Ailsa Santamaria whores for food on the killing streets of Protectorate 13477 as she struggles to break her daughter Texa's screen addiction. She won't trade control of her mind for a slim chance at a better life. She's not like the others.
But uplift arrives in Protectorate 13477 nevertheless. Ailsa discovers a way out for her and Texa, but it may not bring the relief she seeks. She thought she had nothing left to lose. That was a lie.
In a bitterly divided nation where security trumps civil liberty, unemployed David is on the verge of sinking into the ‘Zeroes’ – a destitute underclass numbering millions. But then JobNet's advanced virtual reality world offers him a gateway to a worthwhile future, and a chance to rejoin society.
But David is an unwitting pawn in a deadly conspiracy to topple the Government: he's the ideal carrier for an intelligent virus designed to shatter the system and set the Zeroes free.
When the virus activates, chaos ensues and the Zeroes rise. David is left trapped inside a corrupted reality. If it doesn't shatter his sanity, the secret he finds there will change everything...
Sometimes even a pawn can hold the balance of power.
Above ground, in the frozen climate of year 3161, Avery’s family is starving. When the jerk from the clan at the end of the village invites Avery to start a family with him in exchange for food and land, she has a serious choice to make. Leaving her family where she fits in, to live in a clan with an old man she loathes, doesn’t feel like a good move. But can she really refuse when the offer comes with food and land that her family desperately needs?
Underground, in the cities of Quma, Yodan’s life is perfect. He looks forward to starting a family with… Azala? Why does that feel wrong? Yodan’s best friend soon discovers that someone or something has tampered with Yodan’s mind, erasing things. Investigating further, they discover a horrifying truth; Artificial-life has found a way to merge with them to live mortally.
When a violent earthquake destroys the energy source that’s keeping both above and below ground habitable, the survivors are forced together after more than a thousand years of isolated evolution. Their union is a clash of spiritual versus technical existence where suddenly no one fits in. How will the villagers react to the bald pink-eyed children needing a new home? And what kind of damage will be done by the lifeform who hitched a ride with them ?
Breathing is a gift I give myself…
Dragon design by Alison Buck
Ian Blake doesn't play games and he won't accept handouts. He needs to be productive and useful - but his creepy boss just fired the baby-saving hero and father of three.
Ian yearns to build his own robots now. But with a job offer in hand under his old boss in a government agency, he fights his family's callous material greed and his own self-doubt to build the future he thinks we all need.
Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?
If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human.
They will be halfskin.
Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?
Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?
WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?
Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.
IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?
Ketchup, the miracle condiment.
ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE
OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?
I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle.
In a dark crescendo of unexpected turns, Iris seeks her own identity at the boundaries between science fiction and reality.
Cocksman Nick Chesterton just got dumped. With a return to Broseg No. 34 in the offing, he publicly ridicules his ex and finds himself a fugitive from the Femforcers on a sexist meme charge.
But the lovelorn ladies of war-torn Eritrea liked his meme. They invite Nick to visit their African nation, select a bride, or three, and live happily ever after. Or so they say.
Facing six weeks in Femforcer sexcamp, Nick must make a life-altering decision between the loss of his sexual identity and the risk of multiple marriages in a jihadi war zone.
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