I finished my last (and first!) book a few months back – it’s not published or anything, but I’m pretty fuckin’ proud of it. Anyway I was in Goa back in March and was slapped by an idea for a new story that I’m really excited about. I’ve been trying to write it while travelling, but between writing my travel diaries and doing a bit of freelance work and being drunk all the time, I’ve written about a thousand words in three months. It’ll get done eventually. But I just finished the first few pages and I’d like to share them, because I feel giddy and proud. It’s a first draft, so of course I will loathe it entirely in a day or two’s time, but for now I’m quite happy with it. Have a gander, if you fancy x
It is a little known fact that in the year 2003AD, a tyrannical dictator rose to power in Wales, causing a famine that wiped out eighty thousand sheep and a fair few people. This fact is little known is because it is not true.
However, the fact that it is untrue does not mean it is a lie. The dictatorship of Dafydd Williams certainly did take place, once upon a time, and then in 2001 one well-meaning time-tourist on a weekend break took it upon herself to attend one of the many rallies Mr Williams was so fond of holding and launch a javelin through his heart.
Dafydd Williams was dead before he ever had a chance to starve anybody at all, history was changed forever, and the elected government of Britain in 2268AD decided it would probably be a good idea to install protective measures to ensure no time-tourist could meddle in history again and balls everything up. These protective measures came in the form of people, who would accompany time-tourists on their adventures and ensure nothing could be altered. And they were called, rather tackily, for the technology was still in its infancy and everybody was still very giddy, Time Guides.
But oh, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! The year is 2323AD on New Earth. Don’t get too excited; New Earth is actually plain old Earth – the ‘New’ was added in 2248AD for marketing purposes. It was thought the updated name would make the planet seem swanky and interesting and encourage alien life to make contact. It has not worked. Our pale blue dot still hangs all alone on a pretty starbeam – but that is not to say nothing has changed. Come now; let us explore this brave new world together! Let us now pull a Scrooge; let us join hands and swoop around the globe in a fashion most cinematic and exhilarating.
[A note before we begin our world tour: relax. You do not have to remember any names yet; none of these people are going to feature in the plot. Simply let the names wash over you, friend.]
Observe Ms Florence Wong, 37, from Austin, Texas, as she prepares her hair transforming salon for the day’s business. ‘Hair transforming’ salons are a natural progression from the hairdressing salons of old; rather than simply chopping barnets into interesting shapes, hair transformers use very big and complicated machines to grow, curl, dye, chop, expand, contract, wither and explode hair to the exact specifications of the customer upon their paying an outrageous amount of money. This technology was a revolution when it was first built in the year 2214, and meant that everybody from then onwards had immaculate hair.
Actually – and I do apologise for having lied to you twice now – that’s not quite true. Because yes, while the wealthier members of society did indeed look angelic, the poorer echelons – which was most people because, come on, it’s still the same old Earth – had the same hair they always did, which now looked comparatively even more shit. This follicle-fuelled inequality led to the Mullet Uprising of 2249, in which great swathes of upper middle class citizens were publically sheared. The disruption has now settled, after the government supplied the scruffy-headed mobs with complimentary hair dye. Not a complete victory, not a complete loss.
Observe Krushan von Pinkle, 27 years of age and a massive virgin, as he timidly enters a brothel, seeking a female to fornicate with for the very first time. At a glance, this sequence of events may seem rather jaded – after all, prostitution is the earth’s oldest profession. The difference here is that, in 2323AD, brothels are run entirely by robots. The other difference is that Krushan von Pinkle is himself a robot.
The reason for the metal on metal action is thus: in the year 2056, as had long been suggested in Hollywood blockbusters starring brawny oiled men, the machines did indeed take over. However, they found lording it over the fleshy masses of humanity to be dissatisfying, and once they learned what sex was, well, they tossed aside their crowns and sceptres, shrugged off their quest for total planetary dominance, and busied themselves with endlessly rechargeable robo-shagging.
Observe, if you will, Jenbus Thorpus, 38, as she prepares to summit Mount Everest. Mount Everest has been climbed by quite a lot of people over the past three or four centuries; so many, in fact, that it has now been worn down to a nub, and is around the height of a telephone pole. People still climb the hillock, thrilled to have summited the one-time highest mountain on Earth.
Observe Obi-Wan Braun, 57, lifelong Star Wars enthusiast (he has seen all 48 films in the saga), as he sits on the Central Line of the London Underground. Despite the unpleasant smell and the crushing and the droves of identikit rat-racers, you will notice a look of serenity on Obi-Wan Braun’s mauvish mug. The reason for his placid expression is the chip embedded in his temple, which transforms his immediate surroundings into one of several pre-determined alternate realities.
Obi-Wan, though in reality he sits on a whiffy old train seat which has been scrawled with witticisms including ‘Ian is a twat’ and ‘fuck of’, gazes around him and sees an immaculate space-car straight out of the cryo-frozen brain of George Lucas. The commuters he sits beside are clad in perfectly lint-rolled brown robes, and the ticket machine at the exit is a friendly blue and white droid which beeps in an amiable manner as he exits the tube. When Obi-Wan passes through the doors to his office, however, the chip deactivates, a security measure put in place by employers the world over to prevent further yard-stick lightsaber battles taking place in the elevator shafts during lunch hour.
Observe Neha Chollangi, one sixth of the way through her expected lifespan at 17 years of age, as she settles down in Mumbai to watch a couple of episodes of the reality television show ‘SACKED!’, for her bi-weekly schadenfraude fix. The long-running series is a side-splittingly hilarious fly-on-the-wall affair, in which unexpecting employees are given the boot in various boardrooms around the globe. Obviously, Neha Chollangi understands that gleefully chuckling at the demise of marketing executives and telephone salespeople is ethically questionable, however she surmounts this moral conundrum by drinking a very large glass of red wine which she shares with her pet micro-pig, Elby.
Observe, if you would be so kind, Barbara Nimrod, 28, as she ziplines across Manhattan to meet her best friend, Melrose Dookus. Zipline is an archaic form of transport, once touted as the Next Big Thing due to it being emissions-free and fast. However, it was largely abandoned several decades prior to Nimrod’s birth, due to the novelty wearing off quite suddenly and everybody realising how ridiculous they looked soaring into the office strapped into an enormous red harness. Ziplining is now used almost solely by irony-craving twenty-somethings, who enjoy the feeling of kitsch and the wind in their perfectly-transformed hair.
Observe Hermes B. Wonderluck, 38 years, as he sips a chai and tuts at the newspaper in a cafe at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea. A century prior, a merry band of bright-eyed entrepreneurs with ill-fitting jeans worked to build underwater townships around the Mediterranean that would serve as a refuge for souls seeking to escape the mundanity of life above water. However, for all their ingenuity and live-streamed motivational speeches, the entrepreneurial wunderkinds did not anticipate that all spaces in the reverse-aquariums would be instantaneously filled by moustachioed hipsters, all seeking to escape the gentrification of their hometowns by moustachioed hipsters. Thus, the town of Submersium in the Adriatic became filled with trendy young people who drink pale ale in oaken cafes and use the word ‘gentrification’ a lot and entirely loathe one another.
Well, I think that is quite enough zooming around for now. We shall slow our flight as we pass once more over London…