This week’s Futures story is ‘Dumpster diving’ by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro. Alvaro is co-author with Robert Silverberg of When the Blue Shift Comes, and first appeared in Futures with ‘Coffee in end times’, which he co-wrote with Alex Shvartsman. His Futures story ‘Waste knot, want knot’ appeared earlier this year in Nature Physics. You can read more about Alvaro’s work at his website. Here he kindly takes us behind the scenes of this week’s Futures story:
The story behind the story
‘Dumpster diving’ is my attempt to come up with a new twist on an old theme, that of the Sleeper Awakes (the SF Encyclopedia says interesting things about it). Part of the fun for the reader with these stories, I think, is to realize that what may initially seem a utopia is quite the contrary, and this was a reversal I wanted to incorporate. I also remembered the clever and disturbing conceit of Will McIntosh’s Hugo-winning story ‘Bridesicle’ (2009), and thought it might be fun to push my protagonist’s fate into even darker territory. I’d been reading some short shorts (flash stories, in today’s lingo) by Fredric Brown, a master of the form, and that reading inspired the shape of my story. I have the feeling that if Brown were alive today he’d be featured regularly in the pages of Nature, and I’m pleased to work in a tradition he helped to define and perfect some 70 years ago.