Kaitlyn Johnson, Hilary Harwell, Michelle Hauck, Beth Marshea, Carlisle Webber, Cortney Radocaj,
for taking the time to critique these entries. And a shout out to the
brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week. You are
Entry 3: Vida Futura
Genre: Speculative Fiction
If you had the option to live again after dying, would you[BM1][CW1]? What if you couldn’t pick your name, your job, or even the memories you could keep[KJ1][CR1]? In Vida Futura, everyone has a second chance, but never a choice[MH1][CW2].
The story follows[KJ2][CW3] Miss Shenhao, a young woman who wakes up in an unfamiliar house, unsure of what country or even what year it is. She is told by her new Life Counselor that she died a month earlier in a train accident but has been deemed Fit and selected for Life Reassignment in Vida Futura[CR2][BM2].
Unable to prove[KJ3] otherwise[CR3][BM3], she begins her new life with a new job and new friends who have all found themselves in the same situation, each with their own gruesome death story. Unlike her peers, however, she secretly suffers from what the Counselors in Vida Futura call PEM (persistent expired memories), a defect where the memories of one’s previous life have not been fully wiped out and can lead to permanent termination if discovered[CW3].
After her boss, a fellow PEM sufferer, disappears, she soon finds herself navigating the unseen side of her small town in search of answers and a possible escape[BM4], leading her to a fox mask-wearing man who “collects and sells stories,”[BM5] a shop owner who promises her a ticket out if she can offer something irreplaceable, a waitress obsessed with memory-eating monsters that no one has ever seen, and the “happiness researchers” who say they can cure her PEM[KJ4][CR4][MH2]. As she draws closer to the truth of what Vida Futura is and why she has been brought here, she begins to question: in a world where memories can be erased, how do you know what is real and what isn't[CW4]?
VIDA FUTURA is a 120,000 word[CW5] book[KJ5] of speculative fiction that would find its primary audience among Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell fans
—readers who love to get lost in everyday worlds that have been twisted by the surreal.[CW6]
Thank you for your consideration[CR5].
First 250 Words
I died on July 22nd, 2016.
My mother cried and cried, and then she just stopped talking altogether.
My father spent two hours searching forum posts on how to arrange an international corpse transport and last-minute funerals in New York. He then spent the next five hours marathoning through NHK videos about Japan from robot restaurants to the train suicide rates.
My brother had a beer in a bar he’d never been to. There, he went through our intermittent text messages throughout the years and then deleted my contact information from his phone.
They each coped in their own way,
The alpaca plush doll I’d given my mom my senior year of college sat on my old piano in the living room like a reminder that I had once been there playing for them, that I hadn’t been forgotten[CR6].
I woke up on August 22nd, 2016[MH3].
But[BM7] it wasn’t in my bed in Queens. Or huddled in my futon in a cramped apartment in Tokyo. I was in a small, single room cabin, sitting at a square oak table. There was a window facing an endless green field like the one from Sound of Music. In the distance were snow-peaked mountains and the computer blue of a massive lake[CW8].
This was Vida Futura. Or at least that’s what it said on the welcome pamphlet on the table. In a cream-colored envelope was a ‘REASSIGNMENT CARD’ with an awful photo of me I didn’t remember taking[KJ6][CR7][BM8][MH4].
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