QSFer Erik Schubach has a new lesbian sci fi book out: “Facets of April.”
After the polar ice caps melt in the Thaw, the Corporations take control of the flooded zones and create virtual utopias over the great cities of the past that rest below the waves.
April Yale is accepted into college, in the stilted mega-city of Greater York, to study programming and robotics for the Frame, the massive worldwide information net which hosts countless Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality locations.
On her first day of class, her father vanishes and corporate agents and military come asking questions about him and his location, claiming he has stolen top secret experimental military technology.
April’s life changes forever as she and her college professor, Doctor Adya Konda, go in search of April’s dad, both on the Frame and across the mega-metropolis. Truths are uncovered that may be too much for April to handle.
“April, come on mini-mite, you’re going to be late for your first day,” my dad called from downstairs.
I tapped the air in front of the bathroom smartglass, it turned off the virtual mirror and various news streams and advertisements migrating along the bottom of it. I flexed my hand and rolled my wrist, working out the phantom pain I’ve had in my extremities since my recovery from the accident that left me in a coma for six months after I graduated from high school.
A street maintenance skimmer had a cascade failure of its main processing unit that took down its primary and secondary avoidance systems and the massive automaton had impacted our family AV, autonomous vehicle.
I still have no memory of that day. I wonder if I knew what was happening when we were dragged along for half a block before slamming into an Underground entrance bollard. If I hadn’t lost the most important person in my life just then, it may as well have happened to someone else.
It frustrated me to no end that, no matter how much I tried, or wanted it to be so, that I couldn’t dredge up the memories to make sense of my mother’s death. At first, I thought it was all some sort of joke when I finally woke in the Medi-Pod in my room and the display in front of my face was showing it was six months after my last memory.
I remember vibrating with excitement because I would be graduating the next day. Dad had been tinkering with his robotics and cybernetics experiments in the basement. He was always developing some sort of gadget or programming innovative solutions to synaptic tactile feedback for VR environments.
Not to sound too much like a proud daughter, but my dad is pretty much the shit when it came to cutting edge tech. His position with Enerdyne, the top tech firm in the world, as one of their chief researchers, said it all.
We had just been hiding from mom who was on one of her international meetings in the Frame, negotiating a buyout of some food synthesis supplier, to a global consortium. Ok, my mom was the shit too. But as cutthroat as she was in a boardroom, she was cutely clumsy, sarcastic, and a loving mom at home.
And talk about a Luddite, she despised all the tech she needed to use to do her job. She preferred to meet people face to face so you could get a true feel for them, and she felt we lost a bit of our humanity the more we depended on technology to do the things mankind had once done by hand.
I think that’s why she had me work in the little garden we had in a little plot of honest to goodness dirt behind our home. It was exceedingly rare for anyone to have anything that resembled a yard in Greater York. The biggest and most technologically advanced city on the east coast, built over the sunken remains of New York City, from before the Thaw, when the polar ice caps melted due to global warming we are just now starting to reverse after almost two hundred years of climate engineering.
When I woke, that prior day was the last clear memory I had, me and dad downstairs, him hooking me up to his synaptic mapper once again to test the virtual feedback. It was incredible. Without synth gloves, I could grasp virtual objects and it actually felt as if I were grasping physical objects. A big improvement over the full-body synth suits and gloves.
The biggest leap this made was being able to feel objects on your face. Sure there were synth masks for fully immersive experiences, but you always felt the VR goggles needed to get visual feedback. My dad’s latest coding made them unnecessary. Instead, I just wore a headset that stimulated different portions of my brain to simulate sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
He was going to revolutionize the Frame, the global virtual staging world. He kept insisting that one day, his innovations would meld the real world and virtual world seamlessly, without the need for the clunky synth-tech.
When dad came running up when a chime went off in my Medi-Pod, he had opened it and pulled me to him in a hug, crying, I knew that something really bad had happened. I had croaked out, my throat feeling raw and dry, “Something’s wrong with the date display… dad… why was I in the Medi-Pod? Did something happen? Will I be able to graduate with my class tomorrow?”
I got my start writing novels by accident. I have always been drawn to strong female characters in books, like Honor Harrington. And I also believe that there is a lack of LGBT characters in media. So one day I came up with a story idea that combines the two… two days later I completed the manuscript for Music of the Soul.
Each of my books features strong likable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.
I write in many genres including romance, scifi, fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, and even cozy mysteries.
My most ambitions undertaking is the Techromancy Scrolls series that is an epic adventure in the world three thousand years after a mass extinction event. Mankind is rebuilding in a world where magic and technology collide.