Skip to main content

The Hope of Humanity

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

The year was 2081 and so many of the social problems humans had faced over the last hundred years were still a pretty big problem. Most people were still poor, corporations still ran the government, and politicians were constantly caught with prostitutes of both sexes, living and dead. When politicians weren't blowing each other's personal lives completely out of proportion for political gain, they were starting wars with other countries. Sometimes, they would even start wars with people inside their own country, but those were usually ideological. Perhaps the biggest and worst change was that the polar ice caps had melted and much of the Mojave Desert was now prime beachfront property, and the air across the globe tasted like you were sucking on a tailpipe.

As pressing and horrible as those issues were, they really didn't enter into the minds of John and Mildred Bates. They were working class and average in most ways. John worked a standard 60 hour work week and, to help make ends meet, Mildred picked up 39 hours a week, part time, working at the deli counter at the local, national chain grocery emporium. Even with all those hours, supporting their modest household and single child, John, Jr., was a difficult exercise. After the mortgage, the bills, the poor tax, and their basic needs, there wasn't a lot left over for leisure, though they had saved up their pennies for quite a while to afford the sizeable Ramjac brand HD television that provided the centerpiece for their living space.

Each night after work, John Bates would settle into his favorite tattered easy chair that he was still making payments on, he would crack open an ice cold beer, and watch his immense television. Despite his disinterest, he seemed to watch the local, nationally-syndicated-for-the-region news. Little John, Jr., just before bedtime, would sit cross-legged in the space of carpet between his father and the television, transfixed by every image shown on the high definition display.

"Tonight, we have a special live program for you from science reporter Kurt Sanders."

"Mildred! Can you grab another beer for me, love?"

"This is Kurt Sanders, and I'm here at the Monsanto Space Center in Cape Canveral, Florida, reporting live for a momentous occasion, both for science and for mankind."

"Yes, dear! I'll grab another can from the ice box."

"With me, I have Doctor Thaddeus Quentin, chief architect of Project: Humanity, brought to you by Exxon, which is launching in a rocket in T-Minus 8 minutes."

Mildred arrived a moment later in the living room with John's beer, putting it in his hand and leaning down, pulling the foot rest on his recliner up for him. He sipped the head of the beer that had flowed over the lip of the can, paying far less attention to the launch than his boy was.

"What we're doing is really quite simple. The top minds in the world have created a 60 year plan to fix the problems of the world, hunger, disease, war, and monetize those solutions for their sponsors...."

John, Jr., blinked. At seven years old these concepts were still just a little too abstract for his innocent little mind. He'd been hungry before, but he couldn't understand how it could be a problem since food seemed so readily available. And he didn't think disease would have been a big deal because whenever he got too sick, he would be taken to the emergency room. And war was something cool that his dad had showed him in movies. But he was appropriately naïve for his age, like all boys his age should be.

"And what we're doing is quite revolutionary in order to solve the mortality problem and allow these brilliant minds and captains of industry to oversee their plan to the end and beyond."

John slurped his beer, worn to the bone. Mildred listened to the broadcast from the kitchen where the smells of a cooking dinner were all consuming.

"...and could you explain to our audience at home how you plan to conquer 'the mortality problem'?"

"Time travel," the good doctor said as he flashed a sparkling grin at the camera.

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

Comments

-CKY. said…
Wow. This story was brilliant. And so appropriate... I almost burst into tears along with John, Jr.! Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy your stories.
Anonymous said…
a bit boring to read but otherwise great theme.
Furry-Byter said…
Engaging and well paced. And just the right length! Liked reading the story, and LOVED the ending :-)
alejandro said…
“Please check out the exciting new book previews from Walter Pierce.

It’s a different way of thinking.”

