Sunday, December 02, 2007

WishBox: An Abundant Fable in Five Parts (5 of 5)

New to the story? Start with part 1.

Part 5: What Went Wrong

It wasn't until I checked out of the hospital three days later, that I got the full explanation of what had put me there. The doctors were only concerned with keeping my senses healthy, protecting the consumers, as was their mandate.

Only with my vision full of friendly agents and full grid access restored did the pieces come together.

As corporate researchers focused their attention on the WishBoxes, seeking for means to control them or competitive edges in marketing them, a fuller understanding of the mechanics had uncovered a loophole. It seems certain quantum structures, so rare in nature as to be effectively nonexistent, could not be created by the WishBoxes. These theoretically uncopyable artifacts were dubbed distorted reality matrices. With enough effort and care, the matrices could be inserted into objects in sufficient quantity to create true one-of-a-kind items.

Once again, you could own something truly yours, in a way that would not shortly be duplicated to perfection. The attention price was high, as the market was kept short, both by businesses desperately seeking to maintain scarcity, and by the requirement, now so foreign, of bringing in manual labor to work on the distorted originals.

The downside, as their usually tends to be, is that distorted reality is, by its very unnature, an unstable phenomenon. Such consumer goods would tend to collapse in various ways over time, requiring their replacement. This only delighted the businesses more as this maintained scarcity, and the processes were altered to make objects even more unreal.

In my case, a particular unstable pair of designer sunglasses had exploded into my skull, putting me into a short-lived coma, leading to my regrettable stay in the logosphere.

As I lay back in my lounge chair and zipped back to my apartment, I brought up my WishBrowser, and started searching for a new pair of shades. Hopefully I'd have better luck with the next ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An excellent short story! Should be published in Analog, IMHO. I'd like to see a future installment going into more detail on the 'unique' items. Well done.