The short story “Let’s Take This Viral” by Richard Larson was published for the first time in 2013.
After quite some time Default decides to go down to the nocturns to try to get a little moral boost after having dissolved the geneshare contract with his now-ex-lover. He’s fallen behind with the latest trends but his friend Schorr, who has since changed sex, helps him find the right post-human fun for him, also based on viruses and bacteria from the Old Earth.
“Let’s Take This Viral” is based on an idea already widely exploited: a protagonist who looks for some high after the end of a relationship. In this case, Richard Larson tries to imagine what kind of a high a post-human might look for in a future where physical changes and artificial intelligences are normal.
In that future, where medical technology is also extremely advanced, one way to get high might be injecting pathogens that would be lethal to today’s humans. Convulsive cough and vomiting might be funny for future hedonists because the feelings they give break the normal routine that in a very long life can become incredibly boring.
The effect is rather curious in the sense that reading “Let’s Take This Viral” you have a feeling of familiarity because the plot is about a moment that even today is of common life so it’s absolutely understandable even if the protagonists are post-humans but is told using words and concepts concerning that future.
The protagonists can be post-human but in this story it seems that technology hasn’t really changed human nature. One wonders if it’s realistic to think that human beings will be able to modify themselves radically but mentally will be the same as today. “Let’s Take This Viral” makes us think of this possible paradox. You can find this short story for example in the anthology “Ghost Girl – La ragazza fantasma” published by Future Fiction in English and Italian.