The Planetary Broadcast Network: Retro Futurism

July 11, 2017

If you are caught up on the PBN Evening News, you’ve probably noticed that things are a bit different in the good ol’ US of A that James Dixon lives in. On the surface it’s the 1950s we know and love from black and white TV, but flying cars, short-range space travel, robot servants, and many other futuristic conveniences are common, all made possible by atomic power. This retro-futurist version of the 1950s is influenced by the predictive fiction of that era; magazines, comic books, B movies, Heinlein juveniles, and more. It’s an attempt to reimagine the culture and style of the decade, meshed with all the technology found in its cheesiest pulp sci-fi.  

In James Dixon’s world, the economy is booming, and so is the Cold War—capitalism wrestles with communism all across Europe and Asia. The US map shaped up a bit differently, but the postwar baby boom is in full swing in all 52 states. After the war ended, ladies quit their jobs at the plasma munitions plants, and soon many families were moving to the newly constructed suburbs to build their dream homes—with fully-stocked bomb shelters underneath. It’s a great time to be an American!  

But all roses have their thorns, and this atomic-powered version of the 1950s is no exception. With new technology comes new problems: in particular, the growing number of sentient robots.  

Already the National Department of Robotics has had to issue a PSA regarding “so-called ‘free-thought’ behavior” amongst robot servants. Activities as mundane as practicing an art or posing philosophical questions are, according to the NDR, signs that the robot in question could be a dangerous Soviet spy. “Loose Bolts Cause Revolts!” is their official slogan, and they urge all right-thinking citizens to report any suspect mechanical servants at once.  

But is it really the Reds they’re worried about…or the possibility of a robot revolution? To find out, keep listening to the PBN Evening News, updated weekly from the desk of James Dixon!