Call Me Obie
Call Me Obie
by Ateret Haselkorn
GENRE: YA Science Fiction
Fifteen-year-old Obie hates the word “artificial.” It has to be the Most Misunderstood Word of the Year 2100. The media puts it in front of anything. They started with artificial intelligence and now it goes with housing, law enforcement, and in Obie’s case, her heart.
Just because Obie’s vital organ was 3D-printed doesn’t mean that she’s fake. She’s simply misunderstood, especially by Humanists. They think that artificial organ recipients like her are an abomination, and that’s why Obie can’t let anyone know the truth about her heart.
But when Humanists injure her best friend Mateo, Obie needs to step up. She decides to get him a 3D-printed replacement spleen in secret. In order to succeed, she becomes a black-market criminal, a high-tech healer, and an authority on love (or maybe not the last one so much). But what else can she do when organs are sold by Jonas, a blue-eyed genius who can’t stand the system any more than her?
Call Me Obie explores the future of discrimination and the timeless power of empathy and forgiveness, with a few comedic mishaps along the way. It is the tale of one young woman’s coming-of-age in a future where nearly anything is medically possible and society must ask: When technology can modify humans, who gets to decide how?
Now, believe me, bullies can figure out how to get to their targets digitally, but I think that having to go to an in-person school delivers us right into the lion’s den. That’s actually how Mateo and I met, back in the seventh grade. I was gliding along, minding my business in my shiny new hover sneakers—even though I promised my dad that I’d walk for some traditional exercise—when my comm device vibrated with an environmental disturbance alert. It said there was a hazard above me. I looked upwards, scanning the treetops and clouds, and spotted a black, sharp-edged and bird-shaped drone the size of my hand. It flew straight up, reversed direction, and then dove down over and over. As I got closer to it, I heard yelling each time it dropped out of my line of sight. Weird. . . When I got to the school’s quad, I saw a thin, golden-skinned boy about my age running around screaming and waving his hands above his head, doing his best to fend off the attack. The hunting drone kept diving to hit him on the forehead with its beak. Every time the boy was down, as in lying on his stomach and moaning, the drone flew up. And whenever the boy shakily stood, it swooped down and jabbed him again. When I reached him, he was resting face down with his bleeding forehead pressed against his forearms.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
About the Author:
Ateret Haselkorn writes fiction and poetry. She is the winner of 2014 Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest. Her children’s story was published as a finalist in the 2020 “Science Me a Story” contest of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in multiple literary and medical journals and can be accessed at AteretHaselkorn.com. Twitter and Instagram: @AteretHaselkorn
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed building the world in which Call Me Obie was set. I placed the story around the year 2100 and twisted elements of our current society to make it a fun but also poignant tale. For example, in Obie’s world obesity is more desirable than thinness. My reasoning was that what societies generally call attractive is what is hard to attain. In Obie’s lifetime, vegetables and other healthy options are extremely affordable, while more fattening foods are enormously expensive. Only the rich can truly afford to be obese and some people actually get plastic surgery to fatten their thighs. I liked writing the opposite of what is done today, but also wanted to show that many societal values are tenuous and shift with the times. This ties into a central question of the book – what will discrimination look like in 100 years?
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I am writing a science fiction mystery novel based in a “smart” city. It’s definitely more “noir” than Call Me Obie, and more adult. I’d describe the setting as the stepping stone before the relatively utopian technological environment surrounding Obie.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
I am hoping to lead world-building workshops for teen writers. I’ve just started putting the word out locally. It would be a pleasure to coach new writers through what can be one of the most intimidating parts of writing (after facing the blank page).
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I was ten years old. I had a lull in my early 20s but I picked it up again and was fortunate to publish many short stories and poems afterwards. Call Me Obie is my first novel.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for reading, and thanks for taking the time to interview me!
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BJ17V6CP
Ateret Haselkorn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.