"Death and Taxes" by Ian Creasey — story background

In the beginning, a bug in the government's taxation software told the program that it was God.

This is a very old piece that sat in my files for a long time because I didn't know what to do with it.  It's not a conventional story with characters and whatnot; it's more of an extended joke, rather like one of the bizarre history lessons in The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I didn't deliberately set out to pastiche Douglas Adams.  But I was a huge fan of H2G2 as a child (ever since my mother gave me a tape of the original radio series), and it must have unconsciously influenced me.  I still love writing in that absurd mode, zigzagging between logical and farcical.

This piece was an offbeat squib that dragged the old "computer-becomes-god" trope into a dark corner, duffed it up, and stole its lunch money.  Only when I discovered the genre of flash fiction did I realise that this kind of thing could actually be published on its own, rather than having to wait until I wrote the other 99,600 words of a novel.  I polished it up, sent it out, and sold it... for the grand sum of $5.

I believe Douglas Adams earned rather more, but fair enough — he got there first, and he wrote a tad more than 400 words.  And he's more talented than I am.

Page last updated: 22 May 2015