26 of 196 Countries
Alicia Yanez Cossio
Project 196 is my attempt to read and post on a short story by an author from each of the 196 countries of the world. Today we are in Ecuador.
"The IWM 1000" (written at the earliest in 1990) if written now would possibly be rejected by many places for publication in its story about an object that brings us all the information we need, connects us to other people all over the world and seems to almost take over our lives. If written in 2013 people would say, OK cute story about the IPad and such devices. What makes this story interesting is that it was written long before these machines were a dream, unless in the mind of Steve Job.
All the universities have closed because the IWM 100 has made them superfluous. It makes it easy and cheap to get any kind of knowledge you want. It brought an entire era to an end. "Nobody had to take the trouble to learn anything because the machine, which could be hand carried or put on any piece of furniture, provided any information to anybody. It becomes an extension of the human mind. Many people would not be separated from it even during the most personal intimate acts". (Raise your hand if you have ever taken your tablet into the comfort room with you). Soon when people have discussions they just turn their machines to the same frequency and they carry it on for them.
Soon many people want to return to the past before there was no IWM 100. All they know to do is to ask the IWM 100 if there is any place in the world where it is not dominate. Yes in a very remote place called "Takandia". Soon people do strange never done anymore things like read books, go to museums, have real conversations. People had by now lost the ability to read as the IWM speaks to them but some begin to retrain themselves. They are soon labeled by most people as lunatics and then a few people buy tickets to Takandia. Once they get their they realize that for the first time in their lives they are among true human beings. They looked for friends, they yelled and screamed and began to strip off their clothes.
"The IWM 100 is a strange and interesting story. Maybe it is a kind of prophecy This reads like something Aldous Huxley might have written a long time ago. I read it in Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real.
Born in Ecuador in 1929, she is a journalist, major South American novelist and a poet. She has published two short story collections. None of her work seems to be online.
There are still four countries to cover in South America, Suriname and Paraguay look like a challenge. For now I cannot find any stories for them online so they will have to wait. If you know of any, please let me know. I will be making a quick trip across the Atlantic to Paris, fly from Quito to Miami and the Paris. Soon I will return to South America to post on stories by authors from Brazil and Uruguay.