In the warm kitchen of Felapton Towers there is a broad wooden table and one bright Saturday morning, spread across this table was a diverse collection of memes, themes, e-reader screens and reams of photocopy paper. Camestros was busy building an intricate device whose purposes were both benign and nefarious. Outside was the insect like buzz of Mr Atomic who clearing the gutters of leaves and bits of drones that had been shut down the previous week by Timothy the Talking Cat.
Said cat was resting on a pile of half read ‘Guns and Ammo’ magazines, staring at a mouse hole in the hope that a rodent would appear and engage him conversation.
“Read me a bedtime story Camestros” the cat asked plaintively.
“It is the middle of the day Timothy and I’m busy building a doodad.”
“A doodad? I thought you were making a thingywotsit?”
Cametros lifted the half complete device from the kitchen table and starred at it.
“Hmm, I think I actually just made a great big pile of crap” Camestros sighed
“So read me a bedtime story instead.”
Camestros sighed again “In deference to your crepuscular temperate and due to the utter failure of this morning’s activity, I shall read you a story on the one condition that it is from this new volume that I coincidentally have in my apron pocket.”
“It’s a deal!” with that Timothy trotted over to his cat basket near the stove and Camestros sat on a bench top.
“This book is called Unfeasible Tales of Social Justice Fantasy Science.”
“I like the sound of the last bit but the two middle word disturb my whiskers.”
“Well your whiskers are finely tuned to overreact to any hint of politics to the left of Richard Milhouse Nixon but rest assured! The cover of this book promises action, adventure, robots, feminists and airships!”
“Hmm I’m not sure about ‘feminists’ but airships are cool. Will there be cowboys?”
“I’m sure we can work them in somewhere.”
“Seriously Timothy – you insult me! Naturally there will be both! Indeed I promise there will be feminists in jetpacks fighting vampires!”
“I can see what you are up to but I shall let it pass. Now what is the first story?”
“Well it seems to be a self-referential attempt by the author to introduce himself and his reactionary cat as fictional characters, in a kind of framing device for the complete set of stories.”
“ewww – well read on so we can get past that bit”
“I shall – the first story proper is called ‘The Day Everybody’s Sexuality Changed in an Interesting Way’”
“Is it sci-fi or fantasy?”
“Which would you prefer?”
“As you wish – I’ll just cross out ‘RNA engineered techno-virus’ and write in ‘wizard’.”
The Day Everybody’s Sexuality Changed in an Interesting Way
One day everybody’s sexuality changed. Nobody knew why but eventually scientists speculated that it was due to a wizard that had been engineered in a lab and then let loose to replicate across humanity until, having reached total saturation, it triggered a fundamental change in people’s hormonal system, cognitive functions and a whole bunch of other things in such a way that everybody changed their sexuality. In some people this was a substantial change, specifically people who were primarily attracted to people who identified with the opposite gender to which they identified, changed their sexuality so that they were attracted to people of the same gender identification. In other people the change was more subtle and involved smaller shifts in what they found sexually or romantically attractive. For example some people now found themselves more attracted to facial hair than they had been in the past.
As you can imagine this was initially quite alarming because nobody likes sudden change except for people who have intentionally spent money to ride on roller-coasters (and even then they only like it for a specific period of time and in a carefully engineered manner).
Many notable people became suddenly concerned for the fate of the human population as the sudden shift in sexuality had resulted in human society having no heterosexual people at all. “What will happen to us all now?” cried some of the more easily alarmed people.
Luckily the wizard had merely changed everybody’s sexuality and had not made people any more or less stupid than they had been already been. As the basic biological knowledge needed to have babies was widely known, people still managed to have babies without any more difficulty than normal and the net effect on human population growth was small.
“Phew!” said everybody when they worked that out and they all lived happily ever after.
“I can’t help noticing there were no robots, vampires or jetpacks.” Timothy said disappointedly.
“There was a wizard” Camestros countered, desperately thinking of a word to use other than “said”.
“Also it was somewhat lacking in character development…”
Also in this story was a guy called Bob. Bob was something of a bigot. People called him ‘Bob the bigot’. When the great viral infection occurred – I mean wizard infection – he really didn’t know what to make of it. However, eventually he adjusted to his new sexuality and consequently was a bit less of a bigot about at least one thing (although sadly he was still a bit of a racist and misogynist).
“That’s better” said Timothy “now it has a character I can partly relate to…”