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The Lunacy Lottery

by Edd Vick

This year's winner is Gallisiano. He lives in Venich, a city in the former country of Italiya, on the continent of Medit. We disconnect his netenna, we back up his brain, we blank his memory back to the age of seven, and inject our cocktail of randomly-chosen designer synaptic agonists and nanodevices. They attack or degrade or even enhance beyond bearing a number of his mental functions.

We have long since conquered everything needing defeat. The air is clean, and so is the water. There is no war, no pain, no disease. We have rid the world of mental ailments, of schizophrenia, of mania, of syndromes and isms and phobias.

After our treatment, Gallisiano lies on his bed for several hours, his gaze darting here and there, his fingers twitching, his tongue flitting out between his lips every few moments. Finally he sits up, and shivers as if cold before crossing to the window to look out on our magnificent hypermetropolis slumbering under a bloated crimson sun.

The only madness in the world is the one we allow. In deleting mental disorders we have destroyed genius. With our cranial computers we are supremely logical, preternaturally sensible. With our near-infinite lifespan we are inherently conservative, reclusively careful. We know these things.

A smidgeon of nonsense is vital.

Gallisiano leaves the room, wandering at will through near-empty streets, observing tame predators here, industrious robots there. He talks to things that are not meant to talk to.

Every year we conduct a worldwide lottery. The winner is isolated from the net, made mad for the space of twenty-four and one half hours. One day of lunacy. It is a wonder to us that there are so many synonyms for psychosis.

Finally he speaks. "Let us visit the stars."

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