Multifaceted is barely word enough to describe Jason Tashea. Lawyer, startup founder, legal affairs writer, law professor, consultant and podcaster, he is now taking on another role: creator of speculative fiction about the criminal justice system.

Over the past decade, Tashea says, the topics he has covered in his non-fiction writing about criminal justice — including as former law and technology writer for the ABA Journal — have seemed to him to be increasingly detached from the reality and institutions he hoped to impact.

“I’ve watched a generation’s most troubling concerns, like algorithmic bias and consumer surveillance, go largely unheeded as our democratic institutions calcified and novel companies treated our rights and privacy with the abandon of a Bourbon Street reveler hunting for more beads.”

As his non-fiction seemed to cross over into fiction, he decided he had two choices: run away or embrace it.

Last year, Tashea started to write speculative fiction about the criminal justice system, and now he is beginning to share that fiction with the world through a newsletter and podcast series called 40 Futures.

Every Thursday for 10 weeks, his audience will receive a short story, vignette, or fictional news article via email, as well as an accompanying podcast episode.

“The topics of each story touch on a discrete way that tech and science may impact the justice system, including criminal gene editing, dark web expungements, and prison in the metaverse (the metatentiary),” he told me.

“The story posts will come in written format and a podcast where I read the story and talk about how our current moment could lead us to this particular future.”

This morning, he dropped his first post explaining the series. He will release the first story on March 3.

“My chief goals are to expand the discussion we are having about technology now and bring in people currently unfamiliar to the justice technology world,” Tashea told me.


Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.