SCI-FI: Extend Booklet - SafeSync

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Dec 14, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Science Fiction

Resource Booklet




Year 8 Improve



Yes, Big Brother is watching you. But
for a good reason

The NSA and GCHQ don’t gather information for the sake
of it


they do it to keep us safe

There’s a deal of shock and horror


some of it genuine



at the idea that America’s National Security
Agency (NSA) can trawl electronic communications for data showing with whom, where, when and for
how long (but not necessarily what) we communicate


and that this data is shared with our own GCHQ
in Cheltenh
am. Looks like Big Brother? Or is there less here than meets the eye?

A leaked document recorded an arrangement between the US government and the telecommunications
company Verizon for access to Verizon’s metadata via the NSA’s Prism programme. Prism, it i
s
reported, enables the NSA to tap into the servers of companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft,
Apple and Yahoo. Concerned campaigners allege that access to this data enables GCHQ to get
around UK restrictions on what they can do. President Obama a
rgued that government interception is
subject to tight controls, adding: “You can’t have 100 per cent security, and also then have 100 per
cent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

He’s right, of course, and it is piquant that he’s spending this weekend with t
he Chinese president Xi
Jinping, the man who sits on probably the biggest data
-
mining operation of all. In Britain covert
interception was integral to the mid
-
17th century establishment of the General Post Office under John
Thurloe, Cromwell’s secretary of

state and spymaster. From 11pm every post night, in a private room
in the Letter Office, a Mr Dorislaus “had all the letters brought and layd before him, to open any as he
should see good, and close them up again”.

Through two world wars and the Cold War,

we grew familiar with the idea that our post and phone
calls might be intercepted if we posed a security or serious criminal threat. Each interception is
ultimately authorised under warrant by the secretary of state and the system is independently
oversee
n by a former judge to ensure that it is legal and proportionate.

The explosion of electronic communications in this century gave spies, terrorists and criminals many
more communications options, making interception harder. In order to keep on top of what
ill
-
wishers
were doing, interception had to be widened to include data
-
trawling, which involves scanning millions
of communications for key words or numbers. It is partly through this means that networks are identified


you discover with whom a suspected
terrorist is working. But you can’t get that information without
trawling the data of millions of innocent people, because that’s where it’s hidden.

That the NSA and GCHQ should share such information ought to be a cause of comfort rather than
concern. The
y don’t gather information for the sake of it


they do it to keep us safer. The heart of the
Anglo
-
US intelligence relationship is this Sigint (signals intelligence) and cyber co
-
operation, dating
from Bletchley Park and the Second World War. The two syst
ems are intimately wedded, but both
have layers of legal and political oversight to ensure that neither uses the other to undermine its own
country’s laws. All their reports will be legally grounded.

That said, the electronic information that a serious dat
a
-
miner can glean about any of us is awesome.
Before you close your front door behind you, they can know where you’re going, how you’re travelling,
whom you’re seeing, what you earn and what you’ve done over the past few years. Microsoft could
doubtless re
ad what I’m typing now if they chose. The Russians and Chinese do it


to us as well as to
their own


on an industrial scale, without our checks and balances.

The truth is, if we want to be in this market, we must accept exposure. Does it matter? For the
overwhelming majority of us, no. If we’re unlucky we may be the victims of crime or malign intent, but in
the West we have nothing to fear from government snooping. In the Nineties, Big Brother went mad
and died of a surfeit of information


there was too
much for him to keep tabs on.

Rather, we should worry that our governments are prevented from snooping enough on the right
people. Or doing anything else about them. Twenty years ago, an ardent supporter of terrorism came
here on a false passport. He’s sti
ll here.



Big Brother is watching you more closely than ever: CCTV
cameras, the spies in our midst


The march of CCTV cameras
-

which now recognise your face from half a mile away
-

is
remorseless. So why aren't we all as mad as hell?

Don’t get so
agitated, a minister in the last Labour government once told me, most CCTV cameras do
not work anyway. Of all the justifications for this Big Brother technology that watches over us from
every street corner, this was the most original.

The cameras that are

meant to make us feel safer, and to make potential criminals think twice, weren’t
up to the job. If that was ever true, it certainly isn’t the case now. For an alarming, and timely, wake
-
up
call has been sounded by Britain’s first surveillance commissione
r.


He’s the man who knows the truth


we don’t have
to listen to one of those lily
-
livered human rights
groups.


Andrew Rennison

has been employed by the
Government to look after the system. His
appointment follows the introduction earlier this
year of the Protection of Freedoms Act


perhaps
the high point in the Coalition’s commitment to civil
liberties.

The act promised to resto
re freedoms through the
scrapping of plans to issue everyone with identity
cards, to force relevant authorities to ‘have regard’ to a code of practice about surveillance cameras
and to implement checks and balances to the various state
-
run schemes that cha
llenge our notions of
privacy.

But Mr Rennison this week warned that most people have no idea how advanced the technology has
become.



Faces can be tracked from half a mile away. ‘The rapid advancement of digital technology means
that 16
-
megapixel, high
-
d
efinition cameras are now very affordable,’ he has warned.


‘A tiny camera in a dome with a 360
-
degree view can capture your face in the crowd. I’ve seen the
test reviews that show there’s a high success rate of
picking out your face against a database.’

The days of the grainy black and white shot are long
gone.

It’s not hard to imagine a Kafkaesque situation in the
near future where


thanks to the state’s extensive
collection of personal data


you could be walking
along a crowded street and the camera c
ould home in
on you, zooming up, forwards and backwards, keeping
tabs on you.


Perhaps you forgot, say, to pay a parking fine or your
TV licence, and your name has been entered on one of
the many impenetrable state files. And the worst thing is
that you wo
uld never know.

Number
-
plate recognition systems have been in
operation for some time, tracking millions of drivers.


Now, thanks to software called Intelligence Pedestrian
Surveillance, cameras are capable of facial recognition,
facial comparison and even

‘gait analysis’, to spot
people walking suspiciously.

A couple of years ago, I was doing a radio programme on the subject. I went to a CCTV monitoring
station in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, run by the council.

The room resembled the Starship Enterprise, w
ith its banks of screens. The operators were polite,
decent people, using their controls to change angles as they munched on crisps. They also proudly
showed me a so
-
called ‘talking camera’ in the car park, where they could admonish folk through a
loudspea
ker for anti
-
social behaviour. They were convinced that the state had every right to intervene,
everywhere.

This, I would argue, is a profoundly disturbing trend. To understand how we got to this state you need
to hark back to February 12, 1993


a landmar
k moment that transformed the relationship between
surveillance and individual liberty.

The police released a blurry CCTV image of a trusting toddler taking a stranger by the hand and
being led out of a Liverpool shopping centre. That was two
-
year
-
old Jami
e Bulger, whose body had
been found on a railway track.

This was seen as a huge and very welcome breakthrough in policing. Although the camera did not
prevent the crime, its images helped the police find the two boys who were later convicted of his
murder.

Twenty years on, cameras are used both to solve crimes, from muggings to abductions, and to help in
searches. Whether it’s on Crimewatch or in the newspapers, barely a day goes by without a CCTV
-
inspired story.


In the hunt for missing five
-
year
-
old April

Jones, Dyfed Powys Police are combing through recordings
and have appealed for anybody with relevant footage to come forward.


What sensible person could possibly object to such uses? The immediate answer is, of course, nobody.

To quote the phrase used by

Tony Blair after the 7/7 bombings, ‘the rules of the game have changed’.
But do we have the balance right?

