By Lance Erlick
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I, Regina Shen, am an outcast, condemned by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of barrier walls they built to hold back rising seas and to create a place to throw those who disobey their rules. My mother won’t talk about it, but she was cast out before my younger sister and I were born for something I presume is too horrible to put into words. On the other hand, I don’t believe a word the Federation tells us, so perhaps I would have done the same.
Six days a week Mom sends my sister and me to the only remaining school in the swamps that the Federation hasn’t closed. She barters dearly for this privilege. It’s treacherous paddling to and from school in a hollowed-out canoe with genetically-enhanced gators, bounty hunters looking to kidnap girls to sell as slaves over the wall, and a host of desperate people trying to live on our shrinking lands. Life in our world is all about survival, but it helps when neighbors look out for each other.
What is your role in the story?
The Regina Shen series is my story. As Resilience begins, I’m just trying to live my ordinary life in the swamps over the flooded city of Richmond, Virginia. Ordinary for me is school, doing underwater salvage for things to barter for food, and avoiding Federation agents who forbid us from doing salvage. They also traffic in slaves shipped over the wall to work in factories, in mines, or on farms. I didn’t count on being anyone special though my teacher has high hopes for me. I just want to survive, take care of my mom and sister, and avoid trouble. Unfortunately, as an outcast, every day brings trouble.