QSFer Lucy Mihajlich has a new YA Ace book out:
The future always seemed bright, but it turns out that was just global warming. Meals don’t come in pills, shoes don’t lace themselves, and there are flying cars, but the gas mileage sucks. There is one difference. People have always searched the internet for answers. Now they actually worship it.
Pen Nowen’s father was the founder of Interface, a computer company so big and powerful that people began praying to it. Especially when his death almost tanked the economy.
Seven years later, Pen’s just finished her junior year of high school. For their summer vacations, all of her friends are going to Disneyland, Tijuana, or Disneyland Tijuana, but Pen’s going on a pilgrimage to pray for what’s left of her family. She’s on her way to the Interface flagship store when she gets kidnapped.
It’s the second time this year. She’s about to begin the ransom negotiations when the kidnapper says that he doesn’t want money. He wants something else from her. Before Pen can text 911, he says something even creepier.
He knows the truth about her dad’s death.
Note from Lucy:
My protagonist is asexual, but it’s not stated explicitly until the third book in the trilogy, so I thought the article might help explain how Interface is Queer Sci Fi.
“I’m pretty sure it’s her.” Paul started twirling the knife between his fingers and promptly dropped it.
“Pretty sure isn’t good enough,” said the Christian. “Thou shalt not kill. Unless thou hast a really good reason.”
Another Neo Amish put his hands on his hips. There was a cross sewn on the back of his jacket, but it was upside down. Even I knew that.
“I thought we talked about this,” he said. “Just because they’re your commandments doesn’t mean—”
“How about you drop the knife again and let the girl go?”
There was a group of people standing in the entrance to the parking garage. The one who’d spoken was an old man. His hair and beard were gray, except where nicotine had turned them yellow. He had to be at least sixty, but he was wearing a Disneyland T-shirt. His beer belly had turned Sleeping Beauty’s castle into a duplex. He could have just come back from a vacation with his large and motley family if it weren’t for the gun. Family vacations always made me want to kill someone, but I’d never actually packed a gun.
They had to be Neo Amish. There was a lot of infighting between the different factions. The Jews didn’t get along with the Christians, and the Scientologists didn’t get along with anyone. In some neighborhoods, wearing the wrong colors could get you shot. Neo Amish had always been big on the Second Amendment.
“We’ve got company,” said the Christian. Paul waved the toast knife. “I’ll get out the fine china.”
“That would have worked so much better if you had a ceramic knife,” said the man with the gun. “Now then. Let’s not make this complicated. Toast knife at a gunfight and all that. It’s not worth it. How much did you think you were gonna’ get for her, anyway? Hans Nowen has been dead for seven years, and people like the Nowens think a budget is a kind of bird.”
“We weren’t going to demand a ransom.” Paul sounded put out. “This is a righteous cause. We’re doing this in the name of God.”
“Uh huh. Well, I think maybe God changed his mind about this particular righteous cause. Why don’t you ask him? We’ll wait.”
“You—” The Christian put his hand on Paul’s shoulder and squeezed. “It’s not our place to question God’s will,” he said.
Paul glared at him. You could have cut the tension with a knife, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of them tried.
“Fine.” Paul dropped the toast knife again, and the Neo Amish exited the parking garage, giving a wide berth to the man with the gun.
“Thanks,” I said. After a second, I added, “You can put the gun down now.”
He picked up the knife.
“Ross,” he said.
“Yeah, Sol?” A boy stepped forward. He had holes in his jeans and hair longer than mine. He looked like the guys I went to school with, except he probably hadn’t spent twenty minutes trying to get the perfect bedhead or paid Levi’s to rip his jeans for him.
He also had an inBook. I didn’t recognize the model, but it was definitely a computer. They weren’t Neo Amish.
“Put her in the van,” said Sol.
Lucy Mihajlich lives on the internet, with 3.5 billion other people. Visit her at http://lmihajlich.wix.com/lucymihajlich.