The Sowing by K. Makansi
Publication date: August 19th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
Excerpt:“Valerian Orleán, welcome to the Okarian Sector’s Database Library.”
The voice is female, soft, low—and not just a little sexy. I smile and look around the room as if someone could be watching.
“Hello,” I say, feeling a little stupid.
“I am your guide, but before we begin exploring, tell me how you want me to address you.”
“Vale, just Vale.”
“Very good, Vale, just Vale.” I think I detect the hint of a smile in her reply and remind myself I’m talking to a computer. “Now, you must name me,” she says. “What will you call me?”
Remy. It’s the first thing that pops into my head. No. No, how stupid. Why did I think of that? I can’t possibly name my C-Link after—no. “Don’t you have a name already?” I ask.
“No, Vale, this is a part of the process of acquiring a C-Link.”
“Can’t you pick something yourself?”
“To avoid naming me is to avoid yourself. You must choose.”
Not even a minute has gone by and she’s already seeing past my tricks. Or maybe that’s a common evasion strategy, and the computer’s basic programming is designed to prevent indecision.
“Okay, fine. This is harder than I thought, though.” I sit down in my chair and lean back, taking a deep breath. I need to come up with a good name. After all, I am—hopefully—going to be living with this system for a very long time, and because the system adapts to each individual’s personality and speech patterns, it’s important to start out with the right relationship. It’s almost as though the system becomes an extension of your brain. It’s impossible to undo your creation. You can only destroy it and start over.
My mother would never tell me what she named hers—hell, she barely acknowledges she has a C-Link—but I know my father named his “Laika” after the first dog sent into space by the USSR centuries ago. He thought it was both a sign that the computer ought to be as obedient to him as a dog to its owner, and recognition of the technological power and available resources of the old world. I should choose something equally meaningful.
Then it hits me. “Demeter. Your name is Demeter, after the ancient Greek goddess of the harvest, to constantly remind myself what we strive for: to feed our people and to master nature so the famines of the past never return.”
About the author:
K. Makansi is the pen name for the writing triumvirate consisting of Amira, Elena, and Kristina Makansi. Two sisters and their mother, the three women developed a passionate interest in science fiction as a way to write about issues of food sovereignty and food justice. Elena is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, and will graduate in May of 2014. Amira was a history student at the University of Chicago whose day job working in the cellar of a winery (and constantly being splattered with wine) keeps her busy when she’s not writing. And Kristy owns and operates Blank Slate Press, an independent publishing company based out of St. Louis, and is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group, a company providing editorial and design services to aspiring authors. When not writing or reading, the three can be found having animated discussions around the dinner table, sharing a good bottle of wine, or taking long walks in the park eagerly plotting out their next book.
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