This story is about an alternate universe where humans would generate tattoos at life events or turning points in their lives. I remember that part of the story had to do with some people who would go to black market areas or people and get fake tattoos similar to how it is done in real life because they were ashamed at not getting their own tattoos. These people if I recall correctly were adults and were looked down on in society compared to normal people who would get their first tattoos before adulthood.

  • So, were these people who did not naturally generate such tattoos? Or people who missed out on the experiences? – FuzzyBoots Mar 13 '15 at 15:16
  • Your story is not The Eye of the Queen by Mann, but he does write about a society in which the patterns on adults' of the (non-human species) skins reflect personal development across the life course. – Lexible Mar 13 '15 at 15:23
  • If I recall correctly the people would just wake up with the tattoos and it was a coming of age event when it happened the first time. Also I think it was quite random in how many tattoos a person would get with some people being covered in tattoos while others would only have one or two small ones. Although it was random the majority of people would get at least one throughout their life. – jgreenan Mar 13 '15 at 15:46
  • So it's a book, not a short story right? any idea of how old it is? – Trish Ling Mar 13 '15 at 17:09
  • I'm not sure, it could be either a book or a short story. For the age I'm not that sure how old it would be, I'd say at the very least 5 years ago. – jgreenan Mar 13 '15 at 17:17

Maybe Caste (2013) by Raelynn Fry?

 Citizens of Neech (poor) and Dahn (rich) receive tattoos or marks at their Jatis or coming of age ceremony at the age of 8 years old. The marks can be scanned like a credit card, designate their career and they are "paired" for marriage...all decisions made by The Corporation. 

Seventeen-year-old Karis Singh’s little brother is dying and the Corporation’s Analysis has concluded that he’s not worth saving. One thing is stopping her from going into the city (Dahn) and stealing the medicine herself—the tattooed Mark that physically bars her from entering. The only way around that is to get it altered in the Black Market— an act that carries the possibility of a horrific and slow death— guaranteeing her the access she needs.

  • Although that does sound interesting it isn't quite what I'm looking for. I remember that it was natural process as part of the body and not someone giving it to someone else. – jgreenan Mar 13 '15 at 17:08

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