“I want you to come and see me.”
Vashti watched his face in the blue plate.
“But I can see you!” she exclaimed. “What more do you want?”
“I want to see you not through the Machine,” said Kuno. “I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine.”
Vashti and her son Kuno inhabit opposite ends of a dystopian world where humans live underground in beehive-shaped isolation pods. Direct contact is considered impolite and discouraged. The “clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned”, and all communication happens through a speaking apparatus, which is not much different to video chatting. Travel to the surface of earth or other pods is allowed but needs approval and is largely frowned upon. All necessary requirements to sustain life are provided for by the omnipotent Machine, an allegory of the internet. Things move at the click of a button.
Sounds familiar? Because it