Bad Shibe – a sci-fi novella by Rob Myers

Bad Shibe is published by the London-based net-art and networked art organisation Furtherfield, who have a gallery in Finsbury Park and an international membership/following. It’s part of their ongoing project New World Order, which is all about the Blockchain and its implications, but you don’t have to know anything about the Blockchain, or understand anything about its implications, to read Bad Shibe (which is probably just as well, because the Blockchain and its implications are pretty difficult to get your head round). It’s about a dystopian near-future where society is completely dominated by social media and a kudos-earning system called ‘tipping’, and it’s written in a special dialect full of mobile phone-style acronyms and abbreviations. If you know that a Shibe is a particular type of dog, and that a few years ago the Web was inundated with memes or photographs of this particular type of dog (or doge) with funny captions written in the same kind of slang as this story, then it all starts to make a bit more sense – but you don’t have to know about any of that to enjoy it. You can read it as a mixture of A Clockwork Orange and David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (in which humans have turned half-dog in the near future). The illustrations are by Lina Theodoru. You can download it for free at http://www.furtherfield.org/projects/bad-shibe-sci-fi-novella-rob-myers.

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