It is hard to get the exact figures, but we now have as many as two million cameras in Britain. That is
one for every 30 people. It is said that on
any given day in a city centre, the average person is likely
to be spotted by CCTV 300 times.

Cameras deployed in high
-
profile locations such as airports, railway stations and outside government
buildings are an important part of counter
-
terrorism strategy
.

Increasingly, however, as with other forms of surveillance, it is local authorities that are most keen to
pry into our lives.


Big Brother Watch, a group set up to challenge policies that threaten our civil liberties, and to expose
the true scale of the
surveillance state, reported recently that 100,000 cameras are in use in schools


and astonishingly with as many as 200 inside toilets and changing rooms.


The proportion of crimes actually solved by cameras is believed to be low. Perhaps it’s no surprise

that
the authorities are reluctant to provide a statistical breakdown.

I can add my own anecdote. One evening in August, I parked my car (legally) on Waterloo Bridge in
central London. When I came back a few hours later, I found it had been crowbarred.

Ab
ove me several cameras were filming away, on public and privately owned buildings, pointing at
the scene.

When I went to the police the officer was more interested in providing me with a crime reference
number, to sort out the insurance, than in finding ou
t what happened.


I told him it wouldn’t be difficult to identify the culprits, as they had surely been filmed. He merely
shrugged his shoulders. It wasn’t worth the effort.


In that case, what was the point of the cameras, apart from snooping on citizens?

Already the police are becoming dangerously distant from their communities, particularly in large
towns and cities. Such techniques only make that relationship worse.

More pertinently, are cameras the most cost
-
effective and efficient means of crime preve
ntion?


Money that might have been spent on street lighting or bobbies on the beat is thrown at technology.


And, of course, many criminals hide their faces to avoid recognition.

For the most part, the public appears to support cameras


while having littl
e idea of how much they
are being filmed.

Andrew Rennison makes clear that without proper
systems of watching the watchers, there is a risk that
support could disappear.


‘The technology has overtaken our ability to regulate
it,’ he says. ‘I’m convinced t
hat if we don’t regulate it
properly, there will be a huge public backlash. It is
the Big Brother scenario playing out large.’

His appointment seems, at first glance, to be an
important step forward in matching citizens’ desire
for security with their righ
t of privacy.

But Mr Rennison’s room for manoeuvre is strictly
limited.

He has no authority over cameras in hospitals and
schools, or on private sites such as shopping centres.

Most cameras are installed without public
consultation. There are few rules abo
ut where they
are placed, who can operate them and what
happens to the images stored.


It is extremely difficult for any citizen to get hold of
any images taken of them or to discover whether
they have since been destroyed or still exist.

Mr Rennison’s job

is to bring some order to a system
at risk of running out of control. He will report to
Parliament next April. It will be intriguing to see whether secrecy
-
obsessed officials take any action.

Britain is one of the most watched
-
over societies in the world.

It used to be said that if you’ve done
nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But do we really want to be monitored round
-
the
-
clock, wherever we are? If the man in charge of the system is worried about Big Brother, why shouldn’t
we be?



Big
Brother Is Watching Us

By

Ignacio

Ramonet
Reprint


Ignacio Ramonet, editor of Le Monde diplomatique

in Spanish, writes in this column that Edward
Snowden is a champion of freedom of expression.

PARIS,

Jul

12

2013

(IPS)

-

We were afraid this would happen. We had been warned by books
(George Orwell’s “1984

) and films (Steven Spielberg

s

Minority Report

) that with the progress
being made in communication technology, we would all end up under surveillance.

Of course, we assumed that this violation of our privacy would be practised by a neo
-
totalitarian
state. There we were wrong, because the unprecedented

revelations made by Edward Snowden about
the Orwellian surveillance of our communications directly implicate the United States, once regarded as
the “country of freedom.”

Apparently this came to an end after the passage of the Patriot Act of 2001. Preside
nt Barack
Obama himself admitted, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy.”
Welcome to the era of Big Brother.

What has Snowden revealed? The 29
-
year
-
old former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) computer
analyst who most rece
ntly worked for the private company Booz Allen Hamilton, subcontracted to the
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), leaked to The Guardian and to a lesser extent The Washington
Post the existence of secret U.S. government programmes to scrutinise the commun
ications of millions of
citizens.

The magnitude of this incredible violation of our civil rights and private communications has been
described by the press in precise and hair
-
raising detail. On Jun. 5, for instance, The Guardian
published the order issued

by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court instructing the phone company
Verizon to hand over to the NSA tens of millions of its clients’ phone records.

The order does not apparently cover the contents of phone communications nor the identity of the u
sers
of the phone numbers involved, but it does include the duration of calls and the phone numbers of
callers and recipients.

The next day, The Guardian and the Post revealed the existence of a secret surveillance programme,
PRISM, that enables the NSA an
d the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) to access servers of the nine
main internet companies (with the notable exception of Twitter): Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook,
Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

By breaching communications privacy, the
U.S. government can access users’ files, audio files, videos, e
-
mails or photographs. PRISM has become the NSA’s number one source of raw intelligence used for the
reports it provides President Obama on a daily basis.

Over the last few weeks, both newspape
rs have been publishing new information on programmes for
cyberespionage and surveillance of communications in the rest of the world, based on Snowden’s leaks.

Snowden told The Guardian, “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almo
st
everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested
by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyses them and it measures them
and it stores them for periods of time. Every
one is being watched and recorded.”

The NSA, headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, is the largest and least
-
known U.S. intelligence
agency.

It is so secret that most U.S. citizens do not even know it exists. It has the lion’s share of the intelligence
ser
vices’ budget and it produces over 50 tonnes of classified material a day.

The NSA, and not the CIA, possesses and operates most of the U.S. systems of covert gathering of
intelligence material: from a global satellite network to dozens of listening posts,

thousands of
computers and forests of antennae in the mountains of West Virginia.

One of its specialties is spying on the spies, that is, the intelligence services of all world powers,
friendly or unfriendly. During the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War, for ex
ample, the NSA deciphered
the secret code of the Argentine intelligence services, making it possible to transmit crucial information
about the Argentine forces to the British.

The NSA’s interception system can covertly intercept any e
-
mail, internet search

or international
telephone call. The complete set of communications intercepted and deciphered by the NSA constitutes
the U.S. government’s chief source of clandestine information.

The NSA is in close partnership with the mysterious Echelon system, secret
ly created after World War II
by five English
-
speaking countries (the “Five Eyes”): the United States, United Kingdom, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand.

Echelon is an Orwellian global surveillance system reaching around the world, continuously monitoring
most telephone calls, internet communications, e
-
mail and social networking sites. It can intercept up to
two million conversations a minute. Its clandestine mission is to spy on governments, political parties,
organisations and businesses.

Within the fram
ework of Echelon, U.S. and British intelligence services have established a longstanding
secret collaboration. And now we have learned, thanks to Snowden’s revelations, that British
intelligence also clandestinely monitors fibre optic cables, which allowed

it to spy on communications
from the delegations that attended the G20 summit in London in April 2009.

Washington and London have set up a Big Brother
-
style plan capable of finding out everything we say
and do in our communications. And when President Oba
ma talks of the “legitimacy” of these practices
that violate privacy, he is defending the unjustifiable.

Obama is abusing his power and undermining the freedom of all world citizens. “I don’t want to live in
a society that does these sorts of things,” Snow
den protested when he decided to blow the whistle.

