Spotlight on Spiked (Jon McGoran), Excerpt, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight Spiked by Jon McGoran.
Read on for more about Jono and his book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway!
Meet Jon McGoran!
Jon McGoran writes thrillers for teens and adults. His first YA book, Spliced, was named an ALA LITA Excellence in Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Book. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family, where he is a founding member of The Liars Club for writers (liarsclubphilly.com) and cohosts the Liars Club podcast. Learn more at jonmcgoran.com or connect on Twitter and Instagram @jonmcgoran.
A plan for peace turns into a fight for survival in the third book of the acclaimed sci-fi thriller series.
Committed to both peace and human rights for chimeras--people who alter themselves with animal DNA--seventeen-year-old Jimi Corcoran is torn when she's invited to a gathering of moderate pro- and anti-chimera rights activists seeking to find common ground. But when a militant chimera rights group prevents her from attending--and saves her from being killed by the bomb they've planted--Jimi herself falls under suspicion for the blast.
Seeking to clear her name, Jimi and her chimera boyfriend, Rex, investigate the mysterious group. . . . only to discover that her involvement is no accident. As they dig deeper, they're drawn into a whirlwind of secret identities, shocking experiments, and an apocalyptic plot that threatens the future of humanity.
In this thrilling conclusion to Jon McGoran's timely and heavy-hitting Spliced series, extremists on both sides square off in an escalating battle between competing visions of the future of humanity, and of the Earth. Set in a near-future society where science is both celebrated and vilified, the Spliced series tackles weighty questions about genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence, population control--and when, if ever, revolution is worth a life.
~ Excerpt ~
Even with the sun directly overhead, the Wells Tower cast a long shadow. The headquarters of Wellplant Corporation was the tallest building in the city. It represented everything that was wrong with the world, but to be honest, at that moment, I was grateful for the shade.
I was headed to the Independence Seaport Museum, down on the waterfront, a half- hour walk from the Levline hub. I could have taken a bus or a cab, but I liked walking in the city, even in the summer heat. Plus, I needed to clear my head and steady my nerves.
It had been a while since I’d been in the Tower District, and I took a moment to glance around. From far away, the buildings that dominated the city skyline were quite a sight. They were majestic, especially at night, but thin and glassy and delicate. They looked like they’d break if you touched them. Up close, they were dizzying, even awe-inspiring, especially the Wells Tower, which soared into the blue sky behind me. As I watched, a lone cloud crashed into the top floor and was neatly sliced in half by the tower’s edge, creating two smaller clouds, which slipped past it on either side.
My neck was starting to ache from gazing up so high, and when I looked down again I was greeted by scowls from the business- types walking toward me, then around me—kind of like that cloud, but more clearly annoyed.
I rolled my eyes and resumed walking. I was pretty sure that whatever stress they were feeling about the afternoon ahead would pale compared to mine. I was about halfway to the museum, and as I approached the city’s Historic District, the Thursday lunchtime office-worker crowds of a few blocks earlier were increasingly replaced by tourists. It was late June in Philadelphia, and the surge of Independence Day visitors was ramping up.
I glanced at my watch. I had ten minutes to get there. I put my head down and hurried along, not looking up as I passed the Liberty Bell, as a mail drone whizzed by overhead, or even as a white van pulled up beside me. Not until a black hood dropped down over my head. And by then, it was too late.
When Reverend Calkin had called me at home a few days earlier, I was sure it was a joke. I knew it wasn’t my brother Kevin— he’s terrible at voices— but I thought maybe he had put one of his buddies up to it. Because why would a member of the Board of Advisors of Humans for Humanity, the biggest chimera- hating organization in the world, be calling me? Yes, Calkin had a reputation as a moderate, but he had still supported H4H’s efforts to pass the Genetic Heritage Act. And that meant he supported defining anyone with a splice— meaning pretty much all my friends these days, including my boyfriend, Rex— as a nonperson.
So, yeah, you could say I was surprised when he called.
“Hello. Is this Jimi Corcoran?” he’d said, after I’d picked up.
“Yes,” I’d said. “With whom am I speaking?” If I feel at a disadvantage because I don’t know who I’m talking to, I like to throw a little grammar at them.
Calkin explained who he was while I mentally flicked through Kevin’s friends, trying to decide which one was pranking me, wondering if maybe it was some new knucklehead from college. It had only been a few weeks since he’d left to start freshmen preseason training, but Kevin made friends quickly, if not always carefully.
“Jimi,” Calkin said, “I’m calling you today because I sincerely believe that you and I have more in common than you might think.” He went on to say that he did not hate chimeras and was open to other viewpoints. He was concerned about the future of humanity, and that with splicing and whatever other physical alterations might be coming our way, he simply thought we needed to be very careful about the changes we allowed ourselves to make to our bodies. “I don’t believe people who have gotten spliced with animal DNA are less human, necessarily,” he continued. “Or people who have been spiked, for that matter. In fact, an argument could be made that plants have made similar choices to chimeras.”
