“And It Is Live! Welcome to the Dystopian Express!”

These were the words on Editor F.L. Hall’s Facebook page this morning, announcing that DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (see November 24 2015, et al.) has been published — at least in Kindle form.  Or, the day before, “It took a little over a year but good things come to those who wait.  Later today or early tomorrow we will have the Launch of Dystopian Express from Hydra Publications!” And the print edition is to follow soon, while the ebook edition can now be found here.  To quote from the blurb:  “What happens when every aspect of your life DystopiaFullCoveris managed, manipulated, and controlled by someone else.  Everyone is guaranteed the opportunity to suffer equally for the greater good in this dystopian society.  . . .   Your possessions, your body, and even your thoughts, belong to them and not yourself.  What will you do?

“Jump on board and witness how the landscape has changed as we ride the rails of the Dystopian Express.”

My tale in this turmoil is one called “Invisible People,” originally published in DARK INFINITY for Winter 1992-93, which is one of transition.  What happens when some people are just forgotten, no longer existing as far as society is concerned.  Perhaps because they lost a job, thus written off because they no longer contribute.  Or even now, do you even notice the homeless guy on the street with with the tin cup, or has he become all but invisible to us already?

So all aboard, eh?


  1. I don’t know about Indiana, but in our county, begging isn’t allowed –so we dont’ see anybody with a tin cup on the streets. I think Orlando, you can get a license to do this but you have to pay for it. Anyway that is how it used to be.

    I’ve heard that some of them sleep underneath the gazebo in the town square, though. Sounds like an interesting collection, Jim! Bravo!

  2. Hi Marge, thanks. So the only people who see the homeless where you live are the cops? Reminds me of an old Red Skelton sketch where Freddie the Freeloader is freezing on Christmas Eve and he strives to commit some crime so he’ll get arrested and get to spend Christmas, get Christmas dinner, etc., in a nice warm jail cell. (But wouldn’t you know, because it’s Christmas, even the cops insist on being so darned forgiving. . . . 🙂 )

    More seriously, here it’s more a case of there being anti-panhandling laws to prevent people actually getting in your face, but it’s okay to sit or stand with a sign saying “Homeless Veteran” or whatever, and speak out to people (“Hey buddy, can you help me out?”) as they pass by. There are only a few and we also have church groups, etc., which will help out with things like shelter at night, though there are some who complain that because of its relative generosity homeless people are attracted to Bloomington. So you can’t win on either side of the issue. (Then there are also buskers, people who play guitar or whatever on the street with an open instrument case to collect “donations,” but that’s another matter — and actually is kind of charming. It’s a bit surprising, in fact, that there aren’t more since the University has a world class music school.)

    • Joe McKinnney mentioned on FB that years ago, he and a fellow cop were out on Christmas eve and a young man was begging them to arrest him. (He was cold and they assumed that his family didn’t want a n’er do well son to attend Christmas dinner –) anyway the cops kept telling him that they didn’t have room in the car or jail for him –finally he was exasperated and pulled out a plastic baggie with a tiny bit of marijuana in it and asked them one more time –so they did make room for him!

  3. As I recall Freddie, after being rebuffed multiple times, is finally given a bunch of money by a wealthy passerby (or otherwise “saved”) at which point, celebrating, he accidentally breaks a window and the cops arrest him for that, over his protests that he “no longer needs them.”

  4. Poor Freddie –“lose a few, lose a few” Freddie!

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