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Friday, December 16, 2022

Call Me Obie

Call Me Obie

by Ateret Haselkorn




GENRE:   YA Science Fiction






Fifteen-year-old Obie hates the word “artificial.” It has to be the Most Misunderstood Word of the Year 2100. The media puts it in front of anything. They started with artificial intelligence and now it goes with housing, law enforcement, and in Obie’s case, her heart.

Just because Obie’s vital organ was 3D-printed doesn’t mean that she’s fake. She’s simply misunderstood, especially by Humanists. They think that artificial organ recipients like her are an abomination, and that’s why Obie can’t let anyone know the truth about her heart.

But when Humanists injure her best friend Mateo, Obie needs to step up. She decides to get him a 3D-printed replacement spleen in secret. In order to succeed, she becomes a black-market criminal, a high-tech healer, and an authority on love (or maybe not the last one so much). But what else can she do when organs are sold by Jonas, a blue-eyed genius who can’t stand the system any more than her?

Call Me Obie explores the future of discrimination and the timeless power of empathy and forgiveness, with a few comedic mishaps along the way. It is the tale of one young woman’s coming-of-age in a future where nearly anything is medically possible and society must ask: When technology can modify humans, who gets to decide how?






Now, believe me, bullies can figure out how to get to their targets digitally, but I think that having to go to an in-person school delivers us right into the lion’s den. That’s actually how Mateo and I met, back in the seventh grade. I was gliding along, minding my business in my shiny new hover sneakers—even though I promised my dad that I’d walk for some traditional exercise—when my comm device vibrated with an environmental disturbance alert. It said there was a hazard above me. I looked upwards, scanning the treetops and clouds, and spotted a black, sharp-edged and bird-shaped drone the size of my hand. It flew straight up, reversed direction, and then dove down over and over. As I got closer to it, I heard yelling each time it dropped out of my line of sight. Weird. . . When I got to the school’s quad, I saw a thin, golden-skinned boy about my age running around screaming and waving his hands above his head, doing his best to fend off the attack. The hunting drone kept diving to hit him on the forehead with its beak. Every time the boy was down, as in lying on his stomach and moaning, the drone flew up. And whenever the boy shakily stood, it swooped down and jabbed him again. When I reached him, he was resting face down with his bleeding forehead pressed against his forearms. 


“Are you okay?” I asked him. 

A Word With the Author


  1. Did you always want to be an author?
    1. I’ve always felt a natural urge to write stories. As a highly sensitive person, I notice and feel aspects of my environment easily. Some may call this inspiration, I call it an absorptive way of life. Eventually, these whispers of people and events experienced over time become my “mental storage container.” They combine into a larger perception of the world at hand – how it operates today, how people behave within it, and how these trends may translate into a future that is both of our design and out of our hands. Writing, for me, was never about becoming an author as much as making sense of our system and then sharing that sense with others in order to form a connection. Writing can, at once, provide a sense of orientation and reduce isolation. This is ironic because the act of writing can be extremely isolating but, in the end, I think storytelling draws us all closer. 
  2. Tell us about the publication of your first book.
    1. Call Me Obie is my first book. Obie’s story was inspired by multiple experiences I had over the years working in the healthcare industry and studying the technology firsthand. For example, I got the chance to use VR goggles to virtually ‘walk’ inside a heart with a congenital defect. It was amazing. Then, after the 2016 election, I read an op-ed by a man who said that hiding his vote for President Trump reminded him of masking his sexual orientation earlier in his life. This made me wonder what the ‘closet’ of the future would be. Finally, when Israeli researchers reported creating a 3D-printed heart, I had the main elements of the world I wanted to build for Obie, a young woman with a 3D-printed heart experiencing discrimination over medical treatment. I am very excited to share her story with readers! 
  3. Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
    1. I am a huge fan of Kazuo Ishiguro. He can seamlessly crosses multiple genres like science fiction, fantasy, and classic literature. He can also pen characters who are somehow at once dehumanized and yet extremely human in a way that makes me reevaluate what it means to live a moral life. My favorite Ishiguro titles are Never Let Me GoRemains of the Day, and Klara and the Sun
  4. What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
    1. The best part? When Call Me Obie arrived at my home, my niece picked up a copy, got into a hammock, and started reading. She reminded me very strongly of myself as a young reader, and it gave me a wonderful feeling to think that she was fully engaged in a world I had built. The worst part of being an author is the constant feeling that I could or should be writing when I’m completing other tasks like grocery shopping or going to bed at a reasonable time. 
  5. What are you working on now?
    1. I am writing a science fiction mystery novel that takes place in a “smart” city. And I’m reading as many mysteries as I can, both sci fi and not, because it’s the best way to learn a genre. 


Thank you for taking the time to interview me! 




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Ateret Haselkorn writes fiction and poetry. She is the winner of 2014 Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest. Her children’s story was published as a finalist in the 2020 “Science Me a Story” contest of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in multiple literary and medical journals and can be accessed at Twitter and Instagram: @AteretHaselkorn


Social Media Links:






Amazon Author Page: 





Ateret Haselkorn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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