Panoptica is here

Track and trace apps (I don’t have one, I don’t go to anywhere that requires one), compulsory masks that make facial recognition cameras futile (you’ll soon be required to be RFID chipped and/or wear a barcode so they can see you), cash being gradually demonised and refused in many shops now… It’s here. If you have an Alexa or carry your phone everywhere or have one of those TVs with a camera in it, you’re in Panoptica.

Almost. There is still a little time to finish the story and try to get to a happy ending. I have agonised over this one for so many years now, even stopped for a time when the things I wrote appeared as news within days. Then, writing the book, I found that 10538 had to recount experiences in a way that basically told the first half of the story twice. Then it was derailed by my father’s death in February, followed by all the Covid nonsense since.

I think I have a way in which it can work. One of my favourite books as a teenager was Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles’. It’s a collection of short stories that tell an overall story. Mr. B. didn’t originally set out to do that, he had written a series of stories based on Mars for a magazine and collected them later. This means that the first few stories didn’t fall into a pattern, but overall the book worked. I’ve always wanted to write something like that.

So I will. I’ll also include the stories that led up to the main story, and fill in a few blanks with new stories. I have a particularly horrible (and quite likely) one for Christmas. It fills the gap between ‘For Whom the Bells Jingle’ and ’23-David and 81-Mohammed’. I don’t think I need to write the story before ‘For Whom the Bells Jingle’, I think we can just watch that on the news.

Unlike ‘The Martian Chronicles’, this one will start out with the premise that it tells an overall story, but in a series of shorts rather than chapters. Some of them will work as standalone stories but I suspect a few will be the ‘backbone’ of the overall story and won’t work as singles.

It won’t be fast, unfortunately. I have three other authors’ books to deal with and the Christmas anthology is under way. But it will happen.

Hopefully, before it all comes true.

10 thoughts on “Panoptica is here

  1. I know how you feel Leggy! šŸ™‚ I wrote TobakkoNacht and also Breathers back in the 90s and then watched TNacht becoming true so rapidly that I put it out as a Kindle e-book in 2009, despite being unhappy with the formatting, just so there’d be the record of it coming out BEFORE it all came true!

    I didn’t *really* expect to run into the same problem with Breathers (You had it in one of your early anthologies, and I now have it up online at https://www.quora.com/q/naffvrwscpwdnmpj/Breathers ) but then COVID came out of nowhere and we’re pretty much seeing it come true in spades! ::sigh::)

    I like your idea of the related short stories! The structure is similar to TobakkoNacht in that way. Sometimes certain tales just need to be told in that fashion!

    – MJM

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You will notice that my latest anthology has a couple of story arcs running through it. A series of shorts that can be read as standalone, but in the anthology, they tell an overall story. I think it’;s to do with revisiting the same characters.

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  3. Pingback: The New Stasi – Longrider

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