Beneath the Wheeling Metal Stars of Night

This is one of the darkest and most grim stories I've ever written. It owes something to George Orwell's 1984, and something to Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. Orwell once said, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever." Imagine living in a world where the Revolution has come to stay, forever. And "slavery is freedom, war is peace, ignorance is strength"...

I was in cryptic mode when I wrote this story in the fall of 1987. So here's a brief introduction.

Spoiler Alert! If you prefer, you may skip ahead.

It is some time in the twenty-first century. The World Revolution has come. And if it hasn't entirely liquidated the enemy, it has certainly broken the back of the only other powers which remain. The "Corporations" and the "Kremlin" can only cower and tremble before the global revolutionary force known as New Justice.

New Justice conquered the world on a shoestring, using bio-weapons brewed in a bathtub, and computer viruses brewed on a PC. Before New Justice, the world was an imperfect place that didn't always work right. Then New Justice broke the world, and now nothing works at all any more.

Only nobody dares say so, because New Justice has supposedly ushered in Utopia. The common people can only cower and tremble, in a world where meat is a forbidden delicacy, cloth is strictly rationed, electric lights in the home are a distant memory, and there is a New Justice block warden on every street corner. Utopia has come to stay, forever.

As they sail the high seas, the crew of the tramp steamer Simón Bolivar live just beyond the iron grip of New Justice. The narrator Choy and his friends Miguel and Angelica can only look up and wonder about the space stations, the "wheeling metal stars of night," which can be seen in the night skies overhead. Does New Justice rule in heaven, as it rules on earth?

Warning! What follows is not exactly a bedtime story, and it is not for kids. Also, it is a story about sailors, narrated by a sailor... and they, well, swear like sailors. If you are not fazed, you may proceed. Otherwise turn back now.