Perchance to Dream by James Austin McCormick | Script Revolution

Perchance to Dream



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A dead soldier follows the light at the end of the tunnel but discovers his own personal afterlife is nothing he could have imagined.

Set in the near future when corporations are more powerful than governments and fight each other for the solar system's resources, a soldier falls on the Martian battlefield only to wake in a dark tunnel. Following the light ahead he enters an office with a clerk waiting to discuss his contract. He is dead, that is beyond question, yet that doesn't mean his corporate employers are done with his services just yet.

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Perchance to Dream
A dead soldier follows the light at the end of the tunnel,
but discovers his own personal afterlife is nothing he could have imagined.

Imagine, for a second, a world (or universe) in which democracy has completely collapsed and evil, amoral corporations have seized supreme political control, overtaking government, controlling our economy, military and even us, as people. What’s that? We don’t have to imagine it at all? It’s happening now?

I’ll stay away from any political rants, but it’s no secret just how much corporations influence our government, our economy and us, as people, and our everyday lives. But what if these corporations controlled us… even after we’re dead?

That’s what author, James Austin McCormick, explores in his “Outer Limits”-esque sci-fi tale, Perchance to Dream.

It all takes place in the very distant future, where corporations reign supreme and are at war with each other, duking it out over the solar system’s resources. It’s also a future where DNA replication and gene patenting is regulated by one corporation in particular. Think of the way Monsanto was able to alter crop DNA and then essentially own it in perpetuity, thus monopolizing America’s agricultural market with its genetically modified seeds. Well, the corporation in Perchance to Dream is kinda the same thing, but with human DNA.

The story opens with battered and bloodied soldier, Captain Eli Jaxon, moving towards a light at the end of a tunnel. As he reaches the light, he finds himself in an office where he’s greeted by a nerdy, bespectacled clerk sitting behind a desk.

All Jaxon remembers is being on the battlefield, where an enemy shell exploded, decimating him and his troop. Next thing he knew, he was walking down a dark tunnel, towards a light.

“Am I dead?” Jackson asks.

Well, at this precise moment your body lays broken and bloodied
on the Martian battlefield, just outside Olympus Mons.
Both heart and respiratory functions have ceased.
Already brain cells are dying.

He taps his temple.

Your higher cognitive functions have ceased,
but your consciousness has been saved.
That now resides inside this virtual environment.

Okay, now I’m beginning to catch on.
That damn chip in my head.

It’s actually a crystal embedded in Jaxon’s central cortex, the clerk clarifies.

During this office meeting inside of Jaxon’s subconscious, the clerk then discusses some paperwork that had previously been signed by Jaxon.

Now, it says in your contract that if you’re to die during active duty
then a substantial payment is to be made to your family.

Unfortunately for Jaxon and the family that he’s survived by, there’s a sub clause in the contract that threatens payment – leaving his wife and kid, back on Earth, no longer entitled to compensation despite Jaxon being blown to bits over this corporation’s war.

There is, however, a way to make things right – to sign a new contract. By signing it, not only will his family be compensated, but he will be brought back to life to specifically complete his mission so that the corporation he’s fighting for can prevail. But, by signing that contract, he may be signing away much more than he had intended.

In Perchance to Dream, McCormick explores themes of power, lack of it and how individuals can become enslaved through gene patenting while also touching on what it means to be human… and whether or not that human side can truly be replicated.

Review by Michael J Kospiah
Submitted: April 24, 2020
Last Updated: April 24, 2020

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The Writer: James Austin McCormick

I'm a college lecturer and compulsive writer of speculative fiction. To date I've had many short stories published in various anthologies, as well as novellas and novels published with Class Act books. Anyone who wants to check out my fiction can find a detailed list at the link below: And my page on Amazon I also enjoy screenplay writing and along with a co- author had three horror scripts optioneds. I have also had several scripts place highly in international competitions. In addition to full length scripts, I also write shorter ones. One of these, "In the Silence" (... Go to bio

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