What football will look like in the future
July 5, 2017 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Something is terribly wrong. Jon Bois (previously) starts a new series on the future, football and the future of football.
posted by creade (251 comments total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
 
god. jon bois is truly a national treasure. i think i say that every time i see a post of his but it's really true
posted by burgerrr at 12:29 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Welp.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:30 PM on July 5


Is this episode 9 of the new Twin Peaks?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:35 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


I wondered what Jon Bois was doing lately.

I still have no idea, but I am greatly entertained.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 12:40 PM on July 5 [21 favorites]


If I knew how to do it, I would option this for a movie.
posted by drezdn at 12:41 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I keep saying, now that Ta-Nehisi Coates has one, those MacArthur Foundation fuckers better learn how to pronounce "Bois".

boyce
posted by Etrigan at 12:43 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Don't what that was, but I bailed pretty quickly. Seems like it might be a nightmare on mobile, as well.
posted by tommasz at 12:45 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


So... It's **SUPPOSED** to do the weird text growing to black screen followed by an endless calendar of bullshit thing?
posted by sotonohito at 12:47 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


So... It's **SUPPOSED** to do the weird text growing to black screen followed by an endless calendar of bullshit thing?

For a while, yes.
posted by Etrigan at 12:48 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


What.inthefuck.
posted by sperose at 12:51 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


If you don't want to go through the calendar...

Spoilers....




It begins with pioneer 9 and 10 talking to each other many years in the future. Once they figure out how to, they communicate quantumly, speeding up their lag time. Then they decide to focus on a football game played in the far future in Nebraska with the states on either end serving as endzones. Here's a link to the second page of the story


end spoilers
posted by drezdn at 12:52 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


I can't do the whole thing at work, but holy hell, it looks awesome. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Gorgik at 12:52 PM on July 5


The scale of the far-future football game makes it seem like this might be a sequel to The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles. Still too soon to tell, though.
posted by bassooner at 12:55 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


I like Jon Bois in a mighty p'wrful way, but--

The opening to this article is about the most reader-unfriendly gimmick I've come across. I flip to the tab and there's words but they're rapidly GROWING IN SIZE ๐—ข๐— ๐—š ๐—œ๐—ง๐—ฆ ๐—›๐—จ๐—š๐—˜ and then the page autoforwards to another page.

I obviously missed something in those javascript shenanigans so I close the page and load again from the initial link, but now it seems there's some cookie set and it starts me into the rest of it immediately? I try loading it in another browser and Chrome starts with the text pre-biggened.

๐‘บ๐’‘๐’†๐’‚๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’” ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’๐’† ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’—๐’‚๐’๐’–๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’•๐’š๐’๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ, I don't think it should go to these extremes. I like reading words, not being subjected to a glitchy improv Powerpoint slideshow in my browser.

I might be speaking harshly here, but sheesh.
posted by JHarris at 1:16 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


If you try to read this on an Android phone, it will appear as though something horrific is about to happen to you.

In real life, not on the phone.

You will drop the phone. It will probably break.

You will be very scared for a few minutes. Then you will figure out what happened and then go to the site on a PC or Mac.

Then you will wonder why "text growing on the phone" triggers something while "text growing on a PC screen" does not.

Then you will read WHATEVER THE HELL THAT THING WAS, and stop after part one. Then go to Metafilter and talk about what just happened.

(Maybe just me. *shrug*)
posted by andreaazure at 1:16 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Idea! What if the main link were changed to point directly to Chapter 1? I wish there were an entry point to this that didn't engage in scripting shenanigans, that just laid out the premise. I have no doubt the article itself is terrific.
posted by JHarris at 1:23 PM on July 5


I liked all the shenanigans, but then I'm not on a phone.
posted by emjaybee at 1:32 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Wow. This is great.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


๐‘บ๐’‘๐’†๐’‚๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’” ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’๐’† ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’—๐’‚๐’๐’–๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’•๐’š๐’๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ

what witchcraft is this
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:38 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


๐”ฅ๐”ž๐”ฑ ๐”ด๐”ฆ๐”ฑ๐” ๐”ฅ๐” ๐”ฏ๐”ž๐”ฃ๐”ฑ ๐”ฆ๐”ฐ ๐”ฑ๐”ฅ๐”ฆ๐”ฐ
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:44 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Is this episode 9 of the new Twin Peaks?
paper chromatographologist at 3:35 PM on July 5

No
hal9k at 3:35 PM on May 4, 2018
posted by hal9k at 1:46 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


This is so fucking weird.

It's like up there with Frog Fractions and Too Many Cooks.

I love this shit.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:51 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Something is terribly wrong with this webpage. Does not render correctly on android. Any content is lost to the intentional gimmick.
posted by anti social order at 1:51 PM on July 5


is steely dan still together

What?

prolly


Genius.
posted by graventy at 1:54 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


yeah is there a way to go back to the very beginning?
posted by anazgnos at 2:00 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


better learn how to pronounce "Bois".

boyce


Wait, is that his real name? I always assumed it was a jokey nom de plume and was pronounced "john-boy"

and yeah, this is bizarre but awesome, as is all his stuff, even though I have almost zero interest in football.
posted by Naberius at 2:10 PM on July 5


cmon man what this is gettin good
posted by rlk at 2:10 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


I was hoping this led to a video, because I loved his Pretty Good series. I set my expectations too low.
posted by zachlipton at 2:11 PM on July 5


i don't even like football but wow i really like this. the beginning, just scrolling through the calendars, was one of the most stressful things i've ever read
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:18 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


If you're wondering what else Jon Bois is up to, Card Party is hands down the best bowling card related entertainment I have seen.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:19 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Come back tomorrow? Arrrgh.
posted by notyou at 2:41 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]



MetaFilter: If I knew how to do it, I would option this for a movie.

MetaFilter: I might be speaking harshly here, but sheesh.

MetaFilter๐’:๐’•๐’š๐’๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’„๐’Œwhat witchcraft is this

MetaFilter: This is so fucking weird.

MetaFilter: Frog Fractions and Too Many Cooks

MetaFilter: I love this shit

MetaFilter: Come back tomorrow? Arrrgh.

MetaFilter: oh god I can't stop

MetaFilter: SINGULARITY

posted by Songdog at 3:05 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


The scale of the far-future football game makes it seem like this might be a sequel to The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles. Still too soon to tell, though.

In a deleted Tweet from yesterday, I believe he called it a "spiritual successor" to the Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles.

If people are confused, they should really check out the previouslies. The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles and What the heck is a catch in the NFL, anyway? An explainer will probably prepare you the best for this. (The latter is less of a commitment, i.e., less than 43,000 words long.)
posted by kmz at 3:19 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


The long bit with the calendar and the conversation between the two Pioneer spacecraft was reminiscent of something out of Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics.
Which is a good thing.
More things in life should be reminiscent of Cosmicomics.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:25 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


๐‘บ๐’‘๐’†๐’‚๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’” ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’๐’† ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’—๐’‚๐’๐’–๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’•๐’š๐’๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ
what witchcraft is this


๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ฎ'๐“ผ ๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ฟ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ช๐“ต ๐“น๐“ต๐“ช๐“ฌ๐“ฎ๐“ผ ๐“ธ๐“ท ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ท๐“ฎ๐“ฝ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ช๐“ฝ ๐”€๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ต ๐“ญ๐“ธ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฒ๐“ผ ๐“ฏ๐“ธ๐“ป ๐”‚๐“ธ๐“พ (๐“–๐“ธ๐“ธ๐“ฐ๐“ต๐“ฎ "๐“ค๐“ท๐“ฒ๐“ฌ๐“ธ๐“ญ๐“ฎ ๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐”๐“ฝ ๐“ฌ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฟ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป") ๐“ซ๐“พ๐“ฝ ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ฎ ๐“ฒ๐“ผ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฎ ๐“˜ ๐“พ๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ญ.
posted by JHarris at 3:38 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Jon Bois is a treasure and probably one of the best humorists on the internet currently.
posted by Ferreous at 3:39 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


i

it

I'm not sure if I want it to stop or if I'm afraid that it will
posted by delfin at 4:09 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I read it on a phone and literally gasped at the amazingness of the first page. This is amazing.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:22 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Okay, now that I've gotten into it a bit more, I love the content of this, and I can even understand that weird intro bit with the growing text, a little.

