Random Ephemera

How to Succeed in Our Looming Dystopian Future Without Really Trying

Going by a recent article in The Intercept, the future will not be as Timbuk 3 once foretold:

According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of the settings of “Escape from New York” and “Robocop” — with dashes of the “Warriors” and “Divergent” thrown in. It will be a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers. 
The video, blandly titled “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” helpfully goes on to point out that the United States Army is woefully unprepared for this terrifying new era of Roller Disco Devils and loincloth-clad assassins:

“We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw,” warns the narrator. “We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways.”
All well and good for the military, who will use this sobering premise to develop new and excitingly expensive weapon systems. But what about you? Will you be one of the fortunate ones with a decent job? Or will you be a member of the "restive underclass" joining the "growing mass of unemployed?" Take heart, fellow proles. I've done the legwork and come up with ten careers suited for your hellish future.

1. Judge (Judge Dredd, Dredd)
Job Requirements: Extensive legal knowledge, skill with firearms, ability to confidently assert you are — in fact — the law.
Territory: Most likely Mega-City One, a sprawling city-state covering most of the U.S. East Coast.
Perks: Sweeping extralegal powers, sweet helmets.
Drawbacks: Dealing with mutants and disgruntled civilians, who view your sweeping extralegal powers as excessive, for some silly reason.

2. Blade Runner
(Blade Runner)
Job Requirements: "Retiring" rogue androids, enhancing photographs, administering personality tests to subjects that might shoot you in the belly.
Territory: A refreshingly drought-free Los Angeles.
Perks: The off chance a rogue android will fall in love with you instead of shooting you in the belly.
Drawbacks: As a human, you are woefully ill-equipped to fight androids. Also, nobody knows what "Blade Runner" means; is it metaphorical?

3. Baseball Fury
(The Warriors)
Job Requirements: Running, swinging a bat, must supply own uniform and make-up.
Territory: Riverside Park, Manhattan, in a sartorially curious future.
Perks: Menacing appearance tends to distract opponents from the fact you can’t really fight.
Drawbacks: You can’t really fight.

4. Decker (Shadowrun)
Job Requirements: Ability to hack into the Matrix, and also say that while keeping a straight face.
Territory: Wireless nodes are pretty much ubiquitous, so just about anywhere (21st-century workplaces, take note).
Perks: Learning about things like "astral security" and "technomancy"; the "cloud computing" and "paradigm shift" of the future.
Drawbacks: Hard to post racist memes on neo-Reddit when you have to look over your shoulder for orks, gnomes and dzoo-noo-qua.

5. Robot Fighter
(Magnus, Robot Fighter)
Job Requirements: Fighting robots. Seriously, it’s right there in the job title.
Territory: The bustling, continent-wide metroplex of North Am.
Perks: The eternal gratitude of all mankind.
Drawbacks: The eternal hatred of all robots, who – unfortunately for you – pretty much control everything in the year 4000.

6. Exterminator (Zardoz)
Job Requirements: Must be able to shoot peasants on the orders of a giant, floating stone head. Mustache and loincloth required.
Territory: Postapocalyptic Earth, occasionally the Vortex.
Perks: If you’re a guy, the Eternal female inhabitants of the Vortex, thanks to their immortal ennui, will likely want to jump your bones.
Drawbacks:The penis is evil.”

7. Street Samurai (Neuromancer)
Job Requirements: Bodyguard and assorted mercenary tasks, fighting the occasional yakuza.
Territory: The Sprawl (see also Mega-City One).
Perks: Various neural and cybernetic implants mean heightened senses and reflexes.
Drawbacks: To paraphrase Bill Hicks, are heightened senses really something you want in a huge, festering metropolis?

8. Founder of a Monastic Order (A Canticle for Leibowitz)
Job Requirements: Preserving humanity’s pre-nuclear war knowledge base. Former Judaism optional.
Territory: "Texark" area of North America.
Perks: As steward of mankind’s information base, you can easily excise things like Donald Trump and white chocolate from the collective consciousness.
Drawbacks: Future Trump supporters (know appropriately enough as “Simpletons”) may beat or burn you to death.

9. Esper (Akira)
Job Requirements: Definitely *not* mutating into a giant mass that threatens to consume mankind. Ha-ha.
Territory: Neo-Tokyo
Perks: Telepathy, teleportation, powerful headache medications.
Drawbacks: Everyone in the future yells a lot.

10. Toadie (The Road Warrior)
Job Requirements: Announcing the presence of the Lord Humungus, basic bootlicking.
Territory: The Wasteland, which is honestly pretty indistinguishable from pre-apocalypse Australia.
Perks: It’s probably more exciting than your previous job as a CNN mouthpiece.
Drawbacks: Loss of fingers is a definite potential workplace hazard.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar