Saturday, January 4, 2014
Reboot by Amy Tintera
If you like: rising dead * military camps * training
In Reboot, the KDH virus causes some people, primarily children, to return to life, or reboot, after they have died. The longer they remain dead before rebooting, the less humanity they reboot with. They do gain some physical advantages after death, increased speed and agility, and the ability to self-heal after an injury. This makes them the perfect enforcers, and so HARC, the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation, has taken possession of them. The reboots are trained as soldiers, and used to capture criminals and bring in new reboots. Though they are powerful, they are treated like monsters and caged; they are controlled by having no freedom or rights. Constantly looking for easy ways to improve their toy soldiers, HARC also experiments on the more-human reboots seeking to make them more like their coveted emotionless killing machines.
HARC arose as a powerful entity after the fall of society and most of the US in the battle against the initial reboots. The post-virus society is mostly a wasteland, without equal access to food, shelter, or medicine. For those who are in the affluent sections of society, life has remained mostly the same. They must live inside the protection of the city walls, but they are able to continue as normal. Inside the slums, however, things are altogether different. With nearly no access to food or medicine, the virus is able to run rampant. Surviving from day to day is difficult, and violence and crime are common. The HARC patrols are a constant presence here, and the officers and reboots are viewed as a menace. Though they keep the reboots in line and allegedly provide protection, the majority of people do not view HARC as helpful. HARC keeps the food to make the reboots strong, and uses its other resources to keep HARC employees fed and healthy. Instead of living in a police state, many feel they would fair better living among the reboots, and having equal access to the food and medicine. This does not mean that people are in favor of the reboots living freely, though. Keeping the reboots separate means that the general population only sees them as merciless hunters, and is unaware that any sense of human nature can remain.
What makes someone human is the central question of Reboot. After dying once, can you still be human? Does a lengthy pre-reboot death mean that you have lost every trace of humanity? HARC teaches everyone that the longer you remain dead, the less traces of humanity you have left. Being a high reboot number means that you have no feelings, or emotions left. Hearing this enough times can make anyone believe it. Denying emotions exist does not make them go away, however. Not acknowledging that you have feelings does not mean that you don’t. In fact, the numbness created by these activities only services to reinforce their lies. Acting as though you have no emotion can make you forget them. It is only the moments of utmost pain or joy that their true presence is revealed. Empathy and caring are not tools that exist without nurturing. They must be practiced in order to flourish. The people of HARC know this, and design their program to eliminate all traces. In spite of this, humanity grows like a weed. There are always cracks in any structure, and in these cracks friendships grow, love buds, and strong bonds are forged. Denial may help people to forget the strength of these bonds, but when they are stretched to their limit, they won’t break, but snap back. Pushing people to their last shred of humanity only forces them to cling to it more. Human will is not so easily stomped out, and trying to destroy it will only lead to revolution.
If you would risk it all to save the ones you love, read Reboot.
Tintera, Amy. Reboot. HarperCollins, 2013. Kindle Edition.