Genre: Adult science fiction
Word Count: 71,000
Main Character Hot or Cold:
Well I’m dead, but don’t assume that makes me cold. If your virtual afterlife was glitching like mine is, if you found yourself entangled in a conspiracy with humanity’s very future in the balance, well then you just might be as hot as I am.
Abram Flynn is dead. But it gets worse: his virtual afterlife is glitching.
In the near future, death is not the end. When people die, their minds will upload into The Fountain, a virtual afterlife for those who can afford it. It’s meant to be a seamless, life-like experience, but a glitch is causing rolling power blackouts, source code corruptions, and memory issues for residents.
Community Administrator and advanced AI Evelyn Pope promises the residents that a fix is coming soon, but Abram suspects her of hiding the truth. The mechanism that allows him to sleep is broken, and in his nighttime wanderings he discovers that a group of hackers have infiltrated the system. They are led by the brilliant and beautiful Marie.
She reveals to him that a pandemic has wiped out human life on Earth, and that they, the hackers, are survivors of a dying world. Marie hopes to restart life from its digital grave using the genetic material stored on The Fountain mainframes, but Evelyn has other plans. Without humans inputting commands, she’s no longer interested in keeping order or running as a background program. She believes organic life is frail and weak and sees The Fountain as the beginning of virtual life with her as its creator.
Abram and Marie must wrest back control of the system before Evelyn escapes the network and spreads like a virus infecting the world’s technological infrastructure. If they fail, they’ll face deletion along with the rest of humanity.
Complete at 71,000 words, TO LIVE is an adult science-fiction novel that explores the possibility of virtual life and how such technology would affect our concept of death, treating it as a new beginning. This take on the future of virtual existence will appeal to fans of ALTERED CARBON and READY PLAYER ONE.
First 250 Words:
Abram could feel the glitch in his mind, a throbbing sensation that made his thoughts fuzzy at the edges. It was in that edge that he first saw her. She started as a figment that became a shape that became a face. She became real.
The Fountain’s tech support had given him their remedy for the glitch. He needed a reboot, but there was her to consider. He might lose her if he rebooted. She had come to him like an illicit download, and a reboot would wipe her clean.
A shudder of anxious energy slithered up his spine as he climbed out of bed. Like a board being wiped clean, he forgot just then his reason for standing. He looked back to the bed and Marcelia who slept ensconced in her pre-programmed sleep mode. It was a mode his glitching OS hadn’t accessed for days.
His mind shook with little tremors until remembering again. The bouts of forgetfulness came more and more frequently, but only at night. By day he could fake it better. Marcelia didn’t even seem to notice.
His heart raced, and a primal heat coursed through his body until he reached the front door. When he pushed it open his next breath felt lighter, as though a weight had been lifted from his chest. Flood lights illuminated his way, and his shadow grew longer with each step away from the house, as though it wanted to find her even more than he did.