Check out Other Systems, an original and thought provoking Sci-Fi novel by talented author Elizabeth Guizzetti! Read on for the press release, giving the background to the novel, the book synopsis, review excerpts and find out about the author. There is also a substantial excerpt that will give you a real insight into this compelling novel, an interview with the author and more!
Other Systems: A Powerful Novel by Elizabeth Guizzetti Exposes Difficulties in Planetary Exploration and Colonization.
Seattle, WA – Elizabeth Guizzetti opened a new door to the science fiction genre with a character driven multi-world fiction that grabs readers’ emotions and refuses to let go. Garnering a growing and dedicated readership, Other Systems examines what an actual life of might entail if someone chooses to leave Earth and live on another planet. Hailed as both ‘thought-provoking’ and ‘emotional’, the book is resonating with readers—some who have never read science fiction before.
Inspired by NASA’s Kepler mission (the search for other Earth-like planets) the novel explores the shifts in culture and belief systems, the definition of humanity, and family structure as humans for new homes. Finally it asks: Would you go?
As the author explains, her novel showcases the true power of a determined human mind. “Abby is an intelligent protagonist that grows through the course of the novel. Even though life does not turn out as planned, she uses her mind–not violence–in order to find a way out of her problems,” says Guizzetti.
Without an influx of human DNA, the utopian colony on Kipos has eleven generations before it reaches failure. Earth is over ninety light years away. Time is short.
On the over-crowded Earth, many see opportunity in Kipos’ need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, Abby and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. Along with 750,000 other strong young immigrants, they leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs and the opportunity for higher education
While the Earthlings travel to the new planet in stasis, the Kiposi, terrified the savages will taint their paradise, pass a series of indenture and adoption laws in order to assimilate them.
When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. Indentured to breed, she is drugged and systematically coerced. To survive, Abby learns the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind. In order to escape her captors, she joins a planetary survey team where she will discover yet another way of life.
Hectate of the Three Nerds & a Book Club said, “There were such complex issues ranging from technological advances, race and social disputes, and figuring out what can really make a family. It took a while to wrap my mind around the time differences, but I came to accept it as a norm.”
The Red Reader Reviews said: I can guarantee when you’re reading Other Systems, not only will you be enthralled by the world Guizzetti creates but you’ll be right there alongside Abby and her friends.
Denise DeSio the author of Rose’s Will was equally as impressed. She said, “Time and again I kept thinking, “Whoa! How many months, maybe years, of research did she have to do to come up with this stuff?”
For more information, visit the book’s official website: http://other-systems.com
The family said good-bye over a lunch of chicken, carrots, and plenty of tears. Grandma said prayers and burnt incense. Ma kissed her children again and again. Da squeezed them hard. So did Ray. Tara whimpered and paced, almost as if she sensed Abby and her younger siblings were not coming back. Tara was family, but she was seven years old, and Abby knew that she could not give up her entire future for a dog. As they walked outside the commune, Orchid began to sniffle.
Da embraced his children once more and said softly, “Take care of them, Abby. “Jin, I’m counting on you. You’ll be the man of the family on the new world. “Orchid, you listen to your brother and sister now. You better get going. You have a ways to walk.”
The three took their first steps away from the commune. Abby glanced back. Her parents held each other. Grandma clutched Tara around her giant, furry neck. Ray watched them. She knew there was part of him who wanted to come, but fear and duty held him to Earth. She waved once more at her dearest sibling. Her eyes were moist. She could not deny part of her wanted to return home. The sun was warm on their backs, but the blue skies saddened her. She would never have another day on Earth. She was glad when they made it down the hill and the commune was out of sight. Orchid was bawling and tears dripped down Jin’s nose.
Abby reached around her sister’s narrow shoulders and squeezed her tight, then pulled out a few tissues and passed them around. In a false cheerful tone, she said, “This will be a grand adventure, won’t it?”
Jin followed suit: “I know we’ll miss Ma, Da, Ray, Grandma, and Tara, but we’ll have each other, alright?” Orchid took the tissue and wiped a bit of clear snot and tears off her nose and nodded.
Abby went on: “I’m going to Kipos, but I’ll take you home right now. Once we are around this bend, there’s no turning back. Do you still want to go?”
