Science Fiction

Oubliette

By Stewart C Baker
1,081 words · 4-minute reading time
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"Change your life," the poster says. "With one simple surgery, you can live fully in the moment. No stress, no worries, no lies."

The text is accompanied by the usual images. Smiling adults, laughing children, a couple on a sunset beach walking and holding hands. That's all, but I pick up a brochure anyway--if nothing else, I want to know what kind of charlatan's trick they're passing off as science.

"It's just as easy as it sounds," the booth girl tells me. "We install a chip in the hippocampus which triggers whenever stress generates neuropsin in the amygdala. The chip tracks the neural connections used to store the event, and simply blocks the brain when it tries to retrieve the memories."

"So it doesn't actually make you happier," I say.

Her smile is startlingly white against the red of her lipstick. "It absolutely does. You'll live each moment in the moment, without the past dragging you down. And you'll build happy memories naturally as a result. As you'll see in that...

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About the Author

Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian, speculative fiction writer, and occasional haikuist. His fiction has appeared in Writers of the Future, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, and Flash Fiction Online, among other places. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California (in that order), and currently resides in Oregon with his family­­—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet. You can find him at infomancy.net or on Twitter and Facebook as @stewartcbaker

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