Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Makes you wonder…

by Rick Blechta

Many years ago now I read a short story about how everyone woke up one day and they could only tell the truth. I wish I could remember the name. I believe I found it in a SciFi anthology of short stories from the Golden Age. Maybe someone could help out on that.

Anyway, you can imagine the chaos that ensued. For all intents and purposes, everyone was suddenly naked — psychologically, and there was no place to hide. Personal relationships were destroyed, governments fell, and of course, corporations were in a whole lot of trouble.

Almost the entire population of the planet Earth had to figure out how to continue if this sudden inability to say anything untrue went on forever. The only people without any difficulties were young children, and if my memory is accurate the story ended from their viewpoint as they observed the adults around them overwhelmed, distraught and depressed.

If the story indeed came out of the 1950s, imagine how much more devastating the results would be in 2015. Daily existence is now more lie than truth.

Let’s take the current presidential contest taking place in the States. Imagine all those candidates being suddenly unable to lie or even stretch the truth. I think a Donald Trump campaign rally would be the place to be, even though the people attending those seem to tell the truth more often than one might hope. (And the results are very ugly.)

I think the first thing I would do would be to call up a certain publisher or two and finally find out what they thought they were doing. Certain folks in the music business would follow shortly thereafter.

Now if I were going to re-imagine this story with a less apocalyptic ending, I would have a protagonist who invented a device or maybe a chemical that when administered would make it impossible for the person(s) exposed to it to tell a lie for, say, twenty-four hours, although even an hour or two would suffice. My hero would then go on a crusade to visit certain people at critical times. An obvious target would be a politician about to give a speech, or worse yet, hold a press conference. Chaos would still ensue, but it would be more confined and might ultimately help humanity. Who knows?

Of course, this person would instantly be public enemy number one to the people who hold the reins of power. (Look at how Edward Snowdon has been treated, and all he’s doing is disseminating a bit of truth.)

So what do you think? Would this make a great story? Consider the idea up for grabs. Just mention me in the credits, thanks.

1 comment:

Sybil Johnson said...

The Jim Carrey comedy, "Liar, Liar" is sort of like that. Carrey's character is a compulsive liar. His young son wishes on his b-day that his father could not lie for one day. Not quite the same plot line, but similar.