London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world
Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.
What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.
When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?
OTHERBORN in Academics: Five Things London’s World Can Teach You
1. Contentment is dangerous if it becomes sedation
Individually, we all want to feel content in our lives, but collectively, as a society, as a nation, we should be wary of too much contentment. It has a lulling, soporific effect in large doses, which can allow things we might otherwise disdain to creep into our norms, or slither by unnoticed altogether. It’s important to be alert— to be aware of what our leaders are doing and what the leaders around ours are doing, to the best of our ability. The tragedy of London’s world is that everyone is content with being taken care of and they’ve lost sight altogether of the future.
2. Follow your dreams wherever they may lead
There’s no denying the truth of who you are, and that person will always shine through in your dreams. You can fight it, suppress it, you can even sedate it, but in the end, it’s going to come out. Learn to live your truth out loud. Let your dreams define you. Follow your gut, and lean on the accuracy of your intuition.
3. Face value is cheap
Everything is more than it seems on the surface. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. Never take someone or something at face value alone. Weigh every word, every gesture, against the judgment of your own gut. When you take something at face value, you’re almost always sure to feel cheated in the end. For example, in London’s world, reprocessing sounds like a good idea, but in fact, it’s not. We face a similar dilemma today with recycling. While recycling is a wonderful part of the solution to our environmental challenges, it isn’t the solution in and of itself. Reducing waste should be our primary goal. Recycling what we have comes after that. For a lot of people, tossing a water bottle into a green or blue bin has a band-aid effect, when they should have been questioning how necessary that plastic bottle was in the first place.
4. Diversity is a commodity we can’t afford to lose
America has been lauded for its diversity in all things— culture, religion, race, and so on. We are the great melting pot, and our government and legislation has been designed to protect that diversity. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always work. But I think the important thing is to remember that we want diversity. Homogeny is not the natural way. It breeds a host of unthinkable problems that it isn’t designed to solve. Take a look around. Our planet has evolved as a harmony of diverse ecosystems and species, all carefully interwoven into the survival of all. If we lose that, we could lose our very existence.
5. Real friends can’t be bought or sold
They should give a class on friendship, on how to recognize true friends and how to handle those who aren’t capable of giving in a deep, real way. Real friends aren’t for sale. They can’t be bought or sold for any price. They’re there for reasons they can’t even explain half the time, and you can’t put a price on that kind of dedication. They’re givers because they have something to give. They’ve built something rich and powerful inside themselves that supports them and can be a support to those they love. There are a lot of people out there who are looking for just the opposite. Ill equipped to support themselves, they look to others to provide what only they can build. In the end, it’s destructive to both parties.
Anna Silver is an author and artist living in the greater Houston area with her family, pets, and overactive imagination. Her art has been featured in the Houston gallery Las Manos Magicas. She studied English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. She's freelanced for private clients and small publications like the Hill Country Current. OTHERBORN is her first published novel. She is represented by Rebecca Podos and Nicole LaBombard of Rees Literary Agency.