I think what happened with me is I opened the link in a new tab, as is my custom, and when I finally tabbed to it EVERYTHING WAS HUGE AND STILL GROWING and then another page opened WTF.
posted by JHarris at 4:26 PM on July 5


I really wish I could get my IRL friends on board for a Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles tabletop RPG.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:27 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


(Which goes to show -- on the web, everyone browses differently, with different browsers and different extensions and different tools and with different needs, and it's dangerous to assume what will work for some people will work for everyone.)
posted by JHarris at 4:28 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


It worked fine on my phone but what is this "story continues tomorrow" bullshit?! I want to know what's going on!
posted by Wretch729 at 4:53 PM on July 5


I did get a little salty when I thought I was going to have to scroll through 27 years of calendars, but In Bois I Trust at this point.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:55 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


What the hell is this genius
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:09 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Holy shit this is amazing.
posted by quaking fajita at 5:15 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


The comparison to Frog Fractions is accurate. It gives me the exact same feeling: totally on board but also completely bewildered. I'm so glad Jon Bois gets paid to do this.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:18 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


GAAAAAH NO WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE NEXT PART!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:20 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Fuck now I owe Michael Bay an apology.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:37 PM on July 5


Finished part one, fucking awesome. This is the kind of art I get fired up about. Not gonna watch part two right now. The technique in part one, the long spaces, the distance. Oh man.
posted by vrakatar at 5:52 PM on July 5


I continue to believe that Jon Bois is in fact some kind of hyper-advanced AI that was accidentally generated from a copy of Madden.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:56 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


It works perfectly on android, you just need to run with it. And maybe use landscape mode to read the calendars.
posted by fshgrl at 6:02 PM on July 5


Eagerly awaiting the great^27-grandson of Clarence Beeftank.

And Clarence himself.
posted by delfin at 6:54 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


This is a case study for legitimate use of javascript in longform writing.

Possibly the only such case.

I really like it.
posted by postcommunism at 7:02 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Oh nooo someone let me know when tomorrowโ€™s update comes
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:05 PM on July 5


I wish mobile hadn't choked weird web design so people made more stuff like this.
posted by smasuch at 7:50 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Part 2 ended up interspersed with a lot of grey boxes on my phone, but in desktop the same thing basically happened at first - those are some big gifs.
posted by Artw at 7:53 PM on July 5


This is pretty interesting I was definitely unfamiliar with him. Funny that his name is pronounced Boyce though because how it is spelled is the French word for wood and definitely not Boyce or boys it is pronounced bwษ‘.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:06 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Or bo, as in bois d'arc ("bodark")
posted by emjaybee at 8:33 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


bwah, b-o-i-s, bwah
posted by mwhybark at 8:56 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Fucking A. That, just as it is, is a Nebula, or should be, or I don't even. I. it like future with like hyperblingee and zingg and geez I
posted by mwhybark at 9:16 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


This off season Jon Bois called into an episode of the Shutdown Fullcast, an SB Nation college football podcast that specializes in high concept jokes, shittiness and minimal sports reporting. One quickly got the impression that, even between Ryan Nanni and Spencer Hall, Bois is the guy you hope never speaks up in editorial meetings because his jokes or references are just going to be too weird to translate. The podcast ended when one of the skype lines just turned into an irritating repetitive beeping that I'm pretty sure was Bois fucking with his bosses.

It was my favorite episode of any podcast ever.
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:15 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


I tried watching this a couple times on mobile and just thought it was some obnoxious ad, then came to the comments. I marked this to come back later, seeing as it was a deliberately shitty link and then sat to try to scroll through the fucking calendar, and read the stuff and watched the video and ... ok. And I only did that because I know John Bois from metafilter, and I generally think his stuff is great.

But holy shit, if this is not that interminable fucking prog rock intro that your stoner friend says you HAVE to hear.

And there's another page.
posted by lkc at 11:25 PM on July 5


Whoa I Instapapered this earlier and happened to still have it open in my mobile browser. I saw it when I closed a tab and thought I would check it out, then I got sucked in. This is amazing. Nice work sbnation, the URL of a sports site definitely did not prepare me for some speculative fiction.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:59 AM on July 6


You did it again Bois, you sonofabitch.
posted by Tevin at 5:38 AM on July 6


Jon bois loves the sax.
posted by GreatValhalla at 5:40 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


This story goes beyond Pretty Good.

Remember when the internet was fun and weird? This is the kind of stuff it should be, not endless repetitions of the same few layouts with headers and overlays for advertising.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:32 AM on July 6 [22 favorites]


Who's Juice?
posted by whuppy at 7:45 AM on July 6


Watch the credits sequence. JUICE gets explained (somewhat).
posted by Etrigan at 7:46 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Honestly I couldn't help but read all of JUICE's dialogue in Justin McElroy's voice. (I can't help but wonder if it's an oblique double reference... I know Jon listens to MBMBAM.)
posted by kmz at 8:00 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


This is so good.

JHarris: I think what happened with me is I opened the link in a new tab, as is my custom, and when I finally tabbed to it EVERYTHING WAS HUGE AND STILL GROWING and then another page opened WTF. ... (Which goes to show -- on the web, everyone browses differently, with different browsers and different extensions and different tools and with different needs, and it's dangerous to assume what will work for some people will work for everyone.)

The thing is, the technology worked for you -- you had the intended experience. You're supposed to load the page and then the text grows and you're lost in blackness and have no idea where you are, and then you read a narrative where the character is having the same experience. I think it's more, this goes to show that for some people (or on some days) a weird unexpected artwork is an amazing thing, and for other people (or on other days) it's just annoying -- can't win them all.

yeah is there a way to go back to the very beginning?

You have to clear the "localStorage.pageExploded" variable. Go to https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football, type "javascript:" in the URL bar, paste localStorage.pageExploded = "false" , submit that URL, and reload.

Doing that, I managed to catch the text of the article before it exploded:
It's clear that the sport of football needs to change. And the $64,000 question, my friends, is simple: "how?" Something is terribly wrong. The writing's on the wall: youth participation in the sport is down, thanks in large part to their parents' concern for their health.
In recent years, the NFL has something is terribly wrong. In response to numerous clinical studies regarding something is terribly wrong, the league has taken action โ€” and something is terribly wrong. Oh no. Something is terribly wrong.
Do you hear that? Do not be afraid, but something is terribly wrong. I'm afraid that this page is going to disintegrate. Don't worry, nothing will be hurt, although you may be extraordinarily confused. I think I see a calendar. I don't know. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Something is terribly wrong.
posted by john hadron collider at 8:09 AM on July 6 [20 favorites]


Future Presidents, from the credits sequence at the end of the first page:
Donald Trump (2017-2025)
Tom Cotton (2025-2029)
Tulsi Gabbard (2029-2037)
Keith Ellison (2037-2045)
George P. Bush (2045-2049)
Bernie Sanders (2049-2057)
posted by Etrigan at 8:34 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


Did Pioneer 9 have an actual camera? I love this whole thing so much so far. I need Metafilter's various nerds to beanplate the shit out of it please.
posted by IanMorr at 8:37 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Story continues tomorrow? No. Continue the story now.
posted by vbfg at 8:48 AM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Metabeanplating: I think designing good onramps for faux-documentary glitch art is really interesting. For example the book Cloud Atlas now includes a minor spoiler above the fold on Amazon because so many readers complained: "Product Alert: This book does not contain a misprint on page 39. ..." Not the best onramp, but maybe unavoidable.

