After a freak superstorm wipes out the entire East Coast of the US, society crumbles in an economic depression known as the Break. Humans have been priced out, driven from the remaining cities. And their replacements—the artificial New People—are smarter and stronger, heralding the future of humanity.
Alicia—a New Woman—gets a job at Jess's make-work call center, and Jess can muster nothing but hate for the "robot." Her friend Dale, though, is intrigued and brings Alicia into his gaming league, which uses a quasi-legal drug to tap into a simulated playground for the rich. But within her mind, he finds something bigger than a mere payday.
And what's with that traveling, low-tech band of storytellers, the Network? Or the music of Johnny Electric, mysterious folk musician whose music opens new worlds . . . literally? It’s a strange day ahead.
"I want to explore life as it might be in the near future due to climate change, automation, and growing income inequality,” says Erica. “I grew up in the vicinity of the characters, a place that now, and in the world of the story, is considered expendable. Aside from possibly Jess, these are people who the hand of progress would have passed by anyway. However, due to technological acceleration, the category of who is expendable is growing. Video gaming and drug use are both disease and cure to this general malaise.
“I also have an appreciation for outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston, who is the basis for the character of Johnny Electric. He really winds up being integral to this whole thing."
Busted Synapses releases this summer.
Erica L. Satifka's short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Interzone, Shimmer, and many other magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel Stay Crazy (Apex Publications) won the 2017 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her spouse Rob and four strange cats. Visit her online at ericasatifka.com or on Twitter @ericasatifka.
Broken Eye Books is an independent press, here to bring you the odd, strange, and offbeat side of speculative fiction. Our stories tend to blend genres, highlighting the weird and blurring its boundaries with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.