Charles Tan: “A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale”

What puzzled many experts were the vectors the company used to transmit its products. Upon confirming your order, you would wake up the next day, infected with the disease. There was no need to check your mailbox for any packages. Diseases for Sale had a money-back guarantee on its efficiency. This immediate and inexplicable transportation baffled governments who were hoping to earn income from transportation taxes. Savvy industrialists similarly wondered how they could duplicate the same delivery model for their own businesses. The less innocent failed in their attempts to divine the company’s secret method of delivery, and this is arguably why Diseases for Sale lasted until the 22nd century, outliving its copycats and derivatives which only succeeded in reverse-engineering its earlier commodities but not its services. The most popular theory was that the email confirming your purchase orded included an encrypted psychosomatic code, which activated various proteins in the human body that replicated the effects of the disease you ordered.

    from Charles Tan’s “A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale,” in Philippine Speculative Fiction, vol. IV, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar. Read the complete story here.

Charles A. Tan is the co-editor of the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler and his fiction has appeared in publications such as The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories and Philippine Speculative Fiction. He has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Game Cryer. You can visit his blog, Bibliophile Stalker, where he posts book reviews, interviews, and essays.

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