Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Glitch Excerpt and Author Spotlight

I reviewed Glitch on the blog a few weeks back, but in case you missed it here is the link. Today, as part of the blog tour hosted by Shane at Itching For Books, I have an excerpt from this book as well as a spotlight about Anastasiu.
Heather Anastasiu is the author of the young adult sci-fi novel,GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Spring 2012). She recently moved to Minneapolis with her family, and when she’s not busy getting lost exploring the new city, she spends most days writing at a café. 

Random Facts About Her:
  • I played the piccolo in my high school marching band.
  • I paint a little, but for some reason, only in winter.
  • So, the last name, I know it looks like Anastasia, but it has a U on the end: Anastasiu (rhymes with 'so-nice-to-see-you'). It's Romanian in origin.
  • I like body art. Well, I like art of all kinds, but especially body art, i.e. tattoos, because it's the art you get to take with you. I figure, there's so much about the body we're given we don't have control over (hips, nose, forehead, chin, height, foot size, health), so much that we get no choice in, but hair color and ink designs? Hello world, this is me and the kinds of things I find beautiful!
  • I was in a wheelchair for a year during college because of health problems. Being wheel-bound and knee-high for a year certainly changed my perspective on life (pun intended).
  • Yes, I am a fan of cheesy puns.
  • My favorite book is East of Eden because it blew open my world when I first read it at age 20.
  • I also unabashedly love Twilight. I even wrote a chapter in a forthcoming book of academic essays about how Twilight, for all its shortcomings, can also have positive implications for readers in that it provides a platform for public participation in a communal female myth. It's compulsively readable and is all about engaging our fantasy lives and letting us participate in vicarious wish fullfillment.
  • I like pink and black together, but not apart.

Chapter 1 Excerpt:

"I stepped forward in line as the subject ahead of me moved. The barbaric Old World was once full of people like me. There was a whole race of humanity full of all the emotions and desires that I felt, people who almost destroyed the Earth with greed and anger and hate and indifference. They warred until the clouds rained toxic ash, the chemicals making people’s eyes boil in their sockets and their skin peel off like cooked potato skins. So much toxic material that we could never go back to the surface. Our history texts showed detailed pictures of the process, a detailed reminder of the horrors of the Old World.

Those who had foreseen had begun the tunneling down, the orderly planning of humanity’s future. Only a small percentage survived. We were a logical, orderly race—the descendants of survivors who had seen the worst of human emotion and destruction. We had learned the lessons of the past and finally scrubbed out the animal in man. We protected ourselves, blotted out the things that made us dangerous, and rebuilt. The First Chancellor called us Humanity Sublime. We lived by order and logic alone. We lived in Community.

And here I was, a traitor tucked secretly within the safe walls of the Community. A single person cultivating the same emotions that destroyed the Surface forever. I was like a ticking bomb, and it was just a matter of time before the evilness of human emotion took control. How much would I destroy before they caught and stopped me? I should go report myself.

Right now.

Right this instant.

I looked around. The Regulators were only ten paces away, rotating slowly and efficiently as they patrolled the crowds in their thick metal boots. Just a few words and I’d be free of all the secrets and lies.
It would be easy. It was the right thing to do. I’d be free from these weighty secrets. I could become a functioning member of the Community again.

My hands dropped from the cart handle. My legs took a few steps toward the closest Regulator, mechanically, almost as if they had been waiting for this moment to finally arrive.

But, wait. I couldn’t.

There was a reason I didn’t want to. A very important reason. I blinked several times until I remembered. There wasthe thing—the one thing they couldn’t find out about, or else they would destroy me, deactivate me.
But the Community always comes first.… 

I was an anomaly, a danger to the Community. I needed to be repaired. I turned again toward the Regulators, waiting to catch their attention and report myself. There was a murmur of dissent in the back of my mind, but it was too quiet compared to the strong clear stream of information flowing through the Link.

A Regulator had reached the end of a dispensary line and was turning slowly back to head in my direction. In a few paces, his head would sweep in my direction. I would calmly catch his attention and report myself for diagnostics. Just a few paces more.

But suddenly the quiet voice inside my mind was screaming. And then, like being underwater and then breaking to the surface, I was suddenly glitching.

The retina display flickered and disappeared from view, and the sound echoing through my mind stopped, midstream, and I was left in silence. I could breathe again. I felt myself expand in the same moment, color and sound and sense flooding back in, overwhelming me with a rush of smells and sounds.
Beside me, I heard a loud crash.

I turned in surprise and saw that two full carts nearby had toppled over sideways, knocking into an aisle of stacked boxes. A stack tipped over, the boxes breaking open and spilling rice all over a nearby subject’s shoes. He looked down for a moment before moving out of the way dispassionately.

No one else registered surprise. They weren’t capable of it. But I was, and I felt every inch of surprise and dread and terror. Emotions flooded in. It was all too fast and I couldn’t tell if I was masking one emotion before the next rose up.

One thing was sure—I was malfunctioning way too much for such a public place. Someone was bound to notice and report me. I had to get out of here. Now. I didn’t care that I hadn’t gotten all of our allotments. I felt too frantic to stay crowded in this flood of gray-suited bodies, watching them placidly kneel down to clean up the spill while I was choking inside. I tightened my grip on my cart to hide the tremor of fear in my hands.
The Regulator had made his way over to investigate the spill. He scanned the crowd, but most of the subjects had already moved away, stepping around the spilled rice and moving on to the next line. I cautiously followed suit, tugging my cart out of line and heading toward the subway. It was only then that I realized that I had glitched right as the carts were knocked over."

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