Title: Fourth World ( Iamos Trilogy #1 )
Author: Lyssa Chiavari
Publication Date: December 29th, 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Purchase links: Amazon paperbacks , Amazon Ebook
IAMOS, S.C.D. 8378
Nadin’s planet is dying. As its atmosphere drains away, her people are forced to live huddled in domed cities for protection. With only enough resources to support the population for one more year, time is running out. Nadin thinks she’s found a way to save Iamos, but it will mean defying the planet’s rulers, the geroi—and betraying the geroi could cost her everything.When a strange boy from another world appears out of nowhere outside the citidome’s glass walls, Nadin knows for sure that her plan will work. But to build the device that can save her people, Nadin must first find the legendary city of Elytherios. And to do that, she’ll need the help of the mysterious alien boy named Isaak.MARS, 2073 C.E.
All Isaak wanted was to get through his senior year at the Academy in one piece. Everything would have been fine if he hadn’t found that ancient coin among his missing father’s possessions. The coin seems to have a strange connection not only to Isaak’s family, but to Mars’ ancient past.But how is that possible, on a planet that was supposed to be dead until just forty years ago?Now Isaak’s got agents of the Earth’s government on his tail and a deranged factory worker stalking his every move. Everyone is desperate to get their hands on something called the Key. And the only way to escape is to unlock an even bigger secret, one that could change his life—and the fate of Mars—forever.
I had so much fun coming up with these questions, and even more fun while chatting with Lyssa !
Q1) Can you tell us a little bit about Fourth World?
Fourth World, the first book in the Iamos Trilogy, is a young adult sci-fi adventure set on Mars. It follows Isaak Contreras, a high school junior who’s part of the first generation of people born and raised on Mars after its colonization in the mid-21st century. Isaak is struggling to fit in after the disappearance of his dad two years ago, but when he happens to come across a mysterious coin among his dad’s belongings, he gets caught up in a mystery that involves him with government conspiracies, crazed scientists and an ancient door that leads him to another world. There he meets a girl named Nadin, who is looking for a way to save her dying planet. Nadin realizes that Isaak may hold the key to saving her homeworld—and the journey they embark on together just might solve the mysteries Isaak thought he’d left behind on Mars.
Q2) What kind of diversity does this book contain?
The book takes place on a future version of Mars that people from all over the world have had a hand in colonizing. The city that Isaak lives in, Tierra Nueva, is a really diverse urban area somewhat reminiscent of San Francisco. I drew a lot from my experiences growing up near the Bay Area in California, and seeing how much it’s changed over recent years. Even though Tierra Nueva was originally founded as a manufacturing town, in the years leading up to the start of the book, it’s seen an upsurge in wealthier people moving to the area because of growth in the tech industry, so there’s a strong divide between the two “halves” of the city: the wealthy newcomers and the lower-income people who have lived there for years but are now being displaced. Isaak is kind of caught between these two worlds because he lives near the factory district, but he attends the prestigious Academy on scholarship, so he has to exist in both worlds at different times, which can lead to a bit of tension.
Another important part of the book’s diversity is that both my main characters, Isaak and Nadin, fall under the umbrella of asexuality—Nadin is ace and Isaak is demisexual. Even though there’s been a rise (however small) in the number of books available with LGBTQIA characters, asexuality is something that has been incredibly underrepresented, with only a small handful of YA books available with ace characters (and, to my knowledge, only one with an explicitly ace protagonist). As an ace author, changing that is something that’s really important to me!
Q3) Could you explain the difference between Demisexuality and Asexuality in your own words?
Demisexuality is usually considered to fall under the asexual umbrella, but the key difference is that aces don’t experience sexual attraction, whereas demis do experience it, but only rarely and under a specific set of conditions: demisexual people only feel sexual attraction after an emotional bond has been formed. That’s a really basic definition, of course. If you want to learn more, your best sources are going to be demisexuality.org and asexuality.org. Both those sites have more detailed definitions, FAQs and quotes from members of the ace and demi communities that will help you get a better understanding for it!
Q4) Why did you involve two characters with two different sexual attractions?
Part of it is because the characters really demanded it. I found I was having a difficult time writing both Isaak and Nadin until I realized that they were trying to tell me they’d been ace all along. From Isaak’s very specific crush on Tamara to Nadin’s refusal to cooperate with any kind of “standard” YA romance scene, everything made sense after I figured out these basic aspects of their characters.
But another reason is that I wanted to demonstrate that being ace is not any kind of homogeneous experience. Like I said before, asexuality is extremely underrepresented in fiction and especially in YA, and most of the characters that have been portrayed in the past tend to follow a similar pattern. But every person’s experience is different. There are people who are demisexual, people who call themselves “gray-ace”, people who are sex-repulsed and people who are sex-indifferent. And then there’s the differences in romantic attraction, from people who are aromantic and aren’t interested in dating or romantic relationships of any kind, to people who are romantically attracted to one or multiple genders. Yet we tend to keep seeing the same pattern. I wanted people to see that there’s not just one story to be told.
Q5) Sci-fi is almost becoming real life as plans of colonizing Mars are being made; how did this affect/inspire you?
It’s actually what led to the idea for the book in the first place—I came up with the story when I was teaching elementary school science and the Curiosity rover landed on Mars. When I was teaching the kids about it, they asked so many fascinating questions about what life on Mars would be like that it put the whole seed for the book in my head. As I spent the next few years mulling the story over in my mind while doing other things, all sorts of news about Mars kept hitting the headlines: the discovery of liquid water, the rise of the Mars One project, the continuous growth of SpaceX and similar companies like Blue Origin. I did a ton of research before writing the book, and every time a new announcement was made, it spurred me on even more. I followed a timeline that indicates that human exploration of Mars begins in the 2030s, and in all likelihood, it looks like reality might be following that timeline. I’m so excited about that and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Q6) If you can sit down and talk with one of the people who are going to live on Mars, who would it be?
Meeting any of the candidates on Mars One’s shortlist would be a dream, because they all seem like fascinating people. All of them have such interesting reasons for wanting to go on the mission, I think I would be happy to talk to any of them—especially as they get closer to choosing the final crew for the mission!
Q7) Finally, you decided to go Indie for your debut novel. Is this a pathway that you would like to stick with during your publishing journey, or would you switch it up later?
I'm not sure! Each project is different, and that has a lot to do with it. Going into Fourth World, there were so many different variables that I felt really made it a better candidate for indie publishing, which is why I didn’t even attempt to go traditional with this book. But obviously that won’t be the case for every book. I love the freedom you get with indie, but I think I would like to try traditional publishing at some point, so I can get a feel for both industries. I just have to find the right project that would be well-suited for that environment!
Thank you for answering my questions!
You’re welcome, thanks for having me! :-D
Enter the Giveaway !
One signed copy of Fourth World + a bookmark open to US only.
About the Author:
Lyssa Chiavari is an author of speculative fiction for young adults, including Fourth World, the first book in the Iamos trilogy. She’s also the editor of Perchance to Dream, a YA collection of Shakespeare retellings, and the upcoming Circuits & Slippersanthology. When she’s not writing—which isn’t often—you can usually find her exploring the woods near her home in the Pacific Northwest or losing an unreasonable number of life balloons on Donkey Kong. Visit Lyssa on the web at lyssachiavari.com.
Goodreads page for the book