Welcome to our tour stop on the Proxy blog tour, which hits shelves today! Pitched as The Whipping Boy meets Feed, Proxy is set in a dystopian society where everything has a price. Alex London is here to talk about the the quotes found at the beginning of Proxy and how it relates to the plot and characters. Also, at the end of the post there’s a giveaway for an ARC of Proxy!
Both were being denied their childhoods: the prince by a smothering excess of privilege, [the whipping boy] by none at all. —Sid Fleischman
This quote comes from Sid Fleischman’s speech when he won he Newbery award for The Whipping Boy in 1987. It sums up my feelings for each of my main characters perfectly.
Knox, who certainly lives the charmed life of a prince in the world of Proxy, might think he’s got no worries, but he is a victim of his wealth and privilege in ways he doesn’t fully understand. He has been raised to judge people by their value to him, by their ability to produce wealth, by their net worth, instead of their human worth, and this isolates him, both from his friends and from his society. All his relationships are transactions. He is missing a core piece of childhood because of that. It’s no accident his mother is not in the picture. Motherhood is one of the few relationships of pure unreciprocal devotion and it is missing from his life.
Syd, of course, is denied his childhood by his poverty, by his debts, by the cruelty of the system to which he is subject. His life isn’t so different from many kids around the world, whether they live in the vast shantytowns outside Mumbai or Nairobi, or in the housing projects of Chicago or New Orleans. Scarcity of resources creates competition that can get ugly and it chews up and spits out the young with brutal efficiency. That is Syd’s childhood: trying not to get chewed to bits, trying not to chew up anyone else either.
In the . . . landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. —Douglas Rushkof
This comes from the media theorist Douglas Rushkof in his work, Program or be Programmed, and is an idea echoed throughout his work. In our highly technological society like ours—and like the one I wrote in Proxy, those who do not understand the technology they use are subject to those who do. I think we see that in the massive NSA data-mining controversy, in hacking scandals, in privacy breaches by corporations over and over again. As we consume all this easy access to information, it is very easy to forget that it isn’t free. Someone is paying for it and what they are paying for is us. WE are the product, not the customer. I took this idea and expanded it for the world of Proxy. It’s a world where you can get whatever you want, but you are going to pay for it. As Syd says often: Everything costs.
The story of Proxy is, in a way, the story of these two boys who have been giving their place in a vastly programmed society, trying to break out of their program, trying to find their mutual humanity in a system designed to prevent them from doing so. Both Syd and Knox, by the end, are trying to break free of their own default settings. The will not be programmed anymore.
Find the next stop on the Proxy blog tour on Presenting Lenore!
Don’t forget to check out Proxy, out now!
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
Penguin Teen is offering up one ARC of Proxy! This giveaway is US only.
- To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
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