Discussion:
IASID: black-mirroresqe story from (maybe) the 80's
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Michael Grosberg
2018-09-08 20:35:07 UTC
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Hi, I'm looking for a short story ID. Here's what I remember:
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy" stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself might be more recent.
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a story that fit the plot.
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch, worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.

That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
Jack Bohn
2018-09-08 22:50:09 UTC
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Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy" stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself might be more recent.
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a story that fit the plot.
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch, worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan had murderous nanobots as a food additive required by the government. (The one impossibility traditionally allowed per story? or would that be that politicians are not immune to it? part of the background is a radio personality who incites his audience to target some egregious offender per day.) Too many votes in too short a time, and the nanobots kill (he said, nBon-spoilery).

ISFDB.com says it saw print in 1995 in an anthology _How to Save the World_.
--
-Jack
Greg Goss
2018-09-09 00:27:02 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy" stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself might be more recent.
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a story that fit the plot.
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch, worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan had murderous nanobots as a food additive required by the government. (The one impossibility traditionally allowed per story? or would that be that politicians are not immune to it? part of the background is a radio personality who incites his audience to target some egregious offender per day.) Too many votes in too short a time, and the nanobots kill (he said, nBon-spoilery).
ISFDB.com says it saw print in 1995 in an anthology _How to Save the World_.
I think Piper's Lone Star Planet made it legal to off politicians.
But not the ordinary folks.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-09-09 00:29:35 UTC
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Post by Michael Grosberg
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy"
stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself
might be more recent.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a
Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a
story that fit the plot.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the
number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill
you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch,
worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan had murderous nanobots as a food
additive required by the government. (The one impossibility
traditionally allowed per story? or would that be that politicians are
not immune to it? part of the background is a radio personality who
incites his audience to target some egregious offender per day.) Too
many votes in too short a time, and the nanobots kill (he said,
nBon-spoilery).
Post by Jack Bohn
ISFDB.com says it saw print in 1995 in an anthology _How to Save the World_.
I think Piper's Lone Star Planet made it legal to off politicians.
But not the ordinary folks.
Just so. "Being a politician" was a legal justification for
homicide.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Magewolf
2018-09-09 13:27:41 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Michael Grosberg
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy"
stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself
might be more recent.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a
Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a
story that fit the plot.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the
number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill
you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch,
worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan had murderous nanobots as a food
additive required by the government. (The one impossibility
traditionally allowed per story? or would that be that politicians are
not immune to it? part of the background is a radio personality who
incites his audience to target some egregious offender per day.) Too
many votes in too short a time, and the nanobots kill (he said,
nBon-spoilery).
Post by Jack Bohn
ISFDB.com says it saw print in 1995 in an anthology _How to Save the World_.
I think Piper's Lone Star Planet made it legal to off politicians.
But not the ordinary folks.
Just so. "Being a politician" was a legal justification for
homicide.
Sort of like how it is legal to kill movie critics in Texas in The Critic.
Bill Gill
2018-09-09 14:01:22 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Michael Grosberg
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy"
stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself
might be more recent.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a
Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a
story that fit the plot.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the
number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill
you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch,
worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan had murderous nanobots as a food
additive required by the government. (The one impossibility
traditionally allowed per story? or would that be that politicians are
not immune to it? part of the background is a radio personality who
incites his audience to target some egregious offender per day.) Too
many votes in too short a time, and the nanobots kill (he said,
nBon-spoilery).
Post by Jack Bohn
ISFDB.com says it saw print in 1995 in an anthology _How to Save the World_.
I think Piper's Lone Star Planet made it legal to off politicians.
But not the ordinary folks.
Just so. "Being a politician" was a legal justification for
homicide.
Just being a politician wasn't necessarily a justification. There
would be a trial, but the defense would be that the politician did
something outrageous. The one trial we saw (before the denouement)
the politician had introduced a bill to create an income tax.

Bill
Michael Grosberg
2018-09-15 14:32:31 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy" stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself might be more recent.
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a story that fit the plot.
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch, worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
"Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan
--
-Jack
Thank you, that has to be it!

b***@dontspam.silent.com
2018-09-09 21:31:18 UTC
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On Sat, 8 Sep 2018 13:35:07 -0700 (PDT), Michael Grosberg
Post by Michael Grosberg
* I may have read it in an anthology of "controversial" or "edgy" stories, I think the story is from the late 80's. The anthology itself might be more recent.
* The anthology may have been published by Baen, or the author was a Baen regular. I thought maybe Pournelle or Stirling but couldn't find a story that fit the plot.
* Plot: a future society in which, if enough people downvote you (the number is, I think, 500,000 or thereabouts), it becomes legal to kill you. The protag made a lot of people angry and can now be killed.
* there may have been a communication device shaped like a watch, worn by everyone, that has something to do with it.
That's all I remember. I read it in this decade, 10-5 years ago.
Does anyone recognize it?
Sounds a bit like "A Ticket To Tranai" by Robert Sheckley.

The President has just been killed by the Presidential Seal exploding.
Around his neck.

“All government officials,” Melith explained, “wear the badge of
office, which contains a traditional amount of tessium, an explosive
you may have heard of. The charge is radio-controlled from the
Citizen’s Booth. Any citizen has access to the Booth, for the purpose
of expressing his disapproval of the government.”

Melith sighed. “This will go down as a permanent black mark against
poor Borg’s record.”

“You let the people express their disapproval by blowing up
officials?” Goodman croaked, appalled.

“It’s the only way that means anything,” said Melith.
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