It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché!

It seems like YA dystopian adventure stories may have run their course, and that’s a shame because they had so much to offer. There was the powerful, special teen. There were angsty love triangles, powerless parents, corrupt political systems and evil, cruel leaders. There was some vague catastrophe in the past, and so on. Usually there’s a big wall somewhere.

Well, the stories may have ebbed to a trickle but that doesn’t mean we can’t play with the tropes. I’ll start us off. Then it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.

Colly pushed down her feelings of dread as she took her boyfriend Kale Russo’s hand and sat next to him. It was time for the Choosing, which came around every three years. The Incisor from the capital province of Fava was here with the spinning cage, the balls and a contingent of Fava soldiers.  Each flimsy white ball had a teen’s name on it. Colly looked around. All the kids aged twelve to eighteen were here. Kale squeezed her hand reassuringly.

At some point before Colly had been born, some catastrophe had reduced the flow of content streaming, especially to the outer provinces, like Fieldgreens and Brassica. Brassica, Colly’s home, was the poorest province and Colly had given up even trying to watch shows now. Rumors were that in the capital and its neighbors, Lettuce and Cucumber, people could stream content to any device anywhere, all the time.

The outer provinces were not so lucky, but every three years, the Incisor came and chose two tributes from each province, who battled in a gladiatorial arena. The last teen standing won a year of free broadband for their province.

In front of her, Brock Lee turned and glanced back. He winked. Colly disliked Brock. His family had more money than hers did. He was annoying, with his height and his muscled arms, nice glutes, his green eyes, his mischievous smile and even the way he smelled. So annoying, and it wasn’t sexual attraction she felt for him. It wasn’t. Colly shook her head. She would never be separated from her beloved Kale.

The balls rattled in the spin cage and the Incisor reached in and drew out the first name. “Colly Flour,” she said. When Kale threw his arms around Colly, the Incisor snapped her fingers at the soldiers. “Separate those two.”

She spun the cage again as Colly, head held high, walked down between two masked soldiers.

“Second Tribute, Brock Lee. Okay, let’s wrap this up. Give ‘em ten minutes to say good-bye to their families, then escort them to the transport vehicle.”

Your turn. Chime in. Make it angsty, make it emo, and most of all, make it dystopian. One random commenter with a USA address will win a book from our Stacks.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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