The Hotlands

Welcome to the world of your grandchildren.

Ice on the windows melted like tears as I looked down on the city.  Even the snow was grey.  Goodbye London, I thought.  I may miss you, but I doubt it. 

People looked up from the empty streets. I was a bird escaping from its cage but this time it was real. I was not in the digital world this time. I was me.


The world is warmer, but not in Britain. 

It's been abandoned by the Gulf Stream as Greenland’s glaciers melt. Trapped in the icy protected suburbs of London, people retreat into digital worlds. Chrys and Ash want more and plan a new life in sunny Melbourne.

Until she meets Chrys and Ash, Jasmine’s world has been a dark one, eking out a fragile existence in mines, replacing the machinery that now lacks fuel.

Look, Aunty Beck said, pointing to the huge, rusted shells of machinery.   Nothing to run them on, is there? We’re their power now.  They asked us to come, don’t forget that.  They needed our labour. It was meant to be a better life.  They promised us a way out.  Work for us and you can work your way to a life in the Free World.  

We had nothing.  The sea took our land, the war the rest.  We fled, over land, over sea, to what?  I grew up in an endless ocean of tents and corrugated iron.  All of us waiting for something, anything, to get us out of there. We had nothing.  As the years went by, even hope left us.
- Jasmine

Forced to leave her home, Jasmine takes three-year old Boy south to what they hope will be a better life.  

When Chrys and Ash's aircraft crashes in the desert, their lives become intertwined with Jasmine and Boy's adventures.  They all become swept up in waves of humanity struggling to find a place for themselves in a changing world.

Chiku looked at my bare arm.

"We can take down your details and will send a message to a nominated person to let them know where you are.  What is your mother's number?"  I felt sick.  I had never needed to know my mother’s number.  It had always been programmed in to my wristband. 
"You don't understand," I blurted.  “We’re not meant to be here.” I was shouting, and the woman responded in kind."

Yes, I know you're not meant to be here," she snarled.  “But do you think those others out there are?  That it is their place to be in a refugee camp for years, even a lifetime?" 
"But they chose to come here.  We -" 

"Believe me, they did not choose to come here.  The only thing we chose was to leave and for most of us, hear this, that was no choice."  

She paused as the screen beeped at her again, then looked at me with disgust.
- Chrys

Chrys and Jasmine describe their journey through the desert, life in the refugee camps, a dangerous escape and their struggles when they arrive in the "Free world" of southern Australia.

It is more than a physical journey. Chrys struggles to adapt to life outside the sheltered confines of Britain's protected suburbs and learns more about the man she quickly married, and about herself.

I liked to think of myself as worldly.  Sure, like everyone, I rarely had the chance to travel, but we did not need to.  It was all delivered to our homes in neat packages of bits and bytes. 

Watching the skinny girl with the child on her back, I realised there was so much more that our digital world could not include or explain. Even here in this place together, we were on entirely different planets.

The Hotlands 

A journey adventure story from 2075.

Download The Hotlands by Lynley Joyce from Hotlands-Lynley-Joyce-ebook/ dp/B00TN97CTG/