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Monday, 25 November 2013


 Peaceful Genocide by J.A. Reynolds
Publication date: November 25th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Mitzi and Deuce can recall how many drops of water were on a leaf from a rainstorm five years ago and conversations from last week, month, or year. They have the ability to remember every second of everyday—since birth.

This gift has blessed Mitzi with a history of being sexually assaulted by researchers and abused by her own parents. She trusts no one. Likes no one. Deuce, however, is a high school standout. His gift has made him a superstar on the football field and his memory promises him endless opportunities.

When they both end up at an Alzheimer’s research facility under false proviso, they quickly realize this place isn’t what it seems to be. They endure crazy military-style tests, are forcefully drugged, and complete real-life simulations that haunt them.

Mitzi and Deuce have no idea what the researchers want to do with them or their memories. But one thing is clear: the researchers will go to any lengths to get what they want.

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 Mitzi jogged down to her room. She didn’t care what Mark had said. She didn’t care that Deuce thought all of this research was for the greater good. She’d been in enough bad research situations to know when something was awry. And Mark and his people smelled more than fishy. They were outright foul.
She put her hand in the scanner, waited for the door to slide open, and then froze mid-step when she looked up at a willowy, tall blonde standing in the middle of the room. She looked familiar, but Mitzi couldn’t place where she’d seen her. Odd. Mitzi hated the blips that seemed to be missing from her memory. That wasn’t normal.
“Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my room?”
The woman’s glossy pink lips curled in a smile. “This might be your room, Mitzi, but this is my facility. I have the right to be wherever I want, whenever I want.”
Mitzi’s expression went from flat, to flat-out pissed. She took a cautionary step, casting her eyes over the rest of her empty room. “What do you want?”
“I’m Ikea.” The woman held out her hand. Mitzi looked at it and grunted. “I’ve heard you’re having some trouble with the study. Would you like to talk to me about it?”
Va te faire foutre.” Mitzi could get used to the cursing in a foreign language thing. It made her feel better and no one knew what she was saying.
Ikea’s eyes went wide. “French? Qu’il lest intelligent.”
Fuck. Mitzi bit her bottom lip. “Qué hay de espanol?”
Mitzi's temper flared. “Che ne dici di italiano?”
Ikea’s eyes glimmered like a predatory cat. “Naturalmente.”
Great. Mitzi’s breath rushed out. The woman spoke four languages—and probably more. Not that Mitzi wanted to stand there any longer and find out. After several minutes of staring each other down, Mitzi spoke. “Why do you think I’ll talk to you, because you’re a woman?”
A bubbly laughed escaped her lips. “No, actually. I’d hoped you’d listen to me because I am one.”
“Sorry.” Mitzi folded her arms. “Not interested. I need to check out of here. ASAP.”
Ikea’s perfectly round blue eyes widened for a brief second before she gave a soft smile. “So then,” she said in an annoying preschool-teacher-type voice, “no talking?”
Mitzi shrugged and pushed past the woman, heading for her foot locker. She wrenched it open and yanked out her clothes. “You can talk,” she grumbled. “Doesn’t mean I’ll be listening.”
Ikea’s four-inch heals clicked on the floor as she maneuvered to Mitzi. Mitzi froze when the woman’s cold hand landed on her own.
“Don’t touch me.” She jerked her hand away and continued stuffing her clothes into her bag.
“I know about you, Mitzi.” The woman’s voice was uncharacteristically calm and soothing.
“So?” She slammed the lid to the footlocker, swinging her bag around her shoulder. “Lots of people know about me.”
“Do they know that you killed a researcher during a study or that you tried to cripple your father?”
Mitzi halted at the door and half-turned to see Ikea, her jaw agape. “How do you know that?”
“I know everything. About all of you. This study requires me to know the most intimate details of your lives. I even know about your scars, Mitzi. And how you got them.”
Heat flared in her cheeks. “How do I get out of here?”
The attractive blonde shook her dainty head. “You don’t understand. This study depends on you. All of you.”
Something tight constricted around Mitzi’s body from behind. She jerked, but couldn’t move. Her legs kicked and flailed, but the squeeze continued.
“What—” She couldn’t breathe. The aired was sucked right out of her lungs.
Ikea’s face blurred. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Really…I am.”
Lights out. 

Author Interview:

Publisher’s Weekly reviewed the unpublished manuscript and said it’s, “Reminiscent of Ender’s Game, the tension ratchets up with every test…nicely done.” How do you feel about your book being compared to Ender’s Game?

Full disclosure here: I’d never read Ender’s Game before I wrote Peaceful Genocide, so I had no idea what the reference meant. Space Opera isn’t a genre I read a great deal of.  I did, however, read it shortly after. When I learned of its popularity, I was flattered, but then I was worried because I wondered if I copied a book I hadn’t even known about. I mean, it happens more than you think. Fortunately the books are nothing alike. I can see an underlying correlation (not going to give you spoilers), but the books themselves are quite different. 

How did you come up with the idea for Peaceful Genocide? 

I have a daughter who is an avid reader and I was always amazed with her literary choices in elementary school. Instead of girly books, she always picked up action/adventure, sci-fiction, etc. I wanted to write a book for her, something she would pick up and love. Peaceful Genocide was the product of that.

Do you have a specific writing style? 

I tend to be very colloquial, which is why I can’t make a living as a journalist or writing informational articles. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I like to think my style reflects that. 

How did you come up with the title? 

A dear friend actually came up with the title for me. And it was perfect. After all, genocide is not peaceful. Or is it?

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

The beautiful thing about writing a story is that different readers interpret things differently. I like to think there’s a message in the book, but what that message is depends on who is flipping the pages.  

How much of the book is realistic? 

If this book was realistic, mankind would be in some serious trouble. However, I did read an article not too long ago that discussed a memory chips implanted in people. Scary. That tells me the technology mentioned in the book is probably out there…let’s just hope they don’t use it like the book does.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

I like to think there’s always room for improvement, but I also think that Peaceful Genocide ended up in a very nice place. I hope readers agree!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

I always find the “middle hump” challenging. It’s the middle of the book when everything has piled up and now it’s time for some super action to start! Getting to that stage is hard, and so is bypassing it. But once I do, everything seems to fall into place, which is always a fulfilling feeling.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

All the kids in Peaceful Genocide are geniuses in some way, shape, or form. I am not a genius. Not even close.
How are you the same/different from their main character?

Ha, I couldn’t be any further from my characters if I tried. Like I said, they are brilliant. Along with many other wonderful attributes that I can’t even come close to.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I learned that technology can be a scary thing. And I also learned I’m not near as smart as I wish I was.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? 

There are so many different aspects to Peaceful Genocide. From technology, to science, to brain functions, to the government, to obstacles courses, to secrecy—so many facets and twists that hopefully keep people guessing.  The kids are brilliant and have their own special talents. The story as a whole required a great deal of research and learning things I would’ve never thought I would need to learn. And bringing the characters and story to life proved a struggle, but I do hope it draws reader into a world they wouldn’t have thought of before.

Which character will the author continue, or will he/she kill off some characters? Which characters will the author find hardest to part with?

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it is entirely possible that not all of the characters make it through Peaceful Genocide, or the remaining books. After all, it’s a sci-fi thriller, with lots of action and ups and downs. I am quite attached to Mitzi and Deuce, but they have their work cut out for them. Nothing should be easy in my mind.

About the Author:
JA Reynolds lives in the Midwest with a normal family, raising a normal daughter, with some abnormal pets. It’s extraordinarily ordinary. 

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