Late last year Sony asked whether I would like to participate in an event they called “Futurescapes” – the idea being to bring together an expert-panel of thinkers, designers, futurologists and writers to discuss what life might be like in 2025 – and which role technology could play to make earth a better place by then.
I am not the biggest fan of trend scouts’ predictions about the remote future (most of the time they turn out to be plain wrong) – and I am not at all convinced that technology is always a positive force. But then the folks at Sony also weren’t and they didn’t ask us to paint a rosy picture – on the contrary some of the scenarios they came up with (with the help of non-profit organisation Forum for The Future) were pretty dystopian (the pictures you see here are taken from one of those scenarios). They also said we definitely should not include Sony products into our predictions. I liked the event.
So when – some weeks ago – Sony again approached me asking to contribute a short story set in 2025 for their Futurescapes website (and to be published by The Guardian) I agreed. Being a journalist and writer of non-fiction books coming up with a fictional narrative was something I hadn’t ever done before. Turned out I enjoyed it a lot. I tried to give the story the kind of hard, dark twist some of my genre-heroes such as William Gibson, John Burdett, John P. Pelecanos, or Ian Rankin perfected.
Of course I don’t want to compare my writing to theirs in any respect. I’m a complete amateur at this art form. And I wrote in English which isn’t my mother tongue. Still, Sony seemed to like the story, Eternal Bliss, and The Guardian published it. So I hope it’s not all bad. You be the judge.
If you like it, pass it on to your friends. You will notice that the plot lines can easily be fleshed out, so maybe there’s a sequel in there. Or – hey – even a novel.
Update: Meanwhile The Guardian was so kind to also record and publish a podcast version of me reading the short story.