Call Me Obie
by Ateret Haselkorn
GENRE: YA Science Fiction
Fifteen-year-old Obie hates the word
“artificial.” It has to be the Most Misunderstood Word of the Year 2100. The
media puts it in front of anything. They started with artificial intelligence
and now it goes with housing, law enforcement, and in Obie’s case, her heart.
Just because Obie’s vital organ was 3D-printed doesn’t mean that she’s fake. She’s simply misunderstood, especially by Humanists. They think that artificial organ recipients like her are an abomination, and that’s why Obie can’t let anyone know the truth about her heart.
But when Humanists injure her best friend Mateo, Obie needs to step up. She decides to get him a 3D-printed replacement spleen in secret. In order to succeed, she becomes a black-market criminal, a high-tech healer, and an authority on love (or maybe not the last one so much). But what else can she do when organs are sold by Jonas, a blue-eyed genius who can’t stand the system any more than her?
Call Me Obie explores the future of discrimination and the timeless power of empathy and forgiveness, with a few comedic mishaps along the way. It is the tale of one young woman’s coming-of-age in a future where nearly anything is medically possible and society must ask: When technology can modify humans, who gets to decide how?
Now, believe me, bullies can figure out how to get to their targets digitally, but I think that having to go to an in-person school delivers us right into the lion’s den. That’s actually how Mateo and I met, back in the seventh grade. I was gliding along, minding my business in my shiny new hover sneakers—even though I promised my dad that I’d walk for some traditional exercise—when my comm device vibrated with an environmental disturbance alert. It said there was a hazard above me. I looked upwards, scanning the treetops and clouds, and spotted a black, sharp-edged and bird-shaped drone the size of my hand. It flew straight up, reversed direction, and then dove down over and over. As I got closer to it, I heard yelling each time it dropped out of my line of sight. Weird. . . When I got to the school’s quad, I saw a thin, golden-skinned boy about my age running around screaming and waving his hands above his head, doing his best to fend off the attack. The hunting drone kept diving to hit him on the forehead with its beak. Every time the boy was down, as in lying on his stomach and moaning, the drone flew up. And whenever the boy shakily stood, it swooped down and jabbed him again. When I reached him, he was resting face down with his bleeding forehead pressed against his forearms.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
How is your book different from others in the genre?
Call Me Obie could be called young adult science fiction, young adult dystopian, near-future sci-fi, or medical literary fiction.
The strong theme of mentorship is one key reason that Obie’s story is unique. I’ve read many young adult or adult literature books where parents and their children have strained relationships. Many times much of the plot is devoted to navigating those circumstances. But Obie generally has a loving and healthy bond with her folks. It isn’t perfect, and there is definitely room for growth, but Obie’s amazing ability to solve problems comes largely from her mom and dad. Actually, YA literature often shows parents who come to recognize their child as an adult over time but, in this book, Obie is the one to eventually recognize her parents as people and human beings doing their best.
Obie has another mentor who is a 120-year old woman named Mrs. Stein. It was important to me as an author to have more than one place where my main character could turn for advice. In fiction, there is often one role model, the cliché of the man on top of a mountain, or a medicine woman living in a tent. Obie is lucky because she has options, all of them good. Her parents help her navigate problems, and Mrs. Stein provides a “moral compass” based on her family history. She teaches Obie to prioritize health and life, to treat others as she’d like to be treated, and that how important it is to hold onto these principles even when society changes drastically.
Thank you for having me on your site!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ateret Haselkorn writes fiction and poetry. She is the winner of 2014 Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest. Her children’s story was published as a finalist in the 2020 “Science Me a Story” contest of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in multiple literary and medical journals and can be accessed at AteretHaselkorn.com. Twitter and Instagram: @AteretHaselkorn
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BJ17V6CP
Ateret Haselkorn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
My questions to the author are:ReplyDelete
What inspired you in the creation of the characters?
Which is your favourite character ?
Hi Damaris, thanks for asking me these thought-provoking questions. Obie, my main character, came to me in a perfect storm of inspiration. First, one day at work I got to try out VR glasses and take a virtual "walk" inside a heart with a congenital defect. Then, after the 2016 US election, I read an interesting op-ed. The author wrote that he wasn't going to hide his vote because it reminded him of masking his sexual orientation earlier in his life. That made me wonder what the closet of the future would be. Lastly, Israeli researchers reported creating a 3D-printed heart from human cells. Then I had what I needed to write Obie and her world. Now, I love Obie, but my favorite character is her best friend Mateo. He is gentle but resilient, and he uses his circumstances very intentionally to help himself grow.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your bio and book details, Call Me Obie sounds like a story that my teen-aged granddaughters and I will enjoy reading. Were there any aspects of your story that required a lot of research on your part?ReplyDelete
Hi Bea, thanks for the question! Short answer - yes. Long answer - I interviewed a neurologist, neuroscientist, trauma surgeon, and neurosurgeon in order to learn more about the brain and brain injury. Without spoiling the story, this research strongly contributed to a hospital scene (but in a fun way). I think that you and your granddaughters will find it to be pretty cool, at least based on what the teens in my life have told me.Delete
The blurb sounds really good.ReplyDelete
I’m glad you liked it!Delete
The book sounds intriguing. Great cover!ReplyDelete
Our cover artist is amazing.Delete