I’m relaunching The Weekly Fix, with a twist. For now, instead of a serial tale or a short story, I’m sharing excerpts from the stories in the forthcoming Fix the World anthology. This is a fantastic collection of twelve hopeful stories from sci-fi writers on how to fix some of the greatest problems we face as a world.
At the Movies
“Ticket line or snack line?”
This is our first time out with her kids. I want to get this right. Or at least right enough.
“I’m good with either,” I answer with my best easy smile.
I can’t help crossing my fingers, hoping she’ll choose to take the excited, fidgety pre-teens inside with her to choose their treats. I can’t imagine trying to entertain them by myself for the time it will take to wait for tickets.
The treat, to me, is coming to this retro Films-on-Screen where it’s all about the experience as it used to be. Standing in one line to interact with an actual person behind a plalgae window who “serves” you (while you actually use your embedded ident) as you purchase “paper” tickets to one of twenty-one films showing. Then waiting in another to buy snacks that fool your receptors into tasting the flavors of sugar and salt people used to consume instead of nutrition. Finally, standing in a third queue to enter a darkened theater, with seats that rock (but do not swivel) packed close together, tech jammers everywhere to disrupt the crowd’s multimedia implants. All of this in order to directly experience a flat, 2-D film run on a screen two stories high.
It was my idea to come here for our first “family date.” Me dating someone with a family. What was I thinking? The kids will get bored with this break from being able to interact fully with their media. They’re going to have to sit quietly, using an imagination I hope they’ve had the chance to develop instead of relying on tech implanted behind each small jaw-hinge that gives signals direct access to the reticular formation, providing multisensory stim for them, 24/7.
It’s one of my favorite things to do. Completely unplug and watch a story play out before my eyes. Clunky visuals, cheesy sound effects, the music and voices in a flat-sounding stereo making their way into my brain without mediation. Via only my sense organs, imperfect and wonderful.
Yep, they’re gonna hate it.