The problem is you need readers to accept that whatever they experience is intentional for this genre to work. (Also the secret to great restaurants.) But that gets tricky for digital work, because unintentional glitches are so common. If you find a Kindle book or website with a bizarre error, it takes some real optimism to assume it's intentional.
posted by john hadron collider at 9:19 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Future Presidents, from the credits sequence at the end of the first page:
Donald Trump (2017-2025)


ok now I hate you jon bois
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:22 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


I want whatever life extension thing Bernie is going to have that he can be president when he's 107.
posted by numaner at 9:34 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


If Tim Tebow scrambles for a long touchdown run and kneels to say a little prayer, but then they call the play back for holding, does that call back the prayer?
posted by BentFranklin at 10:44 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was brilliant storytelling. I found tears coming to my eyes as I kept scrolling through the calendars, and was moved by the reveal.

And I know nothing about football but want to know what happens next in the game! Does she make the tornado-assisted touchdown?
posted by Lexica at 10:47 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Man, I am in love with Jon Bois.
posted by snwod at 11:23 AM on July 6


New chapters are up!
posted by kmz at 11:36 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


And it looks like we won't get an update on Nancy until Saturday, if I'm reading that map right.
posted by kmz at 11:42 AM on July 6


Man, Juice is deeper than a Jovian moon's subsurface water reservoirs.
posted by IanMorr at 12:03 PM on July 6


So how do you pronounce the title of this work? Given that it is intended to be a year about 16000 years in the future (I think?), I'm going with "one-seventy-seven-seventy-six".
posted by Rock Steady at 12:16 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


goddammit now i want a lunchable
posted by yasaman at 12:20 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


In my head I've been saying "seventeen seven seventysix".
posted by kmz at 12:22 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]




".neatly partitioned meats and cheeses appeal to me on an aesthetic level ok mfer"

It just keeps getting better.
posted by zachlipton at 12:49 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


BURNING QUESTION: if people stopped being born, dying, and aging on April 7, 2026 does that mean all the babies and children also stopped aging? Are there 15,000 year old babies? Are people still taking care of unnaturally long-lived children who are unable to develop into adults but who are nonetheless stuck alive in some sort of hellish perma-youth? Like, remember that episode of Highlander where there's this fucked up immortal who's stuck being like eight years old for all of eternity, or at least until someone chopped his head off, and he was basically a psychopath who conned other immortals into thinking he was an innocent child and then he chopped their heads off?

Anyway I have a lot of questions and I am definitely nominating this for Yuletide this year.
posted by yasaman at 12:51 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


There's also "one-triple-seven-six," which saves three syllables off of "Seventeen-seven-seventy-six."
posted by JHarris at 12:54 PM on July 6


"New Bois Thing" saves another three syllables.
posted by Etrigan at 1:14 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


> Are there 15,000 year old babies?

And how are people surviving trips up through tornadoes, football-in-hand? Are "people" even meat-based human beings anymore? If Pioneer 10 can reach sentience with 6 kibibytes of storage , maybe everyone uploaded their consciousnesses into smartphones and thermostats?
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 1:14 PM on July 6


And how are people surviving trips up through tornadoes, football-in-hand?

Reference to "nanos" after a car crash in the latest episode, so I'm guessing those. Nanos.
posted by neustile at 1:26 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


In this very far future the SingularityTM has effectively made people immortal and given them endurance powers comparable to those of Superman. Nanotechnology may have had something to do with this, though that alone wouldn't explain the ability for the MST3K space robot observers to communicate faster than light and achieve sentience. Presumably the human babies grow up* but then they don't get decrepit and sick and die.

* that is if they want to -- the Three Laws turn into a bit of a rabbit hole when the robot is effectively omnipotent.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:14 PM on July 6


So many questions. Why 2026? Why only 8 million left? What happened to the lunchables?
posted by nat at 4:47 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, I didn't even realize it was 8 million and not 8 billion. Maybe everyone else left the planet? Or found a way to off themselves in the intervening 15,000 years, I guess.
posted by yasaman at 5:06 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Next few years of climate change are going to be a bitch, it seems.
posted by Artw at 5:09 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


well if no one is born anymore, everyone can still die even without aging, and humans have a pretty great track record at killing vast numbers of ourselves.

I kinda want some ham lunchables, and maybe some nanos.

I really should visit some of these places before climate change erase them in the next 20-30 years.

I don't watch football, I'm even kind of negative about the whole thing, but now I kinda wanna collect some Dan Nguyen footballs. That'd be a great story some day.
posted by numaner at 5:11 PM on July 6


Ty Detmer autographed footballs, on the other hand, aren't worth shit.

also "hampuck" is now in my vocabulary
posted by delfin at 5:44 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Oh! Today was terrific. I like how there are no tells. Whatever the rules of the world Bois has discovered, he's sticking with them, and he's not breaking out of the wall to tell us what they are or to give us some exposition or whatever. He's just showing and counting on us catching up. (Sorry for the cliche.)
posted by notyou at 7:08 PM on July 6


Is there a Pulitzer category for "CSS sports fiction?" What about "Meta-journalism trolling?" Either way Bois is a lock.
posted by midmarch snowman at 9:35 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


1. ...oh, this is nice.

2. State-wide football game shows up somewhere else... It wasn't a dream I had somewhere it was part of a novel, Sci-Fi and in it there was a football game that covered most of the mid-west (?) and one of the lead characters gets involved(?) or at least has to maneuver around the game... dammit, tip-of-my-tongue...
posted by From Bklyn at 3:13 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


So, he's not going to update for 27 years and 13 days is he?
posted by fullerine at 9:22 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]


Chapters 5 and 6 are up.
posted by IanMorr at 11:22 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Help us solve the greatest, dumbest mystery of our time.
posted by wotsac at 11:49 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


So this is how that went down. Washington had the ball at the north coast of the reservoir. They throw it deep into the water, the wall just kinda plops in and floats at the surface. But the ball's still live, right?

It didn't touch the ground.

Right! What ground? It didn't touch the ground. So what you're left with is a two-mile mad scramble for the ball. It's a live ball the whole time.



This is brilliant and now I want to play cross country football with overly literal rules about what constitutes a down. It'd be like Journey to the End of the Night....but mixed with camping and, I don't know, wrestling?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:52 AM on July 7


So that explains why there are only 8 million people left -- the nanos came about after people stopped aging or getting sick, so there were still plenty of ways to die for a long time.
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


football and the future of football.
"All right, so it's now the year 5518. The game is now 788 years old".
Not much changes then?
posted by fullerine at 11:58 AM on July 7


I'm like 80% sure that this only exists because Jon Bois bought up a bunch of Koy Detmer memorabilia that he's trying to move.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:23 PM on July 7 [9 favorites]


I bet Juice moved the line.
Eventually all of humanity will be caught in various gorges and canyons playing absurd games of football forever.

"Story continues tomorrow"-- gah.
posted by nat at 12:24 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Dang it. That video is a bit of exposition. Done well though! Gotta read fast.
posted by notyou at 12:41 PM on July 7


I wouldn't want to watch it, but I'd love to read about it. It's like baseball.

It's everything I feel about sports, summed up in two sentences.
posted by numaner at 2:14 PM on July 7 [8 favorites]


This is just the best thing ever.
posted by octothorpe at 4:58 PM on July 7


oh crapolla now I'm so far behind I don't know if ill ever catch up.
posted by vrakatar at 5:46 PM on July 7


Nah, it took me like 20 minutes tops to read everything there is so far beginning to end.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:19 PM on July 7




It took me a while to notice that the continents on google earth have changed.
posted by postcommunism at 9:30 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of in love with Jon Bois right now. Really enjoying this thing he's doing. The 'nanos' bit made me genuinely laugh out loud more than once.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:17 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


It took me a while to notice that the continents on google earth have changed.
posted by postcommunism at 3:30 on July 9 [2 favorites +] [!]


