Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The lines between fake and real are blurred - Unstrung by Kendra C. Highley

Publication Date: October 17th, 2014


Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies. 

When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing—plans for a new model of genetically-engineered super humans. Now every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them.

Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn says he knows who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss? 

More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her?

Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.

Do the Mash, The Genre Mash

When I first started blogging about UNSTRUNG, a reader asked, “How many genres are you trying to hit?”

It's a fair question.
See, Unstrung isn't just a dystopian. In fact, I'd call it dystopian light, as most of the citizens are happy and well fed, despite a restrictive society. Many people are allowed to marry as they choose, have good jobs, and nice places to live. There is unrest between the upper/middle class and the lower class (and the outcasts, but that's for book 2). But the biggest class disparity is that engineered humans (artificials to the polite, Bolts to the less polite) are utilized for manual labor to keep "real" humans from having to work too hard. They are a marginalized, slave class, not considered to have thoughts, feelings or opinions of their own. They live where the corporation tells them, they work where the corporation tells them and their freewill is curtailed.

So...wait, is this dystopian? Or is it SciFi?
Why both? Because this book belongs to a branch of SciFi called Cyberpunk. If you click the link and read the description, you'll see why could could call it both a SciFi and a dystopian.

In more concise terms:
"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change..." – Lawrence Person

My heroine, Lexa, is a thief specializing in the acquisition of high-tech information. Her best friend is a hacker and her boss is a former security chief from the governing corporation in town. She's an orphan who has no past and her "family" is a band of thieves and malcontents. In the book, we have a class struggle, we have a struggle between low life and high tech, and we have the struggle between corporate control and private citizens. So...Cyberpunk.

Famous cyberpunks include Blade Runner and The Matrix. While Unstrung isn't as dark as Blade Runner, it has things in common with it, as well as with Ron Moore's Battlestar Gallatica, The Matrix, and Sneakers—my all-time favorite hacker/caper/heist movie. If you like dystopians like The Hunger Games or Divergent, you might find Lexa your kind of character. If you like SciFi/Fairytale mash-ups like The Lunar Chronicles, you might see parallels between UNSTRUNG and Pinocchio. 

It might be a different kind of story, but I had a blast writing it.

About the author:
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

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