Short story: Science Fiction/Fantasy Thriller. First published: 2006. (Included in anthology: The Maker’s Mark – Remnants)
A surreal sci-fi fantasy set in a ‘western’ style desert world dominated by a single mysterious city.
‘THE CITY’S CALLIN’ US HOME’.
Several generations ago many of our people left the city to make new homes for ourselves in the towns that had been left abandoned in the desert. Some say that it was the will of ‘The Maker’ that led us to take this course while others claim that it was because life in the City had become intolerable and was getting worse.
Either way, life in the desert is harsh with no access to the facilities that we used to take for granted and no one to help when things go wrong or when we get sick and start to fall apart.
Now some have decided that they can’t take it here any more and are heading back to City.
Not all of us are going back, though. Some of us remember why we left and what it would mean to return. For us, there is still a purpose to this tough new life. Now we have a sense of place and belonging. We have a life to build and we have our own stories to create.
This is one of them.
I was asked to write a short story by my publishers to be included in the Remnants anthology.
At the time their project was supposed to be a showcase for new writers but I think that they had been let down by one or two and that I was approached to make up the numbers.
The brief was limited: a world populated by androids who had migrated from the single city into the desert to live in shanty towns.
Having found that life was harsh, many were feeling and responding to an imagined call back to the city.
I was given a deadline of about three to four weeks to complete Escape from Migration, but although I felt somewhat rushed, I was pleased with the result.
My immediate reaction to the brief was that androids malfunctioning in the desert was very reminiscent of the 1973 film “Westworld” and I have acknowledged this in my story by making reference to ‘not being able to get the hands right’ which is how the characters in the film were able to tell androids from humans.