Published: March 2016 in The Doomsday Chronicles
Genre: apocalyptic science fiction
Setting: a generic city, near future
Summary: The Earth has become so contaminated with nanoparticles that human reproduction has ceased. Scientists have come up with a stronger, synthetic womb and the first child carried to term in ten years is about to be born. Just before the birthing process begins, the hospital is attacked and the baby is stolen. The parents go with the military officer in charge of recovering the baby before it’s oxygen run out. They think she’s been taken by a religious group who thinks she is the returning Messiah. Turns out that she was taken by Syns, synthetic humanoids created to replace the aging human workforce. The Syns hacked the protocol to create a Syn baby, capable of reproduction.
Final thoughts: This story took a surprising turn. It’s definitely apocalyptic fiction. Humanity has polluted Earth to the point that we can’t even reproduce any more. There’s a timeline ticking to reverse the problem, and perhaps a synthetic womb is the way to go. You don’t even realize the baby that’s being born isn’t carried by Leana until about a third of the way through the story. The author keeps the tension of the impending birth so strong, I thought for sure Leana was pregnant. When the baby was kidnapped, the flavor of the story changed. It was no longer about the crazy religious people vs. scientists and should humanity stop having babies and turned into an action story. Then, it changed again when we discovered who took the baby. Turns out, it was a story about robots taking over the world. It did find it interesting that the Syns were all blond-haired and blue-eyed. Why that particular choice for complexion? Maybe so the blue eyes can glow in the darkness and creep everyone out.
Title comes from: The name of the scientist who developed the protocol to allow for the development of a baby in a synthetic womb.