THE APEX CHILD and the Death of the Middle Class
Unemployment is low in the United States today, but it won’t last because it can’t last. According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a highly regarded international consultancy, four out of every ten American jobs will be lost to automation in the next twelve years. The Apex Child is an allegory, a science fiction novel that exposes the danger and warns the losers.
It’s the Spring of 2044, just one generation from now. The weather in Silicon Valley is enviably mild but three degrees warmer than it was in 2015. Pizza is more popular than hamburgers, home drones have been outlawed, and autonomous vehicles require “safety drivers.” Three versions of Dead-Cat Systems’ famous quantum androids have saved thousands of lives, but they’ve taken thousands of jobs because they’re faster, more reliable, and an order of magnitude more cost-effective than humans.
A quantum-brained android named Piper Beta-3 is the first product of Dead-Cat’s groundbreaking sales program. Two months before graduation, she’s yanked out of trade school and transferred to an off-campus residence called the Quantum Motel. She has three objectives: ace her interview at an auto dealership, get hired, and sell a lot of cars.
It’s one lowly sales position, just one, and Piper is the smartest creature ever created. Getting the job should be a snap, but three million Americans will be put out of work if she succeeds, and a bankrupt foreign power has put a team of agents on the ground whose sole mission is to capture Dead-Cat’s latest and best. Piper doesn’t know it, but she has a fourth objective: Make it through the week in one piece.
Yr. hmbl. srvnt. has authored four other books: The Arithmetic of Life and Death, In the Land of Second Chances, One Part Angel, and The Widows of Eden. The first is a compilation of essays about real-world problems that can be better understood by the application of everyday arithmetic. The latter three are a trilogy about a troubled town in rural Nebraska and the stranger who helps them, or they’re a logic-based search for a benevolent God.
Arithmetic was a genre bestseller. Second Chances was an amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and Literary Guild bestseller. Professional and reader reviews, the requisite cover art, and detailed descriptions of all four can be found at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
The illustration of The Apex Child was created by Robin Vuchnich.