Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘Bagged ‘n’ Tagged’ by Eugene Byrne

with 4 comments

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.

Quality: ***
Wit: ***

Written by Martin

27 November 2009 at 11:18

Posted in sf, short stories

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. I’m pretty sure Case sold ketamine in Neuromancer back in ’83.

    David Moles

    1 December 2009 at 16:06

  2. It has been around for ages but it was low profile enough that it wasn’t even criminalised in the UK until three years ago. So it was a surprise to see it there but maybe Bryne was an early adopter (or just a Neuromancer fan). There is only one way to find out: Eugene Bryne, I summon you!


    1 December 2009 at 18:48

  3. Hmm, that would probably work better if I wasn’t persistently spelling his name wrong…


    1 December 2009 at 18:53

  4. Whaa? Whuthufu… Where am I? What is this place? … Oh. Someone summoned me?
    What does thee wish?
    OK, Thatcherite satire … No, and no. Thatcherite or New Labour, it’s all the same. There are way more gated communities and private security personnel nowadays, and Thatcher would never have dreamed of ID cards. They’re all as bad as each other.
    Ketamine … Has been around as a recreational drug for quite a while (before Neuromancer anyhow). The earliest pop culture reference I can remember would probably be from a 1970s Furry Freak Brothers comic. While it’s only been in widespread use in the UK as a club drug since the 1990s (certainly in Bristol, where I live), it was known about and used occasionally long before that. In the 1960s and 70s, when recreational use of drugs was seen by many as an act of political rebellion and philosophical quest, ‘K’ was one of many drugs that were experimented with, usually by hardcore hippies who owned a copy of the MIMS directory and had friends who burgled chemists’ and vets.
    Happy New Year and such,

    Eugene Byrne

    27 December 2009 at 12:17

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