The year was 2566 and humanity had entered a Golden Age. On Earth starvation and terminal illness were things of the past. The old wars and hatreds had ended as well. People now devoted their energies to learning and the exchange of ideas. Life was good most of the time.
Yet they had not created some bland conformist utopia. This was in fact a world diverse in religions, languages, traditions, and individual personalities. Even in the capital city of Rio thousands of natural and artificial languages could be heard. People ranged from one to three meters tall. Some had gills and others could fly like birds. Skin colors ranged from dark purple to light orange as well as the traditional variants. These diverse peoples all lived together in peace and worked for the further improvement of themselves and their world. Everyone felt their lives enriched with purpose and meaning. This was most true in the capital.
And what a capital! Rio had become a splendid city beyond description. It shone like an Emerald Forest that could be seen even from space. Its streets sang of both harmony and raucous celebration. Everyone on Earth wanted to live there, and they all did for in least one year. This worked because in number, though not in kind, the Earth had less people then it once had. The excess land being turned into preserves for a variety of living or revived species.
Of course no place could please everyone and that was okay too. For humanity’s discontented could always whisk themselves away on generation starships. These intrepid pioneers settled new worlds and created new kinds of lives for themselves. On top of this the wonders of Relativity meant there was little chance any of these worlds could ever harm each other even if they wished to.
And drugs were no longer an issue for they had found chemical markers in the brain which cured addicts. They also cured all mental illness in a similar way. And people only died when...
“Kid, it’s time to leave.”
The boy was annoyed at this interruption. However he quickly recovered and played for sympathy. “Sir I have no home and no family.”
The man had seen enough street kids that he could not be fooled so easily. “Even if I believe you, how is that my problem? Now beat it, you little thief!”
The kid, Flavio, grumbled and left the theater. In truth the man’s suspicions were, in fact, largely correct. Soon after leaving the boy counted up the money he had made in there as a pickpocket. Normally he would use it to buy some smokes, but the film inspired him to buy a book instead. The film was not as utopian as his musings, but it did involve a wondrous future. That is why it made him think about an anthology he saw last week edited by a man named something like Grover Congkelin. Years later the world would hail this as an important step in Flavio Svelka becoming the greatest mind of his generation. However, for now he is just a poor boy living under a bridge, buying a book, and dreaming of a future of wonder for both himself and his city.
Copyright © 2003 by Thomas R.