From the news, today.
From Chapter 13, page 207 of Cursed Hearts:
They walked quickly, generally to the southeast. Emma had told her new acquaintance that the Geisel Library was at the center of campus, so it was easy to find local food vendors set up around it all through the day. As Miss Barrett’s stomach continued to growl – embarrassing her for some reason – the sooner they got there, the better.
“…came here after getting my BS at Portland State.” Emma sighed. “The Breakup began just afterward. Most people left, but there was nowhere for me to go… so, like some friends of mine, we stuck it out here.”
“I do not understand how the world’s superpower could have been so stupid as to walk into that trap.”
“T… trap?” Taller, Emma worked to keep pace with the young woman. “But I thought just a coin-”
“Idiot.” Emma was learning quickly that her new acquaintance lacked manners. “Your President removed via extra-Constitutional means just as Russia, China, India roll out a new currency?” She stopped and turned so quickly, Emma almost ran into her.
“Look at you.” The scowl was there, but Emma hoped it was a spark of mirth she saw in those odd eyes. “You’re a walking cliché: blue jeans and blue eyes; blonde hair and an unnecessarily large chest! All the while knowing nothing about how this world really works! Bismarck was right!”
“Bi… Bismarck?” Maya shook her head and turned back around, looking at the Library.
“They should crucify this architect, too.”
Walking away from the keyboard yesterday – but never from all those in mind – at dinner I chuckled to my wife, “…nothing I’m writing right now! Guess I could just throw…”
She looked up as I trailed off. Now well knowing that far-off look I get when imagining, she kept her peace. I came back to myself (someday, I think, I shan’t) and looked up.
“A novel on the cheap: I take the 36k words/9 stories I wrote during Lent, toss in the 12k from Empire’s Agent, come up with one more, and call it an anthology of short stories of Machine Civilization.” As this was business and not creation, she looked to Daughter #1 and asked about her homework.
I thought about it more today. Initially, I despaired: the 2nd longest story, Abandoned Factory, is set in a borrowed world, that of Yoshitoshi ABe’s Haibane Renmei. Japanese copyrights never expire! I’d have to toss that one out! Later, tired in the afternoon, I recalled Comiket and the Japanese doujinshi industry: light novels, manga, anime, a goodly portion of which are entirely based on other’s works. And sold commercially…
I’ve still some legal matters to follow on, but “Machine Civilization Dreams,” a compendium of 11-12 short stories covering nearly twenty years in that world, is a distinct possibility!
Someone asked me about what was the mechanism behind what I call the Breakup: the near-overnight collapse of the US economy. The short answer, from my notes of the never finished “Crosses and Doublecrosses,” was that China, Russia, and India created a new currency called the ‘Ria’ backed by gold and oil. This displaced the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency, causing it to be dumped overnight. The velocity of money in the US dropped to zero, and within 24 hours, cities were starving.
The slightly longer answers can be found at these links, here and here.
Story-wise…I’ve an uneasy feeling about what I just posted for “Defiant.” I’m going to edit what I wrote yesterday before I go any further. Hopefully later today, but we’ll see.