Ghosts of Central



Counts, Benjamin

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This thesis is a work of speculative fiction blending several distinct sub-genres of fantasy and science fiction. The main characters are an adopted brother and sister working as freelancers contracted to a bureaucracy that spans multiple lightyears. The elder of the two is the subject of a queer narrative involving bad decisions and worse romance. The younger is the subject of a narrative of martial arts and family dysfunction. Both must contend with the long-term psychological fallout of being ‘feral’ in a civilized society, having effectively come of age as child soldiers-for-hire. The story’s principle antagonist contends with a fractured, pluralized identity and the struggles of maintaining two or more fully separated lives. The story’s secondary antagonist comes from a toxic family background and has been groomed and radicalized by an egomaniacal teacher. Much of the work is strongly informed by the intricacies, dysfunctions, failures, and politics of real world bureaucracies, particularly the bureaucracies of military contracting, higher education, and civilian law enforcement.


This thesis has been embargoed for 10 years. It will not be available until April 2031 at the earliest.


Fiction, Bisexuality, Speculative fiction, Bureaucratic fiction, Queer fiction