Letters from Utopia:
A Collection of Correspondences from the Best Places in the Galaxy.
The Air is Full of Robots
Attention: William Sandgood
Greetings humanoid William, this is a communication from humanoid Dale Sandgood. He wishes to express his positive emotions towards his current situation. Dale is comfortable and has appropriate rations. He has no desire to leave the collective.
Okay, okay. You got me. Just messing with you of course. Hello from Float 42-6! Hoping you are doing well down on the ground. Is mum okay? She was pretty upset when I left, but I guess that was some time ago. It’s hard to keep track of time while my robot butler is bringing me constant supplies of ice cream and vodka.
Oh yeah, it’s pretty amazing up here all around. I know people were skeptical of all this AI mumbo jumbo, yelling about the machines taking over and destroying all of humanity. Turns out that super-intelligent, self-replicating intelligences don’t really care about fleshy humans. We have nothing they want, it would be like us deciding we wanted to wipe out kittens.
My offer is still on the table, you can come and join me any time you like. This morning I got up and felt really sick, so I took a shuttle to the machinist surgery and got a quick cure before lunch. And when I say lunch, I mean classy, gourmet shit that is cooked to binary perfection.
Gotta run now, though. Big date. Have you ever been with a woman that has full 360 degree movement?
It’s All Legal Here, Man
Dear Mrs Holloway,
This is Robert Frederickson. I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to be in your Year 9 history classes. You called me a problem student, and once – when you thought I wasn’t listening – a “waste-of-space slacker”.
Surely you remember that time you busted me smoking dope behind the toilet block with my friends and I said you were a tool of the capitalist machine who didn’t understand the nascent dimensions I was crossing with my mind fries. And you told me that fantasy is nice, but back in the real world I was going to the principal’s office.
Well guess what? My reality found a place a million times better than your stupid school.
Yes, once I dropped out I bought a ticket to Stonicka 9, or as the FASCIST CONTROLLERS call it, Stoner 9. A man needs to be among free thinkers and radical people to truly expand the mind, unchained from the ants of society.
On arrival my friends and I dropped into the nearest milk bar and purchased a bucketful of acid, dropped it like it was hot, and kicked off the most insane bender this side of Heaven itself. I danced with the gods, discussed the philosophical flaws in Brave New World with Aldous Huxley and buzzed the skyscrapers in a chocolate biplane.
Anyway, it all ended on the wrong side of a gutter. Apparently it happens to all the newbies, we go temporarily batshit and try to shove everything up our nose at once. I guess that confirms all your worst little conservative nightmare scenarios.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.
After being granted the freedom to test my limits like a FREE AGENT, I eventually got used to the idea of drugs. The thrill of the new and the forbidden was replaced with responsible moderation. Not that you would understand that idea, up there in your oppressive tower of rules and regulations. Don’t misunderstand though, I still ride a god damn unicorn through the pudding galaxy, I just do it on the weekends.
What, you haven’t flown on a mythical horse? Shame.
People often think it must be a cluster of chaos over here, people stealing TVs from shop windows and plugging them into their veins. Crime is almost a non-issue, because people would rather get high. And the streets are the cleanest in this arm of the Milky Way because of all the speed freaks. You can even pay them in speed.
The crux of my note, Mrs Holloway, is that despite your efforts to crush my fantasy, I discovered the fantastic. I found my place in the world, and while you waste away slowly and carefully I will be licking the music and chasing bubbles.
High and Goodbye,
All the Same to Me
Salutations, Mr Carstairs!
It has come to our attention that your travel publication, Galactic Path, recently reviewed our planetoid Virgilus-B. I am writing to take issue in particular with your assertion that V-B is “the most insidious of all horrors, like being waterboarded with beige paint”.
True, to the casual observer our culture may seem quite odd. As your reviewer noted, almost a century ago our top scientists and politicians devised a way to stabilise DNA and eliminate genetic abnormalities. As a result, our society has no gender and no racial differences. Before this breakthrough our world was on the verge of tearing itself apart, with violent civil wars and hate crimes creating a rather terrible general atmosphere. Tourism was well down.
In your article you claim making everyone look the same is boring, that our culture is “too nice” – which seems akin to stating your shoes are “too comfortable” – and we never get passionate about anything. I say that if your staff had spent enough time here they would have seen our Friday night football contest.
Recently Team Red has been going rather well, but Team Yellow beat them soundly last week. The whole arena was cheering and shouting about the exact location of a small ball. People were beating the absolute cuss out of one another, and three actually died later. Small children were calling old ladies ‘redlovers’ and hurling empty bottles at their heads. Citizens were making love to strangers in the stands simply because their shirt colours matched.
I assure you that as much passion, bigotry, anger and arbitrary choosing of sides as you could ask for was on show. The difference between your society and ours, Mr Carstairs, is that we leave all our pointless bickering and violence for pointless activities.
Resignation from the Rat Race
Attn: Board of Globe Dynetrics
I am writing to tender my resignation as Chief Executive Officer of Globe Dynetrics Ltd, effective immediately.
I would also request that any future correspondence be sent to the Life Compound in Freeman Forest, and addressed not to Janet Langstrom, but to Jade Moonfire, Keeper of the Leaves.