OH SHIT I HADN'T NOTICED GOING BACK NOW

also is it just me or does Juice remind anyone of Dave Strider
posted by divabat at 6:39 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Also this is the sort of stuff I love reading (and really want to write some day) so if anyone has any recs for similarly metatextual glitchy prose like this hit me up
posted by divabat at 6:40 PM on July 8


divabat, have you seen instruction for a help? (previously on metafilter, and again)
posted by moonmilk at 7:53 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


oh crapolla now I'm so far behind I don't know if ill ever catch up.


seventeen thousand years, give or take a couple millennia. no bigs, speed reading and technology are your friends, for the most part
posted by mwhybark at 9:38 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


"On the same day, people stopped dying, and people stopped aging" must be a simplification for "people stopped dying from natural causes" -- the nano network started in the 2800s and was basically perfected by the 3500s and protects people from environmental hazards. If there are, in 17776, 8,073,301 people on Earth, then yeah, a TON of them have died since 2026, some accidentally between 2026 and the 3500s, but I presume some from Children Of Men-esque despair. Or nearly everyone went into space -- but if that were the case then I think Ten's defense of recreation in the face of immortality would have gone differently.

yasaman, given what Henry in Bee said in the latest installment, I think there are no kids. Which means that maybe everyone who was a child in 2026 did age into an adult and so I think "On the same day, people stopped dying, and people stopped aging" is a simplification for "people stopped dying from natural causes, and adults stopped aging".

Jon Bois, Alexandra Erin, and Alexandra Petri are doing such amazing speculative fiction work right now. 17776 in particular is breathtaking. I love the conversations and the stories, like two people not sure whether they've met before, and Nancy feeling like a bookmark, and the melancholy over New York City and unused sidewalks. I agree with Jed Hartman that 17776 probably deserves nomination for a Hugo, probably in the category "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form".
posted by brainwane at 6:35 AM on July 9 [10 favorites]


I think I would pay money to watch game 27.
posted by zabuni at 11:49 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Game 27 is one of the most bananas amazing things I've read in recent memory. I wanna visit that Bojangles.

Hugo-worthy, indeed.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:10 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


I want to eat a Lunchable while watching Game 27.

This is the best thing I have read in ages. It's making my brain hurt in such a beautiful way.
posted by shiny blue object at 6:47 PM on July 9


Did you know they have fancy adult lunchables now, with nice meats and those crispy bread round things that are classier than crackers and higher class cheeses

Anyway I just bought the good ol' classic lunchable. no regrets.
posted by yasaman at 7:17 PM on July 9


JUICE's reference to the definition of a catch is probably coming from the same place as Bois's "What the heck is a catch in the NFL, anyway? An explainer" which reminds me of Patrick Farley's Electric Sheep Comix.

Today I read the Tebow piece, which was also an absolute stunner, and which led me to think about why Bois makes 2026 a significant year in both stories.
posted by brainwane at 8:08 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I've been trying to explain to people this thing, 17776, and the context of Bois's work as a digital humanities journalist and entertainer alongside his fiction writing, and the edge case-poking fannishness, and his persistent fascination with the kind of drive/obsession that leads people and teams to extremes, and his basically existentialist (we are but tiny specks and it's a good thing we have stuff like sports to keep us occupied so we don't go catatonic with despair at our insignificance) appreciation of athletic contests.

A couple years ago, after spending several years reading fanfic, I started reading profic romance novels, specifically by Courtney Milan, and realized that some of them are super enjoyable and that they can have a particularly moving take on vulnerability, courage, how many guards we usually have up and how breathtaking it can be to allow yourself to change. Bois's fiction is awakening me to the sports genre as Courtney Milan's fiction awoke me to the romance genre; Bois is amazing at talking about the things we do to give our lives meaning.
posted by brainwane at 8:32 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


Yesterday's installment really brings the more bureaucratic side of the infernokrusher, I just realized.
posted by brainwane at 4:52 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


So, in the future, football is Existential Calvinball?

...

I'm okay with that.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:40 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


It's such an odd mix of sweet and melancholy I don't think I've ever read anything like it. It's not the interactive stuff, though that's great, it's the writing, it's the three satellites as some sort of lonely Greek chorus for a humanity that may be winding down but also mostly ok with that. Though maybe they're not but don't know what to do about it.

I don't know. I keep thinking about it, which is how I know a piece has gotten to me.
posted by emjaybee at 7:43 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


So I resisted the impulse to comment that it seemed like Bois was specifically speaking to me when he included an excerpt from a National Register Nomination Form in this speculative work about the future of football (I used to be an historic preservation professional, and I have written my own future-football-fic right here on metafilter dot com), but now he brings in Sir Walter Raleigh and Bojangles? I live in the NC Triangle and would eat cajun filet biscuits multiple times a day if I had my druthers. Uh... am I Jon Bois?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:48 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Yesterday's installment really brings the more bureaucratic side of the infernokrusher, I just realized.

I think the implied message about capitalism would make it FALSE INFERNOKRUSHER.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on July 10


Also thematically related: Bois's defense of participation trophies (and of the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, and of striving for its own sake), and his comparison between the Pioneer spacecraft and the institution of baseball (found via a Twitter conversation where he mentions writing that while outlining 17776). Both are relatively short and in text rather than being multimedia extravaganzas.

Thinking about Bois's work spurred me to go back and reread Holly Gramazio's "Deadly Serious Games: fictional games and what they tell us". In her list of subgenres, she discusses "The Game Is Omnipresent", where "the magic circle is permeable":
And then there are the books and movies where the game is background, a built-in part of the world: something that everyone knows about and most people play, a normal part of life.
This helps me think about a particular alienness Bois creates here and in Tebow, reconfiguring the intensity of a football game so it's more like a scavenger hunt, an Antarctic mission, or a territorial feud.

She also talks about the subtextual reassurance in "stories in which itโ€™s somehow extremely important that a child with no friends is really really good at a gameโ€ฆ" (e.g., Ender's Game and The Last Starfighter) which makes me think about the analogic situation around athletics and fandom in 17776 (it's somehow extremely important that people keep playing and following football).

(New one is going to go up this afternoon Eastern Time evidently. I'm so head-over-heels with this story. Can't wait.)
posted by brainwane at 10:42 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


yessss, more 17776 is up now!
posted by burgerrr at 12:18 PM on July 10


I'm tearing up. why am i tearing up.
posted by yasaman at 12:47 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I come to every Bois thread for the confused newcomers, and I'm never disappointed.

IT'S OK. YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.
posted by Kreiger at 1:15 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Been giving the 'An answered prayer' video the Zapruder treatment. Wish the earlier parts of it were brighter. 1:06 looks like Hawaii is still there, if a little different looking. 1:15 shows California with a big chunk out of it, but the rest of the West, from Baja to Vancouver Island look the same. The Yucatan is still there at 1:26, but the rest of the Gulf Coast seems to be part of the 'sunken territories'. There's a large body of water around Veracruz then Mississippi is pretty much all underwater as are large chunks of Alabama and Georgia, with Florida gone altogether. Nova Scotia is still there at 1:31, but the rest of the East Coast is pretty much under water.
posted by IanMorr at 1:42 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


wow, Ten's explanation of why humans seem to be the same as they were 15000 years ago felt really realistic and at the same time kind of discouraging. I'm not going to check the math about the number of stars/planets to check vs the resources we have on earth and available planets to mine, but that's depressing. Like, there might be life waaaaaaay the hell out there. But we literally have no way to know.

