RedSox2086

ASTERISK: RED SOX 2086 | MARK LAFLAMME
First published: 2006 | Takes place: Um, 2086, duh
Mark LaFlamme's exposition-y baseball story, "Asterisk," shows us a Boston without cars. Instead, people get around in Astros, automatic pods powered by "electro gravity," implemented in 2019. Tap in your destination and they zoom off into the sky, traveling along old T routes and leaving trails of ionized air that glow faintly green "like ghosts" at night.

Boston itself is greatly changed, with anti-gravity footbridges and a skyline dominated by the Faraday Tower, rebuilt after being blown up in a cyber attack back in 2021. But Fenway Park is just the same as ever, protagonist Morris muses, "right down to the assaultive smells of frying food." Of course, plays are called by "photon buttons" at each of the bases, the former Green Monster periodically goes transparent to afford fans a view of downtown, and they don't serve beer anymore — anywhere.

This is all a framework for Morris to tell his wide-eyed grandson, Billy, about the time the Sox had to give up their World Series title after it turned out their star hitter was using quantum mechanics to cheat. All these years, and the Sox still can't get it right — some things never change.

— SR

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