Quarantine Blog Tour
13 July 2012 – Jon Michaelson
An All-Too-Possible Future
By Lisabet Sarai
I’m delighted to be here at Jon’s blog today. I’ve known him by his stellar reputation for a long time, but I’ve never had the chance to hang out in his corner of the ‘Net. I’m hoping he’ll repay the favor and come be my guest at Beyond Romance some time soon.
Anyway, I’m here to introduce – and celebrate – my new M/M science fiction novel Quarantine. Rafe and Dylan have been huddling at the back of my mind for a number of years, while I worked on other projects. As I watched the rise of religious fundamentalism in the United States and read tale after tale of harassment, bullying and gay-bashing, I thought it was important to tell their story.
Quarantine is set in the Western States of America in the near future (2043 to be exact). Seven years prior to the start of the story, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians of American Greatness rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centers like desolate Camp Malheur. Dylan Moore has been locked up at Camp Malheur for seven years, nearly a third of his life, and he’ll do anything for freedom. With a genius for electronics, Dylan has hacked the camp’s security systems, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility’s defenses.
Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can’t resist the other man’s charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.
Dylan’s plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they’re both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, and homophobic ideologues. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn of an evil plan – a “final solution” – that threatens the millions of lives, not just their own.
The thing about this scenario is – it could happen. It did happen, during World War II – and not just in Nazi Germany (where homosexuals were targeted along with Jews, gypsies and other sub-humans), but in the U.S., too, where the government imprisoned millions of Americans of Japanese descent in facilities very much like my fictional camp in bleak eastern Oregon. Quarantine is a romance, but it’s also an exploration of an all-too-possible future.
I’ve provided a brief excerpt below. This one’s PG, although the book itself is definitely X-rated.
My visit here with Jon is part of my Quarantine blog tour, which will run through the 24th of July. I’ll have a different excerpt at each stop – some of them pretty explicit! For the full schedule for the tour, see my July newsletter: http://www.lisabetsarai.com/news.html
Also, I’m be giving away an ebook to one commenter at each stop on the tour. So please leave a comment – and don’t forget to include your email address so I can contact you! I’ll also be choosing one commenter from the entire tour to win the grand prize – a $50 All Romance Ebooks gift certificate. Meanwhile, all comments at my own blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com) during the tour will also go into the drawing for the gift certificate.
Check out the fantastic Quarantine trailer here! And if you’re interested in getting your own copy of Quarantine, just go to Total-E-Bound (http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1725)!
He brought the cycle to a stop some thirty feet beyond the moat and let his lungs empty. He stared back at the ugly bulk of Malheur Camp. The floodlights came on, bathing the ground around the fence in a sickly yellow glare. The barren soil where he stood, outside the range of the lights, was still a featureless grey. Evening deepened as Rafe perched there on the trike, trying to figure out what to do next.
If Dylan had made it past the moat, he’d be on foot. Rafe could easily catch him on the cycle, but only if he knew which direction the boy had taken. Dylan was probably too smart to keep to the road. On the other hand, he’d said he was headed for the city. Rafe guessed he meant Sanfran. Ellay was too far away and since the eruption of 2024, nobody really considered Portland a city anymore.
Southwest, then. If he wanted to find the boy, that’s the way he should head. But maybe he should give up, go back to the camp and admit that they’d all been outsmarted. The Guardians would probably discipline both him and Turk, but what could the higher-ups do, really? Fire them for incompetence?
Rafe gave a bitter laugh. As the sound died away, he thought he heard something else—something like a moan, barely audible but definitely human.
He listened carefully to the quiet night. There it was again—a soft sound of someone in agony, coming from near the bridge.
Dylan! Rafe scrambled off the trike and headed towards the sound, holding his breath once again. He scanned the bank. There! By the edge of the moat, in the shadow of the criss-crossed girders, there was something that looked like a pile of rags. He inched closer, trying to ignore the sting as the toxic vapours attacked his skin. The bundle of cloth stirred and coughed. Rafe rushed over, crouched down and turned the body onto its back. Then he gasped and choked himself as noxious fumes rushed into his throat.
Dylan’s cheeks and brow were peppered with oozing sores. His eyes were swollen shut. His thick tongue protruded between cracked lips. His fingers twitched feebly.
Rafe half-dragged, half-carried the younger man away from the river of poison. He stretched the limp body out on the ground, shielded by the trike. “Dylan!” he cried, as the fresher air filled his chest. “It’s me, baby. Oh God, Dylan!”
Dylan coughed and sputtered. Greenish spittle trickled from his mouth.
“Breathe, kid. Breathe!”
Dylan seemed to hear. His raw lips moved, as though he wanted to say something.
Rafe needed water, to wash the man’s wounds and clean away the chemical residue. He needed anti-bacterial salve and collagen strips and enzyme patches to stimulate healing. Not to mention an oxygen tank to force the poison out of Dylan’s lungs.
That meant civilization, or what passed for it here in the wastelands of Oregon. The closest settlements, though, were at least two hundred miles away.
Rafe lifted Dylan’s body once more and settled it on the seat of the trike. Dylan slumped against the windscreen. Rafe mounted the bike behind the inmate, slipping one arm around his waist for support while steering with the other.
“Rafe?” Dylan’s voice was weak but intelligible. He raised his head then let it flop back onto Rafe’s chest.
“Yeah, it’s me. Just relax, boy. Hang on. I’m going to get you some help.” Rafe started the cycle and turned it towards the ribbon of crumbling asphalt that stretched westward.
The other man leaned against Rafe’s body. “Mmm,” he murmured. “Good.”
Strangely enough, it was good. Despite his worry about Dylan, Rafe felt a kind of contentment as they raced off into the night. The wind was fresh and cool in his face. The motor hummed between his thighs. Dylan’s weight was a welcome reminder that for once, Rafe was not alone.
The cycle ate up the miles. Dylan slept, curled against him. Inside Rafe’s chest, a quiet joy took root and grew stronger. For the first time in years, Rafe felt free.
Bio: More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published four single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai’s Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).