YA Debut: Finding Sage by Logan Judy
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Silas is like many ordinary young men: attractive, sulky, and constantly fearing for his life. Silas is what is known as a rogue, a person displaying a supernatural gift, decried as dangerous by the United Nations, and hunted with the intention of execution, imprisonment, or - even worse - conversion to the U.N. ranks. So when a wide-eyed hobo offers him a solution to his problems, a mysterious man who the U.N. seems desperate to find, he follows, not having the slightest clue what he's just stepped into.
Alice hides a dark secret. Many rogues have come and gone in past years, but if people only knew how dark her so-called gift was, they would reject her. Attack her. Kill her. Where can she turn?
Sage is the one that connects them. The one that offers hope to them both. Little is known about him and precious few have seen him. So why is he the only one that the U.N. is afraid of?
Ten Books That Inspired Me and My Writing
1. 1984 by George Orwell. I’m usually more into fantasy stuff, but the whole dystopian future bit was phenomenal, and I probably never would have written Finding Sage, or it at least wouldn’t have been as good, without Orwell’s masterpiece.
2. Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Shusterman is my favorite modern author, and this book is a perfect example of why. He took the science fiction genre and asked important questions about the value of human life. There’s a depth here that isn’t found in most fiction.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. I like the Harry Potter books in general, but The Prizoner of Azkaban was particularly magical for me. The whole concept of the villain actually being the good guy was really cool, and Sirius became my favorite character pretty quickly after that. It inspired me to look beyond dialogue when it comes to character development.
4. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Not the most original choice for a list like this, I’ll admit, but important nonetheless. Tolkien’s writings were some of the first exposure I had to fantasy fiction, and that launched me into a genre that I would eventually write in. My first book (which I never published) was medieval fantasy very much in the vein of Tolkien’s writings. I still aim to rework that story and publish it. Someday.
5. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson. Longer isn’t always better. Jekyll and Hyde is a phenomenal tale and play on multiple personalities, but it all happens in less than 150 pages. The story has become a staple of science fiction literature, showing the power of the novella.
6. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. If you haven’t read this book, you should have. It’s a fascinating story about a prison that is literally alive and an era in which people are bound to live as though it were the 1800s. It’s a really cool story that shows how science fiction doesn’t have to take place in the future.
7. Everfound by Neal Shusterman. I really like Neal Shusterman’s entire Skinjacker Trilogy, but Everfound is particularly inspiring because it’s without a doubt the best final book of a series that I’ve ever read. The way he brings everything together is incredible, and showed me how important it is to have a plan and a vision when you’re writing a series.
8. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. The movie was terrible. But I still think the book is pretty cool. Paolini also wrote at a very young age (around 16), which was inspiring to me as a young aspiring author.
9. The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan. I really like it when modern writers adapt older stories and fairy tales, and that applies to mythology. Rick Riordan’s tales are extremely imaginative and show how you can take inspiration from something while still adding a completely unique spin to it.
10. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. Most people know C.S. Lewis for the Chronicles of Narnia, but his space trilogy is actually pretty cool. It has some of the coolest firsthand experiences of a new world in written form, and shows that you shouldn’t restrict yourself to one (or even two) genres.
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Click. Clack. Click. Clack. Click. Clack.
Carter cringed with every step as he heard the metallic clashing of the chains that bound his wrists and ankles. United Nations soldiers surrounded him: one at each side, two behind, and two in front. They walked with their firearms close to their chests, ready for action at any moment. He scanned his surroundings, looking for an exit: blank white walls, glass security panels, and grey tile ceiling. Blue uniformed soldiers guarded every door, and he saw the door to his doom approaching. He could see no windows looking into the room, only a solid white wall and the grey door, guarded by two soldiers.
Click. Clack. Click. Clack.
The soldiers stopped at the door. They exchanged a few words, told the guards of the door why they were there, showed their I.D.s, then entered the room. It was far less menacing inside than Carter had imagined. There were none of the flickering bare light bulbs, blood stains, or pungent aromas of decaying bodies that he had conjured in his mind’s eye. The room, like everything he had ever seen in this building, was remarkably and shockingly bare. So bare, in fact, that it was creepy. Was this routine for them? Was it normal? Was there nothing extraordinary, nothing even immoral about what they were going to do?
They walked him to the wall on his left, and a touchscreen panel popped up. One of the soldiers pressed a few buttons and he felt his wrists and legs pin against the wall.
“Sure is a sticky situation, eh?” remarked one of the soldiers to his buddies. Soldiers often made comments like this, but always to their friends. Common soldiers were forbidden from talking to prisoners, especially rogues.
Ten gunmen filed in from a door on the opposite wall and lined up with their guns pointed upwards. Behind them approached an agent, instantly recognizable with his black and blue suit. He held his military stance with his hands behind his back and recited the appropriate words.
“William Carter Jackson. You have been found in violation of Sovereign Order 21, which dictates that no biologically outstanding person, defined as those exhibiting phenomena deemed supernatural or otherwise extraordinary, shall be allowed to live, under the equal opportunity statutes of the first United Nations Sovereign Order. Your crime has been deemed punishable by death, and will therefore be carried out in a swift and humane manner, by firing squad, authorized by this Agent Sebastian Jefferson. Do you have any last words?”
Carter lifted his head and established eye contact with the agent.
“Yeah, I do.”
He waited for the soldiers to shift, to listen to what last words he had. None of them budged, but that didn’t change what he had to say.
“What’s so wrong with having good hearing?”
“Ready arms,” said the agent.
The boy refused to break eye contact. He looked the agent in the eye, determined in a last act of ideological rebellion that they would not ignore him.
All ten rifles fired at once. Blood spattered the wall behind the boy and spread into pools on the ground. The force broke the wall’s magnetism, leaving the boy lying upon the ground.
One of the soldiers who had escorted the boy knelt down and took a look at him.
“Affirmative,” he said. “We’re clear for the clean-up crew.”
My Dream Cast for Finding Sage
Silas: Alex Pettyfer
Lilly: Elle Fanning (if she hadn’t, you know, gotten older)
Eli: David Tennant
Alice: Mila Kunis
Rodge: Fran Kranz
Tariq: Michael Jai White
Salah: Anthony Mackie
Ishmael: Jaden Smith
Gamble: Tom Felton
Grayson: Garrett Hedlund
Jax: Logan Lerman
Jefferson: Giancarlo Esposito
Sage: Jeremy Irons
Note: Tariq, Salah, and Ishmael are all of Middle-Eastern descent, but they were raised in Canada. I don’t know very many Middle-Eastern actors, so I’ve chosen black actors instead that I believe would portray the true essence of the characters.
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Logan Judy is a dystopia, science fiction, and fantasy author who published his first book, Finding Sage, in 2014. He spends his days dreaming up new worlds and new stories, as well as wishing for a Serenity sequel. He currently lives in Indiana with his wife and their Don Quixote-like guard dog.