The other day on twitter, I stumbled across a thread in which there was some free-form speculation on the future of propaganda and disinformation campaigns.
No politics. This isn’t about that.
In the thread, I was pointed to a short story that explored a future that occurs about fifteen minutes from now in which there is “a large distributed and heavily automated architecture that parcels out jobs to operatives that barely know who or what they are interacting with”.
That story sounded interesting to me, so I clicked on it and… well, if you love yourself some Phillip K Dick but wish that his explorations into Horror were a little less existential and a little broader in scope?
Check this out. (Trigger Warning: Existential Horror. If PKD makes you kinda freak out and feel paranoid, this story will do that to you too.)
Here’s the excerpt where I was hooked:
Among dayjobbers (ironically, a group of people with no day jobs), there is a story which reminds me of this kind of folklore. A man gets a dayjob to drive to an office park in a suburb in Southern California. For the sake of the story, call him Theseus. It’s one of those flat, sprawling, stucco and glass type parks, full of dentists and ad agencies, and he’s supposed to go to an empty suite on the second floor.
When he gets there, there’s a wifi network, and he gets another job to connect to it, using a password which is specified in the job, and then wait for another job that will tell him to leave. And like that sounds sketchy as hell to me but at the same time I could easily see myself going along with it. You can get into the rhythm of just doing whatever the voice in the cloud tells you to do.
So Theseus joins the network on his phone, and he waits, and a little while later he gets a message telling him he can leave. It seemed innocuous enough, but when he joined that network, he saw the Minotaur.
It goes into some very interesting places after that.
But if you don’t like PKD? Don’t read it.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?