Two New Chances To Find Out The Grown-Ups Are All Wrong

Can't wait for the movie of City Of Ember to hit theaters in a few months? Dying for a dystopian story about tweens or teens discovering that adults are lying to them about everything? You're in luck! As we mentioned before, young adult novels are full of future dystopias. And two new dystopian YA books are coming out soon: Resistance by Gemma Malley, and Cyberia by Chris Lynch.


Both books come out in early September, just in time for the back-to-school blitz. And they share a similar theme: young people in the future discover that everything is frakked up and they're being lied to. But Resistance looks a good deal darker than Cyberia.

Malley's Resistance is a sequel to her first novel, The Declaration. In her first book, it's the 22nd century and children have been outlawed. Society has developed medical techniques to keep people young and healthy forever, so there's no room for new children. Everybody has to sign the "Declaration," agreeing not to have kids. The only way to opt out and reproduce is to agree to grow old and die. Anna's parents break the rules by having her without giving up their own immortality. So the state seizes Anna and sends her to a boarding school for "Surplus" kids, where she learns how to become a "Valuable Asset" doing shit work for "Legal" people. When Anna turns 15, a kid named Peter turns up at her prison/school with news of her outlaw parents, encouraging her to escape and join them. (And here's Malley's list of dystopian novels for teenagers, including some classics.)

In Resistance, Malley turns her first novel's premise on its head: the Pharma Corporation comes out with a new drug to let people live forever. Unlike the existing drugs, "Longevity+" will actually reverse the aging process altogether. But there's a catch, as Peter and Anna discover when they infiltrate Pharma Corp.: in order to create "the building blocks" of Longevity+, scientists will need to harvest them from young people. So it's sort of like that Maureen McHugh story I mentioned a while back: older people gain eternal youth, at the expense of the truly young.


Meanwhile, in Cyberia, Zane is a teenager living in a totally cyber future. His parents are hardwired into the Cybernets, and his bedroom is 100 percent cyber. Even his pet dog is cyber, thanks to an implanted microchip — in this world, all animals can speak. But then Zane finds a mole, a contraband animal, and takes it home. He hides it, and somehow discovers through it that the cyber translators are lying — the animals aren't really saying what the voice synthesizers are representing them as saying. Instead, they're saying something totally different, and they want Zane's help to fight for their freedom from the chips, which control their behavior. The animals want Zane to take them to a technology-free safety zone. I'm kind of intrigued by this concept, which sounds sort of like We3, except for the part about the animals "saying" stuff they're not really saying.


By the way, I found these titles by looking in Susan Fichtelberg's invaluable listing of new and forthcoming YA speculative fiction titles.

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