Makes me wish that there really is intelligent life in our real world Milky Way.


Also, maybe we should bring this over to FanFare if this thing goes on for more than a month and we can keep discussing it?
posted by numaner at 5:13 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


>Okay.
> Shut the fuck up.
> Uh, the readability of this is kinda


It's like he read this thread!
posted by danny the boy at 5:23 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Oh and the map he's using seem to just be a standard sea rise map put into google earth. Here's a web based one.
posted by danny the boy at 5:29 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I think it ends on the 15th, according to his twitter page - so there is a defined endpoint.
posted by sagc at 9:11 PM on July 10


numaner: "Also, maybe we should bring this over to FanFare if this thing goes on for more than a month and we can keep discussing it?"


I believe I saw on Bois's twitter that the role out of 17776 is only 11 days, and I'm not sure how long we'll be talking about this after it's finished. But I am seriously awaiting new installments like an impatient little boy so maybe this will find some significance as new readers find it through the summer and we'll be talking about SB Nation's Hugo campaign when September rolls around < /s >. (but kinda not < /s>)
posted by midmarch snowman at 9:13 PM on July 10


also is it just me or does Juice remind anyone of Dave Strider

not only is it not just me, but Tumblr's taken to calling it Astro Homestuck
posted by divabat at 2:48 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I had like an hourlong conversation with a friend yesterday about Bois's fiction and I realized something about banter in 17776.

People who like each other sometimes engage in light disagreement, and I feel like the dialogue among humans in 17776 has way more of that than I'm used to seeing in science fiction, sometimes with the flavor of teasing (e.g., "Bullshit you just bought it! You bought it like 40 years ago." "C'mon, you're being ridiculous. You can tell Lori." "And I'm gonna disagree with you. Today's game is not as dumb as the Typo Game, but it is super dumb."). You get a ton of conversation here that is not particularly about problem-solving or advancing a story's plot; to the extent that it's about anything, it's about the pleasure of hanging out and chatting and passing the time. Which means that there's a chance to see the kind of mild disagreement that doesn't have any real stakes. It's not even the kind of teasing that illustrates that a character is being bullied and will someday rise up against their oppressor, or that two characters have overcome their initial wariness of each other, the way I often see teasing depicted in science fiction.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the absence of this kind of banter in a lot of science fiction is only partially because authors and editors feel like they need to keep the plot moving. My armchair theory is: it's easier to depict people taking pleasure in conversations that include both agreement and mild disagreement, critique and support, razzing and trashtalking and enthusiasm and love, if you have a ton of experience listening to and participating in those kinds of conversations. And scifi writers, as a class, in general, do not have that experience. But Bois does. He has a ton of it ("Card Party" is a great example).
posted by brainwane at 4:45 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


On further thought I don't agree with the last chunk of what I said (about lack of experience). Also who am I to say that the scifi I've been experiencing is a representative sample?
posted by brainwane at 5:31 AM on July 11


I think in this case the banter actually explicitly helps set the scene. They hang out, you see.
posted by nat at 7:54 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


it's easier to depict people taking pleasure in conversations that include both agreement and mild disagreement, critique and support, razzing and trashtalking and enthusiasm and love, if you have a ton of experience listening to and participating in those kinds of conversations. And scifi writers, as a class, in general, do not have that experience.

How many scifi writers do you know? Because most of the ones I've interacted with have had plenty of experience with those kinds of conversations. They're generally better at them than I am, to the point that rather than talking much myself I prefer to stay happily quiet and listen as they have fun with language and their conversational partners.
posted by Lexica at 12:00 PM on July 11




Nancy McGunnell should maybe stick to football and forget about her art. But perhaps she was the only one who was there to paint that scene.
posted by numaner at 1:00 PM on July 11


the point of play is to distract yourself from play being the point.

wow
posted by numaner at 1:35 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


OMG

GUYS

IT'S 8 BILLION. PEOPLE. NOT MILLION. THE BIGGER ONE. BILLION.

!!!!!
posted by numaner at 1:39 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


GOD I WAS JUST ABOUT TO COME HERE AND YELL ABOUT THAT, NUMANER. whew. makin' some adjustments to my yuletide request for this now, because shit was getting GRIM what with assuming over 7 billion people DIED.

i'm so weirdly relieved.
posted by yasaman at 1:41 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Me too. I feel like nine; I feel better.
posted by nat at 2:05 PM on July 11


Who read every line of the Plymouth Voyager ads for clues?

I tried but gave up -- unlike some people, I don't have all the time in the world to parse old van ads.
posted by notyou at 3:17 PM on July 11


I CANNOT BELIEVE WE'VE ALL BEEN PONDERING MASS DEPOPULATION OVER A SPACE CRAFT'S TYPO
posted by subversiveasset at 3:27 PM on July 11 [7 favorites]


I was looking at the prices of Voyager vans getting closer and closer to $17776, but they never hit it. $16776 was pretty close, though!
posted by moonmilk at 3:45 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


"I CANNOT BELIEVE WE'VE ALL BEEN PONDERING MASS DEPOPULATION OVER A SPACE CRAFT'S TYPO"

I can't believe Ten made that typo, we should really give her some shit about it next time we see her.
posted by midmarch snowman at 4:35 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I'd nominate 17776 for all of the awards. I'm also hoping he'll talk about at it at dev conferences like An Event Apart.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:45 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Love the real time episodic format for the billion/million typo fix in character. Made me smile imagining the author reading some thinkpieces going "why are people assuming the world was triple decimated?? Ooohhhhh shit."

Also, massive feels on the back sidewalk. I was the guy who would walk all over the grounds of my office building on breaks and never understood why everyone was taking the trees and duck ponds for granted.
posted by neustile at 6:13 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


GAAAAH WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:16 PM on July 11 [6 favorites]


I encourage all of you to go search Tumblr for 17776 stuff.

The fan art (!!)

The cosplay. . . o_0

It has begun.
posted by ananci at 7:51 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


So some of you will recall our Fukushima threads. I happened to blindly zap into the live Japanese media feed of the tsunami coming ashore from Twitter and did not understand what I was seeing, the black video wipe killing thousands in the palm of my hand on the screen of my iPhone.

I took it hard, and what followed at the nuclear plant was also stressful. My sleep schedule shifted, when I slept, and I was consumed with thoughts of death and loss.

I understood that I was having a kind of harmonic echo of the experience of losing my sister to a car accident, many years before, and that I am older, and have fewer lrganic resources to dig my way out of the pit. I began to try to construct a use for my newly-acquired midnight Japanese media sleuthing skills that might conceivably help me to build a road up and out of the inside of my head. A vague memory prompted me that Japan, along with Cuba and the US, is among the oldest baseball-playing nations on the planet, and that as a ten year old I enjoyed watching the game, something I had had no interest in for more than thirty years.

I began painstakingly excavating the internet for English-language resources on Japanese baseball.
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 PM on July 11 [6 favorites]


I found that the capital of the province most affected by the quake, Sendai, had a baseball team, the Rakuten Eagles, and I determined to follw their season as I learned both Japanese ball and to a degree about the MLB. The Eagles are terrible, usually, a relatively new expansion team, and that first year their senior pitching ace, Hisashi Iwakuma, had washed out from an attempt to come to the US and their junior ace, Masahiro Tanaka, was just coming into his maturity.

The next year, Kuma came to the Seattle Mariners, unbidden, unrecruited, and Tanaka led the Eagles to their first Japanese title behind the single best pitching record in the history of professional baseball globally. I became a Mariners fan, and a baseball fan, and most days I no longer wish I was dead.