“Yeah.” The younger girl lifted her chin to look at her sister. “Remember when Mr. Tygh said that on Kipos I could go to school to become anything I wanted, maybe even a doctor. I like that idea. Ma and Da can’t send me to the university.”
Abby felt a lump in her throat. Orchid’s reasoning was much more mature than her own.
“If I can go to school, I always thought it would be neat to invent something instead of just building something that someone else designed,” Jin said. With a guilty look, he glanced up at Abby. “But I understand if I have to work.”
Abby nodded. “My hope is that both of you can attend school.”
Behind them, they heard: “Hey, guys! Wait!” Rory ran to catch up with them. His forehead held a glaze of sweat. Abby waited for him to start making lewd remarks but he just fell in step. His blue eyes were filled with fear.
“There’s nothing to be scared of, Orchid.” Rory’s voice held a slight tremble, as though the words were meant to make him more confident, not her. “We really are going somewhere new. Someplace better. I saw Ray before I left. He’s a good man. You should be proud to have a brother like that.”
“We are,” Jin replied.
Jin and Rory walked behind them and, though it was uncomfortably sweaty, Abby held Orchid’s hand as they hiked the two miles to the old airfield south of the city. They watched the elevator car disappear into the blue sky as the new colonists were sent up to the mother ship. With each step, it was hard not to get excited.
Rory stopped for a moment. His voice was pleading. “I did not kill Mary.”
“No one said you did,” Abby said. She wasn’t sure if she believed him or just wanted to.
Rory spoke quickly. “She committed suicide when I broke it off with her. She didn’t have any money for paternity tests and she didn’t have time to put it together before the ship left. I offered to abort the fetus, but the Suffering God does not like abortion. Please, I need you to believe me. I did not kill her.”
Embracing him with a quick and what she hoped felt like a sisterly side hug, Abby said, “We believe you. Come on. We are almost there.” Ahead of them were layers of gated security and mobs of people. Pimps and drug dealers encircled the gate selling their wares. Thieves sold stolen or forged passes. Abby was glad that their boarding passes were hidden deep within her blouse. Rory shoved his hands in his pockets so no one could steal his. A man asked Abby what her price was, but Jin glared and took a step towards him.
She grabbed her brother’s arm. “Let’s keep moving. Soon it won’t matter.”
Jin reluctantly agreed.
They worked their way through the crowd of people holding hate-filled signs and the reporters with their cameramen. They circumvented families who were saying their goodbyes. When they reached the first manned gate, the guard instructed, “Put your right thumbprint here.”
Abby told Orchid to go first. She whined that she did not want to be left alone even for a second, so Jin went first, then Orchid, followed by Abby. Inside the gate, Abby gave their boarding passes to the second official scanning the documents. Once the lighted red star beeped, he allowed them inside the second gate. They walked through a meter of icy antiseptic spray. Once across the threshold, they waited for Rory as it dried. They moved to stand in the next line when they heard shouting and saw three young men with guns storm the gate.
There was a single shot and a scream. Jin picked up Orchid and grabbed Abby’s wrist. He pulled the girls to the nearest barricade. Rory was right behind him and Abby felt his arms wrap around her head to protect her. By the time they turned around the three men had been engulfed in flames. Abby covered her sister’s eyes. Crowds of people screamed, but no one did anything. They just waited for the elevator doors to open. Abby saw another young man and woman try to socially engineer their way through the gate.
“We lost our passes, but we are on the list,” the woman said, pointing towards the fence.
“Your irresponsibility is not our concern,” the Kiposi said.
“What she means is my brother has them and he is already in there.”
After a few more minutes of arguing, the woman eventually gave up and walked away. The man grew angry that he was refused. The gateman hit a button and the man’s body erupted in a blue flame. His howl of agony lasted a few long seconds before he was dead.
Abby forced herself to find fault in his actions, not blame the Kiposi. “He wouldn’t have just left. They didn’t want to kill him,” she whispered as she filed through the airlock and into the space elevator. A Kiposi woman handed each of them a small roll of soft candy and a napkin. They were told to chew the candy or blow their noses to equalize their ears during the air pressure change. Most of the seats on the ground floor were full, but she glanced around hoping to find four open seats that were together. Jin, however, rushed up the stairs, pulling Orchid behind him.
“Jin!” Abby called.
