“Rationalized” was the winner of the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Contest. Dystopian short fiction has a long history, the modern era examples stretching back to the late 1940s, and some of the best science fiction fall into this sub-genre. The judges of the Story Quest contest determined that Larry Hodges’ piece, Rationalized, took a fresh approach, and carried a clear and brutal message. Hodges, a seasoned wordsmith, asks the question, what do I do if the odds are overwhelmingly against me? I’ll leave the answer to those who read his short story. GH
How nice—to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
It had been a long Saturday morning, but the training was over. Now Dr. Bruce watched Jeremy and his friend Lara as they played games and drank lemonade. Both actions were illegal.
He took a sip of the chemically-created lemonade he made himself. It was a break from the dreary diet of nutricubes and water, the only approved food or drink allowed or needed. He wondered if actual lemon trees still existed.
Jeremy came over. “Dad, where’s the puppy?” he whispered.
They’d “borrowed” it from the puppy farm.
“I kept it a secret like you asked, but when are you going to tell us what it’s for?”
“Soon,” Bruce said.