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I’ve just started podcasting a new story, a novella-in-progress called “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life.” It’s a long, weird adventure story about the failure of futurism and the difference between “progress” and “change,” all about immortal children stalking the bones of ruined cities in lethal mechas. Disney fans will recognize the title as coming from the amazing, weird, awful and wonderful Carousel of Progress ride that Disney built for GE at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC, and subsequently moved to Disneyland, then Walt Disney World.

I’m presently about 18,000 words into this — final length is probably somewhere north of 30,000 words — and I’m planning on reading about 30 minutes’ worth of audio every week.

I piloted the mecha through the streets of Detroit, hunting wumpuses. The mecha was a relic of the Mecha Wars, when the nation tore itself to shreds with lethal robots, and it had the weird, swirling lines of all evolutionary tech, channelled and chopped and counterweighted like some freak dinosaur or a racecar.

I loved the mecha. It wasn’t fast, but it had a fantastic ride, a kind of wobbly strut that was surprisingly comfortable and let me keep the big fore and aft guns on any target I chose, the sights gliding along on a perfect level even as the neck rocked from side to side.

The pack loved the mecha too. All six of them, three aerial bots shaped like bats, two ground-cover streaks that nipped around my heels, and a flea that bounded over buildings, bouncing off the walls and leaping from monorail track to rusting hover-bus to balcony and back. The pack’s brains were back in dad’s house, in the old Comerica Park site. When I found them, they’d been a pack of sick dogs, dragging themselves through the ruined city, poisoned by some old materiel. I had done them the mercy of extracting their brains and connecting them up to the house network. Now they were immortal, just like me, and they knew that I was their alpha dog. They loved to go for walks with me.

MP3 Link

8 Responses to “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life, Part 01”

  1. Overwatch

    Great story thus far. (file works fine by the way). Transhumans, mecha combat, post-canines and a dystopian/utopian detroit urban blight preserve.

    Applause and accolades from a bunch of us in D-Town! Can’t wait for part 2!

  2. Brian

    Great so far, Cory. But I gotta nitpick on one (minor) point.

    (19:31) … mecha recoiled as the rocket screamed away from the frame on my mecha’s chest.

    I’m having a hard time picturing a rocket imparting recoil on the mecha.

    The rockets I’m familiar with from the Marines are recoiless – the blast goes out the back end of the open tube, rocket goes forward. Nice and tidy.

    If you’ve got the rockets mounted in a frame, facing forward, to get recoil there must not be an opening to the rear. Fine. Except with recoil comes a certain amount of blast and heat from the rocket. This might not be a good thing in that this would kick your firing platform around, scorch the finish, damage the launcher and the platform.

    Okay, fine, mount it sideways so the rocket zips left or right. I can see a trans-human augmented with a mecha’s bob (brains on board) being able to handle the visual disorientation. No blast effect and subsequent damage to the platform but … also no recoil.

    You could posit a small sustainer charge that kicks the rocket loose from the frame and lobs it out a few meters – the sustainer breaks free, POW the rocket motor kicks in, and ZIP she goes downrange, with the mecha (just barely) out of range of the back blast. I can even imagine this is what you meant – and I might just so I can get past this and get on with my life. I can even imagine you failed to get into that depth of detail so as to avoid the whole passage sounding like an early Tom Clancy novel.

    Wow – being a nitpicker sure does take up a lot of time, if you let it.

  3. J. D. Harper

    Hey there. Loving the story, but I do have one question that I’m hoping is addressed at some point in the story: Who attacked Detroit and why?

    Again, awesome story so far. Thanks for releasing it for free!

  4. chad

    these links rarely work for me too. while NPR and Escapepod always work. don’t test from firefox. smart browser != dumb podcatcher.

    using nokia n73, fwiw. willing to test.

  5. çesme otel

    Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com >> Blog Archive » There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life, Part 01perfect and great article thank you

  6. çeşme otel

    Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com >> Blog Archive » There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life, Part 01 great article thank you.

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