Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Most of the world's seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world's resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?
The Seventeen blog tour. Check out our guest post by Seventeen author Mark Diehl, and then enter below for your chance to win a $50 BN or Amazon gift card. Follow the tour and comment on each stop to increase your chances of winning.
Guest Post by Seventeen Author Mark Diehl
Where do ideas come from?
I’m fascinated with power dynamics. Why is one person able to make another do things?
I started thinking about this book while living in Asia, where I spent my first few years after college. People in the West get Asia all wrong. We find their cultures stifling and assume it’s because they’re somehow behind us, culturally, that they just haven’t learned how to be as free as we are.
We need to stop thinking of advancement in terms of economics alone. Yes, the West was the first to experience the Industrial Revolution, and that put us “ahead” of Asia for a little while economically. But that would only put them “behind” us if we could expect to go on digging up resources forever. Asia, centuries ago, had already adapted successfully to a crowded existence with few resources. They learned to do more with less, share things more equally, and cooperate with each other more effectively than any other part of the world has yet managed. This end result was accomplished in part through the development of strict and unforgiving hierarchies based upon unquestioning obedience.
I saw many examples of forced efficiency in Japan. What a powerful kick to the company’s bottom line it must be to have employees who head home completely exhausted at 1:45 in the morning, but who are back in the office and ready to work by 7:00, every day of the week.
The culture in Singapore was equally as oppressive and rigid. The act of selling something as harmless as chewing gum was a crime punishable with a $500 fine. I remember thinking, as I looked up at a camera that had just caught me jaywalking, “They have created a society where the only thing you’re allowed to do is work and accumulate money.” Now every country in the civilized world is tightening security, excusing invasive surveillance, jacking up fines for petty crimes and building more prisons.
It was the most unsettling realization of my life: Asia is not our past; it is our future.
I came back to the United States and attended law school. I eventually ended up working as an attorney with a major multinational law firm in Chicago, representing giant corporations that were suing other giant corporations. I saw the scale of it all, the scope of the league in which they played, and I realized that individuals, and even smaller law firms, couldn’t compete in the modern justice system. As I practiced, I watched the legal climate slowly develop toward greater and greater corporate power. It’s one thing to say that money buys justice in America, but quite another to see it firsthand. Litigation has become little more than a contest in which adversaries strive to outspend each other, and the merits of any particular case are completely inconsequential. My experience also convinced me that success within the modern corporate world depends mostly upon one’s willingness to conform and to submit to hierarchy, just as it did under emperors and Communist regimes.
Corporations now control nearly all the world’s natural resources and nearly all of its governments. That’s not just in the future world of “Seventeen.” That’s right now, today. As resources become scarcer their power will grow, corporate culture will permeate modern civilization, and compliance with hierarchy will be acknowledged as our most important survival skill. The adjustments the world will make as it proceeds toward its corporate future will look a lot like events from Asia’s past.
Once they’ve considered this idea, perhaps people reading this will be able to put it aside and move on with their lives. I wasn’t able to do that.
Except from the Book
The old man wrung his hands, looking Hawkins up and down. Hawkins scrolled through some text and found the name again: Stuckey. Another gee-whiz dimwit citizen, eager to please. Stuckey’s eyes went back up, from Hawkins’s acid-resistant all-traction black shoes, to his flexible, abrasion-proof gray uniform – cut in the old-fashioned suit style with lapels – to his perfectly Gold complexion and salt-and-pepper, closely-trimmed hair.
“Never had a Federal Angel in my place before,” Stuckey said, though Hawkins barely heard him. The Agent was closely observing the movements of a young, redheaded waitress setting plates on a table. As she leaned over, the girl kept her knees pressed tightly together, as her panties were clearly exposed with every bend of her waist. “I wish I could help you more; dropped that danged computer in a pot of soup when it was all going on – corporate’ll be furious, of course, but you’ve gotta tell ‘em so you can get the information you need. I hope my blunder doesn’t slow down your case, though. God’s will, right? God to the President to you, the Federal Angels. Geez. I never thought I’d actually meet one of you.”
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