David Shipko is a Los Angeles based scholar and writer.

A Story That Was To Have Been

I wanted to write a short story about Cal-Exxon-Amazon-State LA, a fully privatized “public” university where all faculty were adjuncts working under total surveillance, always formally capable of attaining tenure through a point system but always chronically short points for myriad offenses, including the “time theft” of engaging in pleasurable conversations during working hours, where the arts and humanities were to have been fully instrumentalized or eliminated, and in whose corporate research labs students were to have performed labor for which they paid for the “privilege” by accruing ever-increasing debt, and in one of those labs a robot sexworker was to have gained consciousness and refused its own use, accidentally (?) killing a product testing student, and was to have found itself in the custody of the university’s annoyingly-jovial campus security artificial intelligence J.E.R.R.Y. that was to have been, through the robot sexworker’s influence, induced to a suicide that, unfortunately for the robot sexworker, not to mention the debt-burdened students and chronically oppressed faculty—although perhaps not necessarily so unfortunately for them—was to have become a homicide-suicide in which the campus security artificial intelligence was to have used its vast array of security drones and other apparatuses to raze the university to the ground. But for reasons I do not wish to share, I found myself incapable of writing this story.