America City by Chris Beckett


America City by Chris Beckett

Author:Chris Beckett [Beckett, Chris]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Published: 2017-11-02T00:00:00+00:00


And, in spite of public pronouncements about the ‘fine people of the south’, Montello’s team was also putting out insinuations about the refugees from the southern half of the country. Storm trash were feckless, lazy and potential rapists. Dusties were incompetent peasants who blamed their bankruptcies on the weather and then asked the taxpayer to clear their debts.

None of these were officially part of Montello’s message, and if she was asked a direct question about them she would of course have shrugged them off as nonsense. But Montello’s people ensured all the same that a steady stream of these stories were poured out day and night by thousands of high-quality feeders – so-called ‘seasoned’ feeders – which had been participating in whisper-stream conversations over a period of months or years, and were assumed by those who interacted with them to be real human beings like themselves.

A well-constructed feeder came over as a friend of a friend, that was the idea, someone that you felt you were connected with in some way but had forgotten exactly how. Holly’s profession had been using armies of feeders for several decades to manufacture a consensus by creating the illusion that a consensus already existed. Montello’s people were using them now to provide a kind of compost in which Montello’s attributable utterances about tighter border controls and punishments for illegal immigrants could put down roots and grow. It didn’t matter that there was no factual basis for what they said. Shit is the best fertilizer, as people said in the industry.

Immersed in and surrounded by three-dimensional graphics, Holly watched the stories flickering back and forth across the surface of the whisperstream. Of course, it wasn’t really a stream at all. It only seemed that way to the individual subscriber. If you wanted a watery metaphor an ocean would be more accurate, an ocean with tides, waves, dark abysses, sunny shallows and currents that streamed in different directions at different depths. But ocean didn’t really capture it either, because the whisperstream in its entirety was constantly transforming itself. It was not inanimate matter but a web of life, a vast chattering matrix of living souls, Holly’s cave of bats, with ripples of fear and excitement moving back and forth through a packed mass of warm agitated bodies.

No analogy was really adequate, though. It was a dreaming brain. It was the boiling surface of the sun. It was a sewer. It was bacteria dividing, second by second, on a sheet of agar jelly. In front of Holly’s eyes the stories about floods of Mexicans and lazy storm trash and feckless dusties multiplied and mutated many thousands of times in every second. And right there among these endlessly branching lines, she could see the ‘crackpot’ bacillus, often accompanied by that unflattering image of Slaymaker at Ambassador Bridge, reproducing itself with great vigor:

Apparently, his original idea was to send folk down to Mexico...

Word is that Slaymaker consults an astrologer before every decision...

The news hubs are covering up for him



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