Provoke Not The Children

Michael W. Anderson

In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be raised, educated and cultivated.

Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer tasked with the regulation of the Proxy Industry, is plagued by guilt - the consequence of his own dogged pursuit of Maximization. Seeking redemption, he has pledged his life to save the lost but dangerous youth of the Deep Suburbs - the poverty-stricken and crime-ridden majority of society located far from the wealthy, civilized Inner Cities. When Chase uncovers widespread child abuse, the Government is forced to admit failure and shut down the Proxy Industry. All children under the age of eighteen are sent to a remote facility to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed to populate a new, functional society. Three years later, the first group of "children" return very much changed....

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