Not by chance, Snowden’s revelations came just as the court martial was beginning of U.S. soldier
Bradley Manning, accused of leaking secrets to Wikileaks
, the whistle
-
blowing web site that released
millions of confidential documents, and when the head of the site, cyber
-
activist Julian Assange, has
spent one year in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Snowden, Manning and Assange are champions of f
reedom of expression, and defenders of healthy
democracy and of the interests of all citizens on the planet. Now they are being harassed and
persecuted by the U.S. Big Brother.

Why did these three heroes of our time take such risks that could even cost the
m their lives?

Snowden, who has asked a number of countries for political asylum, replied: “If you realise that that’s
the world you helped create and it is going to get worse with the next generation and the next
generation, and extend the capabilities of

this architecture of oppression, you realise that you might
be willing to accept any risks and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is.”



Big Brother is watching you


Keeping tabs ... Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg

Rod Liddle

on how Orwell's nightmare vision came true

WHEN

he

wrote

his

classic

novel

1984,

George

Orwell

was

warning

people

in

1948

what

the

future

might

be

like



and

it

turns

out

he

got

a

lot

right.

On

Monday,

former

Cabinet

minister

Peter

Lilley

compared

the

new

Royal

Charter

set

up

to

govern

the

Press

to

the

book’s

chilling

Ministry

of

Truth,

where

newspaper

articles

of

the

past

are

rewritten

in

accordance

with

the

ruling

party’s

line.

This

nightmare

regime



led

by

Big

Brother



is

based

on

controlling

people’s

thoughts

in

ways

that

may

seem

eerily

familiar.

Here,

a

Sun

columnist

reveals

how

modern

life

echoes

Orwell’s

vision.


BIG BROTHER REALLY IS WATCHING

Today, while you may be watching Big Brother on TV, Big Brother is

CERTAINLY

watching you.

In the novel, the ruling party’s Thought Police keep track of everyone’s every move via telescreens.

Orwell wrote of the sinister device installed in hero Winston Smith’s flat: “Any sound that Winston made,
above the level of a very low whisper, would be p
icked up by it


moreover, so long as he remained
within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well.”

Today in the UK, there is approximately one CCTV camera for every 32 citizens, with 1.85million cameras
trained upon u
s day and night.

These cameras are now so powerful they can zoom in close enough to read a text on your mobile phone.

Meanwhile, Google can collate information to profile its users according to their web searches.

And even the likes of Tesco compile details of our spending habits via its Clubcard loyalty scheme. Local
government, meanwhile, knows everything about you


and so do the marketing people.

HORRIBLE CHILDREN

Orwell’s narrator notes: “Nearly all children no
wadays are horrible.”

Long before the rise of the intimidating hoodie and gang violence, the author foresaw the rise of a
problematic youth.

And he writes: “It was almost normal for people over 30 to be frightened of their own children.”

In 2009, after two

brothers aged ten and 11 were charged with the attempted murder of two boys aged
nine and 11, Tory MP Chris Grayling


now Justice Secretary


said: “A society that is scared of its
children is one that cannot be at comfort with itself.” He said a Conserv
ative Government would introduce
“grounding orders” to target troublesome youngsters.

Kids in 1984 are also encouraged to shop deviant parents, and neighbours to grass up neighbours.

These days we are encouraged to rat on our friends and families.

Last spr
ing, a hotline was set up for us to report those sneaking water wasters who were defying the
hosepipe ban.

HATE WEEKS

Orwell writes of the sound made by telescreens at the beginning of one of the week
-
long campaigns
designed to ramp up hysteria against a n
ew target: “It was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and
bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck. The Hate had started.”

From the banking crisis to the MPs’ expenses scandal and the phone
-
hacking enquiry, we continually change
the direction of our a
nger. And although it might not be enforced by the Government, we already live in a
world where internet trolls filled with hate log on to Twitter and


from the comfort of their own home


hurl abuse at minor celebrities, charities and even the surviving
relatives of children who have died.

NEVER
-
ENDING CONFLICT

Orwell wrote: “Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it
was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood.”

Doesn
’t it sometimes feel like that here? We’re about to pull out of Afghanistan and this week we have
been looking back to the beginning of the Iraq War a decade ago, yet with the same breath we’re sending
armoured vehicles and body armour to help the oppositi
on cause in Syria.

Since the Second World War, the British Army has taken part in the Korean War, the Suez War, the
Northern Ireland conflict, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo as well as Iraq and
Afghanistan. We have been at war continuou
sly since 1998.

DOUBLETHINK

Politicians in 1984 speak in a strange language which often means the opposite of what’s actually being
said. If it means anything at all. Called “doublethink”, the novel explains it as “the power of holding two
contradictory be
liefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”.

NEWSPEAK

Newspeak is the official language of the Party’s official documents but it basically means shortening
everything. For example, the Ministry of Peace is Minipax

and the Ministry of Love is Miniluv.

With social networking, we are all too familiar with such an abbreviated vocabulary.

FYI, BTW, LOL, B4, L8R, U, UR... how often do we use these? Texting and Twitter have crunched our
language to the bare minimum.

A sur
vey at Northwestern University, Illinois, showed text messaging is damaging teenagers’ language and
grammar skills.

HANDWRITING IS OBSOLETE

In 1984, Winston smuggles a fountain pen to write his secret diary.

The narrator says: “Actually he was not used to writing by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to
dictate everything into the speak
-
write.” This is a desktop contraption that has made the pen obsolete


like today’s computers, iPads and smartph
ones.

A recent study found the average adult has not written anything by hand


not even a Post
-
It note


for
six weeks.

RISING COST OF LIVING

In the book 1984, razor blades are so expensive that people never buy new ones, so it hurts to shave.

Winston say
s: “Everyone kept asking you for razor blades. Actually he had two unused ones which he was
hoarding up.” Sound familiar? The cost of living in Britain has risen by 25 per cent in five years.

The increase is four times higher than the rise in salaries in t
he same period, according to price comparison
website uswitch.com.

In his story, Winston also moans about the rising price of beer. He says of the good old days: “The beer
was better... And cheaper! When I was a young man, mild beer


wallop we used to cal
l it


was
fourpence a pint.”

Today The Sun has won the battle to save our beer from rising taxes, with our Axe Beer Tax campaign.

Everyone's skint and nothing works properly. Jobs are mind
-
numbingly boring and low paid. Poverty was
the main way people wer
e oppressed in 1984 and they are today.

IT’S NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE

In the book Winston tastes contraband chocolate and it stirs a vague memory of how it used to taste as a
child, before it was replaced by the “dull brown crumbly stuff”.

How often do we mo
an about our favourite foods not being like they were when we were kids?

Recently, incensed consumers have complained about new recipes in Milk Tray chocolates and McVitie’s
chocolate digestives.

EROTIC FICTION

In 1984, Winston’s lover Julia earns her livi
ng by working for Pornosec, nicknamed Muck House, “which
turned out cheap pornography for distribution among the proles”.

If Julia were alive today, she might well have been an editor on Fifty Shades Of Grey, such is the recent
explosion in erotic fiction.

PROCESSED FOOD

Orwell describes a hot dog as a “bomb of filth” bursting inside his mouth in novel Coming Up For Air,
written ten years before 1984.

Sixty years on from the invention of the TV dinner we are still as hooked on ready meals as ever.

We have r
ecently found out horsemeat is being served up in our burgers and I suspect horsemeat is about
as good as it gets.


EUROPE

Europe is part of a vast super
-
state. Britain is nothing but an airstrip for the Americans. Ring a bell?

