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2065 Sneak Peek!

Introduction

Contrary to what it may seem at first glance, this isn’t a book that preaches the dangers of scientific progress or any of that pretentious anti- STEM field crap. Actually, the moral of this sadly true story isn’t anti-math or anti-science at all. It’s what happens when you value ideas over human beings. I’m Emma Beaumont, and this is my version—the right version— of the events that transpired.

Chapter One

I don’t know if I can truthfully pick an exact moment in time when it “all began”, so to speak, but I can think of a good place to start. On June 19, 2065, around 3:00 or so, I sat on the examination table in my doctor’s office, having just received my annual gynecological exam. (I’m going to spare you the details regarding that portion of my visit.) The fluorescent lights were so bright they were nearly blinding, the pale blue robe I wore was itchy and too small on me, and Dr. Terman was, as usual, peppering me with questions before I could even ask her my own. (On that note, I would like to establish that I have changed her name to protect her, and I would not have her as my doctor if it weren’t for the fact she’s the only female gynecologist in my area my insurance plan covers.)

“Your cycle?”

“Regular.”

“Birth control?”

“No.”

“Trying to get pregnant?”

“God, no!”

“Still a virgin?”

“Technically.” She put down the clipboard she had been scribbling on at that. “Which brings me to the question I’ve been meaning to ask.” I couldn’t help but blush a bit, and by a bit I mean I turned red enough that I could have been reasonably mistaken for a tomato. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s this: my face must have some sort of vendetta against me, considering how often it betrays my emotions. If I’m happy I’m going to smile even if I’m at a funeral, if I find something funny and try not to laugh I will fail miserably, and if I’m confiding intimate details about my sex life even to my doctor, my face is going to flush furiously, which it did.

“Are you asking about birth control?” She deduced. I nodded. “Are you still with that Knightley?” She inquired like she was asking me if I was contemplating ending my life. “Yes,” I said firmly.

She sighed. “Emma, I can give you birth control if you want, no matter who you want to sleep with, but the fact remains that you two are not genetically compatible.”

“That man happens to be my fiancé.” She looked like she was going to faint as I spoke. “And honestly, I don’t give a damn. Knightley and I aren’t completely genetically compatible, but we’re morally compatible, and in love, both of which are much more important to me than whether our kids will take after me or him.”

It’s at this point that I think I should stop and explain what exactly genetic incompatibility means in this context. Genetic incompatibility used to mean that a couple simply could not have kids together. Nowadays, here in America, it means that there’s a significant difference between the partners’ AARs (Average Attractiveness Rating), IQs (Intelligence Quotient), or OGD (Overall Genetic Desirability) scores. Once you become an adult, you legally (or might as well be legally, depending on the nature of the test in question,) are bound to take these exams. Everyone takes the AAR as part of their first doctor's visit after turning eighteen. It's one of the weirdest things I have ever experienced.

Like any other medical exam, you wear a hospital gown and not much else. You are also asked to remove any and all jewelry or makeup you may be wearing prior to the exam. Next, you enter a room with three randomly selected doctors and an examination table. If you're a woman, there will be a female nurse present as well. These men—and the doctors for this routine are always men—all have pens, paper, and clipboards. They ask you to stand up straight while they look at you, circling around you, taking notes. They may ask you to strike some poses for them, which is about half as silly as it sounds and about twice as uncomfortable in actuality.

At my first AAR exam one of them asked me to lower the short sleeves of my gown so he could have a better look at my shoulders and collarbone. Assuming this was all standard procedure, I obliged, as one doctor leaned in to examine how my hair caught the light, while the other stayed rooted directly behind me. The first man stared at me for a moment, before requesting me to slide my gown past my chest. At this point the nurse intervened, threatening to report him, and the exam went back to being strictly professional. That particular doctor has since been prohibited from administering AAR exams, but is still employed here and still has his medical license.

The purpose of the AAR relates back to evolutionary psychology. According to evolutionary psychology, nature deems it crucial to not only pass our genes on to the next generation, but also to pass on the “best” genes possible, and conventionally attractive people are generally regarded as having the best genes. On the one hand, healthy people are often more fertile and tend to be considered better looking than sick people, so there is some semblance of logic behind the theory. Plus, a good looking partner increases the likelihood of having a good looking child, and who wouldn’t want both of those, if possible? That’s where the AAR comes in. Each of the doctors who examine you give you a rating afterward on a scale of 1 to 10—with one being the least attractive and ten being the most—which are then all averaged together. They then advise you not to mate—that’s the exact word that’s used, by the way—with anyone who is two or more whole numbers above or below your rating. By this logic, beautiful people will not be prevented from having beautiful—and likely healthy and fertile— children.

The AAR is a mandatory exam that is given every three years to anyone who is not yet married. The IQ test is not mandatory by law—although my high school required me to take it—, but you need to take it in order to have an OGD score. The OGD is scored on a scale of 1-10,000. Your IQ is multiplied by ten, while your AAR is multiplied by one hundred. Then, your SAT scores for reading, math, writing, and —as recently as the last ten years— science are totaled and added onto your OGD. You can literally get up to 3,200 points based on your best SAT score. The idea is that your IQ measures your general intelligence, while your SAT measures your intelligence in more specific academic subject areas. The OGD also accepts SAT subject tests in addition to the SAT itself, provided that those subject tests are in a mathematic or scientific field. The rest of your OGD score is determined by your overall health and your family history.

“Emma, think of your future children,” Dr. Terman pleaded with me now. “You have an IQ of 90; he has an IQ of 123. You also have dyscalculia. Imagine how tragic it would be if his children could have potentially been mathematical geniuses, but their mother’s poor math genes got in the way.” My nails tore my skin as I clenched my fists, and my breathing grew shallow. She continued, “You have an AAR of 9.1, he has an AAR of 3.0. Your children are practically destined to be average in every respect if they’re lucky.”

“And what’s wrong with being average?” I snapped. “Why does everyone always act like that is such a bad thing?”

“You are acting like a child,” she said coolly. “He could go on to marry a woman with a higher IQ than him, and they could produce highly intelligent children. You could marry a handsome man and have beautiful children together. By marrying your fiancé, you are jeopardizing the potential of your future offspring.”

To my horror, I felt my eyes burn with tears. I’m an angry crier, which is humiliating because whenever I try to appear intimidating in my fury I instead look pathetic, which I’m sure I did then because she spoke in a much softer voice. “Emma, come wash your hands in the sink, they’re bleeding.” I did, and she finally relented. “What form of birth control are you interested in?” We spoke civilly for the next several minutes until she wrote me a prescription in silence.

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