I have a new story up at Apex! “The State Street Robot Factory” was initially written as dystopic near-future science fiction, but between the time I first drafted it and the time it was published, at least three of the science fiction elements have become reality. The dystopia was real all along.
The last few years have been an exercise in resilience for far too many of us. I’m proud of us for hanging in there and even finding joy sometimes, and at the same time I deeply wish this resilience wasn’t so required, and ache for the people who aren’t as resilient, who have crumpled under the immense weight of these times.
Resilience is a fascinating trait to me. It’s a skill, yes, but the only way to develop it is to experience unexpected, painful and traumatic things, and I can’t wish that on anyone. What resilience I have came at a high price, as I think it always does. It is not a choice, either: it’s often simply the only way forward through darkness.
This story is about a small business owner dealing with an unforgiving marketplace and a tough season; it’s also about the dystopia of a health care system where people have to purchase their own prosthetics. That part of the story is not fictional at all, as most of you know; in fact, the paycheque for this story was donated to a GoFundMe for a person to be able to afford new prosthetic legs. While I was happy for the chance to make this story count in the world in a direct way, I do not want anyone to have to budget, hustle or pass a hat to fund their own prosthetics. I admire that resilience and drive, and I wish and work for a world where it is no longer necessary, and where medical care is given freely to anyone in need.