The thing I love most about writing sci-fi is the ability to re-frame today according to tomorrow’s standards. This genre DEMANDS elements of the fantastic, so the requirement of interesting world-building creates opportunities to go “what if…” on just about anything you can take from what’s around you.
For example, what if someone decided to apply a rehabilitation model to the prison system? Instead of what amounts to modern slavery, “prisons” aim to undo the psychological damage done by society that eventuated in incarceration. The goal being to allow people to discover and become the best versions of themselves on their own terms.
That was my big “what if” driving The Induction of Satine, but I definitely didn’t start drafting with this in mind. I only wanted to write some short erotica, but doesn’t that just highlight the beauty of sci-fi?
The nature of the genre DEMANDED I wonder about something out of this world. And after hearing about low re-offending rates in rehabilitation-focused Norwegian prisons, it ended up being this pertinent question about alternatives to today’s punishment-based prison systems.
I’m sure you’ve figured this out already, but real-life rehab prisons aren’t sexy or located on the moon. That part was good ol’ imagination.
Excerpt from The Induction of Satine
“It’s policy that I watch you disrobe,” he informed me, adding, “With your consent, of course.”
Confusion struck me through the daze. First of all, I was on a moon so many people on my planet had already stopped believing in, confined within a prison I’d only just learned about that day. I was being attended to by a warden, something I decided years ago didn’t exist, not to mention how excessively polite he was. Finally, he hands me an inmate’s uniform and… it’s black?
Aren’t prison clothes meant to be high visibility? What if I tried to escape?
But then, what if they did such a good job of deterring their inmates that no one ever tried to escape? What kind of place was this that they could afford to take the risk? And besides, where could I escape to on this desolate landscape?
Suddenly the room felt unbearably warm. Fear mounted against the drugs and my hands began to shake. But I gripped the uniform tightly as Warden Jet stood over me.
I looked up at him. “I… consent, I guess.”
The Induction of Satine is not a perma-free book, but it is currently available for free through StoryOrigin. The site will ask you to sign up to my newsletter (if you’re not on there already) and deliver a copy of the ebook straight to your email.
This content originally appeared in Dot Club #41 (May 2022).