ReInception by Sarena Straus

“[T]ranscranial magnetic stimulation beams targeted magnetic pulses deep inside patients’ brains — an approach that has been likened to rewiring a computer. “We are actually changing how the brain circuits are arranged, how they talk to each other…” ―UCLA Newsroom, June 12, 2017

Since at least 2017, technology has made it possible for scientists to “rewire” connectors in the brain. These techniques, originally developed for people suffering severe depression, are already being used in other therapies such as habit modification.

In REINCEPTION (Winding Road Publishing LLC; October 25th 2022; $14.99; 979-8986604336), the first in a new sci-fi trilogy, Sarena Straus, a former prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s office, imagines a time when using technology to eliminate unwanted behaviors is the norm. REINCEPTION takes place in 2126 in New York City; there is an extreme class divide, and parents are allowed to modify their kids’ brains until they are twenty years old. Now, a technology originally invented to help addicts— referred to as ReInception— is being used for everything from taming unruly children to reprogramming pedophiles.

Leandrea, an “unmodified” young college student, is not comfortable with the idea of ReInception.  She also feels empathy for the Proles—a working class forced to live at ground level where they are exposed to the harsh environment of the future.  There, the Proles work in service positions paid for by the privileged class.

Like many young people, Leandrea has not had the motivation to be proactive about her rebellious feelings. That is, until her boyfriend is illegally modified by his pro-ReInception family in order to separate him from Leandrea’s “bad influence” as a detractor.

In desperation, Leandrea turns to Ward, a Prole who is involved in a plot to undermine modification practices. Although Ward tries to push her away, Leandrea is determined to make a difference in the world and in the process captures Ward’s heart and renews his faith in mankind.

REINCEPTION is a sci-fi thriller that explores what happens when good-faith technology is taken too far and abused. The novel touches on many of the issues facing society today around privacy, reproductive rights, and class divide. The tension is palpable on the pages as Leandrea and Ward work to execute their plan to take down ReInception, while escaping capture by the Authority. Their mantra: “Trust no one and escape modification at all costs”.

by Sarena Straus
Winding Road Publishing LLC
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Paperback ISBN:  979-8986604336
Price: $14.99
Page count: 289

Find Me in the Time Before by Robin Stevens Payes

How does your normal, average teenager who has visited the Renaissance and met Leonardo da Vinci in person, go back to the humdrum of high school?

Charley Morton is still trying to figure that out, as she puts her recent unexpected time travel adventure and a narrow escape with her life behind her to focus on this year’s science fair.  She knows that working alongside her science fair partner and sometimes boyfriend Billy, a first prize is in her future. She might even allow her sometimes-bestie Beth to join the project. However, in Charley’s world, nothing is simple, and things are about to turn upside down, again, in a new adventure, Find Me in the Time Before (Book 4/Edge of Yesterday; Woodhall Press; October 2022; Price $18.95) by Robin Stevens Payes.

In Find Me in the Time Before, Charley and Billy’s old friend Kairos appears with an urgent problem – his sister Carolina is missing. In Paris. In the 18th century. To find her, Charley will have to search the streets—and cemeteries—of Paris. This is a dangerous place for a 21st-century girl to get lost in, alone and armed only with her smartphone. But Charley has another motive for daring the leap: she’s desperate to track down one of her science heroes, the Marquise Émilie du Châtelet. Among other Earth-shaking achievements, the Marquise formulated the scientific precursor to what would become, two centuries later, Einstein’s famous E=mc2. Charley’s dying to find out how this “daring woman of the Enlightenment ” dueled, gambled and advanced science and mathematics in a world where education was reserved for noblemen and kings. Like many hidden figures through the ages, Émilie’s contributions were neglected, overlooked or lost to the history recorded by men.

With time travel on her mind, Charley will need to enlist Beth’s fashion talents and Billy’s  engineering upgrades to smooth out what she knows to be a head-spinning ride through spacetime. Add Charley’s IT, physics, forensic and social innovations to the mix, and she’s on track to win the national Science Fair and collect a cash prize to boot. Just another average school year!

Author Robin Stevens Payes, after years of working as a science and education writer and coach, has a penchant for telling stories that focus on blending history, science, and fiction. Her Edge of Yesterday series is intended to entertain young adult readers and spark an interest in STEM/STEAM careers, especially for girls. Charley and Billy indulge their STEM curiosity and creativity to chase down their dreams. In the same spirit, Robin intends for her books to encourage readers to both dream and create. For teens, Find Me in the Time Before has it all—from romance to fashion, adventure to revolution, and gadgets to ghosts. In an era where kids are emerging into a world changed by a pandemic, the prospect of time travel in the Edge of Yesterday series is a leap into greater imagination and possibility.

About the Author

Robin Stevens Payes is the author of four novels for middle grade to Y/A readers. She offers workshops on storytelling and is in the process of launching a company that focuses on relationship solutions for mothers and their teen daughters. She was founding editor-in-chief of LearnNow, an online publication on the science of learning, and has written for The American Leader, Discovery Education, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She lives around the DC beltway in Maryland.

Book 4 in the Edge of Yesterday Series
By Robin Payes
Publisher: Woodhall Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2022
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $18.95
Page count: 436 pages