115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

ImmiGreat, Inc.

David Shipko, California State University, Los Angeles

David Shipko is a writer, scholar, and filmmaker interested in exploring the chaotic intersection of technology, culture, and biology. He writes science-fiction to critique (post)modernity and theorize alterity.

Proposal: 

David Shipko is a writer, scholar, and filmmaker interested in exploring the chaotic intersection of technology, culture, and biology. He writes science-fiction to critique (post)modernity and theorize alterity. Three of his stories were recently published in Statement, Cal State LA's creative writing journal; one of those stories won the Dean's Prize for Prose. He earned his B.A. in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, is currently pursuing an M.A. in English at California State University, Los Angeles, and plans to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature. 

Story Excerpt:

“Our most affordable tier is Freedom. It comes with full rights to residency, basic employment, limited real estate rentership, and full consumer status. Public services can be purchased as needed, and most civil rights are available on a subscription basis. The beautiful thing about this tier is its simplicity and flexibility. Rather than paying for services and rights you might not use, you are free to purchase what you want when you want it, or, instead, you can choose to put that money towards a vacation or something extra for yourselves. Really, it’s just wonderful.”

            The red figure dropped.

I watched Mother study it for a long time. I was young, but I knew my mother. Her whole life she had fought tooth and nail to earn her place in the world, and just when she had landed that elusive tenure track professorship, the extremists had started their killing, and the whole city had fallen to ruins. All Mother had left was her pride. And now she was fighting to swallow it.

Mother and Father exchanged a look I had seen many times before but that always managed to remain somewhat mysterious. Only years later did I discover what the mysterious element was.

“What about,” Father said, his voice softened by Mother’s pain, “what about your refugee program?”

John’s smile flickered. “I’m sorry. That was a limited time offer.” He looked at us. I can only guess what he saw. “I’m sure we can work something out.”

“You are?” Mother asked, hope returning to her voice.

“I am.”

A sudden powerful tremor shot through my body. We all shook. Except John. He asked, “When do you land?”  

We were no more really in John’s office than was he really sitting in front of us. He was in some immigration processing center, maybe at our destination, but maybe not. We were on a plane, and we weren’t even sitting together. To afford the flight, Mother had bought the cheapest fares. She and Father had separate seats near opposite ends of the cavernous fuselage. She had managed to put me near my younger brother, but he was still a couple seats over. We were all using the in-flight virtuality headsets to meet in a cyberspace office. I remember being impressed with the lack of imagination that had gone into the place. I mean, really, an office? Why not a jungle? Or the moon? What a waste of virtuality. I didn’t understand. But I do now.

Our plane was screaming through the air at nearly twice the speed of sound. It had rescued us from horrors I was already trying hard to forget, but if we failed to secure immigration status before we landed, we would be returned to where we were running from. If that happened, we were as good as dead. If it sounds insane, that’s because it was, but back then ImmiGreat, Inc. didn’t do business in our homeland. They blamed the war, religious violence, ethnic cleansing, cyberspace embargoes, and general social decay, but, looking back, I think they just knew it was easier to squeeze families mid-flight.

            “Less than fifteen minutes,” Mother said.

            John whistled. “Well then, no time to lose."