PRESS REGULATION

In 1984 the

Ministry of Truth is the propaganda ministry for the super
-
state, which is called Oceania.

It is responsible for the falsification of historical events.

Orwell writes: “The Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of Truth,
whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers,
films, textbooks, telescreen programmes, p
lays, novels


with every conceivable kind of information,
instruction or entertainment from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a
child's spelling book to a Newspeak dictionary.”

Now

today’s

Press

is

about

to

be

shac
kled

by

its

very

own

state

dictate.



1984 by George Orwell
:
Chapter 1

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin
nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass
doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to preven
t a swirl of gritty dust from
entering along with him.


The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster,
too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous
face, more than a m
etre wide: the face of a man of about forty
-
five, with a heavy black
moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying
the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current
was
cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week.
The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty
-
nine and had a varicose ulcer
above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way.

On each landing,
opposite the lift
-
shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of
those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG
BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.


I
nside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with
the production of pig
-
iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror
which formed part of the surface of the right
-
hand wall. Winston turn
ed a switch and the voice
sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it
was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved
over to the window: a smallish, frail figure,

the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by
the blue overalls which were the uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally
sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter
that had just e
nded.


Outside, even through the shut window
-
pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little
eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining
and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in any
thing, except the posters that
were plastered everywhere. The blackmoustachio'd face gazed down from every
commanding corner. There was one on the house
-
front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS
WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked d
eep into Winston's own.
Down at streetlevel another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately
covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed
down between the roofs, hovered for an instan
t like a bluebottle, and darted away again
with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did
not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.


Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was sti
ll babbling away about pig
-
iron
and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three
-
Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted
simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would
be picked up by it, moreover, so long as
he remained within the field of vision which the metal
plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of
knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what
system, the Thought Police plugged i
n on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even
conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your
wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live
--

did live, from habit that became instinct
--

in
the assumptio
n that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every
movement scrutinized.


1984:
Winston in the Ministry of Love


Do you know where you are, Winston?’ he said.


I don’t know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.’


Do you know how lon
g you have been here?’


I don’t know. Days, weeks, months


I think it is months.’


And why do you imagine that we bring people to this place?’


To make them confess.’


No, that is not the reason. Try again.’


To punish them.’


No!’ exclaimed O’Brien. His
voice had changed extraordinarily, and his face had suddenly
become both stern and animated. ’No! Not merely to extract your confession, not to punish
you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane! Will you
understand, W
inston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured?
We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The Party is not
interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy ou
r
enemies, we change them. Do you understand what I mean by that?’

He was bending over Winston. His face looked enormous because of its nearness, and
hideously ugly because it was seen from below. Moreover it was filled with a sort of
exaltation, a lunatic

intensity. Again Winston’s heart shrank. If it had been possible he would
have cowered deeper into the bed. He

felt certain that O’Brien was about to twist the dial out
of sheer wantonness.

At this moment, however, O’Brien turned away. He took a pace or t
wo
up and down. Then he continued less vehemently:


The first thing for you to understand is that in this place there are no martyrdoms. You have
read of the religious persecutions of the past. In the Middle Ages there was the Inquisition. It
was a failure
. It set out to eradicate heresy, and ended by perpetuating it. For every heretic it
burned at the stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was that? Because the Inquisition killed
its enemies in the open, and killed them while they were still unrepentant:
in fact, it killed them
because they were unrepentant. Men were dying because they would not abandon their true
beliefs. Naturally all the glory belonged to the victim and all the shame to the Inquisitor who
burned him. Later, in the twentieth century, the
re were the totalitarians, as they were called.
There were the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. The Russians persecuted heresy
more cruelly than the Inquisition had done. And they imagined that they had learned from the
mistakes of the past; they k
new, at any rate, that one must not make martyrs. Before they
exposed their victims to public trial, they deliberately set themselves to destroy their dignity.
They wore them down by torture and solitude until they were despicable, cringing wretches,
confe
ssing whatever was put into their mouths, covering themselves with abuse, accusing

and
sheltering behind one another, whimpering for mercy. And yet after only a few years the
same thing had happened over again. The dead men had become martyrs and their
deg
radation was forgotten. Once again, why was it? In the first place, because the confessions
that they had made were obviously extorted and untrue. We do not make mistakes of that
kind. All the confessions that

are uttered here are true. We make them true.
And above all we
do not allow the dead to rise up against us. You must stop imagining that posterity will
vindicate you, Winston. Posterity will never hear of you. You will be lifted clean out from the
stream of history. We shall turn you into gas and pour

you into the stratosphere. Nothing will
remain of you, not a name in a register, not a memory in a living brain. You will be
annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You will never have existed.’

Then why bother to torture me? thought Winston, wi
th a momentary bitterness. O’Brien
checked his step as though Winston had uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face came
nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.


You are thinking,’ he said, ’that since we intend to destroy you utterly, so that nothi
ng that you
say or do can make the smallest difference


in that case, why do we go to the trouble of
interrogating you first? That is what you were thinking, was it not?’


Yes,’ said Winston.

O’Brien smiled slightly.

You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are a stain that must be
wiped out. Did I not tell you just now that we are different from the persecutors of the past?
We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When
f
inally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic
because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we
capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion o
ut of him; we bring
him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of
ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist
anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless
it may be. Even in the instant of death
we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic,
proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion
locked up in his sk
ull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the
brain perfect before we blow it out. The command of the old despotisms was

Thou shalt not”.
The command of the totalitarians was

Thou shalt”. Our command is

Thou art”. No one whom

we bring to this place ever stands out against us. Everyone is washed clean. Even

those three
miserable traitors in whose innocence you once believed


Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford


in the end we broke them down. I took part in their interrogation mys
elf. I saw them
gradually worn down, whimpering, grovelling, weeping


and in the end it was not with pain
or fear, only with penitence. By the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of

men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow fo
r what they had done, and love of Big
Brother. It was touching to see how they loved him. They begged to be shot quickly, so that
they could die while their minds were still clean.’

His voice had grown almost dreamy. The exaltation, the lunatic enthusiasm,

was still in his face.
He is not pretending, thought Winston, he is not a hypocrite, he believes every word he says.
What most oppressed him was the consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority. He watched
the heavy yet

graceful form strolling to and

fro, in and out of the range of his vision. O’Brien
was a being in all ways larger than himself. There was no idea that he had ever had, or could
have, that O’Brien had not long ago known, examined, and rejected. His mind contained
Winston’s mind. But in
that case how could it be true that O’Brien was mad? It must be he,
Winston, who was mad. O’Brien halted and looked down at him. His voice had grown stern
again.



A LOT TO LEARN

by R T Kurosaka

The Materialiser was completed.

Ned Quinn
stood back, wiped his hands, and admired the huge bank
of dials, light and switches.


Several years and many fortunes had
gone into this project.


Finally it was ready.

Ned placed the metal skullcap on his head and plugged the wires
into the control panel.


He turned the switch to ON and spoke:

“Pound
n
ote.”

There was a whirring sound.


In the Receiver a piece of paper
appeared.


Ned inspected it.


Real
.

“Martini,” he said.

A whirring sound.


A puddle formed in the Receiver.


Ned cursed
silently.


He had a

lot to learn.

“A bottle of beer,” he said.

The whirring sound was followed by the appearance of the familiar
brown bottle.


Ned tasted the contents and grinned.

Chuckling, he experimented further.

