Blog Tour ~ The Gaia Effect
Author: Claire Buss
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction/ Post-Apocalyptic
Tour Dates: 20th-24th of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
In City 42 Corporation look after you from cradle to grave. They protect you from the radiation outside the wall. They control the food, the water, the technology and most important of all, the continuation of the human race. Kira and Jed Jenkins were lucky enough to win Collection but when their friends start falling pregnant naturally, everything changes. How long has Corporation been lying to them? Is it really toxic outside the wall? As the group comes to terms with the changes in their lives they discover there is a much more powerful and ancient force at work, trying to bridge the gap between man and nature.
Claire Buss is a science fiction/fantasy writer currently based in Barking, Essex. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with The Gaia Effect and set her writing career in motion.
Visit her at:
‘What are you two doing here?’ Kira whispered as Jed and Pete followed the Infant Growth Assessor lady into the apartment and closed the door behind them. Pete pursed his lips and Jed frowned as they both saw the activated cocoon. The IGA ignored it and pulled out a touchscreen.
‘Later,’ Jed murmured.
‘Good afternoon, I’m your IGA,’ announced the woman. ‘Who are the parents?’
‘We are.’ Jed pointed at his wife and put on his best smile as he ushered the IGA into the kitchen area and offered her a beverage. Pete looked at the cocoon again. Kira nibbled her fingernails, turning towards the cube when Grace began to cry. She teetered, not knowing whether to go to her or speak with the IGA. In the end the plaintive noise decided her, and she scooped the baby up, rocking Grace gently, and humming as she walked over to the others.
‘I’m here to carry out an infant suitability assessment not drink synth-caf, but I suppose one would be nice. It’s not often we get time to indulge while at work. I’m surprised you even have the drinks machine given your requests.’
Jed and Kira looked at each other in confusion.
‘Requests?’ Kira asked.
‘Ah, sorry, we thought you’d be non-conformers you see, because of the no technology request. I mean almost all parents have a NanNan these days and we just thought… well, you know.’ The IGA coloured slightly as she sipped her synth-caf. ‘No offence.’
‘None taken,’ Kira said smiling. ‘We’re not pure naturals but we wanted to try the natural approach with the baby. After my studies I was curious….’
The IGA interrupted.
‘Oh I see, hobbyists then. Well each to their own. I’ll leave the paperwork for the NanNan as well as our latest brochure and then when you want to order, everything will be there for you.’
‘If,’ whispered Kira under her breath.
The agent frowned as she walked around the lounge area.
‘What’s that?’ she asked, pointing at the lit candle in the corner of the room.
‘Oh. Mm, that’s mine. I was just meditating before you arrived.’
‘Yes. You never heard of it?’
‘No. I mean not in real life.’ The IGA patted her neat bun. ‘I read history at Higher Academy you know, I remember some of the strange customs.’ She moved closer peering at the candle on the small table. ‘So what do you do with it?’
‘Well,’ Kira had followed the IGA into the lounge and she sat down with Grace. ‘I believe in balance, so sometimes when I feel stressed or out of sorts I like to try and focus my energy on releasing the things that made me feel out of balance. It’s easier to think of it in terms of light and colour, moving from dark to bright,’ Kira paused, searching for something else to say. ‘Controlled breathing helps….’
The IGA interrupted again and pointed at the small blue statue.
‘And who is that?’
‘That’s Gaia. She is the spirit of the Earth, dedicated to keeping the life force of the planet in balance. She can be used as a focus point.’ Kira could see the IGA was looking troubled. ‘I work in the Archives so I have approved access.’
‘Ah, well I guess that makes sense. Not sure how I would write this up anyway. Probably best not to mention it to anyone. I expect it’s quite a personal thing and let’s face it we don’t tell everyone about everything we do behind closed doors do we?’
The IGA glanced at the cocoon before turning to look at Kira and smiling, not realising how offensive she sounded. Kira agreed, in disbelief yet relief that the topic would be dropped. The IGA finished her drink and fished out her paperwork.
‘Right, here’s my checklist. Neural jack’s in use?’
‘Nan-Nan installed – no. Scent patches activated?’
‘Standard sleeping, able to move around our apartment.’
‘Hmm,’ the IGA looked down her list. ‘I don’t think there’s much point in me going through the rest of the options. They are all classified as high-tech and you’ve clearly decided against that kind of help. I don’t think there’s anything else I can do for you today.’
‘Don’t you want to look at the baby?’ Kira queried.
‘Do you mind a health probe?’
‘Is it non-invasive?’
‘It can be.’
Kira watched suspiciously while the IGA brought out a handheld, pressed some buttons and then directed the scan towards Grace laying in her cube. Several bleeps later the IGA handed Kira a readout.
‘It’s all good. Remember to visit your local Med Centre if you have any queries. Do you have a medical handheld?’
Kira shook her head.
‘Well, you might want to look into that otherwise how will you know if the baby is okay? Contact your local Agent, they’ll have what you need. I’d recommend a health check at six weeks but obviously get in touch beforehand if you have any worries. Babies are tough little things.’
The IGA gathered her things. After a cheery goodbye she left the apartment.