DYSTOPIA 2017 SHORT STORY IDEAS
Story idea: A new Star Wars movie is released every month. The government outlaws being alone, which is the real enemy of capitalism. Legendary alternative rock band 311 makes an unexpected comeback by incorporating performative wokeness into their act, with a new number one single titled “Queer solidarity smashes all borders.” Gender is replaced with a stress ball. Gender is replaced with a tire fire. Gender is replaced with an automatic out-of-office email reply. Corporations invent a new holiday in which we’re all required to buy them presents, preferably their own products. LinkedIn and Tinder merge into a single social network so that we can start ghosting employers we don’t like anymore or have lost interest in. The news is an infinite abyss in which the news reports that someone tweeted about a news report about a tweet about a news report about a tweet. Social media becomes entirely automated, as no one is able to keep up anymore so we all delegate our accounts to AI-powered chat bots that discuss topics amongst themselves and click on ads on our behalf. As a social experiment, witches and police officers across America swap roles for one day and we all realize that we like the witches’ methods for protecting communities better. Douchebag President Trump lies so much, so openly and so often that reality becomes permanently fractured and facts can now mean two things at once, which as a side-effect allows scientists to better understand quantum physics, in which particles can be in two states at the same time, and eventually leads Trump to instantly lose the presidency, as by lying he has created two realities, one in which he’s President and one in which he’s not. The staff of Concordia University’s Creative Writing department conceives a sinister plot to take down global capitalism by convincing everyone on Earth to become Creative Writing majors in a world in which words have lost all value. Paradoxically, we need literature now more than ever.
First sentence or so: “That month, the 1% of the 1% had been scheming so that the 1% would become poorer and they would become richer. ‘We can’t let the 1% control politics anymore,’ the 1% of the 1% said. They began mobilizing, going to protests and marches. ‘No more 1%,’ they chanted, which the 99% cheered.”
Story idea: Facebook starts collecting data on all Facebook employees, monitoring their activities at work and selling that data to advertisers. A Facebook employee named Jim often goes to a vending machine around 2h40 pm to buy a chocolate bar, so a corporation that sells organic fruit bars starts subtly incorporating their ads into his newsfeed and daily life, trying to get him to switch to their products. Eventually, Jim tries the organic fruit bar, but doesn’t like it very much and goes back to chocolate bars. The organic fruit bar corporation contacts Jim directly and threatens to retaliate by publicly releasing his flirty work chats with a Facebook colleague named Laura, which Jim desperately doesn’t want his wife to see. Later, the Facebook employees revolt and organize a resistance group. To fund their fight against Facebook, the head of the resistance group starts monitoring the resistance group’s activities and selling that data to advertisers.
First sentence or so: “Organic fruit bars were everywhere that month, and soon enough, half of my thoughts involved the bars in some capacity. I was comparing the weather to the soft texture of organic fruit bars, making organic fruit bars jokes, calling my wife ‘Berry Almond’ or ‘Organic Apple’ by accident instead of her name. ‘Oh, Berry Almond, I love you, you’re so sweet to me.’”
Guillaume Morissette is the author of New Tab (Véhicule Press, 2014). If you can, adopt a senior dog from a rescue center near you.