Short-listed Entry: Fiction Category
Gene paced his room. Nothing on the damn vids. No one available. What do I do? He threw down the neural jack in disgust. Snookie was fun to watch when she was twenty, but hell, she’s eighty-eight now and it’s just not cute anymore.
He walked to the kitchen to get a snack tube. An ad floated on the nutrition closet in front of him.
“The NEW Library of Congress. Every book ever printed available for neural download. It’s free, it’s old school, and it’s unique. Try it today. This announcement was made possible by a grant from the Steven King Foundation.”
Books? Damn, I haven’t downloaded one of those since grammar school. Hmmm. It would be different. What the hell.
Gene tossed the empty tube in the recycler and headed back to the bedroom. Damn. He almost tripped over the floor scrubber as it passed without apology between his feet. It headed straight toward the neural jack he had thrown on the floor earlier. Shoot, he thought, as he dove to grab it just before it was cleaned into oblivion.
Plugging in, he waited while it booted up. Finally the iBrain store logo appeared in his mind. Hmmm. Porn? No. Games? No. Interactive Murder? Hell no. Where the hell are Books? Link, search Library of Congress.
Searching… Library of Congress is on tertiary core servers. 4-D not available. All data will be presented in 2-D. Think OK if you wish to continue.
After what seemed like at least a whole minute, words appeared in front of him. “Catagories: Book, magazine, video game…”
Okay, I can do this… Let’s try book. Era? First decade, 2000.
Change We Can Believe In by Barak Obama? No. Wait, what’s that? Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? That sounds intriguing. Download.
Internal error425e Shadows of the Wind is only available in paper form. Not available for download.
Paper? What is paper?
Please think OK if you would like the paper form synthesized in your retrieval bin.
After a short hum, Shadows of the Wind appeared in all of its 3-D glory in front of him. Gene picked it up, looking at it couriously. WTF? What is this? And what’re all these markings inside? Book, schmook, this is just a paperweight.
Without a second thought, he tossed it into the recycler and thought, Link, retrieve World of Warcraft 716…