No, the title’s not missing a comma, nor is it about the Woody Allen movie. Well, not directly.
This is 2029. Proteopape – paper that acts like a touchscreen, produced for “merely hundredths of a cent” more than regular paper – is everywhere. It can be used for clothes, phones, even bathroom mirrors. Kite-fighting, played without tethers, is far more exciting. I love this world, and the glimpses we get into how much society has changed.
The story starts off with the inventor of proteopape waking up one morning to find his proteopape newspaper taunting him; something that, with his safeguards, should be impossible. Cue chaos, and the panic to find out what’s wrong that drives the rest of this fast-paced story.
That would be enough for any story, but di Filippo adds another major element with an awards ceremony honouring a new form of creativity: remixes. It is this that the title of the story refers to, of taking old films and remixing them for different effects, like turning tragic scenes into comedy, or dubbing inappropriate accents onto the characters. I’m not sure how prevalent remixes were in 2003, but the sheer volume of such things being posted on YouTube today helps sell the future where entertainment has changed as well as the technology.
What’s Up Tiger Lily by Paul di Filippo
Word count: 13,000
First published: The Silver Gryphon, May 2003
Where to find it: Free online at Infinity Plus
Neutrino Drag, collection, 2004, Four Walls Eight Windows
Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, 2007, Tachyon Publications
PS: For a more sympathetic look at remixes and the ethics behind remixes, check out Cory Doctorow’s new novel Pirate Cinema, which is named after them. It’s a good YA read, and the whole thing is available for free here.