Today is debut day for Hello World, a lovely piece of science fiction by my sister Pandamoon authors Tiffany Rose and Alexandra Tauber. Jack from Phaethon and Scott from Hello World are very much kindred spirits. What’s great about Scott, though, is that he also brings much-needed asexual rep to the world of sci-fi hackers.
From the official release summary:
Scott’s skills as a surveillance expert come in pretty handy when he’s breaking down firewalls. But hacktivism isn’t enough; he’s going after the holy grail—UltSyn’s Human Information Drives, human assets implanted with cerebral microchips. While plenty of hackers are trying to save the world these days, all Scott wants is to find his sister.
After following the clues to London, he makes a plan to kidnap the technical marvel heading into town. When this Human Information Drive turns out to be someone unexpected his nerve waivers. The HID, who calls herself Sonia, would be priceless on the market, but born out of joint self-preservation the two team up.
With her contacts, they travel across Europe in the search of personal secrets and leave a trail of industrial espionage all for the sake of misdirection. As the unlikely pair digs deeper into restricted databases, Scott discovers that those who enlist with UltSyn get far more than they bargained for. Not only is this secret HID program is much bigger than he had imagined, students are lining up for a future they only think this biotech wonder company can provide. Even worse, these leads are getting him nowhere closer to his own goals.
Plunged into a world of human trafficking, Scott is determined to find his sister no matter the cost, which tests Sonia’s fragile friendship with him. But when the information reveals the people closest to Scott have been working for UltSyn all along, he has to find them—before UltSyn finds him.
I got to read this very early, so the temptation to tell you all about it is strong, but to avoid spoilers, I got you a quote from Tiffany Rose instead. Here’s her response when asked about her feelings on going back over the book in light of today’s sociopolitically charged climate.
“When I first wrote Hello World, I gave no thought to the use the guns in the book. Every fictional action hero in America uses them. But after being a peaceful activist for years, I have a new perspective on the action in the novel. In no way do I support running around causing chaos, but upon editing the story, it became a study on violence.
Is a silent and suffocating oppression more or less violent than firing a gun? I live in a country that over-values the second amendment, but what is someone really promising when they vow to “protect themselves” with a gun? What about hacking? Is that a “violent” attack? Thought experiments like the trolley problem have been discussed at length, and in the days to come, I believe it will continue to be without a real answer.
In the end, I’m glad I got to explore these ideas in fiction, since the one thing that continues to truly break my heart as an activist is how often I am unable to protect a specific person from harm. Hello World’s action allows me to explore the possibility that sometimes, no matter what violence you could resort to, saving one specific person may not be possible…but even in that case, you put your heart into it and fight for them all the same.”