Ned enlarged the Receiver and prepared for his greatest
e
xperiment.


He switched on the Materialiser, took a deep breath
and said

“Girl.”

The whirring sound swelled and faded.


In the Receiver stood a
lovely girl.


She was naked.


Ned had not asked for clothing.


She
had freckles, a brace and pigtails.


She was
eight years old
.

‘Hell! Said Quinn’
.

Whirr.

The fireman found two charred skeletons in the smouldering rubble.

Short Story Plan

Us ethe grid to come up with your own ideas for a short story.
You don’t need to fill every box
-

just the one’s you’re going to

use.


Character/s






Descriptive details






Invention






Problem






Twist






Resolution








Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

A SQUAT grey building of only thirty
-
four stories.

Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL
LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State's motto,
COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.

The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond
the

panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows,
hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic goose
-
flesh, but finding
only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of
a laboratory. Wintriness responded to
wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse
-
coloured
rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it
borrow a certain ri
ch and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after
luscious streak in long recession down the work tables.

"And this," said the Director opening the door, "is the Fertilizing Room."

Bent over their instruments, three hundre
d Fertilizers were plunged, as the Director of Hatcheries
and Conditioning entered the room, in the scarcely breathing silence, the absent
-
minded,
soliloquizing hum or whistle, of absorbed concentration. A troop of newly arrived students, very
young, pink
and callow, followed nervously, rather abjectly, at the Director's heels. Each of them
carried a notebook, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he desperately scribbled. Straight
from the horse's mouth. It was a rare privilege. The D. H. C. for Central
London always made a
point of personally conducting his new students round the various departments.

"Just to give you a general idea," he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general
idea they must have, if they were to do their work intellig
ently

though as little of one, if they were
to be good and happy members of society, as possible. For particulars, as every one knows, make
for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fret
-
sawyers and sta
mp collectors compose the backbone of society.

"To
-
morrow," he would add, smiling at them with a slightly menacing geniality, "you'll be settling
down to serious work. You won't have time for generalities. Meanwhile …"

Meanwhile, it was a privilege. Stra
ight from the horse's mouth into the notebook. The boys
scribbled like mad.

Tall and rather thin but upright, the Director advanced into the room. He had a long chin and big
rather prominent teeth, just covered, when he was not talking, by his full, flori
dly curved lips. Old,
young? Thirty? Fifty? Fifty
-
five? It was hard to say. And anyhow the question didn't arise; in this
year of stability, A. F. 632, it didn't occur to you to ask it.

"I shall begin at the beginning," said the D.H.C. and the more zealou
s students recorded his
intention in their notebooks:
Begin at the beginning
. "These," he waved his hand, "are the
incubators." And opening an insulated door he showed them racks upon racks of numbered test
-
tubes. "The week's supply of ova. Kept," he expla
ined, "at blood heat; whereas the male gametes,"
and here he opened another door, "they have to be kept at thirty
-
five instead of thirty
-
seven. Full
blood heat sterilizes." Rams wrapped in theremogene beget no lambs.

Still leaning against the incubators h
e gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the
pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of its surgical
introduction

"the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the

fact
that it carries a bonus amounting to six months' salary"; continued with some account of the
technique for preserving the excised ovary alive and actively developing; passed on to a
consideration of optimum temperature, salinity, viscosity; referred
to the liquor in which the
detached and ripened eggs were kept; and, leading his charges to the work tables, actually
showed them how this liquor was drawn off from the test
-
tubes; how it was let out drop by drop
onto the specially warmed slides of the mic
roscopes; how the eggs which it contained were
inspected for abnormalities, counted and transferred to a porous receptacle; how (and he now took
them to watch the operation) this receptacle was immersed in a warm bouillon containing free
-
swimming spermatoz
oa

at a minimum concentration of one hundred thousand per cubic centimetre,
he insisted; and how, after ten minutes, the container was lifted out of the liquor and its contents re
-
examined; how, if any of the eggs remained unfertilized, it was again immers
ed, and, if necessary,
yet again; how the fertilized ova went back to the incubators; where the Alphas and Betas
remained until definitely bottled; while the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were brought out again,
after only thirty
-
six hours, to undergo Bokano
vsky's Process.

"Bokanovsky's Process," repeated the Director, and the students underlined the words in their little
notebooks.

One egg, one embryo, one adult
-
normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will
divide. From eight to nine
ty
-
six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo,
and every embryo into a full
-
sized adult. Making ninety
-
six human beings grow where only one
grew before. Progress.

"Essentially," the D.H.C. concluded, "bokanovskification consists of a

series of arrests of
development. We check the normal growth and, paradoxically enough, the egg responds by
budding."

Responds by budding
. The pencils were busy.

He pointed. On a very slowly moving band a rack
-
full of test
-
tubes was entering a large met
al
box, another, rack
-
full was emerging. Machinery faintly purred. It took eight minutes for the tubes
to go through, he told them. Eight minutes of hard X
-
rays being about as much as an egg can stand.
A few died; of the rest, the least susceptible divided

into two; most put out four buds; some eight;
all were returned to the incubators, where the buds began to develop; then, after two days, were
suddenly chilled, chilled and checked. Two, four, eight, the buds in their turn budded; and having
budded were d
osed almost to death with alcohol; consequently burgeoned again and having
budded

bud out of bud out of bud

were thereafter

further arrest being generally fatal

left to
develop in peace. By which time the original egg was in a fair way to becoming anything

from
eight to ninety
-
six embryos


a prodigious improvement, you will agree, on nature. Identical twins

but not in piddling twos and threes as in the old viviparous days, when an egg would sometimes
accidentally divide; actually by dozens, by scores at a t
ime.

"Scores," the Director repeated and flung out his arms, as though he were distributing largesse.
"Scores."

But one of the students was fool enough to ask where the advantage lay.

"My good boy!" The Director wheeled sharply round on him. "Can't you
see? Can't you see?" He
raised a hand; his expression was solemn. "Bokanovsky's Process is one of the major instruments of
social stability!"

Major instruments of social stability
.

Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory
staffed with the
products of a single bokanovskified egg.

"Ninety
-
six identical twins working ninety
-
six identical machines!" The voice was almost tremulous
with enthusiasm. "You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the
pla
netary motto.

"Community, Identity, Stability." Grand words. "If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole
problem would be solved."



Oryx and Crake

Margaret Attwood

Jimmy’s father worked for OrganInc Farms. He was a genographer
, one of the best in the
field. He’d done some of the key studies on mapping the proteonome when he was still a post
-
grad, and then he’d helped engineer the Methuselah Mouse as part of Operation Immortality.
After that, at OrganInc Farms, he’d been one of
the foremost architects of the pigoon project,
along with a team of transplant experts and the microbiologists who were splicing against
infections.
Pigoon

was only a nickname: the official name was
sus multior
ganifer. But pigoon
was what everyone said. So
metimes they said Organ
-
Oink Farms, but not as often. It wasn’t
really a farm anyway, not like the farms in pictures.

The goal of the pigoon project was to grow an assortment of foolproof human
-
tissue
organs in a transgenic knockout pig host

organs that wo
uld transplant smoothly and avoid
rejection, but would also be able to fend off attacks by opportunistic microbes and viruses, of
which there were more strains every year. A rapid
-
maturity gene was spliced in so the pigoon
kidneys and livers and hearts wou
ld be ready sooner, and now they were perfecting a pigoon
that could grow five or six kidneys at a time. Such a host animal could be reaped of its extra
kidneys; then, rather than being destroyed, it could keep on living and grow more organs,
much as a lob
ster could grow another claw to replace a missing one. That would be less
wasteful, as it took a lot of food and care to grow a pigoon. A great deal of investment money
had gone into OrganInc Farms.

