Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: Clocking out

This week, Futures is delighted to welcome back Preston Grassmann, with his latest story Clocking out. Regular readers will remember Preston’s earlier stories, which have collectively taken us to the Cathedral of time, the vermilion marketVenice, Version 9.0 and shown us broken maps of the sea. By day, Preston is a contributing editor for Locus Magazine, and you can keep up with him by following him on Twitter. Here, he reveals the inspiration behind his latest tale — as ever it pays to read the story first.

Writing Clocking out

There is a growing number of Futurists, as opposed to Singularitarians (an actual movement defined by its belief in the high probability of super-intelligence and the benefits obtained by it), who believe that extreme mental enhancements will be fraught with social and existential risks.  

Clocking out started with that basic premise in mind and the image of a company town (called fast-towns) divided into eight levels of overclocking. The zones are designed to acclimatize the individual to increasing levels of mental enhancement. Within each fast-town, there are time-zone shifts, where clock-speed moves in relation to mental overclocking (degrees of change) and subjective perception. This is a story about one possible consequence of such a world.  

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