That was interesting. By “plants,” he meant people who had gotten a Wellplant computer implant “spiked,” or inserted, into their craniums. Both terms were pretty new slang, so he was probably just trying to prove he was cool, but I was impressed that he mentioned them at all because I happened to agree. Plants were just as altered as chimeras, maybe even more so, though of course, they insisted otherwise.
“But,” Calkin said, “both groups are on a slippery slope toward a future populated by beings who are much less human, where humanity has lost its distinction, or where artificial intelligence or what have you, could claim to be human and end up ruling over us, with superior intelligence and an utter lack of compassion.”
By this point, I believed he was who he said he was, or at least that he was not one of Kevin’s friends.
“Well Reverend,” I said, “that’s great. But it seems to me we’re already halfway down a different sort of slope, where you have one group of people labeling another group as nonpersons and trying to take away their rights. And it seems to me like that shows there’s already an ‘utter lack of
I didn’t understand why this was so hard for H4Hers to get. The Genetic Heritage Act had been passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor months earlier, with rabid support from H4H. Earth for Everyone, the pro- chimera- rights organization, had fi led a dozen lawsuits challenging GHA and was making some headway in the courts; but the law was still on the books, and H4H had introduced similar legislation in dozens of other states, and a national version, as well. E4E was scrambling to keep up. I knew this because I was interning for Marcella DeWitt, one of the E4E lawyers working on the lawsuits.
Calkin went quiet, then he said, “Indeed. . . . And that is why I’d like to invite you to a luncheon I’m hosting before next month’s convention.”
If I’d been drinking my coffee, I would have spat it out. I was disgusted that Philadelphia was hosting the first national Humans for Humanity convention, although the location made sense. Howard Wells was the head of H4H, and of Wellplant, his massive technology and medical corporation. Both were based in the city. I was actually planning on being at the convention, or near it, to protest alongside my friends. I was so taken aback by Calkin’s invitation that before I could reply, he continued.
“We’ll be meeting off- site, discreetly if not secretly, a quiet get- together of clergy, scholars, lawyers, and activists, chimeras among them, including some young people and Earth for Everyone’s national vice president and regional chair. I’m hoping we can have a thoughtful conversation to find common ground, as we move forward into humanity’s uncertain future.”
I’d been ready to slap him down with a snarky retort and hang up the phone, but I didn’t. I seriously doubted I could find common ground with anybody involved in the efforts to dehumanize my friends, but maybe dialogue would help them see the error of their ways.
“Why are you inviting me?” I asked.
“Well, you’ve gained a certain notoriety—”
I laughed. “You’re inviting me because I was on a T-shirt?”
“You have a unique perspective. . . . Indeed, you’ve seen up-close some of the less- fortunate consequences of our endeavor to achieve clarity on the questions surrounding the manner and criteria through which humanity is defined.”
“Indeed,” I said, “if, by ‘less- fortunate consequences’ you mean that your endeavor has already caused the deaths of several people I care about, and almost killed me more than once. You know I’ll be outside the convention, protesting against H4H. And against your buddy Howard Wells.”
“Ind—” He stopped himself and laughed. “Of course. I know you’ve been working with E4E, and I gather you’re involved in Chimerica, as well, whatever that means.”
I didn’t comment on that one. Chimerica was a secretive organization dedicated to protecting chimeras. Rex had recently been a part of Chimerica in some way that was a mystery even to me, and pretty much all he could tell me about it was how he didn’t know what anyone else was doing. I’d had a brief encounter with them myself, but I wouldn’t say I was involved, even though a few months ago I had found out that my long-lost Aunt Dymphna— my namesake, whom I hadn’t seen since I was four or five— was actually the head of Chimerica. I was still trying to make sense of that, wondering if I should try to connect with her through the group, or, since I was living right where I’d always been and she hadn’t gotten in touch with me, if I should just leave it alone and pretend to forget about her.
“As I said,” Calkin continued, “we want a variety of viewpoints— from plants, chimeras, and others— and a dialogue. We all come at this issue from different places, from secularists who think splicing is detrimental to public health to fundamentalists who think chimeras are harbingers of the end of the world. And you should know that while Howard Wells and I agree on some things, we disagree on many more. I certainly wouldn’t say we’re buddies.”
I thought about that for a few seconds, then told him I’d have to think some more. I spent the next hour at the library, reading up on Reverend Calkin.
Then I called Rex.
By: Jon McGoran
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: May 1st, 2020
1 winner will receive a prize pack including the 3 books in the Spliced trilogy: SPLICED, SPLINTERED, and SPIKED ~ (US Only)
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