“Resistance” — Tobias S. Buckell

Tobias S. Buckell is the author of the novels Crystal  Rain,  Ragamuffin,  Sly  Mongoose, and the New York Times bestseller Halo: The Cole Protocol. He is a Writers of the Future winner, and has published  more than  thirty short stories, which have appeared in magazines such as Nature, Lightspeed, Science Fiction Age, and Analog, and in anthologies  including Mojo: Conjure Stories, New Voices in Science Fiction, and I, Alien. Much of his short work has been collected in Tides from the New Worlds. He currently lives in Ohio with a pair of dogs, a pair of cats, twin daughters, and his wife.

In November 2008, American voters elected Barack Obama president of the United States.  The race was not as close as it has been in recent elections, but the real excitement of the day was the high voter turn-out.  With an estimated 61% of all registered voters choosing to cast votes, the 2008 election stands as the highest voter turnout in more than three decades.

Of course, that means 30% or so of all registered voters didn’t bother to turn up.  And who knows how many U.S. citizens never got around to even registering in the first place?

There are thousands of explanations for voter apathy, but in the world Buckell portrays in our next story, none of those excuses really matter; it’s a techno-democracy failed by its own voters.  But Buckell knows first-hand about systems that begin with high hopes only to crumble into disaster.  He was born during a 1979 coup d’etat in Grenada, where the new government, according to Buckell, “fell into the spiral of quashing opposition to the point where it became draconian and people ended up lined up against walls and shot.”

It would appear that a utopian government is only as strong as the voices of its resistance.