What it means to be human—and a mother—is put to the test in Carole Stivers’s debut novel set in a world that is more chilling and precarious than ever.
The year is 2049. When a deadly non-viral agent intended for biowarfare spreads out of control, scientists must scramble to ensure the survival of the human race. They turn to their last resort, a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots—to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order: an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right—the Mother Code.
Kai is born in America’s desert Southwest, his only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and motivations of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. But as children like Kai come of age, their Mothers transform too—in ways that were never predicted. And when government survivors decide that the Mothers must be destroyed, Kai is faced with a choice. Will he break the bond he shares with Rho-Z? Or will he fight to save the only parent he has ever known?
Set in a future that could be our own, The Mother Code explores what truly makes us human—and the tenuous nature of the boundaries between us and the machines we create.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carole Stivers was born in East Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She went on to post-doctoral work at Stanford University before launching a career in medical diagnostics. She now lives in California, where she's combined her love of writing and her fascination with the possibilities of science to create her first novel, The Mother Code.
Elizabeth Stark, a novelist (Shy Girl: FSG, Seal Press, finalist for the Ferro-Grumely and Lambda Literary Awards) and award-winning filmmaker (most recently, producer of Lost in the Middle: Best Feature, Broad Humor 2019, a Festival Favorite, Cinema Diverse), co-hosts the podcast Story Makers Show, co-directs and teaches at Sonoma County Writers Camp and Book Writing World. She lives with her partner, Angie Powers, their two teenagers, and their dog, Bandit, in Sebastopol, CA.