Katie M. Flynn had no idea that she’d launch her debut novel about a pandemic in the middle of an actual pandemic. The author joins Alta Asks Live and Heather Scott Partington on Wednesday, June 24 at 12:30 p.m. PST to talk about what inspired her to write The Companions, if she’d have written it any differently had she known how real it would be, and what comes next for her — and for the rest of us.
Buy the book: The Companions
About the book and the author
In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in—and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Companions are the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people—a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will. But when a sixteen-year-old companion named Lilac realizes she’s able to defy commands, she runs away, searching for the woman who killed her.
While the novel traces Lilac’s journey, the story sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America and is told from eight different points of view—some human, some companion—that explore the complex shapes love, revenge, and loneliness take when the dead linger on in machine form.
Katie M. Flynn is a writer, editor, and educator based in San Francisco. Her short fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Indiana Review, The Masters Review, and Tin House, among other publications. She has been awarded Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction and the Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing. Katie holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Geography from UCLA. The Companions is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @Other_Katie or visit her website BurytheBird.com.