Ladies and Gentlemen, we are so excited to see the total dollar amount raised go up over the weekend. With 11 days to go, we need just $2370 more pledges! Dig down and dig deep and consider, if you have donated, evaluating if you don’t want to increase your pledge to a higher level for more awesome rewards!
I thought I’d talk a little bit about what got us thinking about this specific topic for an anthology. You see, my car was broken into. I’ve had cars broken into before. When I was in my twenties, I left an old briefcase with handouts from a sales meeting in the backseat of my car, once, without thinking about it. Someone broke the window and stole the briefcase, and I hope they found the corporate sales information very useful. In college, I had a car actually stolen, once, and they ripped out the CD player with the CDs and wrecked the little Dodge Neon the night before I was going to move out of the dorm room at the end of my senior year of college. These crimes make perfect sense. Someone stole a briefcase that was left sitting out, smashing a window to get it. Someone stole the car, itself, ripped out the stereo system and left the vehicle a wreck by the side of the road after presumably a night of debauchery and disillusionment. In both cases, no one was caught. A report was filed, and insurance was used to cover the losses. Part of living in the urban environment is a knowledge that there is crime and criminals floating in the ecosystem like jellyfish, who just float and float and spread their filament out into the water for opportunities to crime. Okay, but the crime is recognizable and easy to understand. There is a thing. It is taken. It’s usefulness and value is clear.
Just this year, a crew came through and broke into every car on our block that didn’t have a modern alarm system. They just took and took, one car at a time, taking everything they could that wasn’t nailed down, while leaving the cars, themselves. They even took the owners manuals from the glove compartments. When the police came, and the insurance adjusters were involved, they explained what the crew was likely doing: The owners manuals were their target, and everything else was bonus. They’re going to sell everything on-line, you see. They were going to sell the owners manuals on eBay or some equivalent and that was their moneymaker. Everything else they took could be tossed in the trash or sold if it had value on-line. It made sense, in a way, but also it doesn’t. This is an organized crew with enough wherewithal to both run an organized crime spree and manage an on-line store, with customer reviews and fulfillment obligations and proper packaging. They aren’t just stealing a bunch of things and selling them. They are running the store from which these stolen goods are sold, directly, through the major vending sites that operate massive public marketplaces on-line. One would think folks capable of operating at this level of organization and sophistication would not need to rely on illegal activities, but here we are. I bought flowers through a major on-line flower retailer, and the card information was stolen, and the vendor that was rung up on the card managed to be both a legitimate organization with tax obligations and state registration, while also appearing wholly illegitimate and shady. Criminals have more tools than ever before to build a business for themselves in whatever criminal manner they choose, while also using sites like LegalZoom to construct the artifice of a shell corporation with a few clicks of a button.
Crime is getting strange. Imagine trying to explain the Mt Gox hack to Agents Mulder and Scully in the 1990s. Cryptocurrency is one of the largest tools of the shadow economy, currently in the edge of the legitimate banking sector, and it doesn’t make sense even to most of the people currently “investing” in cryptocurrency. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened when I was living in Houston, and the largest energy company and largest employer turned out to be a giant criminal enterprise and chewed the 3rd largest city in America down to the bones. These men with fancy degrees and the best technology and resources were running a giant con, and it is amazing that society let them for so long, and stuff just like Enron keeps happening over and over. I’m not even going to get political, here, but I could. Russian hackers used social media ad buys to insert their agenda into the news ecosystem of microtargeted voters’ free picture-sharing and status update microblog site newsfeeds to actively suppress and distort the will of the people. If I try to explain the details of that to myself back in the 90s, I don’t know if I’d really understand that, or if I’d just pretend to to preserve my ego while stumbling blindly into the wall of crimes and more crimes and weirder and weirder futuristic crimes!
Science fiction is the tool where the brightest minds and the people inspired by the cutting edge of science and technology and culture put on their thinking caps and invent the way humans will interact with the tools and problems on the edge of tomorrow. When we think about the possibility of technology, and all the human potential it unlocks, it also empowers those aspects of ourselves and our societies that are not well-intentioned. And, it is the intersection of technology and human conflict that forms the bedrock of both modern criminality, modern law enforcement, and modern science fiction! We invent the future by imagining it, grabbing the tools, imagining what is possible with the tools, and imagining the next tools to come.
We’re so close to our goal, and I know it’s been a long month, but we need ONE MORE PUSH to get that last couple thousand dollars in backer energy. Please, post on message boards, share on Facebook, and do everything you can to bring as many backers as you can.
Remember, to back the anthology is to pre-order the anthology! This is just a fancy and futuristic tool to ensure that we are able to pay our amazing slate of authors for the work they’re going to do before we plunge too deep down the submissions inbox! Pre-ordering your copy, and choosing a level of support that works for you, helps ensure that our new publishing venture starts strong and can have that solid foundation from which to build a much, much bigger, cooler future! We don’t want to just do kickstarter anthologies, after all. This is just the beginning. Join us and build a future!