Jason P. Burnham’s story “Revitalized” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 April 2020.
The inspiration for this story was climate anxiety and a general fear for our world and our species. Since 2016, the constant bombardment of daily desperation has worn on me. I worry constantly about what the future might be like for us and for our children, particularly the disadvantaged ones who will be the first to suffer the effects of progressive global catastrophe.
This story takes place in one possible future, wherein we have obliterated society as we know it. The Orwellian Big Brother exists (the Resource Engagement Officers), but their surveillance serves to identify and control clean water. This focus lines the pockets of their wealthy puppet masters. By keeping absolute control of clean water during a prolonged global drought, they keep all the cards, hold all the power. The REO doles out water to the plebeians as they see fit, also enforcing water larceny punishment with extreme malice. This, of course, is untenable to those underfoot. Revolutions have and will continue to occur, but are not successful. The story’s desperate hopelessness finds its origins in this world.
One of the most unsettling parts of this future scenario is that it isn’t that far off for many parts of our planet. Already marginalized groups face water and food scarcity on a daily basis. Most of us have never seen it, nor will, but it is there. Their voices are never heard. There could be a Cenessa out there right now being killed over a pittance of [insert life-sustaining resource here].
I hope that we can avoid this future and change our present so that the Cenessa’s of the world never face the label waterlarcene.
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