Here’s a submission from this week’s Midwest BSFA write-in from participant Clara N.! She calls it “Chip Jive.”

Dennis knew there was an error in the chips’ coding. He’d worked in the Bloom for last 80 years and supervised quality control on the chips for eight generations. These latest batches were wrong. Wrong might require scientific inquiry as a conclusive judgement but was his most plausible hypothesis. The error was at least in these last two gens because those Tods were pleasantly delightful puddles of dendrites and synapses but couldn’t get from 1 to anything—certainly not anything as obvious as 2. Dennis replayed those moments in his mind’s eye like an infinite looping video; infant after infant plucked from their nod-pod. Twenty years, roughly 7,305 days, he’d say countless infants if he didn’t know it was actually 4.67 billion infants because that’s how many chips he approved in those twenty years, but back to the plucking, pluck, pluck up of infants to tuck—4.67 billion chips tucked neatly into a .3mm space in the central sulcus. All these damn loopers want is music and talking.


Leena listened to music as she shifted her weight on the rail seat. It only distracted her for a moment because the error she’d stumbled upon was ruining the course of her entire species. Ohh, that bass drop made her bounce and smile. No, she was going to need to address the error without alerting Bloom or The Hub. It felt unlikely that she was the only one who’d noticed the shift but the lyrical nonsense in her ears made her loss her train of thought. For ages, anger rested on a necessary emotional spectrum and the eradication of its associated behaviors had inadvertently disabled its function as an intracranial communicative force. All that precious grey matter with less functioning white matter. No anger equals no joy. The devastation of millenniums of murder, hate, crime and the like had been replaced with the prolonging numbing of poorly organized nothingness in constant packaged noise or musical fodder. The only ways to ending breathing were Zap and Worming. Leena was careful not to think about the error for more than a split second so that her neurotransmitters didn’t fire anything resembling concern, thus triggering a life-ending zap. Yes, any sensation beyond pleasant-spiced apathy might…ba da bah bah baaaaa. Nevertheless, Worming was far worse than its centuries-old predecessor dementia; bumbling confusion for 50 to 100 years was new normal. The complete absence of anger was subverting humanity’s sense of purpose and derailing basic human drives for self-care, work, love, and justice. Their bodies are uncoordinated jumbles of muscles and bones. She wanted to think about how she could find others—la-da-di-la-da-daa la-da-di-la-da-daa—without triggering The Hub.

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