Bois is writing about this, exactly, this specific thing. It's a shame he picked the wrong sport to write about, but there's no accounting for taste.
posted by mwhybark at 8:24 PM on July 11 [14 favorites]


Darn, I was kind of liking the idea of the worldwide population being down to 8 million. Pretty much solves all of our environmental problems. (Yes, we knew the sea level was higher, but given 15000 years that could conceivably be the result of natural climate variation.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:47 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Conceivably one of the space probes is lying.
posted by mwhybark at 9:10 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


aaahhh the tumblrs! It's nice to jump into another fandom and seeing all the neat interpretations. I haven't had another thing to obsess over in a while since Steven Universe.
posted by numaner at 7:12 AM on July 12


the fact that i can now say that 17776 pretty much has a fandom just means that this is now a game of โ€œhow long can we keep this clean and nice before people start talking about wanting to be fucked by a sateliteโ€ and weโ€™re already loosing it
posted by numaner at 7:54 AM on July 12


they're up!
posted by numaner at 10:51 AM on July 12


omg. Law & Out of Order! Y'all when I retire I'm going to watch every single episode of Law & Order, out of order.
posted by numaner at 11:16 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


hahaha we live forever but a President is still serving only 4 years per term and this woman was only Speaker of the House for 6 years.
posted by numaner at 11:18 AM on July 12


oh gods... the bulb! :-(
posted by numaner at 11:33 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Right, right, the bulb, I'm sad about that, but *bursts in Maud Flanders style* WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!?! Bois, you can't just tease that then leave us hanging!!
posted by yasaman at 11:48 AM on July 12


You can look upon the bulb yourself here.
posted by yasaman at 11:50 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


so.. what's 15000? multi-millenial bulb?

I'm going to send a "my condolences" card for that bulb and tell the post office not to mail it to the Livermore fire station until 17776.


I think in this future... we'll have to be the children.
posted by numaner at 12:08 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


man fuck that guy
posted by Punkey at 3:31 PM on July 12


Shut up! No, you're the one crying over a light bulb!
posted by midmarch snowman at 4:43 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


You know what: Immortal games of baseball would never break a 15,000 year old light bulb. Just sayin'.
posted by stevis23 at 4:25 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


So I was trying to convince some friends to check out this series and telling them some details about it, and they asked me, why football? What happened to the other sports? And I found myself having to defend handegg as a cross country sport, which they know I don't like. It got me actually really thinking about it. It's the only popular sport where you can carry the ball with you as you climb through mountains and forests. Any other wide-field sport you either can't hold onto the ball as you run or you have to throw it at somebody asap.

- Basketball: Imagine dribbling through all that territory.
- Baseball/Cricket: How would you define the diamond? And can humans hit it that far?
- Hockey: You'd have to turn the whole country into a flat ice rink (which I think would be pretty awesome). For field hockey I suppose you just have to keep hitting the puck downfield, but that can get very tricky for such a small object.
- Futbol: You certainly can't kick the ball across every terrain... but I can see them trying, along with basically hitting it with everything but your hands when it's floating in water. Actually futbol would be great to try across states.
- Lacrosse: I could see this working except it'd be hard to climb while carrying the stick and cradle the ball at the same time.
- Ultimate: This could happen. You just need to have enough teammates lined up to throw it from end to end. But the constant turnovers mean if you miss the catch, because you're literally on a mountain, you might have to sit there and wait till the other team get there and make their throw. It might not go anywhere for a while.
- Rugby: Why isn't Jon Bois using rugby? It's perfect.
- Golf: If you thought it was boring now...
- Handball: Not popular enough, but it could happen.
posted by numaner at 9:11 AM on July 13


You know what: Immortal games of baseball would never break a 15,000 year old light bulb. Just sayin'.

technically cross-country handegg wouldn't either, the ball would just land on the roof.

gah stop making me defend handegg!
posted by numaner at 9:13 AM on July 13


numaner, most of those games could be played cross-country with rules modifications to account for it. Which is what's been done with football really, the moment you liberate it from its 100 yard rectangle you've changed the game. Maybe American football's been changed the least of all of those, but somehow I think other changes must have been made besides. The time limit, certainly.
The thing here is that football is a relatively unconstructed game. There are rules that give it structure, of course, but they're nothing like baseball's rules, which are a lot more confining, or so it seems to me, one whole team at a time doesn't even get free movement.
Large scale horse racing might be feasible now. I wonder why people don't do it?
posted by JHarris at 9:55 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Sure, but the only rules that need to be changed are exactly what you've said, the size of the field and the time limit (or lack thereof). Everything else could just be adapted to fit without too much wrangling. Honestly I don't know much about the rules of most of those sports, but the traveling rule for basketball is a pretty strict one. Otherwise it's just handball but with a basket instead of a goal.
posted by numaner at 10:28 AM on July 13


That's not really the case with football, though? All professional sports have lots of rules, and many of them rely on each other to construct the contest. The downs system alone is designed on the idea that a football field is a certain length. And the implication of, say, out-of-bounds becomes much less important when that point is hundreds of miles away, so it's not technically a rule change but it might as well be one. Football also relies on the field being largely uniform, what about lakes, hills, mountains?

Basketball would have to be modified to remove traveling from many situations, not just for scale but terrain. It's hard to dribble in a mudflat. (Resulting in what commentators would then call, I'm sure, a "splat.")
posted by JHarris at 10:43 AM on July 13


makin' some adjustments to my yuletide request for this now, because shit was getting GRIM what with assuming over 7 billion people DIED.

How many people do you think have died over the last 15,000 years?
posted by Etrigan at 10:45 AM on July 13


I think Bois is using American football for a few reasons, and the big ones I have thought of are:

* he loves it
* even nonfans can understand the core mechanics easily; there's something fairly primal about territory-conquering games
* it is a very American sport and this story that launched on July 4th with a picture of a half-underwater Statue of Liberty is (primarily, so far) a story about the future of the US (we're getting just a few more installments and I think we're not going to get much about what's happening in other places on Earth; I'm sure there are immortal humans in various places who are getting their kicks from long-distance swimming or ultramarathons or what have you)
* the fundamental existential crisis of American football is in the very first paragraph: It's clear that the sport of football needs to change. And the $64,000 question, my friends, is simple: "how?" Something is terribly wrong. The writing's on the wall: youth participation in the sport is down, thanks in large part to their parents' concern for their health. And so the Faustian bargain in this imagined future is: well, no one ever gets catastrophically hurt in football again. But also you can't have kids. Bois is presenting, among other things, a meditation on the tension between danger and striving, a tension that is more apparent in American football than in any other iconic American sport.
posted by brainwane at 10:49 AM on July 13 [14 favorites]


In the Livermore chapter, we get some lovely touches, like the fact that at least two of the three characters speaking are women, and a response to you should write a book encouragement: "Nah, they're too long. It's basically asking someone to pay 15 bucks to be on the other side of a one-sided conversation that goes on for days. You've got to be a total asshole to want to write a --" I wonder if that's Bois speaking directly to the people who think he should write a book.

But what really got at me was "objective syndrome" -- if you take the social model of disability seriously, then yeah, "I always have to have some kind of goal to work toward. It doesn't matter how stupid or trivial it is, there just has to be a well-defined objective with a clear delineation between success and failure." is normal, laudable in our reality and is disabling in hers.
posted by brainwane at 10:59 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]






The song Krieger is singing: "The Caves of Altamira" by Steely Dan, which has now jumped ahead of "Sourdoire Valley Song" by the Mountain Goats in my personal "songs to vid 17776 to" ranking.
posted by brainwane at 11:51 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


dammit he always ends it right when I expect the conversation to keep going!
posted by numaner at 12:00 PM on July 13


The result of a Tumblr search for 17776 is indeed amazing.

