The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass by Vera Nazarian
(Excerpt from Goodreads) Many billion years in the future, the sun is a huge bloated golden Day God that fills the sky, and the earth is a barren desert. The last remaining water has pooled at the bottom of the Pacific Basin in a thick toxic sludge-lake called the Oceanus by the sterile post-humans that inhabit its salt-encrusted shores.
Liaei is different from the others. She is a fertile female created out of ancient homo sapiens DNA from the dwindling genetic stores, and has been manufactured by the horticulturists in a genetics lab. Liaei has been brought to life for one mysterious purpose — she is to become the Queen of the Hourglass.
Growing up in Basin City, fostered by the quasi-female modern human Amhama — the same technician who put her cells together — Liaei knows she does not belong. She is lively and vibrant and has a savage full head of hair and eyebrows unlike the smooth doll-like humans around her. She is also curious and inquisitive, asking more questions than even the harmonium in all its complexity can answer — harmonium technology powers everything, can regurgitate histories of civilizations, process liquid toxic waste, conjure music out of the air, run the agricultural hothouses, and fly hovercars, and yet its origins too have been lost in the murk of the ages and it cannot satisfy the restless mind of Liaei.
What does it mean to be the Queen of the Hourglass? Why do love and emotions seem to mean other things to her than to others? And what is that meandering ribbon of light up on the distant Basin Walls, a mysterious bit of ancient technology called The River That Flows Through the Air? Can water flow uphill?
Soon, when she reaches ancient sexual maturity and undergoes the proper training, the Queen of the Hourglass will embark on a journey to meet her consort the Clock King, and there will be even more questions.
But now, the harmonium-based machines are failing, and suddenly humanity is running out of time.
This book takes place several thousands years in the future. There is little to no water left, everything is breaking down, there are no other creatures except the adapted humans. These humans have to grow all of their foods from DNA. They are no longer what we would call humans. There is little emotion and their bodies have become hairless forms that vaguely resemble what they used to look like. This is the end of the world, but they keep trying to stay alive.
Liaei has been created from DNA in a lab. She is the only human alive in this new world that we would recognize. He whole purpose is to mate with The Clock King and produce more DNA. Liaei grows up a guinea pig. All of her vitals are constantly measures and she learns about her duty from a computer that shows her old film clips, books, and others things from our current time to prepare her for her task. This is hard on her because she is constantly reminded how different she really is. She is the only human created from DNA that has survived in a long period of time. So it is crucial that she mates and produced more DNA that can be used to save the dieing race.
When she turns 15, she is sent to mate with The Clock King. But The Clock King is not like Liaei. He is frozen in time and is defrosted for a couple days when another Queen of the Hourglass is created. His memory is almost completely wiped clean. But he does remember enough to know that this society is dieing and he is tired of being nothing more than a stud for his DNA.
When Liaei and The Clock King meet, things don’t go as planned. The Clock King opens Liaei’s eyes to the world around her and makes her feel more alive than anything else she has done in her 15 years. But how is this going to affect the dieing human race.
This was an interesting book. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about it is all the training Liaei receives to prepare her for the meeting with The Clock King. This really shows how the society is locked into the survival mode instead of looking at the big picture. Here they are trying to fix a broken machine with no replacement parts or technology.
I admit that I was disappointed in this story. Although it has potential, it just didn’t do anything for me. It reminds me more of a story used for lectures than one to enjoy. If you like stories along this line I feel that you would enjoy this. Sorry, I thought it was more of one meant for the pleasure of reading.
I received this story for free from the Library Thing review program in exchange for an honest review.