First Fig

What is more valuable than money? Time. That was the premise for Burners, one of my favorite books. After all, we’re already seeing the discrepancy in life expectancies between the rich and poor grow. As we move forward and expensive medical procedures, especially in terms of nanotechnology advance, the gap will grow larger.

Burners is set in a post-apocalyptic future in an area that is today’s Puget Sound. Society is stratified with four groups of people: The People who have an indeterminate Death Date. The Evermores and the Middlemores who have Death Dates but reasonable life expectancies.

And then there are the Burners whose death date hovers around 25. The title comes from the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem First Fig:

Burners play hard, party hard and die young. Before they die, they get 30 days in Heaven.

This is the way it’s been for generations. But it is now 30 days until Grace’s Deathday.

That is the fate on the red card Grace was dealt at age six on Dealing Day. A burner. Her twin sister, Millay, was dealt a white card. A People. No Deathday.

For twenty years, the sisters have lived different lives. In different places.

Then there’s the wild card, Ryker, a burner, who has no memories of his own past.

In what was left of the world after the Chaos, mankind surrendered control to Dealer, a powerful computer that has kept society running for centuries.

But truths don’t come easy. And everyone and everything is not as they appear.

The mantra in following Dealer’s edicts: It is what it is.

Until today.