Title: GEN ONE
Author: Amy Bartelloni
Genre: Upper YA science fiction
Cover Designer: Covers by Christian
Editor: Toni Rakestraw
Publication Date: July 29th, 2018
Generations after robots conquered Earth, the remaining population survives in the ash of their defeat. Within their walls in Authority City, bots test and develop super soldiers. Rumors of horrible experiments are enough to keep humans in line. At least, most humans.
Eighteen-year-old Delilah O’Connor scavenges the ruins with her friend Zane, and Gen, a generation one bot they repaired off the grid. Gen’s curiosity gives Delilah hope for the future, but not enough hope to go against the Authority. She finds Zane’s dreams of a human resistance pointless, and it’s enough to keep their on-and-off relationship mostly off.
When they discover two dead guards in a shady trading stop known as the Banks, everything changes. Framed for the murders and pursued by Authority bots, Zane takes Delilah to the only safe space he knows—the headquarters for the Human Coalition. Even there Zane isn’t safe. When he’s captured, Delilah and Gen must join an unlikely alliance of bot and human to go in to Authority City and save him before he becomes another casualty. Things in Authority City aren’t as they seem, they’re worse. And Delilah might lose more than her friend within its walls.
Amy Bartelloni is a reader, writer, coffee addict, & musical lover who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she's not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. The author of the Andromeda series with Limitless Publishing, (Andromeda, Orion's Curse, and the Scorpio Project), and contributor to Prep for Doom, Tricks, Treats, and Zombies, and 13: Resurrected, some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King.
Gen’s shoulders slumped. “Biological experiments. Merging humans and robots. Creating, essentially, a new species. Delilah...” She looked up and met Delilah’s eyes. She had always thought it was hard to read Gen’s emotions. Her engineering made it possible for her to cover what she was thinking, but not now. Fear was written all over her face. Gen even paled. When had that been added to her programming? “They’re experimenting with souls. They think if we can merge human and robots, we can take it from you, somehow. Souls. Humanity.”
The look of abject misery on Gen’s face was more than Delilah could bear. She walked back to the table, angled the wiggly chair so she was sitting right across from Gen, and sat down so close their knees touched.
She knew the debate. According to the stories, it was one of the reasons for the bots and humans to go to war. That bots weren’t real. That they were a construct, and thus, had no soul. The fact that the new bots were all attached to a central command, so to speak, made them mindless machines. But they didn’t have to be. Gen was proof of that. She took Gen’s hand and curled their fingers together. There was no difference. Flesh was flesh. Born, or created.
“You have a soul,” Delilah said, quietly. She’d never come out and said it, but she knew it in her heart to be true. Gen was as much a person as she was. The realization had come on her slowly, after living with Gen and seeing the bot learn to handle human emotions: anger, pride, even love. These last few days had cinched it for her.
A single tear streamed down the bot’s cheek, it’s salty makeup configured so as not to affect her systems. Gen pulled her hand back and wiped it. “We don’t even know if you have a soul,” the bot joked, the humor returning to her eyes. It was true, no matter how many experiments they did, the idea of a soul was theoretical, at best. No one could prove or disprove it.
“Gen,” Delilah leaned in, “whatever it is that makes us human. You have it. I’m not sure why the bots are trying to experiment with humans when they had it right the first time. Your independence. Your curiosity. Your sense of right and wrong. Your spirit of adventure.”
Gen made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a hiccup, and Delilah continued. “And I consider you more than a friend. You’re a sister.” They both stood and Gen pulled her into a hug.