All of this was explained to Jimmy when he was old enough
.


The pigoon organs could be customized, using cells from individual human donors, and the
organs were frozen until needed. It was much cheaper than getting yourself cloned for spare
parts

a few wrinkles left to be ironed out there, as Jimmy’s dad used to

say

or keeping a
for
-
harvest child or two stashed away in some illegal baby orchard. In the OrganInc brochures
and promotional materials, glossy and discreetly worded, stress was laid on the efficacy and
comparative health benefits of the pigoon procedure
. Also, to set the queasy at ease, it was
claimed that none of the defunct pigoons ended up as bacon and sausages: no one would want
to eat an animal whose cells might be identical with at least some of their own.

Still, as time went on and the coastal aqu
ifers turned salty and the northern permafrost
melted and the vast tundra bubbled with methane, and the drought in the midcontinental plains
regions went on and on, and the Asian steppes turned to sand dunes, and meat became harder
to come by, some people
had their doubts. Within OrganInc Farms itself it was noticeable how
often back bacon and ham sandwiches and pork pies turned up on the staff café menu. André’s
Bistro was the official name of the café, but the regulars called it Grunts. When Jimmy had
lun
ch there with his father, as he did when his mother was feeling harried, the men and women
at nearby tables would make jokes in bad taste.

“Pigoon pie again,” they would say. “Pigoon pancakes, pigoon popcorn. Come on, Jimmy,
eat up!” This would upset Jimmy
; he was confused about who should be allowed to eat what.
He didn’t want to eat a pigoon, because he thought of the pigoons as creatures much like
himself. Neither he nor they had a lot of say in what was going on.

“Don’t pay any attention to them, sweeth
eart,” said Ramona. “They’re only teasing, you
know?” Ramona was one of his dad’s lab technicians. She often ate lunch with the two of them,
him and his dad. She was young, younger than his father and even his mother; she looked
something like the picture
of the girl in the haircut man’s window, she had the same sort of
puffed
-
out mouth, and big eyes like that, big and smudgy. But she smiled a lot, and she didn’t
have her hair in quills. Her hair was soft and dark. Jimmy’s mother’s hair was what she herself

called
dirty blon
de. (“Not dirty enough,” said his father. “Hey! Joke. Joke. Don’t kill me!”)

Ramona would always have a salad. “How’s Sharon doing?” she would say to Jimmy’s
father, looking at him with her eyes wide and solemn. Sharon was Jimmy’s mother.

“Not so hot,” Jimmy’s father would say.

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

“It’s a problem. I’m getting worried.”

Jimmy watched Ramona eat. She took very small bites, and managed to chew up the
lettuce without crunching. The raw carrots too. That was amazing, as if sh
e could liquefy those
hard, crisp foods and suck them into herself, like an alien mosquito creature on DVD.

“Maybe she should, I don’t know, see someone?” Ramona’s eyebrows lifted in concern. She
had mauve powder on her eyelids, a little too much; it made
them crinkly. “They can do all
sorts of things, there’s so many new pills…” Ramona was supposed to be a tech genius but she
talked like a shower
-
gel babe in an ad. She wasn’t stupid, said Jimmy’s dad, she just didn’t
want to put her neuron power into long
sentences. There were a lot of people like that at
OrganInc, and not all of them were women. It was because they were numbers people, not
word people, said Jimmy’s father. Jimmy already knew that he himself was not a numbers
person.

“Don’t think I haven’t
suggested it, I asked around, found the top guy, made the
appointment, but she wouldn’t go,” said Jimmy’s father, looking down at the table. “She’s got
her own ideas.”

“It’s such a shame, a waste. I mean, she was so smart!”

“Oh, she’s still smart enough,”
said Jimmy’s father. “She’s got
smart

coming out of her
ears.”

“But she used to be so, you know…”

Ramona’s fork would slide out of her fingers, and the two of them would stare at each
other as if searching for the perfect adjective to describe what Jimmy’s

mother used to be.
Then they’d notice Jimmy listening, and beam their attention down on him like extraterrestrial
rays. Way too bright.

“So, Jimmy sweetheart, how’s it going at school?”

“Eat up, old buddy, eat the crusts, put some hair on your chest!”

“Can I go look at the pigoons?” Jimmy would say.


The pigoons were much bigger and fatter than ordinary pigs, to leave room for all of the
extra organs. They were kept in special buildings, heavily secured: the kidnapping of a pigoon
and its finely honed g
enetic material by a rival outfit would have been a disaster. When
Jimmy went in to visit the pigoons he had to put on a biosuit that was too big for him, and wear
a face mask, and wash his hands first with disinfectant soap. He especially liked the small
pigoons, twelve to a sow and lined up in a row, guzzling milk. Pigoonlets. They were cute. But
the adults were slightly frightening, with their runny noses and tiny, white
-
lashed pink eyes.
They glanced up at him as if they saw him, really saw him, and mig
ht have plans for him later.



Examination Day

Henry Slesar

The Jordans never spoke of the exam, not until their son, Dickie, was twelve years old. It was on his
birthday that Mrs Jordan first mentioned the subject in his presence, and the anxious manner
of her
speech caused her husband to answer sharply.

‘Forget about it,’ he said. ‘He’ll do all right.’

They were at breakfast table, and the boy looked up from his plate curiously. He was an alert
-
eyed youngster with flat blond hair and a quick, nervous man
ner. He didn’t understand what the
sudden tension was about, but he did know that today was his birthday, and he wanted harmony
above all. Somewhere in the little apartment there were wrapped, beribboned packages waiting
to be opened, and in the tiny wall
-
kitchen something warm and sweet was being prepared in the
automatic stove. He wanted the day to be happy, and the moistness of his mother’s eyes, the scowl
on his father’s face, spoiled the mood of fluttering expectation with which he had greeted the
morn
ing.

‘What exam?’ he asked.

His mother looked at the tablecloth. ‘It’s just a sort of Government Intelligence test they give
children at the age of twelve. You’ll be taking it next week. It’s nothing to worry about.’

‘You mean a test like in school?’

‘Some
thing like that,’ his father said, getting up from the table. ‘Go and read your comics, Dickie.’
The boy rose and wandered towards that part of the living room which had been ‘his’ corner since
infancy. He fingered the topmost comic of the stack, but seeme
d uninterested in the colour
ful
squares of fast
-
paced action. He wandered towards the window, and peered gloomily at the veil
of mist that shrouded the glass.

‘Why did it have to rain today?’ he said. ‘Why couldn’t it rain tomorrow?’

His father, now slump
ed into an armchair with the Gov
ernment newspaper rattled the sheets in
vexation. ‘Because it just did, that’s all. Rain makes the grass grow.’

‘Why, Dad?’

‘Because it does, that’s all.’

Dickie puckered his brow. ‘What makes it green, though? The grass?’

‘Nobody knows,’ his father snapped, then immediately regretted his abruptness.

Later in the day, it was birthday time again. His mother beamed as she handed over the gaily
-
coloured packages, and even his father managed a grin and a rumple
-
of
-
the
-
hair. He
kissed his
mother and shook hands gravely with his father. Then the birthday cake was brought forth, and the
ceremonies concluded.

An hour later, seated by the window, he watched the sun force its way between the clouds.

