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Literature / Child of the Hive

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Child of the Hive is a 2009 science fiction adventure novel by Jessica Meats, set in the very near future. A group of teenagers, Will, Alex and Ben, on their way to a math competition find themselves on the run for their lives. It turns out that Will is hiding a dark secret that means not one but two secret organisations are after him. He is being hunted by the mysterious Hive, who killed his parents when he was a child, and the Beeks, a government organisation who will destroy the Hive at any cost.

Will and his friends are pursued by the best friend of Will's dead brother, watched via closed-circuit TV cameras by the computer programmer Rachel. Meanwhile, shut away in the Beeks' headquarters, the silent Sophie draws endless patterns while she battles to keep her mind free of the Hive.

As the story progresses, Alex and Ben learn the ominous truth about the Hive, one of the groups after Will. This takes the story beyond the surface of a light-hearted adventure and into a deep exploration of artificial intelligence, live and the nature of humanity.

This book provides examples of

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Hive came about because of an experiment in artificial intelligence.
  • Bookworm: Sophie's love of books is apparent even when she's unable to read anything.
  • Child Prodigy: Sophie is shown to be a genius at mathematics, computer programming and languages. A flashback shows her at the age of 7, speaking near-perfect German after only three lessons and with an understanding of Latin.
  • Not a Morning Person: When Alex is staying with Will, her attempts to wake him up have no effect. When she then calls Ben, his response is to bugger off because he has a hangover.
  • Oblivious to Love: Drew fails to spot Rachel's crush on him for much of the first part of the book, largely due to the fact that Rachel is too nervous to say much to him.