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In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.
The offer heats my cheeks. “What if we go out there to meet this Archivist and never come back?”
“We’d be together.” Our eyes meet across the room, fuse as though we’re connected. After another moment of silence, Lucas stands up too quickly. “I should go.”
He steps toward the door, pausing at the edge of the bed to run his fingers through my hair. I clutch them against my cheek, my belly full of licking fire that’s so much more pleasant than the flames associated with my strange power. It spreads out until I give voice to its wants. “Will you stay until I fall asleep? I just…I don’t want to be alone.”
A quick intake of breath from Lucas hitches my heart, and for a moment I’m worried. Then I remember this is Lucas. The boy who loved his fish, who defended me after I pushed him away ten times, and whose touch can make me believe everything might really be okay now that we’re facing it together. I scoot backward, peeling back the bright comforter in invitation.
Lucas’s smile tightens a little, and a glinting brightness full of the same tumbling emotions doing acrobatics inside me shines in his eyes. He closes them, then takes a deep breath and slides out of his shoes.
Author's Guest Post
The prompt I was given for this post is, why does science fiction interest you, and what led to your love of the genre?
I’d love to sit here and tell you that I’ve been a lifelong scifi geek, but that would be a lie. If you started throwing old movie, book, or television titles at me, I’d have to run to IMDb and then pretend to take part in the conversation.
The truth is, it’s only been in the past five or so years that my inner geek has come crawling out of her hole, but I’m so happy to finally be discovering this amazing genre of both media and fans (but I have been to three San Diego Comic Cons now!). It’s not that I didn’t love some science fiction as a child, I did. A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels are still some of my favorite novels of all time (and you don’t have to look hard to see their influence on the books in The Last Year), and I also loved the original Star Wars movies. The last several years, though, as dystopian fiction emerged and I got hooked on television shows like Firefly and Fringe, I started to seek out these sorts of tales instead of letting them find their way to me.
The reason, for me, is that the stories seem like the most plausible direction of the future. The real future, whether it be one of these horribly imagined dystopias or something less frightening, will surely be shaped and influenced by the progress and discoveries of science. Because of that fact, probing the morality aligned with that progress has become an increasingly central discussion – how far is too far? Are there abilities humanity is not meant to possess? Will our advanced weaponry eventually fall into the hands of people that don’t understand it; will the intelligence of a few destroy life as we know it?
For writers, there are endless possibilities of the way things can go wrong—which is what drives a good novel forward—but there are also endless possibilities when it comes to way to set things back to right. It’s the ongoing balance of power between using science for good and using it for evil, and it intrigues many readers (even if, like me, they claim to not read science fiction).
That said, at the center of every story, in every genre—be it contemporary, epic fantasy, science fiction, crime novels, etal—rest characters. If the author doesn’t find a way to connect readers to the people at the heart of the tale, no matter what their exotic, strange locale or the intricacies of their lives, then no one is going to want to read it. On the flip side, even if the setting and circumstances seem wild and implausible to you (aliens invading and conquering Earth with mind control, for instance), strong characters who, at their deepest level, are struggling with recognizable problems are going to allow readers to sink into the story.
There are countless successful science fiction stories with characters who do just that, and if you read Whispers in Autumn and its sequels, I hope you can find ways to connect with Althea and her friends as well.
Raised by a family of ex-farmers and/or almost rock stars from Northeastern Iowa, I’ve always loved to tell stories. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in Film, I began to search for a way to release the voices in my head. IWhen I attempted my first YA novel, which would become Whispers in Autumn, I was hooked. I knew then my heart lay with telling stories about and for young adults, and for anyone who loves to read and recapture those fleeting “first” moments.
My spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, spending time with my large, loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into my hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by my dogs Yoda and Jilly.
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