your face.

Other derivate works

It looks like the 6 story sequence/story world is begging to be extended. There is enough for at least two other sequences of similar scope, playing in India, China and Africa, in the time frame of 2020 to 2065. I also work towards a “space age” kind of story line, started with “The Pluto Murders” and taking Mars, the Moon and the Van Oort cloud as possible stages with the main question being: “why the fuck would would we go there to begin with?”.

Origins

In 2009 I read a “Halo” story from Eric S. Neylund, the writer of “Signal to noise“.

Halo was a disappointment, compared to the wild and awesome craziness of “Signal” and I decided I wanted to make an Invasion story but with people in a post-singular world. And the same for the aliens.

The problem was: I had no clue how to shape that world. I lacked proper starting points. It would probably be similar to what John Varley did with his 8 words series of which: “Ophiuchi Hotline” was the first novel. “Aliens arrive. Are completely beyond comprehension. Humans stand no chance. After one day war is over. Humans lose.”

I had no clue how and what the shape of a “post singular” society would be, when done with more than just: “and then everyone is connected and we have one huge hyve mind and people can upload themselves into Quantum/nano super computer in the moon” kind of things.

How will society develop itself? What do wars look like? How is the transition period? Where does it start?

So I took several steps back.

Basic story-world

The series I am writing now focus on an alternate future history in a period from 2021 to 2060.

Saudi Arabia

The “singularity” starts in Saudi Arabia, in a (successful) attempt to move the country from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, competing with China, India, the US and South Korea.

Africa

The real breakthrough happens  in several countries in Africa, due to several IP wars and related on the Chinese presence there. With nothing to lose, a new generation steps up, wearing internal systems, ingrained in their bones, started as a “contained contamination” and capable of running heavy simulations and heavy processing.

IP deadlock

Europe and the United States are in an IP deadlock, meaning that everything people might come up with is already covered under some patent or model or copyrighted material. The new policing forces are law firms and bailiffs, sending cease-and desist notes and claims of copyright breach and coming for your money if you do not pay up.

“Singularity”

The “singularity” itself is nor about uploads, creating huge computers in the sky or immortality, but a restructuring of society and humanity, an uplift to higher levels of cooperation and a full acceptance of the human form itself: to long, to lust, to feel, to suffer, to be joyous. It exists of running extensive simulations on what is possible, what could happen, what is the best outcome for everything and all. It consists of simulations to evolve technology, using parameters, the present levels of knowledge and software that runs and simulates countless iterations of a possible solution, only making next iterations on the most successful solutions.

Patterns, simulations, social engineering

This “singularity” is about the collective subconscious that presents itself through the activities people show and register online, the patterns that emerge. It is about social engineering and a growing awareness of what we, the people, can achieve as groups when we can really see and predict the consequences of the collective and individual actions.

Technology?

Yes: technology plays a role and runs through increasingly complex iterations, becoming close to magical.  What I focus on in the stories, however, is the human development. The evolution of culture. The factors that stimulate and hamper that evolution.

Sabotage of cultures

How do you sabotage a culture? One way is to destroy old values by making them suspect. Another is by supporting special groups that support dumb ideas. For instance: fascists, right wing groups, ultra-conservative religious groups. Within the story world, Europe and the US are in a deadlock because global competitors did just that. And yes: this is all directly inspired by the stupid stuff that goes on today in both those continents.

Warping through successive modes of humanness

On the other side are the African countries, of which is Uganda, where the opposite happens, where old values are discarded, where each next generation warps itself through a new phase in a development that aims to become more and more human: with a full integration of everything that makes us us. Where copyright is discarded. Where anyone can join, contribute. Where something similar to quantum-entanglement is used for one-to-one communication and global communication.

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