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It isn't Science Fiction

Author: John Tinney
Year: Future

As a kid, I was too young to know we were skint or that in my late-twenties, I’d have the credit score of Tom Joad’s ghost. I was naïve enough to dream, but the future I fantasised about is still science fiction. There are no mass-produced jetpacks, no hover cars and no trips to Mars. And while I’m not disputing the artistic merit of an astounding achievement, it really should’ve been 3001: A Space Odyssey. Maybe then I wouldn’t yearn for outer space while a stable genius tells me to inject myself with bleach.

What isn’t science fiction is dreaming about rewarding people with more than applause. Key workers deserve better pay and conditions, and if they don’t give us what we deserve, we should be able to strike and not battle a system that’s more rigged than a game of chess with Death. Try paying your bills with claps and see what happens.

I shouldn’t be required to use my imagination to think about eliminating the need for food banks. The ubiquity of food banks and poverty is a stain on any society that doesn’t want to turn The Hunger Games into a prophecy. I want a future without leaders who think of us as a herd and would have to claw their way up for miles just to glimpse rock bottom. It’s about time those leaders learned how to follow.

I hope poverty wages, disease and injecting bleach are consigned to history along with Scotland not qualifying for football tournaments. I hope to own a silent washing machine, levitating TV remotes and benefit from the creation of an instant hangover cure. I hope the distance between us narrows soon unless you’ve been eating cauliflower and broccoli soup and are about to fart. I hope to visit Florence, New York, Egypt, the Taj Mahal, Mars and travel through time. I hope to zip to work in my jetpack, but I’ll swap it for mutual support and respect for the environment without the need for a catastrophe.

When the world leaps on me for a co-carry, I picture myself with a cold beer on route to Saturn and remember the future isn’t an already scripted, unalterable disaster movie. We shouldn’t have to stretch our minds to imagine better for this beautiful place we’re renting, and the time to start putting it into action has already passed. The future should be for those who dream about fairness, cleaner air and an all-inclusive trip to Mars.