The Lens and the Looker

by Lory S. Kaufman
Release date: March 2011
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, young adult

It's the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences, (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full-sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiences the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

Like in all groups of youth, there are those who rebel, “hard cases” who just don’t get it. In this first installment of a trilogy, three spoiled teens from the year 2347 are kidnapped back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy. There they are abandoned and left with only two choices: adapt to the harsh medieval ways, or die.

Hansum, almost 17, is good looking, athletic and, as his A.I. teacher says, he can charm the fuzz off a peach.

Shamira is 15. She has green eyes, auburn hair, and a Caucasian complexion. That's something people don't see that much of in the 24th century. She's sassy, independent and has an artistic genius for drawing.

Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don't have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

There are two types of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) in the 24th-century. The first are authorized by society and very conservative. Then there are ‘genies’. Made by black-market hackers, or blackers, these rascals are the bi-polar opposite of their unadventurous cousins. A genie’s aim in life is to help rebellious youth make mischief.

Pan, is a very mischievous genie. A curious mix of past and future, he’s an eccentric, all-knowing, holographic artificial intelligence in the cartoon shape of the vaunted Greek god. Pan's antics and insights get the kids both into and out of trouble.

Our three teen protagonists meet at a History Camp where everything and everybody must act like it is 14th-century Verona, Italy. Society’s plan is to put trouble-making kids into situations where they are “scared straight”.

But Hansum knows better. He’s aware that behind the scenes there are armies of humans and A.I.’s making sure they are safe. Using Pan, the teens devise a plan to drive the History Camp enactors crazy, and they succeed. But what they’re not prepared for is that a History Camp elder from the 31st century, (where time-travel is possible) kidnaps them back to the real medieval Verona. Here they are indentured to an alcoholic lens maker. Now, unquestionably, the dangers are real.

All of this is hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but, for Hansum, that’s exactly what happens.

Guilietta is the beautiful daughter of the master the teens are working for. She becomes the star-crossed and time-crossed lover of our story’s Romeo – Hansum. In fact, the novel is peppered with lots of fun allusions to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In an attempt to survive the teenage trio, with Pan’s help, risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.

(updated 2011-03-22)

Other books you might like

Life Before LegendSilverSea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles , #2)Black Light Express (Railhead, #2)The Daybreak Bond (The Firefly Code, #2)
Online 1 member and 54 visitors
Pedro Roberto Pereira da Silva
Newest member: DarkPrinceAmal
Total members: 5214