Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rash by Peter Hautman

Main character: Sixteen-year-old Bo Marsten
Location: The United Safe States of America
Time period: about one hundred years in the future
Genre: YA Fiction, Futuristic, Dystopian Society

One hundred years from now, the United States (excuse me, The United Safe States) is the safest place on earth. The track team wears padding and helmets, and the track is made out of a more cushioned surface--sure track times have decreased, but at least no one gets hurt if they fall down. There are security cameras everywhere. No one has to work for a living any more, so all labor is done by convicts--which are in ready supply since practically any display of anger is against the law.

Bo is falsely accused of causing a skin rash which has spread rapidly through his school and as a result is sentenced to manufacture frozen pizza in a facility located in the Canadian tundra. There, he finds himself on an illegal football team run by the head warden. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence computer program that Bo created for a school assignment tracks him down and tries to free him.

This is a sardonic book, taking current trends and attempts to make society safer and stretching them beyond their logical ends to create a world in which safety is a trap. So ask yourself, how would you balance safety and freedom? And how cool would it be to have your own Bork?

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