‘Bagged ‘n’ Tagged’ by Eugene Byrne
Now this is sardonic but it is also well past its sell-by date. I first read this story in Interzone fifteen years ago and although Byrne updated it in 2003 for publication here I’m pretty sure this amounts to dropping some contemporary references to Islamic terrorism and ketamine. I say this because it is hard to imagine a satire more firmly rooted in Tory Government of the mid-Nineties.
Our protagonist falls for a counter-cultural siren in a non-violent direct action group. Turns out she is a plant, the group gets shopped and he is sentenced to 18 months indentured servitude controlled by a electronic chip (the tag of the title). His new owner is a cartoon Thatcherite shit who obviously gets his comeuppence. Our hero rights all wrongs and gets the girl. Bah.
However, for no particularly reason, I am going to rate this generously.