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RATE ME RED

If this goes on…

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Jan 18, 2010: In the future, technology does everything for us, and human society devolves into vapid hedonism. Yup, I’ve read Brave New World, you say. Well here’s a little update to that scenario, based on a wee extrapolation of the social media, reality TV, and consumer society of today.

Imagine if how your ten thousand online "friends" rate your latest vid determined your socioeconomic status in society! Unless you want to be a Rejectionist, but they’re so earnest and boring. And everything from cities to household appliances, not to mention your friends, have corporate sponsors and are constantly advertising something. Your purpose in life is to be a good consumer and rise in the colour ratings, or at least, don’t be “unvidworthy” and get rated down, or you might lose everything.

This story is very clever! It never takes itself too seriously or preaches, yet personally I felt the sinister under the sunny chirpiness. But like the crowd pleasing upbeat entertainment that it is all about, the story keeps it light even as apocalypse looms. The main character is an unlikely hero, not the perfect player like his girlfriend, but not cut out to be a rebel either, and I found the way it all ended totally fitting.

My one quibble with the logic of the story is the idea of everyone being the star of their own reality show (or several shows) followed by thousands – but all these audience members are presumably doing the same thing while following thousands of other “stars” in order to keep up that ratio. True, the people don’t have much else to do, as most human jobs are only token, but I still had problems twisting that around in my mind and making it work out.

Overall, this story is witty, cute, and original, and will have you groaning at some “so bad they’re good” puns. A tale for our times. Now please say you like this review so I can increase my WFG helpfullness rating; it’s been looking rather blue lately 😉

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