Nothing occurred. Not but anyway. That is the way it all begins.
We’re excited to share an excerpt from a dystopian SF novel The Ten Percent Thief by Lavanya Lakshminarayan, now out there from Solaris.
Welcome to Apex Metropolis, previously Bangalore, the place all the pieces is determined by the mathematically good Bell Curve.
With the precise picture, the precise values and the precise opinions, you possibly can attain the glittering heights of the Twenty P.c – the digital elite – and have the world at your toes. In any other case, you threat falling into the precarious ten percenter, and being deported into the ranks of the Analogs, with out entry to electrical energy, operating water, and even humanity.
The system has no faults. Till the elusive “Ten P.c Thief” steals a single jacaranda seed from the digital metropolis and vegetation a revolution within the arid soil of the analog world.
… IN THIS GOOD NIGHT
The room is darkish. I do know you are listening—somebody is all the time listening. I am saying this out loud so you possibly can hear me.
The room is darkish. It is Sasha right here, by the way in which. Simply make clear.
It is darkish and I actually want I had some mild. I’ve by no means recognized darkness. I do know it is a part of my punishment, nevertheless it’s Actually darkish.
Look, I am not panicking. I am completely calm, you see. You possibly can inform by the tone of my voice.
I’ll keep completely calme as a result of that is what you need. I do know that. If I keep calm and behave properly, you’ll reward me. That is how the system works.
I do know I am kicked out, however there’s nonetheless the system, proper? I am a part of it, even in the event you ship me… there.
I’ll behave. Did you get that?
I imagine in you. The system all the time rewards good habits.
It’s nonetheless darkish. I do know I have been right here forty-eight hours. I learn the fantastic print once I was taken. I get my nutri-shakes as soon as a day. I acquired two nutri-shakes. It is two days.
I do know you count on me to lose observe of time right here. Effectively, I am not going to. You will notice how good I’m. That each one of it is a large mistake.
It is Sasha, by the way in which. I would really like some mild.
I did not burst into tears, scream or pound on doorways like a number of the others right here. I do know that is dangerous habits. And the system all the time rewards good habits.
It is the third day, and I nonetheless haven’t any mild, however I am affected person.
Additionally, you realize, protecting observe of time. I do know you count on me to lose my thoughts, however I am telling you, I am higher than everybody else who got here earlier than me.
You’ll notice that you simply made a mistake. You will in all probability let me come again. I am doing an amazing seventy %, simply have a look at my observe report. I solely slipped within the final quarter, however that is as a result of I had…
Look, I do know I allow you to down. I used to be indisposed. I used to be despatched to the counselor. I fastened myself, did not I?
I did not attain my targets, however I set myself. And now I can hit my targets. Simply let me in and provides me one other likelihood to show myself.
It is Sasha, by the way in which. I do know you’re listening.
I maintain waking up and reaching for an OmniPort that is not there. It is like an itch in my mind.
I accepted that I did not deserve my HoloTech, although. I returned my holo-watch and my OmniPort with out protest. It’s best to have seen the person subsequent to me. He screamed after they made him surrender his intelligence glasses. He was so loud and offended they needed to put him down. Then they carried him to a different room on a stretcher – I assume to disable his chip, perhaps take the remainder of his tech out of him.
I didn’t shout. I barely cried in the course of the electro-surge that fried my chip. The scar tissue nonetheless itches, however I did not care a lot about it.
You possibly can ask the ward-bot that comes with my nutri-shakes. I solely communicate when spoken to throughout my every day medical examination. I am not making any unreasonable calls for, though I really feel like my mind is on hearth with out my OmniPort. My fingers are shaking on a regular basis, however I can nonetheless focus. I understood all his questions.
Title: Sasha Sundaram. Age: twenty-eight. Deal with: C-19, Hexadrome 3. Occupation: CommSat Efficiency Analyst. Date of start…
THANKS. Thanks, Bell Corp. I knew my persistence wouldn’t be ignored.
The ward-bot simply gave me a candle and a field of matches. I do not know use them, however I’ll be taught.
If it is a check, I’ll cross.
Was it an accident? Did you unintentionally ship me some wax-tipped matches?
It is Sasha right here. I have been at nighttime for per week now. I’ve tried lighting each match however none of them work. I took every of those I knocked out of the field and laid them in an orderly pile on the ground, however by some means they moved – or perhaps I bought them misplaced at nighttime. It was tough to select them up from the bottom with out mild, and also you needed to crawl lots. I discovered all of them, although – they’re again within the field and you’ll depend all of them.
May you ship me one other field of matches, please?
Edie Taylor’s ‘Summer season Sunshine’ caught in my head, however I do not know all of the phrases. May you please ship them with the ward-bot tomorrow? It performs on a loop.
I attempted to sing songs that I do know, however I discover that I by no means bothered to be taught the lyrics as a result of they had been all the time on the nebula, and I used to be all the time linked to them. It is wonderful how quiet the within of my head is with out the stay ambient sound from my InEars.
I am not calling my OmniPort again, although. Or for my InEars. I do not deserve them. I simply need the lyrics to a tune. And one other field of matches. Please?
It is Sasha. Simply in case you’re listening.
I perceive that Analogs doesn’t have free electrical energy or operating water. I perceive you are attempting to acclimate me to a life at nighttime. However that looks like punishment, not consciousness. It took me two weeks to return to this conclusion.
I assumed Bell Corp was human. It does not appear human.
I am sorry, I did not imply to yell at you. I solely meant what I stated as constructive suggestions.
I’m actually sorry.
What number of days has it been?
Bell Corp does an amazing job designing these simulations. I’m wondering how I am doing on this check.
Title: Sasha. Age: twenty-eight. Deal with: The place are we?
You let me go! You are blindfolding me as a result of it is a large shock, aren’t you?
Once I open my eyes, I will be again… someplace out of the darkish. It have to be my birthday. It is my birthday ?
The place are you taking me? I hope there may be cake.
Extract of The Ten P.c Thiefcopyright © 2023 by Lavanya Lakshminarayan.
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