Categories: Dystopian, CyberPunk, Mature Content
A few notes about this anthology: I began writing the short stories for Industrial somewhere around 1998 when I was living in New England. I had just purchased my bajema.com domain in a time where –believe it or not– having your own domain for yourself or even a business wasn’t common yet. There was a whole wave of new technology that was slowing starting to flood the market, but at the time cell phones were still funky little half functional contraptions for those who actually had them. It was a strange place where a person could finally start seeing some of the things previously only read about in our cyberpunk or dystopian novels. So at that time some of the stuff I was writing about was still considered something for the future. Reading them today? A scary amount of things have come to pass. I guess it sometimes feels like the writers of the world not only paint a picture of a thing, they sometimes help bring the thing into reality by influencing those who can do such a thing. That’s a lot of things for one sentence. :p
The shorts were at first writing exercises for me. I had just finished reading 1984 for the countless time and I was in the middle of a long distance relationship via the aetherweb. It was still a time where people thought you were crazy for doing such a thing. It was a terribly weird sensation to me to get to know someone so intimately through text and phone calls without the ability to touch them. There was something very terrifying and romantic about the moments that led up to the first physical meeting. Aside from this my frame of mind was in a dark place after having just lost my step-mom unexpectedly. I was watching my father try to cope with that loss and he was not winning the battle. It made me think of relationships and such simple things like the privilege of touching your lover’s hand. How the world was starting to just speed into the future and the governing parties helping it along were getting scarier. Cam girls were becoming a thing. Basically my head was becoming a blender for all the things I had read over the years and what I was experiencing and Industrial was the end product. After fleshing out that world I decided I wanted to see a proper story pulled from it with starts and ends to the characters I brought into it.
Industrial is six short stories that aren’t told in a completely linear fashion. Each story as interweaving characters. The general theme of the anthology is dystopian with a few nods to cyberpunk. The intimate relationships between certain characters are not censored for content so I would recommend this being considered and 18+ anthology to some degree. There is no adult content featured in the samples below though so I feel no need to throw up age warnings or bar the content from anyone. The first five samples are snippets of the story taken from random points meant more to peek your curiosity to read the whole story. The sixth story is a complete story. Because the snippets are random and the last story is offered in full I would say there is a small spoiler warning. Honestly the different stories could be read in any order and what seems like the end of a story for a character really isn’t.
This is one of my favorite projects. My first brief run of the book did very well and I’m looking forward to the next printing and getting it formatted for ebooks.
— Industrial: Decoded
“Then the world outside of me shakes with the vibrations of metal pushed to extremes as a bomb ends its existence with a whisper of death. The apartment comes alive and so do I to the simple reality that my second skin no longer lives. At least he no longer lives in a way I could know him. The morning and its petty realities catch up to me and reluctantly I opened my eyes to receive it.” Read More
— Industrial: Static: Red
“His skin jumped. Even without the electric present of Beggards in the room, his essence was still there. His sweat was fresh and living within the creases of his leather chair. His fingerprints on every surface. The smell of his oily cologne made the air thick and poisoned. There would never be any form of cleaning to rid this room of the creepy nature of its owner. Perhaps fire. A washing of fire and acid might strip the surfaces, but could they remove the haunting spirit of the man even then? He would never know.” Read More
— Industrial: Quiet Machinery
“If I could a the place where the machines ran softly, I think I would pitch my tent and proclaim it my own. I’d spread my bed out over the ground and call it a home. In this place the sun would burn violet and the raindrops would run indigo. Pain wouldn’t live here. The clubs would never close. Anyone willing to say hello could be a friend. No one would ever know the hollow of lose or the stab of mistrust. In this place where the machines ran softly.” Read More
— Industrial: Automatic Flowers
“He looked over at the photo a moment. His wife’s beautiful dark eyes looked back at him, taunting him from that distant place she’d left him for. In the corner of her framed image was a smaller image. It was the only real photo he had of Saravoe —she’d sent it to him in a regular mail letter once. She looked young, perhaps in her late teens in the photo. Her eyes were also dark. They found him as well, but didn’t seem to carry the crippling weight the stare his wife’s captured eyes did.” Read More
— Industrial: Static: Blue
“I walked along side of her, slipping my arm around her waist. I hadn’t realized how badly I missed the simple sensation of touching another person. Her warmth, her comfort, it seeped from her into me and for the first time in many months I found my eyes welling up with tears. There were a lot of things I wanted to be rid of which I had kept tightly held within myself so I didn’t give my grief and fears away. They were coming out now. She held me a little tighter as the tears came. For a moment I was allowed to be a sad twelve year old girl again.” Read More
— Industrial: Do They Gather Quietly?
“The woman stood in a Masta bar, sipping the house specialty flaming Caegar wine, best tasted when still hot from a flame. Rumor had it the wine was made from the piss of a species of red winged black birds. Whether this was true or more urban legend, piss and vinegar most often tasted the same as wine and beer. It was all in how the nauseous concoction was presented. A flaming Caegar wine was presented with such flair it could have been goat piss for all the customer cared. Such trivialities were meant for the uninitiated, those not jaded. And the woman Ev? She was as jaded as the definition allowed for. She enjoyed the wonderful dreamy sensation of intoxication this particular drink caused. It went beyond being punch drunk or high. It made her body warm, it melted her within her skin.” Read Full Story
Industrial is Copyright 2002 Bethalynne Bajema. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of this content is prohibited without written permission from the author.