Proxy by Alex London
It’s proxy vs patron. Place your bets.
Interest/Topics: Technology, social justice, rich vs. poor, economics, robots, computers
Curriculum Connections: English; Computer Science; Technology; Social Sciences (Equity Studies)
Blurb: I love watching the horrified expressions on my students’ faces when I ask them how they would act if their parents could see and hear them 24 hours a day. Most students admit that they would have to make some pretty dramatic changes in their behaviour (no kidding). My question is said in jest, of course, but it provides an excellent introduction to the government’s control as described (predicted?) in Orwell’s novel 1984. (You mean Big Brother isn’t just the name of a television show?)
Now think about how you’d act if you never had to suffer the consequences of your behaviour. For Knox, a rich, spoiled patron, life is nothing but a wild ride meant to be pushed to the limit. For Syd, his proxy of more than a decade, Knox’s decisions result in immense pain and suffering. In a world where debts must be dissolved by taking punishment for those who can pay, a proxy is only as lucky as his patron is responsible. And Knox is the least responsible patron of all.
One night, by sheer coincidence, Knox and Syd come face to face.
It’s patron against proxy. Place your bets.
Flavour: “This wasn’t about him. It was his patron. It had nothing to do with Syd. That was his weakness. When he got to thinking, it always turned back on himself, his failings, his mistakes. But he didn’t matter in this. He was just a body for the rich to use and to discard when it suited them. That was his place, his market niche, as they called it. He was a proxy and his life was on loan.” (72)
“[Knox] wasn’t worried about breaking the rules. If you could pay, the rules were yours to break. He was worried that he’d crossed some line where the rules he lived by no longer applied, past where his status, his father’s money, or his charm would do any good.” (178)
“’I believe you, Knox,’ said Syd, his voice so soft that Knox had to lean toward him to hear. ‘And I don’t care,’ Syd whispered. ‘Got it? I believe you’re sorry. I. Don’t. Care. I don’t want your sorry. Live with your guilt. It’s the one debt you owe me and I don’t ever, ever want it repaid.’” (273)