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Another tidbit from my thesis:

I’ve been having a great time writing the scenario for my thesis. I turn in another draft tomorrow, and I’m excited to be discovering some interesting new ideas in the process.

Brandy caught herself wishing for one of those fancy intent detectors while interviewing Jorge Rivera. As it was, her layARs only displayed his heart condition as a pulsing red glow on his left side, and a vaguely yellow aura surrounding his head in a cautionary halo. The rest of the herd glowed green. Brandy hadn’t seen a red come through in months, and even he was part of a secret agency audit. He and a very silent, stoic child tried to enter the country through the family line, but the custody agreement he showed the BSO had a malfunctioning QR code. He got all huffy with the BSO, but upon separating father and child for interviews, the BSO recognized a kidnapping in progress. The agency usually did a kidnap simulation before the summer started. With so many kids off from school, it was easier to sneak them into other countries. A few weeks later, Brandy saw the kid in a commercial for a local butter chicken chain.
“Can you tell me why you’re visiting Canada today?” she asked, after ascertaining that he didn’t need a Portuguese translator. She blinked three times to obtain additional information on why Rivera was yellow. A tiny countdown appeared in the upper right corner of her glasses.

Rivera seemed not to notice the lights dancing across the surface of her glasses. His smile, the one he had greeted her with, remained in place. “I’m going hiking in Algonquin Park.”

She had to play for time. “Oh? For how long?”

“The whole week.” He lifted what looked like some sort of wizard’s staff. It was a gnarled old piece of wood about six feet long with a bunch of feathers tied to its head with a beaded leather thong. “Got my special walking stick and everything.”

Brandy examined Rivera. He wore a salmon pink polo shirt and pleated khaki trousers, with thick socks under the suede straps of his cork-bottomed sandals. The clothes didn’t make much sense, for a Yellow. Most of them came up to the kiosk with a lot of attitude, and that showed in their clothes, too: big logos, big jewellery, big sunglasses, even indoors. Rivera looked so…tame. Like the Brazilian version of her dad.

2 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Ben

     /  September 1, 2011

    Are academic theses allowed to contain prose this entertaining? Even in the humanities I didn’t think that was possible. Shouldn’t you just be talking about your “practice” and condemning things as “problematic”?

    • Madeline

       /  September 2, 2011

      Oh, that was my other thesis. 🙂 This one’s my second, and I get to write SF for it!

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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