Friday, 19 March 2010

Passenger Focus on NuTrains

A university researcher archiving the papers of the late Eric Blair has sent Eye the draft manuscript of an unfinished sequel to 1984.

Titled "2010" it paints a picture of a dystopian future so extreme it seems barely credible as this extract shows:

Chapter 1

The clocks were striking 13 when Winston Smith looked up from his celebratory 25cl 'Victory Pint' of Brown's Ale to see his brother Anthony hurrying towards the cafe tables in the dusty square. He was waving a copy of that day's 'Ultra Modern Railways Daily' and put it on the table in front of Winston before sitting.

"Look at that, brother", he said breathlessly, "16 new vehicles for the railways in the Northern and Eastern Districts - great news from the Thin Controller on a day of great news!".

A waiter limped over and put a another paper cup of beer on the table. "Enjoy this free victory pint awarded to all citizens today to mark the achievements of our brave Taliban allies" he said, reading from a scrap of card.

Winston, noting that 'Ultra Modern Railways Daily' had been expanded to a whole four pages of recycled paper, read the headline that had so excited his brother. "I bet they're all Pacers" he said morosely.

Not for the first time Anthony wondered whether all those hours in the Ministry of Roads' Room 101 watching the same IEP powerpoint presentation endlessly repeated had really removed his brother's anti-government tendencies.

"Come on", he said, "you know Pacer production has been suspended to provide more manufacturing capacity for Snatch Landrovers as part of Big Brother's open ended funding of our Comrades in Uniform. I expect they will be Class 172s from the People's Train Factory in Greater West Midlands".

At which point a bespectacled furtive looking man at the next table, with a Box Brownie camera and what looked suspiciously like a battered Platform 5 book in a brown paper cover, leant over. "They're not new trains" he whispered.

Anthony was shocked at this disrespectful challenge to the Thin Controller's munificence. "Where are they coming from then?" he snapped back.

The furtive man looked around and said "Northern District is getting 16 class 150 vehicles and passing on eight of its Class 156 vehicles to Eastern District".

Now it was Anthony's turn to look around furtively, worried that this subversive conversation might have been overheard. Worse, it was thought crime of the most heinous kind to even handle, let alone own, a Platform 5 with its photos of shiny once-new trains. But when he looked back both Winston and their neighbour had disappeared leaving their Victory Pints unfinished. Then he heard the siren as one of the black Toyotas of the Thought Police rolled cautiously into the square and came to a halt by running into a tree.

As they bundled their captive into the back of the Toyota one of the policemen said "The subversive Miles is a lucky sod - but we'll get him and his inconvenient facts sooner or later". His associate smirked "Never mind, we've got this joker and its Room 102 for him".

"Oh no" thought Anthony "not the HLOS 1300 vehicles spreadsheet!". "But I love the Thin Controller" he screamed. But no one was listening.