As for why the Operator targeted the Bulb, it's because when you are immortal nothing matters, and breaking the Bulb is a thing that will be remembered. Yes, the Operator will be hated but in this kind of situation being hated is better than being meaningless. I once wrote a story about the same thing.
posted by Bringer Tom at 12:21 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I can't re-find the tweet that led me to this, but: a much older, unfinished piece of science fiction by Bois (postapocalyptic) that feels more like The Big U, and has prisoners amusing themselves by inventing new ways to play chess.
posted by brainwane at 12:49 PM on July 13


Chapter 20 made me think of the song Thin Blue Flame a lot.
posted by yasaman at 7:30 PM on July 13




THE CHILDREN! @jon_bois has tweeted in a response to a question about women who were pregnant in 2026: "kind of a misstatement by Ten. babies pregnant at the time were still born and grew into adults" (and has also said that he doesn't fuss as much over the minute details in 17776 as he does for his "Pretty Good" video series).

The end of Bois's 2010 NFL lockout fantasia includes a Flowers for Algernon-esque diary entry from someone who's temporarily deprived of NFL games. (An earlier chunk of it also includes a "Chinese Checkers, but with football" game design, in case you liked the Game 27 chapter.)

Who's President after Sanders? Kamala Harris, among others. The "Overlooked 17776 Facts" Tumblr also has a bunch of eagle-eyed scholarship about character names, spaceflight, and other stuff in the story.

I've been reading more thoughts by 17776 readers who know a lot about football. To summarize: American football faces new possibilities (review technology), and an amazing wave of great talent .... and terrifies parents of potential players. So officials, players, families and fans ask: is football too dangerous? is football too boring?

A sportswriter (the same one I linked to in my previous comment) notes: "Game 27 is much closer to reality than many non-football savvy 17776 readers may realize.....no one actually knows how to properly define a touchdown." She also discusses the 1967 NFL Championship game that Ten asks Nine about, the one whose wind chill really was -48 degrees Fahrenheit -- which led to frostbite for players, injuries to musicians and referees, and the death of an elderly spectator in the stands. "None of this is too far away from throwing yourself into a tornado, or being trapped in a canyon, but this really happened."
posted by brainwane at 8:42 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]




i didn't know what Juice was going about until i went to Pioneer 10's wiki and saw this image. laughed my ass ooooofffffffffff
posted by numaner at 2:09 PM on July 14


GAH STOP MAKING ME FEEL AND THEN END IT JON, STOP IT
posted by numaner at 2:18 PM on July 14


I'm gonna use Space Homestuck to finally get my boy into football. Thanks Jon Bois!
posted by whuppy at 2:24 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I too weep for Baby Bulb Byron.
posted by whuppy at 2:25 PM on July 14


I am loving this story because it is pretty much exactly the same story as The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect with weird football instead of weird sex. Holding my breath to see how he ends it.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:54 PM on July 14


Metafilter: they drowned the east coast and killed google reader
posted by cosmic owl at 8:49 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


NINE HAS BEEN GENDERED
NINE IS A SHE



AHHHHHH
posted by ananci at 9:26 PM on July 14


"which led to frostbite for players, injuries to musicians and referees, and the death of an elderly spectator in the stands. "

To be fair, in a stadium that seats 60,000 and hosts 6 games a season, you're going to have (at least) one heart attack per game and one death per season. Friend of mine is a stadium EMT. It's just a lot of people, statistically some number of them drop dead.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:48 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


The rest of the world would have futbal as their Immortal Sport for sure. That or cricket.
posted by divabat at 3:59 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry for being bored and french
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


NINE HAS BEEN GENDERED
NINE IS A SHE


Nine is a spaceship. Ships are traditionally gendered female.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:56 AM on July 15


Apollo Ten (another ten!) would respectfully disagree.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:05 AM on July 15


Apollo Ten (another ten!) would respectfully disagree.

Actually, the Apollo people seem to have been pretty consistent in referring to their hardware as "it" and not gendering or anthropomorphising it. That was probably deliberate policy. Even Snoopy and Charlie Brown were "it" and not "he" despite the male character names.

Being very expensive and singular spacecraft are more likely to be treated that way, but when they are gendered they do seem to follow the nautical tradition of being female. The space shuttles seemed to alternate between "it" and "her" depending on who was talking, but never "him."
posted by Bringer Tom at 12:40 PM on July 15




I still don't know what any that was, but it was beautiful and I don't want that to be the end.
posted by zachlipton at 2:55 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Also, I live like an hour away from the Centennial Bulb, have never seen it, and now feel kind of terrified someone is going to shoot a massive football at it from a mountain cannon before I can make it over there.
posted by zachlipton at 3:00 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


So, before we all start commenting on the final chapter, I want to say it was fun to go through a serialized event like this with y'all. Anyone who commented on this post multiple times: don't be surprised if I start stalking your social media and if you're ever in Nashville, hit me up on MeMail and we'll grab Hot Chicken.
posted by midmarch snowman at 3:04 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I didn't even realize there was a Mefi thread about this until today, after I finished reading the final chapters, and I'm a little sad to have missed all of it. But hey, lots of discussion to read now!
posted by chrominance at 3:08 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Also, for anyone who hasn't been following Bois's twitter: ham ham ham ham ham.
posted by midmarch snowman at 3:11 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Oh hey I can see my house under there
posted by The Whelk at 3:11 PM on July 15


No other creature in the universe woke up every morning knowing it was guaranteed to die one day. Just us. Nobody should have to live with that. It's too much, it isn't right. No one ever should have had to bear it.

.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:16 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


I don't want that to be the end.

I think the point is, of course, that it isn't the end; it's just a comma. There won't be an end, not because of the Sun blowing up (fixed!) or the heat death of the Universe (not a problem after all). It will all go on forever, eight billion people who never die or reproduce, and when everything else is done all that is left is to play. And that might mean getting stuck in a canyon for a thousand years or hiding in a cave in your end zone for 10,000 years, and in the fullness of time those things will be no more remarkable than the three hours we devote now to a football game. Because immortality.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:22 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


On reflection I realize that that dot I dropped ... is probably my own dot. *refills glass of wine*
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:33 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Aw man, the end credits.

That was a lovely experience, thank you all for sharing it with me.
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on July 15


Woah.

I don't think I want to live in that world, but it sure was interesting to visit. I'd be happy to come back anytime (9 can't have to charge for *that* long, can she?)

And now if I see my ex again anytime soon I'm going to have to explain to him that he reminds me of a not-yet-built space probe.

Also enjoyed watching it with y'all. Maybe we can do a rewatch in 2026.
posted by nat at 3:44 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I'll never look at lunchables with juice the same way again.
posted by subversiveasset at 3:53 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe we can do a rewatch in 2026.

TOTALLY ON IT.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:28 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


And another rewatch in 12026.
posted by moonmilk at 5:18 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


I think the rewatch in 12026 is dependent on the whole immortality thing happening. Because I would frankly be dead now if not for modern medical science to roto-rooter my arteries and fix the 85% clogged LAD artery.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:37 PM on July 15


Oh, and that whole medical insurance paying for it thing, which is so not a thing in most other civilized countries.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:39 PM on July 15


started and then let it sit for a while when I realized it wasn't complete, just catching up now.

"man they drowned the east coast and killed google reader, fuck em"

4:10, little buddy, 4:10.
posted by juv3nal at 5:49 PM on July 15


Did you get Dahir Insaat to roto-rooter your arteries, Bringer Tom?
posted by moonmilk at 7:22 PM on July 15


Nope moonmilk just your basic angiogram. What was "special" is that I had no symptoms, and my doctor told me after it was over that people who have symptomless coronary artery disease "tend to have bad outcomes." I avoided this because I saw my blood pressure was suddenly 190/120 all hours of the day and night, and I figured this was a thing beyond my pay grade to fix myself. Apparently not many people who get that memo read it. Nobody wanted to admit it was unusual but there was obvious astonishment among all the people who treated me that I had come in because of a number on a meter. As if that number wasn't a message saying, very clearly, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:41 PM on July 15


And in case anyone cares, I just checked again and 121/85. So maybe I'll make it to 2026.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:51 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I almost had a heart attack when the batteries ran out!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:56 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


OMG SAME

I groaned at my computer - NOOOO NINE DON'T DIE
posted by divabat at 1:07 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


That was fucking awesome.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:53 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


That was just great. Thanks a bunch, creade, for sharing it here.
posted by notyou at 8:17 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


man, that was such a wonderful thing to give to the world.

