Sunday, March 29, 2015

Realm Explorers Part XXXXIII: Visit The City with Geralyn Wichers

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name:
Geralyn Wichers

Title of book and/or series:

Brief summary of the story:

"A manufactured person is no person at all." Human cloning technology has advanced to the degree that clones are mass manufactured and used as a customizable workforce. Dominic is a clone who escaped from the cloning facility and made a life for himself. Now he returns to Caspian Genetics, the factory that birthed him, with revenge on his mind. Though he tries to steel himself from the plight of the other clones, when he sees a clone about to be killed for being out of specifications, he cannot turn away. Dominic's plot begins to unravel, complicated by an unlikely alliance, a secret romance, and the creeping doubt that he's been lied to. Is he human after all?

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

The story takes place in a near-future version of our own world, and I designed it to be generic. 'The City,' where the characters live, is never named.

The City is a grey, impersonal megalopolis. It is a bit like a fussy eater's plate: everything has its own section, and nothing touches. The people are separated from each other based upon their strata of society. The working poor live in a ghetto. The professional class lives in modest houses and condos around planned neighborhoods. The rich avoid the city entirely, sequestering themselves in estates in the countryside. It's also cold. The story starts in the winter, and the winter never seems to come to an end. I wanted the story and the locale to have a dark grey pallet.

What dangers should we avoid in The City?

The city is a fairly safe place if you're in your own neighborhood. The city government keeps very close tabs on its citizens, particularly the middle/professional class. They make it difficult to get away with anything.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in The City?

The food the characters eat blends into the sparse city rather well. Dominic lives on a regimented diet of chicken breast, vegetables, almond milk, and other health foods. Food isn't a priority to him. It's more like filling his vehicle with fuel, and the best fuel at that. Working class characters Justine and Casey live on wild game, rice and other staples. Yet, you get the idea that they do very well with what they have. Most of the meals in the story take place at their house--they're hospitable people who'd share their last bit of food.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to The City?

Public transport, such as buses and a network of monorail trains, is important in the city. Wealthier characters, such as Dominic, use self-guided cars. He speaks his destination into the navigation system, and the car takes him to that place.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in The City that we don’t see on Earth?

The key difference here is the entire race of clones, or as they're called in the story, Manufactured Persons, MP's or 'Empties'. The MP's are perfectly human, but the common belief is that they are not. They are considered soulless, unable to form real relationships or survive in the world.

There are several types of MP's. The story centers on Caspian Genetics, which produces Manufactured Fighting Personnel for military use. Other types include domestic MP's, manufactured by Homeland, which fill ordinary labor roles, and High Performance Manufactured Personnel (HPMPs), manufactured by Symbiosis Genetic Labs, who are custom designed for special roles.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in The City?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.

One bit of technology that will play a key part is tracking technology. The Manufactured Persons are all tracked by a chip embedded under the skin. Employees at Caspian Genetics are tracked by a bracelet they wear, and in the City at large, anyone with a cell phone is tracked constantly.

Is there a particular religion practiced in The City?  Please describe what it involves.

On the whole, religion is not encouraged in the city. There is a state-sanctioned Christian church. Some characters are involved in a clandestine Christian church.

What is the political or government structure in The City? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

The City is governed more by giant bureaucracy than by a figurehead. Its departments are famously bad at communicating with each other, which is exploited by one more nefarious character in the story.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?

Oh, definitely! The idea came from the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant that I work in. Caspian Genetics isn't modeled on my workplace but many small details are borrowed--the gowning procedures, the documentation, the general feel of the production area.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

I would call it a very 'pro-life' book. Humanity, and the value of human life, is a reoccurring theme. Dominic has lived his life convinced he isn't human, but Casey, an important character he meets along the way, is determined to convince him that he is just as human, just as valuable, as any citizen of the city.

Author Autobiography:

I live in Manitoba, Canada. When not writing, or working in the factory, I can be found running down the sidewalks and trails of my hometown, singing in the church choir, or staring into space--possibly all while carrying a massive book.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?  

Where can readers connect with you online? 

You can come by my blog. I write about adventures in running, relationships, personal development, and humor. You can also read samples of Sons of Earth and my other book, We are the Living.

Or, if you're on Twitter, I tweet from @GeralynWichers. I'd love to chat with you!

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to The City.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world, in Realm Explorers Part XXXXIV!
-Annie Douglass Lima

1 comment:

Tina at said...

I find myself quite intrigued by the premise of this book. Checking it out on Amazon right now! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!