Yes, originally I had intended merely a short stay in the rehabilitation compound, but having been here for some weeks I have discovered a more simple existence. I have run through the fields as naked as a wild horse, I have spent hours listening to the subtle peaks and valleys of a birdsong, I have eaten a pinecone, and it was actually delicious.
Truthfully, it will be difficult to give up the comforts of the modern world. I will miss knowing which celebrity is better at dancing and how the local sports team will be moving a ball around again on Saturday. I’ll miss putting up with bland packaged food for the sake of minor convenience and repressing the blunted dread that in another 10 years it might have given me terminal cancer.
It is with deep regret I leave my current position as the puppet figurehead of a corporation which manufactures the tiny screws other companies use to attach metal plates to completely superfluous pieces of modern luxury. Sadly, I will now be forced to spend my day playing an acoustic guitar, dancing with my shoes off and taking long naps. I’ll be passing up the pure excitement of driving to work in a machine capable of going 200 kilometres per hour but moving slower than walking speed, the rapture of sitting inside a square box staring at a clock, and the joy of trying to find an outfit that makes me uncomfortable enough to be stylish, but doesn’t make people secretly call me an officious slut.
Right now I’m wearing an over-sized poncho and pants made of delicious grass.
So this is it then, the end of my death and the beginning of my life. I wish you all the best in your endeavours to screw the world at right angles. And to my successor I offer some wisdom: Get out of this fucking job and go eat some berries.
Keeper of the Leaves
Women, Women Everywhere
Just thought I’d check in after we parted on bad terms.
I know you thought it was a bad idea to volunteer to be the only man in a society run by women.
I was right, you were wrong, it’s amazing.
Eyes on the Prize
Hi! It’s been so long since we talked! You must have had the baby by now, so congratulations and all that. I bet she or he is lovely. And I bet you’ve already got that super figure back too, you bitch. Ha ha.
How is David doing? Did he get the job? And have you decided what to do about the shop? Any good gossip floating around?
Oh my gosh, I sound so nosey, don’t I? It must be living in this place, constantly surrounded by cameras and people watching everything we do. I’m sorry I haven’t written any sooner, I know you’ve probably been worrying. I admit I was so scared originally moving in here, the military watching and controlling everything we do. It sounded like a nightmare!
I’ll admit, I spent so much time hiding in my room eating pre-packed snacks. Then I thought they might be watching me and recording that, and then what if they were recording me acting weird! I even showered with my clothes on for ages and ages, and I could still feel the cameras zooming on my naughty bits.
My darling, darling husband noticed I was struggling, bless his heart, and asked one of his privates to come speak to me. So anyway, this private when she shows up is a scary looking woman. Built like a jeep, but very well manicured and put together like she knows her stuff. I am super intimidated. She sits down and smiles gently.
And then she lets out a massive fart.
I know, right?
I squirm a little and have no idea what to say, but I know I’m staring. She keeps smiling and explains to me that my reaction is totally normal, that everyone who comes here freaks out at the start. It’s like that old Big Brother show, where they’re all shy at first then by week three they start skinny-dipping and finger-fucking at the dinner table.
It totally makes sense, I mean if I’m the government (if you can imagine that, ha ha) then I don’t care if you’re going to the movies or how big your boobs are. They only care if we’re actually breaking the law. I think I’m safe on that count for now!
So I’m slowly beginning to relax. I have normal, human showers now, and zero crime is not a bad situation at all. If the worst thing I have to worry about in life is that someone sees me pick my nose, I’m crazy fine with that.
Your Best Friend,
Come to Planet Cokaygne, We’re Open
Yes, I did get your letters. No, I don’t want to hear about your new life. We got divorced so that you could take your mental instability and personal choices as far away from me as possible. There was a time when I wanted to be the doting wife who sits at home hearing about your day, and it was before you decided to shave your head and live with a bunch of silly wankers in dresses on the Moon.
I did actually take your advice about spiritual revelations however, darling, although it didn’t involve me becoming a monk. I’ve been on a one-woman, galaxy-wide trip to search for a soul (and I must say, thank goodness your little cult insisted you leave me all your worldly possessions, because I traded them for some awesome shit).
There’s really been too much happening to little old me to go into in detail. I’ve surfed in the whirlpools of Aquas, ridden giant furlak beasts across the desert plains of Muriburi and played space-pong with celebrities in the asteroid belt around the Yin Star. I gambled away all my money in the casinos on Satellite-777, then won it all back by flashing my breasts to a mining company executive.
Eventually, I stumbled upon Cokaygne. Yes, the Pleasure Planet. The one with the ads they had to pull off the broadcast wire.
I don’t think it’s really up your alley, dearest pumpkin squash. Instead of starving yourself and praying for unearthly guidance, it’s endless parties, grapes and hot, steamy fucking. (Can I say ‘fucking’? Are you even allowed to read all these dirty words?)
I’ve discovered my utopia too, honey lumps, and it’s eating cream-filled mud cake in a hot bath while half-naked men fan me with banana leaves. I’m sure you can appreciate that simple pleasures are best.
You limp cock.