Teens Texting by Bekka Black
I’ve done two book tours for my Hannah Vogel mystery series. It’s set in Berlin in the 1930s, so I don’t get a lot of teenagers at my readings. My audiences tend to be made up of writers, women over 30, and a smattering of gay men. So, I hang out with grownups.
But I’d gone out to dinner with a friend who is far trendier than I am. We were at some hip restaurant in Los Angeles that served fusion food. Fusion of one tiny portion to another to create a miniscule dinner. I noticed a few tables of teenagers sitting around quietly. Quietly? When I was a teenager we were loud. We talked to each other all the time, out of order, and all at once. I watched them. Each one stared at his or her lap and the glow of their phones was visible even across the restaurant.
Being more curious than polite, I hiked over and asked them what they were doing. “Texting,” one muttered out of the side of his mouth without looking up.
“Who?” I asked. I know I should have said whom, but I didn’t want to look like a total fuddy duddy since I was already asking a stupid question.
“Her.” He jerked his head toward the girl sitting inches away from his left elbow.
“But,” I said, nonplussed but grateful that he was at least talking to me. “She’s right next to you!”
He gave me that pitying look I had once delivered upon adults myself but I stood my ground. Like the adults I’d once tried the look on, I knew I was uncool and I didn’t care.
He sighed. “Because if I text her something.” He jerked his head toward someone who might have been his father sitting across the table. “He can’t hear it.”
To my friend’s relief, I returned to my table. But I was hooked. I spent the rest of the tour staring at teenagers, sitting silent and immobile except for their blindingly fast thumbs.
Those kids, I realized, spent more time reading than I did at their age. More time typing too and I was a budding writer and avowed bookworm. Sure, they weren’t reading literature or trashy romances. They were reading phone screens.
But what if I wrote something in their language? What if I wrote a novel that used language like they did? What if I wrote a novel using only text messages, with maybe the occasional email or web search or voicemail thrown in? Would they sit at their darkened tables and read it by the glow of their phones?
And thus iDrakula was born. And iFrankenstein was brought back to life.
Frankenstein comes to life for the wired generation.
Following her critically-acclaimed iDrakula, award-winning author Bekka Black breathes life into a modern re-telling of iFrankenstein, using only text messages, web browsers, tweets, and emails.
Homeschooled teenager Victor Frankenstein is determined to write his own ticket to independence: a chatbot to win the prestigious Turing prize and admission to the high tech university of his choice. He codes his creation with a self-extending version of his own online personality and unleashes it upon the internet. But soon he begins to suspect his virtual clone may have developed its own goals, and they are not aligned with Victor’s. The creature has its own plan, fed by a growing desire to win darker and more precious prizes: unfettered power and release from loneliness.
As the creature’s power and sentience grows and its increasingly terrible deeds bleed over from the online world into the real one, Victor must stop his creation before his friends and humanity pay the ultimate price.
About The Author
After a childhood often spent without electricity and running water, Bekka escaped the beautiful wilderness of Talkeetna, Alaska for indoor plumbing and 24/7 electricity in Berlin, Germany. Used to the cushy lifestyle, she discovered the Internet in college and has been wasting time on it ever since (when not frittering away her time on her iPhone). Somehow, she manages to write novels, including the award-winning Hannah Vogel mystery series set, in all places, 1930s Berlin, and The Blood Gospel series (with James Rollins).
She lives in Berlin with her husband, son, two cats, and too many geckoes to count. iDrakula is her first cell phone novel.
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