He glanced back with a smile and kept going. She trailed after them. Her brother pushed his way to an empty row of facing seats to make sure he and Orchid could sit next to a window. Once on the top floor, Abby glimpsed towards the sky, but she could not see anything but glittering cables against magnetic tiles and disappearing blue. Rory’s hand was gentle on her back as he continued to guide her towards the others. Abby apologized to anyone grumbling about the pair of wild children who had just pushed past them. By the time they reached them, Jin was helping Orchid buckle herself in. Abby
briefly considered reminding her brother to be considerate, but he had kept their little sister safe and found four seats together. She sat down next to Orchid without a word. Rory sat beside Jin.
Abby counted the twenty-five rows of ten seats. There were three floors: seven hundred and fifty souls per trip. According to her calculations, there must be at least ten trips in a day. Seventy-five hundred people from Seattle and there were nine other cities,
making a total of 750,000 souls, plus the crew of sixty per ship, in addition to seed and livestock.
Her stomach lurched as the elevator started to lift. Before she knew it, the city was spread out north of her. Now there was really no turning back. She wondered what Ray was doing. Did he miss them? Did he regret his decision? She wished he were there to share in this adventure. As they rose, she could see the Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. It looked like a child’s model. Soon the distinct topography disappeared and she could only make out splotches of brown, white, green, and the blue of the Pacific Ocean. She mused that it was strange that the first time that she ever saw the Pacific were
her last moments tethered to Earth. She took one piece of candy and gave the rest to Orchid, who wolfed hers down.
Abby blew her nose to equalize her ears, then wrapped her arm around her sister as the blue opened up to the black. Above them was a gray-bluish, conical shaped ship set against a field of stars. On what Abby assumed was the bow, the cone rounded to a bulbous sphere. Below this sphere were antennae and a large dish all of which looked like they might be retractable. Towards the aft was a large rotating wheel. Each spoke ended in a large thick box. Abby had no idea what any of it was for, but the constellations had never been so visible as they were at that moment. It had to be a good omen.
A clear acrylic hollow arm stretched out towards the elevator. It locked in place and the Kiposi technicians opened the airlock. An announcement told them to unbuckle their belts and file out in an orderly fashion.
Abby found walking easy enough, but she felt slightly lighter than she had before the journey. “Do you feel that? I bet there is lower gravity aboard the ship then on Earth. The technology on Kipos must really be amazing!” she whispered to the others.
Rory just nodded. His tanned skin looked very pale.
“You’re such a weirdo,” Jin said, trying to look indifferent but failing miserably since he seemed unable to stop grinning.
Not wanting to argue, but wanting to get in the last word, Abby said, “Imagine being part of a team that designs ships like this.”
“Maybe I am,” Jin said, still grinning.
“Come on!” Orchid said as she pulled on Abby’s hand as they shuffled with the crowd towards the airlock. Walking through the heavens, the view of Earth below was too amazing to fear falling. She wished she could slow down to take it all in, but the crowd and her siblings pulled her along. Even for the ship’s sterile cleanliness, there was a smell of oil and dry air.
Abby was struck again by the similarities of the crew, but what was truly disconcerting were the insipid smiles on their too similar faces. Jin was confident, but Rory seemed as nervous as she was. Like everyone else, they tossed their tissues and candy wrappers down the marked chute. They followed the crowd, who followed the rows of light embedded into the ceiling. As they entered the back of the hold, a hallway split and they were to be segregated by gender. Rory looked ill.
Jin kissed both of his sisters on the cheeks. “I’ll see you when we land. You be good, Orcs. Listen to Abby.”
While her brother followed the other males, Abby considered how, in those few moments, his voice had become deeper. He was no longer the second son or Ray’s younger brother. Abby and Orchid followed a woman past large crates stacked upon one another and clamped to the walls. She could see by the writing that some were filled with supplies, others with seeds. Beyond, doorways led to long narrow passageways of smaller quarters. Abby and Orchid were told to relieve themselves, which they did on a cold metal public toilet that did not flush until its sensors determined that it was full. They were led with two additional girls inside a tiny room with four narrow bunks that reminded Abby of a packing crate. The walls were solid, but the floor and ceiling
was grating. Through the open spaces between the metal, she could see tiny spirals of piping. The woman handed them each a tiny waxed paper cup of water and two capsules: one white oblong and the other a pink circular disk.
She said, “Alright, ladies. Just a sedative and an antihistamine.” She watched to make sure everyone swallowed the pills. The other girls kissed each other for luck and climbed into the two uppermost bunks. Orchid began to cry.
