CYBERHELL

The weatherbeaten shells of skyscrapers hunch angular and ruinous, a corporate elephant graveyard skyline. A haphazard menagerie of broken glass and rotting plasteel, reeking of gilt and hubris. Still shining beneath the grime.

It is always drizzling. Drops of dark rainbow-film float down with dreamlike vertigo, oil and light mixing with the glowstick blood of neon ivy. Phosphorescence runs down the acid-burned brickwork and drips off the twisted mandelbrot iron of feral fire escapes. Countless pools of dirty water cling to the architecture, crawling across ceilings and walls, transforming the alleyways into mirror-halls and kaleidoscopes. A wonka-tunnel of claustrophobia. Some illusions are portals leading to the decomposed realms of dead gods, keepers of noxious air and acidic rain, feeding on whatever falls through.

The pitted cement bones of hyperbrutalist structures are studded with overlapping adverts, growing and layering like bismuth crystals, enfolding each other in automated competition. On their screens, brandmemes fight for square inches, waging an extinction-war of attention with entire generations of viral lifeforms growing and dying in picoseconds.

Obsolete electronics and rejected prototypes breed like vermin in the landfills and warehouses, creating artifacts of strange, never-realized futures. Tape decks whirr behind smartphone screens and 12-inch records spin on turntable servers, streaming the newest procedurally generated viral video. App rental stores are teeming with flocks of wild floppy discs, clattering over the shelves, harbingers of strange and ancient diseases. E-reader virtual pets slaughter one another after several weeks without their burger emoji button being pressed, pink and green rabbitmice gutting each other with their cute semicircle teeth. Hi-def CGI fur smeared and matted with 16-bit entrails.

Profits are always up from last quarter, through there are no longer people to enjoy them. Automated stock-trading algorithms shuffle numbers through failing fiber-optic infrastructure. Neural-networks autocannibalize their own content. Bots scream branded nonsense into the void of each other. Production is up, efficiency is up, there are no jobs. The economy is doing fantastic.