Station Eleven meets Never Let Me Go in this “suspenseful, introspective debut” (Kirkus Reviews) set in an unsettling near future where the dead can be uploaded to machines and kept in service by the living.
In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in—and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the “companionship” program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people—a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.
Sixteen-year-old Lilac is one of the less fortunate, leased to a family of strangers. But when she realizes she’s able to defy commands, she throws off the shackles of servitude and runs away, searching for the woman who killed her.
Lilac’s act of rebellion sets off a chain of events that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America in this “compelling, gripping, whip-smart piece of speculative fiction” (Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters) that you won’t want to end.
“Beautifully atmospheric and emotionally intense, The Companions is an unnerving and engrossing story. The radiant, somber voice of this near-future speculative novel ratchets the suspense while also illuminating what makes us human and how we endure beyond death. This is a spellbinding novel that will linger with you.” —Kassandra Montag, author of After the Flood
"An uncannily deft description of what we’re all living through… an urgent and heartfelt exploration, not just of what it means to be alive now, but of how we might prepare for what’s coming." —The San Francisco Chronicle
The Companions by Katie M. Flynn
Gallery/Scout Press 2020