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News & Features » November 2018 » “Adam Is Banished” by Michael Diamond

“Adam Is Banished” by Michael Diamond

In October 2017 we published An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, a rare literary science fiction set in a future universe so gorgeously described and perfectly self-contained—and yet so harrowing and cruel—that its only parallel universe is our own. Solomon’s novel has inspired this speculative fiction series. We’ve been through the past, and we haven’t really learned from it. The present? We’re too busy attempting to survive it. So we’re asking you to provide us a glimpse of what comes next. Illustrate the essential choices we must make in the present that will lead us to your brilliant utopian future. Or, if you cannot anticipate utopia, provide us instead with your cautionary tale. Show us where we will fall if we—when we—fail to alter our course. Fri-SciFi stories are published on Fridays because we expect we’ll need the weekend to contemplate your vision. 

This week, a university student goes head-to-head with his shady university president—digitally.

Adam Is Banished
by Michael Diamond
2111, ten years before the Technological Singularity

The boundary between information and inert matter was ruptured irrevocably when mankind learned what our ancestors knew before the birth of civilization: to touch is to know. Everything is salient. Everything is sentient. And with the explosion of activity which followed that realization, the Second Dark Age came to an end.

Humanity was reborn through the discovery of the Matrix of Matter (MoM), the natural successor to the Internet of Things (IoT). The dreaming machine carried the human spirit on its back to its ethereal source, embedded within the programming language of reality itself. The Aquarians had been superseded by a cadre of tech moguls, IT-men, who had inadvertently opened the door to a new Information Age as they sought infohegemony through the creation of increasingly powerful AIs. The Aquarian regime had secured their power through the dissemination of baseless hatred. The IT-men had simply apotheosized the machines under whose aegis a semblance of human culture was able to flourish.

Adam Saperstein’s special gift was his ability to see in all things their essential name, their source code, their ruach. This was his genius.

Adam’s curiosity took him places the other students dared not go—hacking into the funding sources for the lab, the department and all its programs. That’s when he discovered the Blagojevich Initiative for Public Private Partnerships. Rod Blagojevich, aka Blago, had been governor of Illinois from 2002 until 2009, the year of the Corporate Singularity. He earned the newsworthy distinction of becoming the first governor of the state to be impeached and the fourth to serve Federal jail time. His attempt to auction off President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat, and his lacquered helmet of truly bad hair, failed to earn him the public respect he craved. His time in the Federal slammer taught him one important lesson: if you’re going to do slimy things, keep a low profile and make the right friends.

After Blago’s cryonically preserved corpse was plunked into a tank of liquid nitrogen at Alcor on his 88th birthday, December 10, 2044, the Initiative was passed to the next in a line of penitent bad boys. When the work had been completed, the C Street Mafia was ready and waiting for Blago with his first job offer in his second life—President of the University of Illinois. By default, he was also the senior university administrator of the Seibel Center. The Siebel Center fell under the hegemony of the mega-corporation, Alphabet, through its subsidiary Cy-Ops, in its public-private partnership with the university. Cy-Ops had been gobbling up university tech centers and securing their patent rights, all the while honing its expertise in “keeping the little geniuses happy.” Home, the last place Adam thought he’d want to be. But it was the only unmonitored environment available for Adam’s imminent retreat. He knew the administration was planning to expel him weeks before the official announcement.

Wednesday, December 23, 2111, as expected, Adam Saperstein found himself unceremoniously kicked to the curb midway through his freshman year at U of I. The day after Adam’s expulsion, a 6 ft X 3 ft X 3 ft crate was delivered by UberDrone to 1 Blagojevich Boulevard. Blago and his mistress were already winging their way to the coast of Croatia to vacation in a full scale replica of the C Street Mansion built high in the crags overlooking the Adriatic. A crew of janitorial staff had received unexpected generous overtime bonus checks to quietly unwrap the President’s ‘Christmas gift’ early that morning. The press had been notified. In particular, a retinoJournalist from mSquared, the Matrix tabloid with a readership that spanned the known blogosphere. Images uploaded in the literal blink of an eye.

When the package was unveiled, the world bore witness to the fruits of Adam’s final all-nighter, having hacked himself a free pass into the FabLab. There, in all his life-sized glory, stood the synthBronze version of buck-naked Blago, arms flung out, back arched, an ecstatic grin on his face, and an enormous erection on which was impaled a check for ten billion smackers courtesy of Cy-Ops, paid to the order of the Blag-man himself. Titled “Golden Rod.” Images b-Linked, the beauty of the live streaming retinaBot did its dirty little job.

Even I had to laugh out loud at that one, in the privacy of my university office. Perfect. By the time Blago got the word, the pix had gone viral and Adam Saperstein was a free man.

***

MICHAEL DIAMOND‘s day job is as a psychiatrist and doctor of medical qigong in the Washington, DC area. He has published occasional verse, fiction and translation in Andrei Codrescu’s journal The Exquisite Corpse, in the journal Shirim courtesy of Dryad Press, and in The Journal of the American Medical Association. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, an artist and illuminator of manuscripts, their dog, two cats, a cockatiel named Peaches, and a tank of hyperactive fish.

***

Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Fri-SciFi series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines.

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a conceivable, not a fantastical, future. No dragons, please.
—With your byline, include the date or era OR galaxy or ship or planetary system in which your story takes place. Or both. But not neither.
—To be perfectly frank, we prefer dystopias. But feel free to surprise us.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words, and must be previously unpublished.
—Please include a short bio with your submission.
—Accepted submissions to Fri-SciFi are typically posted 1–3 months after the notification date, and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Nov 16, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Fri-SciFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



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