Scroogled: CC-licensed story about the day Google turned evil

Radar commissioned me to write them a science fiction story about "the day Google became evil." I wrote them a little short-short called "Scroogled," about the perfect axis of evil: the DHS and Google, working hand in hand. As part of the contract negotiation, I got Radar to agree to release the story under a remix-friendly Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, so you're free to make movies, slideshows, songs, art, or new texts from this one.

Greg landed at San Francisco International Airport at 8 p.m., but by the time he'd made it to the front of the customs line, it was after midnight. He'd emerged from first class, brown as a nut, unshaven, and loose-limbed after a month on the beach in Cabo (scuba diving three days a week, seducing French college girls the rest of the time). When he'd left the city a month before, he'd been a stoop-shouldered, potbellied wreck. Now he was a bronze god, drawing admiring glances from the stews at the front of the cabin.

Four hours later in the customs line, he'd slid from god back to man. His slight buzz had worn off, sweat ran down the crack of his ass, and his shoulders and neck were so tense his upper back felt like a tennis racket. The batteries on his iPod had long since died, leaving him with nothing to do except eavesdrop on the middle-age couple ahead of him.

"The marvels of modern technology," said the woman, shrugging at a nearby sign: Immigration--Powered by Google.



  1. Another great story, Cory. I do hope it’s not going to give you problems the next time you have to enter the US ;)

  2. That was brilliant. I’m halfway through “Down and Out…” via DailyLit and this was a great extra dose of Doctorow excellence.

    I really hope this doesn’t happen – but I have to admit that there’s a part of me that thinks “awesome” every time I realise how much information is avaliable about people now. Surely there’s a way to get the good without the evil and the scary?

  3. My, the digirati are getting nervous.

    Despite the dialog being totally unrealistic, it was still a decent read. The theme of surveillance through an advertising business model has a lot of merit.

    Now Cory, when are you writing a Verisign-NSA piece? But that’s old hat and not sci-fi enough for you, perhaps.

  4. > Despite the dialog being totally
    > unrealistic, it was still a decent read.

    The license allows you to change all dialog :)

  5. “Of course,” the guy said, flashing a tight smile.


    “Yeah,” the guy said, flashing Greg a weak grin.

    I agree with Burz — it’s not very good writing, but it got the point across, and the point is important and scary.

  6. Burz and Phasor3000 are, of course, free to submit their patches to spec.

    Cory, it was a damned chilling read. Excuse me while I go kill myself.

  7. Or course it is already starting to happen, see

    about Vancouver psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar has been barred from entering the United States because during a random stop-and-search at a US/Canadian border crossing, a Google search of his name led to his article from the Spring 2001 ‘Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts.’ This turns out to have been enough to earn him a life-time ban under the grounds of ‘admitted drug use.’

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