Ever seen Black Mirror? Well, if you did and loved it, you’ll probably like this book as well because it has the same feeling.
The book is Out of Sight by Matthew S. Cox , a Dystopian, Young Adult Novel
Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.
In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.
Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.
A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.
Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…
She hasn’t seen anything yet.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future.
I’d pick the first question, but it doesn’t really apply so much to this book as it does some others (like the Cursed Codex for example) where gaming is a focus. For Out of Sight, the only real impact my gaming habit had on it was exposure to science fiction concepts in general terms. It’s difficult for me not to think about spaceships and other planets without harkening back to some of the video games I’ve played. Likewise, the cyberpunk flavor of the Earth depicted in this story reminds me of Deus Ex in a way as well as numerous cyberpunk RPGs.
So, my favorite thing about Sima. Hmm. I think it’s probably watching her evolution from a disillusioned ‘jaded-before-her-time’ young woman who’s wholly focused on looking out for her personal survival to becoming a fierce mother-figure who thinks nothing of risking her life to protect some younger kids. She goes from loathing even being around small kids to running headlong at a tiger with only an axe to protect one. Though, parts of her true self do show out from under her hard exterior, even on Earth. She’s resentful of the smaller children only because their cuteness lets them beg more glint (money). When she arrives at Magdalena’s (a brothel) and sees a girl there far too young to be working at a brothel, it tugs at her… even if she doesn’t have the courage at that point to personally do anything about it.
I originally conceived Out of Sight when coming up with a short story for a small publisher, but I soon realized I had way too much content in my head to fully cram into only a short story or even a novella. Except for one scene of Austin and a giant bird, what really made me want to write this out to novel length was to truly show Sima’s transformation from who she is on the streets of Earth to who she becomes at the end.
Throughout her journey, one thing does stay constant about Sima: she doesn’t know how to quit. She has a strong survival instinct plus a high degree of intelligence. True, she occasionally flies on wings of blind panic, but it’s a controlled flight.
I admire her refusal to quit, but mostly, I adore her transformation.
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