Facsimile (Facsimile #1)
By: Vicki L Weavil
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
For a ticket to Earth, seventeen-year-old Anna-Maria “Ann” Solano is willing to jettison her birth planet, best friend, and the boy who loves her. Especially since all she’s required to do is escort Dace Keeling, a young naturalist, through the wilderness of the partially terraformed planet Eco. Ann‘s determination to escape the limitations of her small, frontier colony never falters, until Dace’s expeditions uncover three secrets. One offers riches, one shatters Ann’s perceptions of herself, and one reveals that the humans stranded on Eco are not its only inhabitants.
Ann’s willing to sacrifice friendship and love for a new life on Earth. But when an entire species is placed in jeopardy by her actions, she must make a choice – fulfill the dream that’s always sustained her, or save the planet she’s never considered home.
I’ve been asked to share some additional information about Eco, the planet featured in my YA scifi, FACSIMILE, and I’m very happy to do so!
Eco is a (supposedly) barren planet that was acquired by a company called the NewSkies Corporation. (In my vision of the future, these interplanetary corporations control the wealth of Earth and all inhabited worlds, and thus control almost everything else). Eco has no arable soil, and limited native plant and animal life, but because it has an Earth-like atmosphere, and substantial underground reserves of fresh water, it is a perfect candidate for terraforming.
NewSkies recruited and, in some cases, educated and trained, young scientists engineers, and skilled tradespeople for a special mission – to terraform sections of Eco into “facsimiles” of Earth’s most beautiful locales. Once Eco was terraformed, NewSkies planned to sell land parcels to wealthy spacers and others who could not acquire such properties on Earth. NewSkies recruited its team from populations who were economically disadvantaged – most are from the so-called “Third World” regions – promising them money they could never hope to earn on a socially stratified Earth. Like most historical groups who have settled frontiers, these young people saw this offer as their only option for advancement and success.
The initial team of terraformers were hired to work for ten years. After a decade, the initial group was to be replaced by a new team. Unfortunately, like many such ventures, the NewSkies Corporation went bankrupt before the ten years was up, stranding the terraformers on the planet. While enough infrastructures was established to provide a subsistence living to these unexpected “settlers,” they did not possess any spacecraft – or any money to even purchase passage on other ships – so they were essentially marooned on Eco. As part of the financial settlement, the people stranded on Eco were deeded ownership of the planet, but this did not help their economic situation.
Anna-Maria “Ann” Solano, my protagonist, is the granddaughter of two of the original terraformers – engineer Zolin Solano and botanist Paloma Solano. Ann, like her father, Jason Solano (another engineer) was born and raised on Eco. Its barren landscapes and her frontier settlement is all she knows. But Ann, like her mother, Tara Cooper (the geologist daughter of two of the original terraformers) wants to get the hell off of Eco. Her dream is to travel to Earth, where she feels she will find opportunities to match her (and her mother’s) ambitions.
The Eco settlement is very rustic, but they do have access to the ‘sphere (an advanced version of the Internet) and can take advantage of online educational and entertainment resources. The Eco settlers grow fresh fruits and vegetables via hydroponic gardening, and trade with the crews of spaceships that occasionally land on the planet – Eco’s produce for other needed items. Young people on Eco are apprenticed to the older skilled workers and scientists, so they are able to maintain things like their solar and wind power resources, computer grid, greenhouses, and other necessities.
Few on Eco have spent a lot of time exploring their barren planet – preferring to stay safely in their settlement. They see no real value in exploring, partially because NewSkies provided the original terraformers with information that indicated that there was nothing of any interest to be found. Also, Ann’s maternal grandparents, who were geologists like her mother, were a brutally killed when they attempted to explore some of the rock formations that dot the planet’s surface. This event made the other settlers even less inclined to explore their bleak world.
When FACSIMILE begins, most of Eco’s original terraformers are still alive and are active members of their community. Their sons and daughters have been trained to maintain the colony, as have their grandchildren. Ann’s future seems set – she will follow in her grandmother Paloma’s footsteps and manage the hydroponic greenhouses, take a few university courses via the ‘sphere, play immersive video games, eventually marry one of the few eligible young men, and basically eke out a life on Eco.
But then a spaceship called the Augusta Ada lands on Eco, bringing with it the young naturalist Dacian Keeling, and everything changes…
Vicki L. Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After working as a librarian at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in NYC, she is currently the Director for Library Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. A member of SCBWI, Vicki is represented by Fran Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY.
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