2084

“At first, some States, such as China, rejected this Western intrusion and tried to ban Oodles completely. But the demands of “the People”, underground movements, and the like, soon forced them to provide their own rival system called “Yiqiè”. At least this could be controlled by the State and was very popular. The Chinese leaders saw a version of China eventually populating the Universe, and were very proud of their achievements, even though they were based on Western technology, enhanced by their own creativity and hard work.

“However, some people in the “Co-operatives” were still dissatisfied. They wanted the style, the action, the creativity, the sex, the “freedom” of the West. Likewise, the West needed the ingenuity, single-mindedness, and productivity of the East to bring their dreams to fruition. A “Great Amalgamation” took place, which eventually encompassed the whole world, except in the troubled Islamic lands that rejected any form of Westernisation. Their fragmented religion had still not come to terms with itself.

“There is now very little overt crime; as everyone can see everyone’s motivations and desires, they would be instantly found out anyway. A few independent private data-banks were set up, called “Poodles”, but these soon floundered due to the need to link up with the official knowledge banks and the experiences of other real people.

“There’s no need for police generally, although cyber-crime is always on the increase (ha-ha!), and there are specialist squads, the Enforcers, dealing with us, the so-called “Recidivists” and “Rebels” who have totally rejected the whole scheme and have either had our implants illegally removed or burnt out, or have been born of parents who somehow prevented the terminals being implanted in their child’s brain at birth.

“There is, however, a strange rise in creativity. New experiences and spectacular sensations are demanded daily. There are armies of writers, sculptors, painters, film and programme makers. “Reality” engineers are ready and willing to fill the minds of the masses at large, and sell them their products. Anyone can get involved. They don’t need special equipment, space, props, or studios. It can all be done “on-line”, using the myriad of free, cheap, or relatively inexpensive “professional” tools available directly in their minds.

“People log their own thoughts and experiences on-line on a daily basis. They submit items to “Nu-Tube”, “Witter”, “Place-Book” and “My-Face” at an ever increasingly frenetic pace. They watch avidly to see if their thoughts are sensed, picked up, responded to, admired, or rejected as simply puerile. They are in constant contact with their “friends” and loved ones, passing messages in an instant, provided they are limited to 140 seconds, which is all most people can aspire to, or think of, in one coherent stream.

“The more erudite contribute to “Wakki-World”, where knowledge is forced to conform to some democratic form of truth, though it seems to be constantly changing in some areas. Items can go “viral” in seconds, millions of people picking up on a particular thought, rumour, popular myth, or salacious tit-bit.”

“Some people, like the Crystal-Heads, sit on shelves in unlit, cavernous buildings; or underground, in caves. All their experiences are virtual or real dramas fed to their minds from computer simulations or transmitted on-line from active Substitutes. Others are sensualists; they like their bodies, and have electronic stimulation. They can feel their own bodies performing feats of incredible athleticism and daring. They can even move in their gel-Pods, keeping their limbs active and their bodies fit. But they don’t actually go anywhere!

“Other people are more active and mobile, travelling on scarce infra-structure to distant places, recording their infrequent real activities for a few years, to be played back to themselves, over and over, until they die. The really lucky ones are the adventurers, recording live experiences for the immobile Crystal-Heads and Ordinaries; they are the so-called Substitutes.

There are different kinds of Substitute, for different situations, such as: Jacqueline, a Sexi-Tute, providing sexual experiences and gratification; David Spicetti, a Sporti-Sub who indulges in physical games and contests for his lazy followers; Don McBurn, a Reporti-Sub for on-the-spot commentary around the world; Randolph Whines, an Explora-Sub going on daring adventures to the more extreme locations – and, boy, are they getting extreme! Another popular favourite is Indigo Brown, the Archaeologi-Sub, who combines history with danger and sexual derring-do to maximum effect. There are also Botani-Subs; Zooligi-Subs; Danger-Subs; Combat-Subs; and even Victim-Subs, for those wishing to feel empathy for others and salve their consciences. And if you have really given up on everything you can even donate your whole life and destiny to those arch-angels of death, the Desti-Tutes.

“Some experiences, of course, are completely artificial, electronic, virtual simulations, enabling people to go places it is impossible to reach; dreaming of situations that are impossible to recreate or manufacture; performing deeds that are beyond human capability, endurance, or even imagination. All of these Sims can be felt, participated in, even controlled to some extent, by the minds locked into them through the terminals in their heads, with everyone linked to the great Oodles Corporation.

“But some of us reject the whole ethos, and are trying to reclaim reality. We are the Recidivists and Rebels.”

(PKD’s Blog #2)

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