Where Beauty And Darkness Meet Book/CD Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrUVWmO_nx0

Where Beauty And Darkness Meet CD:
http://galleryofthemind.com/SC_webpage/shoppingcart_CD_WBDM.htm

Where Beauty And Darkness Meet Book:
http://galleryofthemind.com/SC_webpage/shoppingcart_WBDM.htm

Visit this site: http://galleryofthemind.com/
Anonymous said…
That's definitely a good piece of dystopian fiction right there. Probably some kind of Fascist America with corporations running everything while everybody struggles to live after the polar ice caps melt away. This will make a great movie someday.

Jared Alexander
Anonymous said…
Interesting theme throughout the story. The whole corporate aspect is definitely relevant with the BP incident down in the gulf. Really like your sight. As an aspiring writer, it reminds me to write instead of just talking about how I'm going to write. Thanks for the inspiration.
Simply Curious said…
Just a note to say that I really enjoy your style. I'm not 100% how I made my way here, but I'll be back. Cheers. :)
Anonymous said…
Stories in urdu,hindi,pakistani,indian stories (527)


http://www.stories.pk is a great source of reading stories in urdu,hindi and pakistani and indian

stories.you can also share these stories to your dear one father,mother,sister,brother,bhabi,uncle,aunti. Just log on

http://www.stories.pk
Kathy said…
That's great stuff - like it when you can feel the characters. Write more! Saw another great example at -
http://rowan-fixion.blogspot.com
Michael B said…
mixed feelings. and like it and not... like the idea, don't like the picture of inferno. there should be hope... i think...

MichaelB
http://www.prismofperception.com/
I enjoyed the theme and the unique use of the time travel science. The writing needs a little improvement such as removing past-tense verbs (was had been) and using more active verbs. The dialog felt compelling and realistic. Thank you for sharing.

Robert.
mind-immerse.blogspot.com
(for other short stories)
Anonymous said…
Try selling your shorts on http://www.whiffyskunk.com

Popular posts from this blog

Anatomy of a Scene - City Lights

We're going to break down another scene this week, and it's one of my favorites in cinema history. It comes from the ending of City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, which I think is the greatest romantic comedy ever made. 
It's a touching film from 1931 and I would make it mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to learn to tell a story.
The scene we're going to be breaking down comes from the very end of the film, so if you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you. Go watch the film. You can rent it for $3.99 in HD on Amazon or for free on Hulu with a free trial or plus subscription. You should just buy the Blu-ray, though. You're going to want to revisit it.
For those of you familiar with the movie, or for those of you who are going to ignore my pleas to watch it and go ahead with this post anyway, I'm going to set this clip up a bit before you watch it.
City Lights tells the story of Chaplin's Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower …

Anatomy of a Scene: The Third Man

It's time again to break down a classic scene. One that's well-written and, in my view, a fine example of excellent craft.

I've done some of these articles from books (like The End of the Affairand Starship Troopers) and other movies (like Citizen Kane, City Lights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), but now it's time to take a look at a scene from The Third Man. It blends the best of Orson Welles (as he's in the film and drives this scene) and Graham Greene, who wrote this particular screenplay.

Before we get to the scene, we need some context.

The Third Man is a tale of the black market in Vienna, just after World War II. It's about a cheap, dime-store Western novelist named Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton) and his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles.) Lime offered Martins a job in Vienna, so Martins leaves America and arrives, only to find that Harry Lime is dead. Penniless, without a friend or reason to be in the country, h…

Anatomy of a Scene: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might be one of the most meticulously well-written movies ever made.  William Goldman scripts are almost always something special. He's a master of creating something that's interesting, every scene has a kinetic energy to it that keeps you moving. He's a talented prose novelist as well. His novel of The Princess Bride might be even better than the screenplay and the film.

But today I want to talk about a scene in particular for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:



This scene comes early in the movie and we're still working to understand the relationship between Butch and Sundance, as well as Butch and his gang.

Goldman does something amazing as he's able to mix humor, character building, excitement, suspense, and an advancement of the story into the scene. There are so many building blocks at play here, and because the scene is so entertaining we hardly notice.

And the dialogue is so sharp I can't even stand it.

One of the mos…