In Flesh & Wires Jackie Hatton shows us real women in extreme circumstances: survivors of disaster, traumatized and divided among themselves, with superhuman powers and all-too-human hearts. As they confront change, we witness their desperation, their hope, their need to discover the full range of their powers. A provocative and exciting debut.”
— Julie Phillips, author of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon
“…the quintessential FANZINE.” – Justin Landon (Tor.com)
Jackie Hatton’s debut novel of feminist science fiction takes on one of my favorite tropes, which is the post-apocalyptic novel – except that this isn’t really the story Hatton is telling, it’s just the framework. After an alien invasion (and I so love typing those two words), the Earth is left with scattered pockets of deeply scarred survivors. There are few men and a number of the women are augmented by another group of aliens with technology so advanced it might as well be considered magic – except that Flesh & Wires is deeply rooted in the survival of humanity and of the survival of one particular community led by a woman named Lo. I couldn’t put Flesh & Wires down and expect it to be in the end of year conversation for my favorite novels of the year. I want more of this.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry – Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004. Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015, editor since 2016. Minnesotan.
Publisher’s Weekly says… Hatton’s debut is, at its core, about the fragile relationships between women and men. It centers on a group of women in New England whose lives have been altered by a destructive alien invasion. The collective has repelled many invaders, but the latest, the humanoid male Orbiters, are something of a curiosity to the women as well as a threat. In addition, resident Lo is stunned when her brother, who went missing after the invasion, returns to Earth as part of the Orbiter crew.
Hatton creates an unusual, almost entirely Sapphic culture, and the futuristic technologies she introduces are inventive and terrifying. Her prose style captures the peculiarities of this altered world with broad brushstrokes. But at times, the plot’s momentum slows, and Hatton struggles to keep up suspense. In spite of its hesitant pace, this is a promising work of feminist science fiction. (Nov.)
The back cover of Flesh & Wires — a new science fiction book just published by Jackie Hatton — reads:
Following a failed alien invasion the world is left sparsely populated with psychologically scarred survivors, some of them technologically-enhanced women. Lo, leader of the small safe haven of Saugatuck,… Whoa! Does our little town star in a very intriguing work by that rare species: a female science fiction writer?
Review by Mel Jacob
This science fiction novel by Jackie Hatton, Flesh and Wires, is set in a post-apocalypse Connecticut. Some thirty years after an alien invasion destroyed most urban centers and killed most of the population, scattered pockets of survivors, mainly women, struggle to survive. Then a space ship arrives.
Aliens had surgically transformed many of the women by implanting wires within their bodies so they could telepathically communicate with their slaves. It also gave the women incredible strength with the ability to move things at a distance. The treatment stops them from aging, but made them unable to conceive.
The aliens also took the existing children and gave them strange powers not fully understood by any survivors. Three years after landing, all the aliens mysteriously died. Because of their enhancements, the wired women became leaders and protectors of the strange children and the naturals, those untreated. One such leader is Lo, the leader of the small Saugatuck community.
Men are in short supply because the aliens killed most of them as are untreated women. Because they hold the hope of the future, they are nurtured. Trust is in short supply.
After a distress call, Lo and others attack a group of strangers, thugs and criminals. One of her people is killed. Lo knew nothing about these strangers except they were not from Earth.
When another space ship, different from the destroying aliens, arrives, fears reignite. The ship opens to reveal two men. One is Will, Lo’s brother who worked for NASA and must have escaped into space, and the other is Bob, who claims to be an Alaskan and also escaped. Both were rescued by the Orbiters, a humanoid species living far away. Will tries to use his relationship with Lo to accomplish his mission which he fails to tell her about — possible resettlement. However, Lo doesn’t trust him. His plan to resettle Earth has already caused problems and more are certain to follow.
Hatton tweaks a few familiar tropes: alien invasion, enhanced humans, small communities struggling for survival, and ingenious humans overcoming impossible odds to survive. The death of the aliens is convenient and never explained. The flawed characters are well drawn and interesting. While there is a nice twist, unfortunately for the readers, the ending is a bit contrived and leaves them wondering what happens next.
So far, there is no hint of a sequel. Hatton indicated on her blog that her next novel would be a near future set in Amsterdam.