‘Dad,’ he said, ‘how far away is th
e sun?’

‘Five thousand miles,’ his father said.

Dickie sat at the breakfast table and again saw moisture in his mother’s eyes. He didn’t connect her
tears with the exam until his father suddenly brought the subject to light again.

‘Well, Dickie,’ he said,
with a manly frown, ‘you’ve got an appointment today.’

‘I know Dad. 1 hope



‘Now, it’s nothing to worry about. Thousands of children take this test every day. The Government
wants to know how smart you are, Dickie. That’s all there is to it.’

‘I get good

marks in school,’ he said hesitantly.

‘This is different. This is a


special kind of test. They give you this stuff to drink, you see, and then
you go into a room where there’s a sort of machine



‘What stuff to drink?’ Dickie said.

‘It’s nothing. It ta
stes like peppermint. It’s just to make sure you answer the questions truthfully. Not
that the Gov
ernment thinks you won’t tell the truth, but it makes sure.’

Dickie’s

face showed puzzlement, and a touch of fright. He looked at his mother, and she composed
her face into a misty smile.

‘Everything will be all right,’ she said.

‘Of course it will,’ his father agreed. ‘You’re a good boy, Dickie; you’ll make out fine. Then
we’ll
come home and celebrate. All right?’

‘Yes sir,’ Dickie said.


They entered the Government Educational Building fifteen minutes before the appointed hour.
They crossed the mar
ble floors of the great pillared lobby, passed beneath an archway and
enter
ed an automatic lift that brought them to the fourth floor.

There was a young man wearing an insignia
-
less tunic, seated at a polished desk in front of Room
404. He held a clipboard in his hand, and he checked the list down to the Js and permitted the
Jord
ans to enter.

The room was as cold and official as a courtroom, with long benches flanking metal tables. There
were several fathers and sons already there, and a thin
-
lipped woman with cropped black hair
was passing out sheets of paper.

Mr Jordan filled ou
t the form, and returned it to the clerk. Then he told Dickie: ‘It won’t be long
now. When they call your name, you just go through the doorway at the end of the room.’ He
indicated the portal with his finger.

A concealed loudspeaker crackled and called of
f the first name. Dickie saw a boy leave his
father’s side reluctantly and walk slowly towards the door.

At five minutes to eleven, they called the name of Jordan.

‘Good luck, son,’ his father said, without looking at him. ‘I’ll call for you when the test
is over.’

Dickie walked to the door and turned the knob. The room inside was dim, and he could barely
make out the features of the grey
-
tunicked attendant who greeted him.

‘Sit down,’ the man said softly. He indicated a high stool beside his desk. ‘Your na
me’s Richard
Jordan?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Your classification number is 600
-
115. Drink this, Richard.’

He lifted a plastic cup from the desk and handed it to the boy. The liquid inside had the consistency
of buttermilk, tasted only vaguely of the promised peppermint. Dickie downed it, and handed the
man the empty cup.

He sat in silence, feeling drowsy, whil
e the man wrote busily on a sheet of paper. Then the
attendant looked at his watch, and rose to stand only inches from Dickie’s face. He unclipped a
penlike object from the pocket of his tunic, and flashed a tiny light into the boy’s eyes.

‘All right,’ he
said. ‘Come with me, Richard.’

He led Dickie to the end of the room, where a single wooden armchair faced a multi
-
dialled
computing machine. There was a microphone on the left arm of the chair, and when the boy sat
down, he found its pinpoint head conve
ni
ently at his mouth.

‘Now just relax, Richard. You’ll be asked some ques
tions, and you think them over carefully. Then
give your answers into the microphone. The machine will take care of the rest.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘I’ll leave you alone now. Whenever you want
to start, just say “ready” into the microphone.’

‘Yes, sir.’

The man squeezed his shoulder, and left.

Dickie said, ‘Ready.’

Lights appeared on the machine, and a mechanism whirred. A voice said: ‘Complete this sequence.
One, four, seven, ten . .

Mr and Mrs

Jordan were in the living room, not speaking, not even speculating.

It was almost four o’clock when the telephone rang. The woman tried to reach it first, but her
husband was quicker.

‘Mr Jordan?’

The voice was clipped: a brisk, official voice.

‘Yes, spea
king.’

‘This is the Government Educational Service. Your son, Richard M Jordan, Classification 600
-
115
has completed the Government examination. We regret to inform you that his intelligence quotient
is above the Government regula
tion, according to Rule 8
4 Section 5 of the New Code.’

Across the room, the woman cried out, knowing nothing except the emotion she read on her
husband’s face.

‘You may specify by telephone,’ the voice droned on, ‘whether you wish his body interred by the
Government, or would you
prefer a private burial place? The fee for Gov
ernment burial is ten
dollars.’



The Fun They Had

Isaac Asimov

Margie even wrote about it that night in her diary. On the page headed May 17, 2157, she
wrote, "Today, Tommy found a real book!"

It was a very old book. Margie's grandfather once said that when he was a little boy his
grandfather told him that there was a time when all stories were printed on paper.

They turned the pages, which were yellow and crinkly, and it was awfully funny to r
ead words that
stood still instead of moving the way they were supposed to
--
on a screen, you know. And then,
when they turned back to the page before, it had the same words on it that it had had when they
read it the first time.

"Gee," said Tommy, "what a waste. When you're through with the book, you just throw it away, I
guess. Our television screen must have had a million books on it and it's good for plenty more. I
wouldn't throw it away."

"Same with mine," said Margie. She wa
s eleven and hadn't seen as many telebooks as Tommy had.
He was thirteen. She said, "Where did you find it?"

"In my house." He pointed without looking, because he was busy reading. "In the attic." "What's it
about?" "School."

Margie was scornful. "School
? What's there to write about school? I hate school."

Margie always hated school, but now she hated it more than ever. The mechanical teacher had
been giving her test after test in geography and she had been doing worse and worse until her
mother had shak
en her head sorrowfully and sent for the County Inspector.

He was a round little man with a red face and a whole box of tools with dials and wires. He smiled
at Margie and gave her an apple, then took the teacher apart. Margie had hoped he wouldn't
know h
ow to put it together again, but he knew how all right, and, after an hour or so, there it was
again, large and black and ugly, with a big screen on which all the lessons were shown and the
questions were asked. That wasn't so bad. The part Margie hated mo
st was the slot where she had
to put homework and test papers. She always had to write them out in a punch code they made her
learn when she was six years old, and the mechanical teacher calculated the mark in no time.

The Inspector had smiled after he wa
s finished and patted Margie's head. He said to her mother,
"It's not the little girl's fault, Mrs. Jones. I think the geography sector was geared a little too quick.
Those things happen sometimes. I've slowed it up to an average ten
-
year level. Actually,
the over
-
all pattern of her progress is quite satisfactory." And he parted Margie's head again.

Margie was disappointed. She had been hoping they would take the teacher away altogether.
They had once taken Tommy's teacher away for nearly a month because t
he history sector had
blanked out completely.

So she said to Tommy, "Why would anyone write about school?"

Tommy looked at her with very superior eyes. "Because it's not our kind of school, stupid. This is the
old kind of school that they had hundreds an
d hundreds of years ago." He added loftily,
pronouncing the word carefully, "
Centuries

ago."

Margie was hurt. "Well, I don't know what kind of school they had all that time ago." She read the
book over his shoulder for a while, then said, "Anyway, they ha
d a teacher."

"Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn't a regular teacher. It was a man." "A man? How could a man
be a teacher?" "Well, he just told the boys and girls things and gave them homework and asked
them questions." "A man isn't smart enough." "Sur
e he is. My father knows as much as my teacher."
"He can't. A man can't know as much as a teacher." "He knows almost as much, I betcha."

Margie wasn't prepared to dispute that. She said, "1 wouldn't want a strange man in my house to
teach me."

Tommy scre
amed with laughter. "You don't know much, Margie. The teachers didn't live in the house.
They had a special building and all the kids went there." "And all the kids learned the same thing?"
"Sure, if they were the same age."

"But my mother says a teacher
has to be adjusted to fit the mind of each boy and girl it teaches
and that each kid has to be taught differently."

"Just the same they didn't do it that way then. If you don't like it, you don't have to read the book."

"I didn't say I didn't like it," M
argie said quickly. She wanted to read about those funny schools.

They weren't even half
-
finished when Margie's mother called, "Margie! School!" Margie looked up.
"Not yet, Mamma."

"Now!" said Mrs. Jones. "And it's probably time for Tommy, too."

Margie
said to Tommy, "Can I read the book some more with you after school?"

"Maybe," he said nonchalantly. He walked away whistling, the dusty old book tucked beneath his
arm.

Margie went into the schoolroom. It was right next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was
on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except Saturday and
Sunday, because her mother said little girls learned better if they le
arned at regular hours.

The screen was lit up, and it said: "Today's arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper fractions.
Please insert yesterday's homework in the proper slot."

Margie did so with a sigh. She was thinking about the old schools they
had when her grandfather's
grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came, laughing and
shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, going home together at the end of the
day. They learned the same things, so

they could help one another on the homework and talk about
it.

And the teachers were people...

The mechanical teacher was flashing on the screen: "When we add the fractions 1/2 and 1/4..."

Margie was thinking about how the kids must have loved it in th
e old days. She was thinking about
the fun they had.



Getting ready for the Reaping.

The space gets tighter, more claustrophobic, as people arrive. The square’s quite large, but not
enough to hold District 12’s population of about eight thousand. Latecomers are directed to the
adjacent streets, here they can watch the event on screens as i
t’s televised live by the state.

I find myself standing in a clump of sixteens from the Seam. We all exchange terse nods, then focus
our attention on the temporary stage that is set up before the Justice Building. It holds three chairs,
a podium and two la
rge glass balls, one for the boys and one for the girls. I stare at the paper
slips in the girls’ ball. Twenty of them have Katniss Everdeen written on them in careful handwriting.

Two of the three chairs fill with Madge’s father, Mayor Undersee, who’s a
tall, balding man, and
Effie Trinket, District 12’s escort, fresh from the Capitol with her scary white grin, pinkish hair and
spring green suit. They murmur to each other and then look with concern at the empty seat.

Just as the town clock strikes two, th
e mayor steps up the podium and begins to read. It’s the same
story every year. He tells the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place
that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fi
res, the
encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, the brutal was for what little sustenance
remained. The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace
and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dar
k Days, the uprising of the districts against the
Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gave us new laws
to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it
gave us the Hun
ger Games.

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve
districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes to participate. The twenty
-
four tributes
will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that co
uld hold anything from a burning desert to a
frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks the competitors must fight to the death. The last
tribute standing wins.

Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch
-

thi
s is the
Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand
of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we
take your children and sacrifice them and there’s no
thing you can do. If you lift a finger we will
destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.”




The Hunger Games Begin

Sixty seconds. That’s how long we’re required to stand on our metal circles before the sound of a
gong releases u
s. Step off before the minute is up, and landmines blow your legs off. Sixty seconds
to take in the ring of tributes all equidistant from the Cornucopia, a giant golden horn shaped like
a cone with a curved tail, the mouth of which is at least seven metres

high, spilling over with the
things that will give us life here in the arena. Food, containers of water, weapons, medicine,
garments, fire starters. Strewn around the Cornucopia are other supplies, their value decreasing the
further they are from the horn
. For instance, only a few steps from my feet lies a metre square of
plastic. Certainly it could be of some use in a downpour. But there in the mouth, I can see a tent
pack that would protect me from almost any sort of weather. If I had the guts to go in a
nd fight for
it against the other twenty
-
three tributes. Which I have been instructed not to do.

We’re on a flat open stretch of ground. A plain of hard
-
packed dirt. Behind the tributes across
from me, I can see nothing, indicating either a steep downwards

slope or even a cliff. To my right
lies a lake. To my left and back, sparse piney woods. This is where Haymitch would want me to go.
Immediately.

I hear his instructions in my head. “Just clear out, put as much distance as you can between
yourselves and t
he others, and find a source of water.”

But it’s tempting, so tempting when I see the bounty waiting there before me. And I know that if I
don’t’ get it someone else will. That the Career Tributes who survive the bloodbath will divide up
most of these life
-
sustaining spoils. There, resting on a mound of blanket rolls, is a silver sheath of
arrows and a bow, already strung, just waiting to be engaged.
That’s mine
, I think.
It’s meant for
me
.

I’m fast. I can sprint faster than any of the girls in our school,
although acouple can beat me in
distance races. But this forty
-
metre length, this is what I am built for. I know I can get it, Iknow I can
reach it first, but then the question is, how quickly can I get out of there? By the time I’ve scrambled
up the pack
s and grabbed the weapons, others will have reached the horn, and one or two I might
be able to pick off, but say there’s a dozen; at that close range they could take me down with the
spears and the clubs. Or their own powerful fists.



Life in District 11

“Oh,” says Rue with a sigh. “I’ve never had a whole leg to myself.”

I’ll bet she hasn’t. I’ll bet meat hardly ever comes her way. “Take the other,” I say.

“Really?” she asks.

“Take whatever you want. Now that I’ve got a bow and arrows, I can get more. Plu
s I’ve got
snares. I can show you how to set them,” I say. Ruse still looks uncertainly at the leg. “Oh, take it,” I
say putting the drumstick in her hands. “It will only keep a few days anyway, and we’ve got the
whole bird plus the rabbit.” Once she’s got

hold of it her appetite wins out and she takes a huge
mouthful.

“I’d have thought, in District Eleven, you’d have a bit more to eat than us. You know since you grow
the food,” I say.

Rue’s eyes widen. “Oh, no, we’re not allowed to eat the crops.”

“They ar
rest you or something?” I ask.

“They whip you and make everyone else watch,” says Rue. “The mayor’s very strict about it.”

I can tell by her expression that it’s not that uncommon an occurrence. A public whipping’s a rare
thing in District 12, although occ
asionally one occurs. Technically, Gale and I could be whipped on
a daily basis for poaching in the woods
-

well, technically, we could get a whole lot worse
-
except
all the officials buy our meat. Besides, our mayor, Madge’s father, doesn’t seem to have muc
h taste
for such events. Maybe being the least prestigious, poorest, most ridiculed district in the country has
its advantages. Such as being largely ignored by the Capitol as long as we produce our coal
quotas.

“Do you get all the coal you want?” Rue asks
.

“No,” I answer. “Just what we buy and whatever we track in on our boots.”

“They feed us a bit extra during harvest, so that people can keep going longer,” says Rue.

“Don’t you have to be in school?” I ask.

“Not during harvest. Everyone works then,” says

Rue.

It’s interesting, hearing about her life. We have so little communication with anyone outside our
district. In fact, I wonder if the Gamekeepers are blocking out our conversation, because even
though the information seems harmless, they don’t want pe
ople in different districts to kinow about
one another.