Book burning didn’t destroy every book.
Voice recognition did.
Printed words vanished.
The only beings that processed code were the polite, speaking machines.
People still spoke, of course. And viewed pictures. But the pictures were always in kaleidescope motion. Exact words were unnecessary.
Spelling was forgotten. Grammar was forgotten. Structured truth was forgotten. That made life easier.
. . .
Tracy took a wrong turn because a machine had catastrophically failed. Walking a great distance was strange enough, but now she was walking where no flesh-and-blood legs walked. The city’s Forgotten Zone.
Even the machines disregarded this place, she observed. She slowly turned her head, looking about. The deserted streets were lined with broken windows, broken doors.
Above one broken window hung a broken sign. The remaining word: LIFE.
What’s that for? Tracy wondered, staring at the old sign with blinking eyes.
. . .
Fortunately, a functioning machine soon located Tracy and retrieved her, returning her to her proper place.
“Thanks,” was spoken.
“You’re welcome,” replied the polite machine.