Warning: session_start(): open(/tmp/sess_da1551e55595f241f0c7e00e8fd76ad5, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php:20) in /home/dsf/webapps/php/lib/php/set-up.php on line 20
Daily Science Fiction :: The Shutdown by Marge Simon
Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






The Shutdown

"The Shutdown" came to me as a poem first, but I made it into a flash fiction, as I wanted to spread its message. In recent times, certain political factions are pushing censorship and I have the feeling that it would be fine by them to restrict our public libraries to uncensored books. I can see that might lead to something more drastic, too. Ray Bradbury stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of his concerns at the time (during the McCarthy era) about the threat of book burning in the United States. This flash is my way of saying the threat could very well be nigh again.
They barred the library doors today. Men in uniform stand patrol, armed and ready. Their lantern jaws are set firm, lips in a straight line. Stoic women, also armed, jog up and down the block, buttocks moving like pistons. Someone dashes from a building, a hand-held reader clutched close. Shots are fired; I don't stay to find out more.
I've packed the car with books, little room for else. It is my car, his gift to buy my silence, to make up for the bruises real and otherwise; never marry a politician who has no use for literature, has no use for a wife that does.
I am reminded of a poem fragment, its author's name lost to time:
"Eagles have left their nests to vultures.
The barren palm trees whimper for their loss
there are ceaseless storms, mud is everywhere
while two-legged insects multiply unchecked."
Perhaps it was Vonnegut. Long dead and buried now, his books banned after the last election. Just as well he never saw his warnings come to this.
The car radio plays Ibsen, bassoons herald the trolls. I roll down the window, taking a deep breath to calm my racing heart. I'm aware of Pyr Gynt's Hall of the Mountain King, foreboding notes of the oboe, a palpable stench of fear.
Am I leaving that, or taking it with me...?
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 28th, 2016


Marge Simon lives in Ocala, Florida and is married to Bruce Boston. Her works appear in publications such as DailySF Magazine, Pedestal, Dreams & Nightmares. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side," and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, 2010, the SFPA's Dwarf Stars Award, 2012, and the Elgin Award for best poetry collection, 2015. She has won three Bram Stoker Awards ® for Superior Work in Poetry, two first place Rhysling Awards and the Grand Master Award from the SF Poetry Association, 2015. In addition to her poetry, she has published two prose collections: Christina's World, Sam's Dot Publications, 2008 and Like Birds in the Rain, Sam's Dot, 2007.

- Marge Simon

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.3 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us

Warning: Unknown: open(/tmp/sess_da1551e55595f241f0c7e00e8fd76ad5, O_RDWR) failed: No space left on device (28) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct (/tmp) in Unknown on line 0