169: For the Green Fields of Aldamar

For the Green Fields of Aldamar

"'The problem with games these days ...' Skazz began, striking a theatrical pose.
Dave smiled, and wondered just how many of his friends were in Aldamar right now, wishing he could join them. 'What is the problem with games these days, Skazz?'

"'The problem with games these days is that they're too social,' Skazz said, and sat down.
'Too social?' Dave scratched his head and stared down at his cafeteria french fries.
'Yes,' Skazz said, tenting his hands. 'Far too social.'
Dave smiled. 'Why's that a bad thing?'"

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Hello all,

For those who are interested, this short story was inspired by a poem by William Blake called "The Chimney Sweeper," which can be found at http://www.online-literature.com/blake/628/

Best regards,

Robert B. Marks

A very good read and I'm glad I took the time to go through all four pages :)

Kudos and keep up the good work.

Explain to me why the girl is such a sexfreak?
"I gave up a night of sex in the harem sim for this?"

I mean why?
And trying to justify it with the boy admitting that he'll search through her body the following day isn't enough.

I found myself offended over this text.
But I award it's point that it managed to achive peace somewhat.

I found myself offended over this text.

One girl is not all women. The guy's lecherous too, but that doesn't mean it was being implied that all men are. Come on, seriously?

I actually really enjoyed reading this; very Orwellian, and I like that.

Indeed not.
But the only girl is put into the position of harem sex simulation as well as being passive and defenseless. Of course, that's pretty much nitpicking. But the sexstuff I found was a bit too "whooohow" so to say.

Haven't Resident Evil and Metroid taught us anything? ;p

I actually really enjoyed reading this; very Orwellian, and I like that.

Completely agree, keep up the good work.

But the only girl is put into the position of harem sex simulation as well as being passive and defenseless.

All of the characters were defenceless, not just the female. I think you are reading too much into it.

There was something "brave new world" ish about this. I couldn't make it past page three.

hmm, interesting story

There was something "brave new world" ish about this.

You've got a point. Video games as soma, who'd a thunk it?

Very entertaining read Marks. You'd kinda stunned me in the first page, but after that, when I understood this was a work of fiction (hey, all the articles I've read on The Escapist has been non-fiction), it was very enjoyable. Thanks for the great read.

Well, I'm really glad that everybody seems to be enjoying this. It's also really cool to be compared to Huxley and Orwell. :-)

There is another really good story on here that seems to be slipping under the radar, and that's "But a Walking Shadow," by Mark Yohalem. So, if you enjoyed my story, I'd really suggest taking a look at his: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_169/5303-But-a-Walking-Shadow

(And please do leave a comment for him - I don't know if he's reading the comments or not, but even if we don't write comments in these sections for our stories, many of us writers do read them, and we do tend to want to know what people think of our work.)

Best to all,

Robert Marks

Hmmm... a really interesting piece of fiction. Video games to keep us all pacified, certainly an interesting concept.

A little too on subject methinks.

Digital Ritalin? Wow, that's new... *shrug*
Games are doing this right now. Maybe not with subliminal messages, but they do pacify a large number of players into being "good citizens". Hell, playing 10-12 hours of WoW a day would pacify a rhino.

The government doesn't need over-elaborate and complicated means of population control when they have this simple stuff right here: the second generation of "gamers" are growing up right now, damn tightly addicted to games. The only way to piss them off is to take away their consoles or PCs, see? They want to be addicted! The want to sit in front of the screen and be "good citizens". There is no need for any sublime messages or drugs or whatever. This is a generation who willingly goes under.

Found this enjoyable, and just another reason why I want to have games where I play by myself.

Explain to me why the girl is such a sexfreak?

Because maybe the girl likes sex. I hear that happens occasionally. Maybe the "harem sim" is really good. Or maybe the author thought it would be hot. Who knows.

Although, it wasn't really cleared up as to what the games entail. Are they VR deals, or just ordinary MMOs? Why does everyone think "OMG VIRUS" when the kid's computer crashes? How did a seventeen-year-old boy write a program that beats the government? If a seventeen-year-old kid can find the signals and write an appropriate program to counteract it, why hasn't the whole system been brought down already by actual hackers that know what they're doing?

I dunno. I can't say I really enjoyed this. Maybe it was the word limit, but it felt rushed.

Great story, a little too short but still gets the point across. About the sex thing, there are two reasons they could be like that: the culture (200 years ago, sex was pretty damn taboo, quite a bit less these days) or because of the games conditioning which conditions them to think sex is something you should do very frequently. And it IS just a story, no matter how good. If they were real people, I'd tell them to play some good old Doom 3 :D

I must admit, I was initially loathe to comment on this piece. On the surface, it appears to have plot devoid of device, characters devoid of development, and writing devoid of wit. Then I scrutinized the author's credentials.

This story is a brilliant allegory to barely repressed homosexuality -- repression undoubtedly required in the homophobic environment of a military college. "Dave" clearly is under the oppressive thumb of those viewing his sexuality adversely, requiring him to resort to increasingly desperate measures to force heterosexuality upon himself. The "harem sim" is a thinly veiled metaphor of hetero-erotic pursuits to restrain "Dave's" burgeoning desires which eventually force him to kiss a woman: a disgusting pursuit indeed. "Dave" is so mortified by his own homosexuality he even has sex with this woman at a socially prescribed and acceptable point, the infamous third date.

The government men clearly represent "Dave's" conflicting inner drives; they appear as his homosexuality is nearly crushed yet the dangers of rebellion lurk. Skazz, who has known all along of these present and pervasive desires, offers a chance for Dave to return to his escapist ways all the while retaining some connection to his true sexuality. This can't be accepted as Dave understands he can only be homosexual or heterosexual; in this life, there can only be one sexuality, not merely a projection of conformity through personae. The clumsily worded "expensive headsets" further lend to this allegory; they represent the clumsy, awkaward, and prohibitive mind-controlling devices social control place on our heads every day.

Despite the sombre mood and dark message of personal defeat of the story, the author still manages to use some very clever imagery to lighten the mood. Cave at the end of the valley indeed! Perhaps there is still hope behind "Dave's" deadened & carefully monitored eyes.

For those who are interested, I have just posted the "Director's Cut" of this story on my Livejournal at http://garwulf.livejournal.com/36752.html

I hope everybody enjoys it!

Best regards to all,

Robert Marks


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