Laurie Penny's science fiction story "Blue Monday" is a mean little kick up the ass. I workshopped this story with her last summer at the Clarion West workshop in Seattle and it doesn't get any less punchy on subsequent re-readings.
It's okay, here in the monitor room. It's quiet, and after six years working here the swivel-chair has basically moulded to my bottom. If I let my eyes flicker shut, I can still see the screens. Twenty-four of them, all running live feeds: living rooms, bedrooms, gardens.
The blue light plays over my skin as I check out the traffic stats. Nerdy McNeckbeard wasn't wrong. Of course we're having a heavy night. It's the third Monday in January. Blue Monday, they call it. Officially The most depressing day of the year. A chance for the newspapers to spew some guff about suicide rates while everyone else gets on with being slightly more miserable than normal and tries to kill the pain with kitten videos.
Or puppy videos. Or wiggly little piggy videos. We've got all of them here. On every screen in front of me, baby animals are rolling and barking and squealing and snoring in their fake living rooms to maintain the illusion that we're not pumping this stuff out on an industrial scale. I check the screen again. The baby bulldogs are particularly popular tonight.
They should be. We just replaced the old batch with fresh.
I get out a packet of frazzles and pull up the sloths, which would be my favorite if I had a favorite.
Blue Monday [Laurie Penny/Motherboard]