To distract her, Abby asked the technician, “My understanding is the hypersleep liquid acts like some sort of filter.”
With a condescending smile, the woman answered, “That’s right. There is a circulating current of highly oxygenated liquid and nanomites. You will sleep through the entire trip.”
“Body functions cease?”
“They slow. Nanomites clean up any waste.”
“Isn’t that interesting, Orcs?” Abby put her arm around her little sister. She swore to herself she would find a job on the new world and send her siblings to school. Jin would design ships and Orchid would become a doctor. She would find a good husband and when they were ready, she would help her siblings to do the same. They would even help Rory. Even though she would never see her parents again, she would honor them and her ancestors by her actions.
Abby helped Orchid into one of the lower bunks. The air smelled honeysuckle sweet. She realized she smelled this aroma before. The day the Kiposi landed and again in city hall. She refused to allow fear to overwhelm her.
Her eyelids felt heavy as she tucked her sister under the thin blanket. “We ask that our ancestors watch over us and Jin and Rory. Even on Kipos, please watch over us, Amen.”
“Amen,” Orchid echoed.
Abby tried to stand, but Orchid started to cry again. “No, don’t go.”
“Relax in there,” the woman said. “Breathe deeply. You two are slender enough that you can stay in the rack with your sister if you wish, Abigail. It won’t hurt anything.”
Abby sensed that the Kiposi’s cheerfulness was being forced now, but she wasn’t really irritated with them as much as it had been a long day. Abby guessed that since so many siblings slept together that the Kiposi had gone through this many times before.
Abby crawled under the covers. Orchid calmed down immediately. The Kiposi’s relief was obvious. “Our ancestors will watch over us,” Abby brushed the hair off her sister’s ear.
“Rory too,” Orchid replied sleepily. “Remember the little book? It said there were cats. I’d like to have a kitten.”
“I don’t see why not, but I’ll need to get a job first, okay?”
“Mmmhmm,” Orchid replied sleepily.
Another girl was placed in the now-spare bunk and given pills. Once she lay down, the door closed. The air grew moist and the lights faded. The giggling above her silenced.
Abby heard the girl crying. Orchid was asleep. She rolled towards the other girl. “Homesick?” Abby whispered in the darkness.
A tired young voice whispered, “My mama told me that it would be a better life, but she was really sick. I shouldn’t have left her. She your daughter?”
“My little sister.”
The girl mumbled something else, but it was coated with sleep. Abby rolled back over. Orchid was dead to the world when the room filled with a thick goopy liquid. She felt her sister drifting away from her in the black. Abby sat up. Bumping her head on the bunk above her, she realized how long it took to put her hand to her brow. Even in the movement, Orchid did not stir. Suddenly, where there had been space a solid wall stood. In seconds, the liquid seemed to expand. Still a liquid, but heavier. Like gelatin?
Am I wet? Abby did not have the vocabulary to make her observations into complete thoughts. She wanted to scream but no sound came from her. She was too frightened to close her eyes.
“Please don’t be dead!” Abby tried to scream again. The black entered her mouth. It was filling her lungs. She was going to suffocate. She felt the ship move. Should I feel acceleration in the gravity pod? There was flashing before her eyes, but she was deep in the ship. She could not see stars even if she pinched her eyes shut. No amount of struggling would move the black gelatin. Once more she tried to reach out to Orchid, but her sister was out of reach.
Calm down. This ship isn’t moving. The ship doesn’t leave for days. Days—I don’t know how much time is passing. Is this a second or an hour? Let me out of this!!!
Abby knew she was panicking. She had to calm down. The Kiposi know what they are doing! Take a breath! She became aware that she was able to breathe through the gelatin. Her eyes grew heavier. The current nestled her. Abby fell into velvet blackness, believing she heard music.
Written by Elizabeth Guizzetti
Published by 48Fourteen E-book 2012, Paperback 2013
June 14, 3062 C.E.
Other Systems FAQ and Links
What inspired you to create Other Systems? Other Systems was inspired by the Kepler Missions along side many other factors. First of all, I tend to be interested in groups of people that encourage camaraderie and I like ships (both space and sea-faring) so I knew I wanted to write a book with a ship in it. Secondly, I find the idea of time dilation and how it effects families really fascinating. Finally, I wanted to write a book that my husband would really like and he’s a science fiction fan.
