Inspired by Ready Player One’s critical acclaim and the unstoppable rise of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, I’m writing my own dystopian young adult novel about teen rebels who stick it to The Man using the power of the blockchain. While I’m still working on it, publishers and movie producers have already shown great interest. So allow me to treat you, reader dear, to some samples and worldbuilding notes from 1/1, the first drop of the Non-Fungible Future saga.
Let’s jump in (or jack in, as we say) with the opening of the first chapter of 1/1:
The sky above the port was the colour of YouTube, tuned to a dead channel. 5arah.eth flicked off her augmented reality video overlay and cursed. Damn, the Web 2.0 centralisers had finally cracked down on Elizab.eth, her favourite content creator. Unless… still kicking her legs over edge of the long-dry dock, 5arah jacked back in and dove into the deep web. The datastreams felt cool around the fingers of her dataglove. Is this how rivers had felt, she wondered, or is this pleasant sensation the original content of a haptics Jedi ninja master? This thought was interrupted as her fingertips brushed against the packet she’d been searching for. 5arah grubbed for purchase in the dark depths of the web and heaved with all her bandwidth, raising to the surface the unmistakable neon blue links of a blockchain. Heh. Centralised media might kill Liz’s channels and bury her discoverability but they can’t censor her spirit and they sure as $SHIB can’t break the ‘chain.
Noting the DAO’s buy-in cost, 5arah flipped open her crypto wallet and executed the blockchain authentication gesture tied to her biometrics: pointing a fingergun upwards under her chin as if to splatter her engrams across the infobahn, and pulling the trigger. Transfer complete. She hadn’t just bought access to the private server, she’d bought enough votes to make Elizab.eth cosplay as a totally cringe meme during the next stream. 5arah.eth spat out her gum (Hot Takes flavour, always), cleared her throat, and joined the voice channel.
“Guess who’s back, motherfungers.”
Whew! Lot to take in, isn’t it? Let’s step back and you can catch your breath while I introduce you a little more to the compelling world I have created.
It is the year 2069 and sure, we have faster computers and internet connections, but it’s not all good. The world is ruled by megacorps, omniscient and omnipotent authorities grown from Web 2.0 companies like Google and Meta. 45 years ago ago, they fended off a coup from blockchain revolutionaries by pretending to embrace cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the blockchain, but it’s a sham. The current state of NFTs is mere trinkets and baubles tethered to centralised corpo platforms, a feint to cling to power. Since then, they’ve only grown harsher.
Everyone now lives in dense megacities which look like Blade Runner or Cyberpunk 2077. To fuel an industry of carbon offsets for crypto mining, corpos bought up countryside, villages, towns, and even small cities for aggressive reforestation, diverting rivers and draining seas to irrigate these vast carbon sinks. History presents this ‘rewilding’ as attaining utopia. When the Web 2.0 corps repartitioned the globe, they renamed their territories after Geocities districts and neighborhoods (how out-of-touch can you get?!). These cities look really cool and they were once really cool, because most landlords were Bitcoin early adopters so they fitted apartments with slides and ball pits. But the landlords grew greedy and lazy just like the Web 2.0 corps, rejecting innovation, turning their backs on the blockchain, and trading in—spit—cash.
Will no one stand for the future’s future? A new cryptorebel movement is forming, though even its leaders don’t yet know they’ll lead it. SunsetStrip is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.
To enrich my bold and unique world, I’m creating a lexis of slang our young heroes will use. It’s fresh yet rooted in rich crypto culture. Here are a few of the words you’ll hear on the streets of 2069:
alt-F4 – go away, or shut up. “Why don’t you Alt-F4?”
ape – any hot NFT, not just an Ape.
apeless – uncool. No apes? No thanks!
drop – news/happening. “What’s the drop?”
funge – a flavourful, PG-rated, and trademarkable alternative to the ‘F’ swearing word. If non-fungible is good, fungible is bad. So “funge you”, “funge off”, “get funged” etc.
gassed – excited, ready to go. From crypto transfer fees.
hedgie – jerk. From hedge funds, the villains who tried to pulp GameStop. “Go funge yourself, you apeless hedgie.”
metaverse – any online space controlled by Web 2.0 corpos. Derisive.
mint – cool. From both mint and minting an NFT. What’s cooler than minting a new NFT?
NFTeen – a young crypto rebel who doubtless owns an ape or two.
nifty – any NFT. No mint person calls nifties NFTs, that’s total hedgie talk.
$SHIB – a mint and family-friendly alternative to the ‘S’ swearing word. From the Shiba Inu cryptocurrency’s ticker code.
to the moon – a declaration and affirmation: hell yeah!
Now you know more of what’s going on, let’s jump to the end of the book for a tanalising appearance from a crypto celebrity, Elon Musk. While many supposedly mint NFTeens in 2069 think he’s a daggy tryhard, our hero knows he’s a champ—and will be proven right.
Elon pressed his dataglove fingertips together in his iconic blockchain authentication gesture. Diamond hands, so mint! 5arah gasped as the packet hit her crypto wallet: the digital keys to his custom Tesla Model Z.
“What’s this for?!”
“Company car. You start Sunday.”
“In your dreams!” 5arah shot back, surprising even herself.
Elon laughed and straightened the collar of his leather cassock as he turned to walk away.
“Keep the car,” he said. “Offer’s always open. Besides, after the message you sent those hedgie corps today, I have a feeling you might need some fast wheels with industry-leading mileage.”
You’ll have to wait for the finished book to learn how Elon Musk got ensnared in this little conspiracy! And while I won’t give away the conclusion of the plot, I do want to share the closing lines. I think they’re a powerful message (and a strong sequel lead-in, hint hint):
That’s what you don’t understand. That’s what you’ve never understood, and never will. This isn’t your future. This is my future, and I have the blockchain to prove it.
Pow. There it is. That’s what it’s all about.
While I still need to finish writing the book, I’m already courting publishers as well as Hollywood producers. I’m certain my Non-Fungible Future has a bright future. Some prospective producers are even telling me they think Elon Musk would be up for playing himself in a silver screen adaptation!
Anyway, there you go. I’ve laid bare to you my heart and my mind. I hope you’re all ready for more. Let me tell you: you ain’t ready, hedgies.
Read More: I’m writing a young adult novel about NFTs