I'll see y'all here in 2026. Brand new FPP and everything.

I'm also going to write into my will that if we never develop immortality, my predecessors are required make a FPP about this on the blue in 12026. And again obviously in 17776.

cortex, your children and their children and their children and so on better keep this site up and running
posted by numaner at 12:46 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


I'm getting caught up and finishing it, and I'm glad I took a pause. Because I'm pretty sure Chapter 22, with the Browns, would have wrecked me. I'm barely knowledgeable about football, but the Browns, man, the Browns. My grandfather loved the Browns. Didn't matter how much they sucked, he loved them. He had some poster/calendar of the 1995 Cleveland Browns hanging on the door of the kitchen for over a decade. It was there the day he died, and I remember staring at it when I went back to the house after the funeral.

Ten years later, earlier this summer, I went back to that house for the first time, after my grandmother died. That poster was gone by that point, and it just felt wrong.

So, when Nancy starts talking about her grandfather? I nearly broke down sobbing.

It's not really about football, is it, Jon Bois?
posted by ultranos at 1:22 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


It's not really about football, is it, Jon Bois?

It isn't, really. It's about nothing less than the meaning of life.

We are wired to struggle, because for hundreds of thousands of years we have had to struggle to avoid death. But if death is conquered (Bois is kind of coy on how that happens), and scarcity is conqured (Nanos), and it turns out that exploration is a dead end, then all that is left is play. And Jon Bois posits that football will be one form of that play. I wrote a story in 1994, which was published online in 2002, in which transgressive violent sex was the mode of play. The movie Zardoz follows the same theme and it is the shaping of lesser species -- that is, un-immortal "brutal" humans -- which is play for some of the immortals.

In Zardoz, Arthur Frayn tells Zed, "all this technology was for travel to the distant stars -- another dead end." Note how closely that is echoed in 17776. In my own take on the subject, Caroline (who becomes a much more horrible human being than anybody in 17776) muses
They went inside and talked some more. Caroline kept thinking about that burst of pain, the happy look on Fred's face as he stood over her, the strength it took not to call Prime Intellect and run. For the first time since the Night of Miracles she had been too busy feeling something to worry about whether it mattered in the long run. She had felt real, ersatz youthful body and all. And she realized with thin humor that she finally wanted something in this world where want had been banished.

She wanted to do it again.
Periodically I am asked about the people in Cyberspace who are not outliers like Caroline. I think in the future I will refer them to Jon Bois' little tale of the Singularity. He is more optimistic than I was; I had Caroline going batshit after only 600 years. But none of us can really imagine what it would be like not just to live that long, but to know that even the distant stars are just a dead end, and there is nothing to fill our time any more but play.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:42 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Periodically I am asked about the people in Cyberspace who are not outliers like Caroline. I think in the future I will refer them to Jon Bois' little tale of the Singularity. He is more optimistic than I was; I had Caroline going batshit after only 600 years. But none of us can really imagine what it would be like not just to live that long, but to know that even the distant stars are just a dead end, and there is nothing to fill our time any more but play.

Hah! I wanted to snark on this story and call it "The Metamorphosis of the 50 Yard Line". Works in multiple ways.
posted by zabuni at 5:19 PM on July 16


The Metamorphosis of the 50 Yard Line

Oh my I am almost literally ROFL. That is perfect, the 50 yard line does change quite a bit, doesn't it?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:25 PM on July 16


I have the one hand, where I think this was fun and in many ways lovely and clearly a mediation on Big Ideas about death and what makes life worth living. But it does a severe injustice to the beauty of the galaxy and space in general.

I mean, I feel like all the cool stuff we see coming in from Jupiter this week belies the idea that space is full of boring rocks of no interest to us and that we'd ALL find talking about baroque offshoots of football games more interesting than exploring at least our own solar system.

The idea of not being able to die if you wanted to is a lot closer to Hell than to Heaven and that undercuts all the warm fuzzy. I'd be looking for ways to launch myself into the sun. Or disable the nanites. Or something.
posted by emjaybee at 6:35 PM on July 16


But it does a severe injustice to the beauty of the galaxy and space in general.

Space can be both beautiful and inhospitable. I just returned home to Louisiana from a trip to Fresno, CA, in the heart of California's central valley, and I was amazed at what an artificial place it is, like the north pole of Arthur C. Clarke's Rama. The whole place screams that humans don't belong there. I have been to lots of natural destinations, rain forests and deserts and everything in between, but I have never seen anything like flying into Fresno. It's green all the way to every horizon, but at the same time there isn't a fucking blade of grass that isn't there because humans wanted it there. It's very striking even from an airplane.

And when I mentioned this to the locals, they're like "Yeah, right." Because you kind of know it's true, but you also have to live in the place if you live in the place. And so they are inured to it. Someone has to point out that you know this really isn't right, and then their eyes open and they say yeah, probably not, but they they close their eyes again because they have to earn.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:49 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I was really hoping this would continue on more or less indefinitely.


Dang.
posted by ananci at 7:12 PM on July 16 [5 favorites]




Also if you're hungry for more, there's 17776.football, a growing list of fan works:

17776cast: A chapter-by-chapter analysis and review podcast of 17776. Hosted by Maplestrip, Rain, and Pigeon, each episode goes through a chapter of 17776 and breaks down what's going on and how things work in the 17776-verse.

Garbage Football: There have been millions of football games. Some of them are abominations that never should have seen the light of day. On Garbage Football, our hosts dig through a 15,000-year-old trash heap and watch the worst of the worst games - so you don't have to. Inspired by 17776's Garbage Football, the Garbage Football podcast discusses fictional football games in the 17776-verse.

Callaway Stadium Roleplay Group: Callaway Stadium is a Tumblr role-playing group for 17776. Interactions are both through asks and reblog threads, and applications are always open. Applications are accepted for both humans and satellites. There is also a Discord server for planning character interactions and just hanging out. Apply today, we'd be happy to have you!

17776 Fanblog Masterlist: An ever-growing list of 17776-related blogs on tumblr.

Every Location Mentioned in 17776: An extensive list of every location mentioned in 17776, neatly displayed on a map.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:56 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Bois himself recommends the essay "Death by a Thousand Yards: A Dive Into Jon Boisโ€™ '17776'", which looks at themes in this and other Bois works. If I had one thing to add to this analysis it would be a reflection on Bois's homeschooling.
posted by brainwane at 6:44 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


It is insane that twelve days ago I put this on my "to read soon" list and in the meantime it has just exploded into a full on fandom. I keep trying to get my friends to read Bois' work and they keep getting hung up on "sports writer" and the one time I sleep on something he did...

Also I am in love with how this thing has taken off so much as a work of fiction and is still firmly a part of a sports blog.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:30 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I feel that if I was in a canyon for 300 years, I could become a world-class free-climber. Just sayin', some of those 22 people need to focus.
posted by tavella at 7:43 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Bois has tweeted some stats and a thank you.

What a class act. This story was, as he is known for, Pretty Good.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:06 PM on July 18


Jon Bois has setup a form where you can ask him questions about 17776, if there's anything you want to know.
posted by zachlipton at 6:43 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Hey that was fun and unexpected. Thanks for posting it!
posted by not_on_display at 10:16 PM on July 19




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