The concept really hit me when I was out walking the dogs. A young Earth woman goes to another planet and realizes she has become a slave. However, due to her intelligence, she will escape and become a ship’s captain while she rescues her siblings also somewhere lost on this planet. (Obviously this isn’t the final story.)
That very night, I saw an article about young, uneducated girls from India’s rural areas traveling into cities with the expectation that they are going to get factory jobs only to end up working as sex slaves. Suddenly, I knew the how Abby got caught up in all of this. Then the Alekos plot hit me. I knew the breeding laws were more expansive than just the bonded Earthlings. There would be more species than Homo sapiens and Homo kiposi. Those other species would be sterilized due to their genetic makeup.
How much research did you do?About three months, though most of it was during the early drafts of the novel as I was writing I would discover something I needed to know. I went to the Museum of Flight. I watched the Universe Series. I also listened as my husband and smart friends watched StarTrek, Prometheus, Aliens, and other Science Fiction hits. I wanted to know one thing: where did they groan because the science was lacking. My other emphasis was making the scientists act like scientists. It is a pet peeve of mine when I see people who are supposed to be intelligent acting stupid. So I tried very hard to make the crew of the Revelation and Discovery to act like scientists on a survey mission. Yes, that means they spend a lot of time collecting samples, just like our own astronauts.
Do you identify with any of the characters? I identify with all the characters at one point or another during the writing of a novel. By the second draft, all the primary and secondary characters start speaking to me even if they are not a point of view character. Mark changed his whole sub-plot.
Why did you choose to tell the story with the two characters Abby and Cole?Abby was always the main character, but originally Cole’s parts were told by Harden and Helen. However when I looked over their chapters they all were repeats of Abby chapters just from their viewpoints or they were too introspective. Since they did not add forward momentum to the plot ultimately they had to go. I loved the Prologue from Harden’s perspective, but it was so angry and emotional that it was hard to understand what was happening. The other reason I used Cole as the narrator is he looks at all three of his kids, the fleet and Kipos whereas Harden is focused upon himself and Helen is focused on protecting her brothers, running the ship, and everything else she has to do. Mark was never considered because he starts the novel at age 6 and is too young to narrate the prologue.
Also while Abby grew up on Earth and ages 17 through 19 during the course of the novel, Cole is an adult. He was raised in the fleet and begins the novel at 36, already a father of three and ends the novel at 54. The difference in their perspectives is literally astronomical.
Would you like to go to another planet? Sure, but we are in the beginning steps of space travel and I am in my 30’s, so it’s likely I will be Earthbound for the rest of my life. If it were a one-way trip, I would never leave my husband. I will say I am excited to see space travel opportunities that we might discover if we began a colony on Luna or Mars. We know we can make it to the moon with today’s technology. Imagine what a vacation that would be.
Were you always a sci-fi fan? Yes, I am a sci-fi fan. Honestly I love all speculative fiction (fantasy, horror and science fiction.) I love books and movies that take me to another world.
(SLIGHT SPOILER IN THE NEXT QUESTION) I understand why Helen took Abby in, but why didn’t Harden fight more to get rid of her? Now, this is a funny question, because I actually originally wrote this scene. However it was cut very early in the 2nd draft (of 7) since Harden and Helen were no longer point of view characters. However the other more pressing story-telling problem is that the argument is repetitive of the next chapter when we see Cole and Harden discussing Abby’s employment. Also by this point in the book, the reader already knows Harden loves his family and while Helen is second in command, she runs the ship in regards to personnel. So the argument really didn’t add anything new to the story. That being said: check out the deleted scenes on http://other-systems.com if you want to read it!
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/OtherSystems
Website with deleted scenes and other extras! http://other-systems.com
Other Systems: Voices from the Stars Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAHQJBjRvgE
Other Systems: The Stargazer Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIJBPJ1DV8
Select Interviews and Reviews
Tam’s Two Cents Review
Three Nerds & a Book Club Book Recommendation March 24, 2013
The Big Nerd Review April 2, 2013
The Middle Nerd Review March 24, 2103
The Small Nerd Review March 21, 2103
Dan Thompson (Author of Caseworker’s Memoirs) Interview and Review October 30, 2012
Verdict Book Reviews Review: Tuesday September 11, 2012