What happens when you find out everything you’ve been taught is a lie? And that you are so much more than you’ve been led to believe?
Currently called The Tertiary Code, the story is set in an alternative reality: our narrator is a young woman, Anna, who seems narcissistically obsessed with her social standing, her looks, her image on the web and keeping up with the in-crowd in school who rule the corridors with a mixture of flamboyance and fear. What we soon come to realise is that this is all a survival mechanism.
Anna lives in a world where there are legally three genders: the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
With religious doctrine controlling their lives and a dictatorial government determined to ensure conformity within the social roles, there’s no such thing as rebellion, speaking out, being your own person – not if you want to stay alive. Coded from birth, controlled, watched and punished for any ‘aberration’ – this is not a place where you want to stand out – or be different.
This is a society where each person must comply with their allocated gender roles and are subject to subtle, yet pervasive controls on their thoughts and behaviour. Everything from education to their home life is carefully orchestrated – designed to keep each sex within their allocated group. Any form of sexual curiosity or the slightest hint of non-conformity is enough for you to be sent for reconditioning. And if that should fail – risk being recoded as a ‘Tertiary’ and shunned by society, subject to oppressive sexual hygiene laws and ‘castrated’ by drugs.
Against this dystopian background, Anna tries to live her life, quietly, normally – but when her closest friend gets taken for reconditioning, Anna starts to question everything she’s been taught.
A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale, Mean Girls and The Hunger Games, this hugely evocative novel explores issues of feminism, sexuality, oppression and discrimination.