Form and Function by Abi Marie Palmer

“You’re a great dancer,” they said at Jake’s sixteenth. That was back when the windmill and the worm were showstoppers. Before biomechanical enhancements.

At dance school auditions, Jake is the only kid who can’t afford bespoke enhancements. A girl with chrome and fibreglass wings wows the judges with an airborne arabesque. A boy’s synthetic skeleton contorts into impossible shapes.

Jake’s freestyle falls flat.

“Forget it,” his dad says. “It’s time you brought home some money. Get heavy lifting implants like me. The scrapyard will pay, if you sign a twenty-year contract.”

Jake’s steel-scaffolded limbs are too heavy for dancing now.

Abi Marie Palmer is a speculative fiction writer from the UK. You can find more of her work at

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