New Story! By Me! "Dead Merchandise," At Kaleidotrope!

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 15.678% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I was talking to Ted Chiang at World Fantasy, and we were discussing The Singularity – or, as I call it, the Nerd Rapture.
If you’re not familiar with The Singularity, it’s the point where computers become ZOMG SO POWERFUL that it ushers us into a new paradise, where super-powerful AIs will tend to our every whim.  Ted was skeptical of The Singularity, as was I, and I said, “When the Singularity comes, it’s going to be a fucking madhouse of advertisement-bots enslaving us to their whim.  Mark my words.  I even wrote a story about that.”
I felt a little bad about mentioning my story in front of Ted fucking Chiang, master of the sci-fi form – but I also thought it was a good story, and thankfully Kaleidotrope agreed.  So today, you can wander into the world of struggling Sheryl Winstead, as she fights for her sanity:

The ad-faeries danced around Sheryl, flickering cartoon holograms with fluoride-white smiles. They told her the gasoline that sloshed in the red plastic canister she held was high-octane, perfect for any vehicle, did she want to go for a drive?
She did not. That gasoline was for burning. Sheryl patted her pockets to make sure the matches were still there and kept moving forward, blinking away the videostreams. Her legs ached.
She squinted past a flurry of hair-coloring ads (“Sheryl, wash your gray away today!”), scanning the neon roads to find the breast-shaped marble dome of River Edge’s central collation unit. River’s Edge had been a sleepy Midwestern town when she was a girl, a place just big enough for a diner and a department store. Now River’s Edge had been given a mall-over like every other town — every wall lit up with billboards, colorful buildings topped with projectors to burn logos into the clouds. She was grateful for the dark patches that marked where garish shop-fronts had been bombed into ash-streaked metal tangles.
The smoke gave her hope. Others were trying to bring it all down — and if they were succeeding, maybe no one was left to stop her.

I also note that my critique-mate Mary Turzillo has a story in the same issue, “Someone Is Eating America’s Chess Masters,” which I intend to devour at lunch.

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