Swans & Klons by Nora OlsenPublished by Bold Strokes Books
Blurb: What does it take to survive in a world built on lies?
Sixteen-year-old Rubric loves her pampered life in the Academy dormitory. She’s dating Salmon Jo, a brilliant and unpredictable girl. In their all-female world, non-human slaves called Klons do all the work. But when Rubric and Salmon Jo break into the laboratory where human and Klon babies are grown in vats, they uncover a terrifying secret that tears their idyllic world apart.
Their friends won’t believe them, and their teachers won’t help them. The Doctors who rule Society want to silence Rubric and Salmon Jo. The two girls must flee for their lives. As they face the unthinkable, the only thing they have left to believe in is their love for each other.
Review: Imagine a world where men do not exist. Women not only run society, but they ARE society. As in the only members. In the distant future, male children are born with something wrong with them that ultimately causes them to become what the women call "Cretinous Males." They are physically and mentally weaker to a large degree, making them giant children essentially. In this future society, women do not even give birth anymore. All children are created and raised in giant tubes until they are able to be born. And in order for humans to have a more meaningful life free from menial labor, Klons are created. They do everything for their human counterparts.
Stencil Pavlina's eyes flashed. "You can't slap me," she told Rubric. "You are supposed to slap my Klon!"This book has a wonderful plot that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, and shows what happens when the basic principal you have been taught all your life turns out to be a lie. Rubric and Salmon Jo do not find anything wrong with their world until they see something that makes them question just how Klons and Humans are created. They begin to wonder, what makes someone human? Even though this book is set in the distant future, it is a plausible world and when you consider genetic engineering that is done, and the creation of highly advanced AI, you have to wonder what DOES make someone human? What does it mean to be human?
"Weird, weird, weird," Rubric declared. "You know what? You are veruckt."
"Gerda, throw a tantrum," Panna Stencil Pavlina ordered.
The other Gerda, the one who hadn't slapped Rubric, threw down the cloth she was using to rub emollient on the bird. "Waah!" she cried and stamped her feet. She balled her hands into fists and shook them at Rubric. "Waah!"
Rubric was startled at how genuine the Klon's dictated emotions seemed to be. The other Gerda just watched, slowly stirring the plaster so it wouldn't thicken and harden. Was the stirring Gerda smiling ever so slightly? Rubric's eyes darted back and forth from stirring Gerda to tantruming Gerda. Finally, she returned her gaze to Stencil Pavlina. She had often seen humans ask Klons to act out their emotions on edfotunement. She had believed it was in poor taste, but it had never before struck her as insane.
I can easily see this as the first in a series, because the book leaves off at a place that could be the end, but also the beginning of another grand adventure. I'd love to see more of Rubric, Dream, Salmon Jo, and everyone else. There is a lot of potential here with what the author could do.
Review by Jennifer