Rash

Rash

by Pete Hautman

Paperback(Reprint)

$10.79 $11.99 Save 10% Current price is $10.79, Original price is $11.99. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, August 22

Overview

"Of course, without people like us Marstens, there wouldn't be anybody to do the manual labor that makes this country run. Without penal workers, who would work the production lines, or pick the melons and peaches, or maintain the streets and parks and public lavatories? Our economy depends on prison labor. Without it everybody would have to work -- whether they wanted to or not."

In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he's sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that's surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it's nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory's highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo's sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life?

Pete Hautman takes a satirical look at an antiseptic future in this darkly comic mystery/adventure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689869044
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 12/04/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 154,800
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Pete Hautman is the author of National Book Award–winning novel Godless, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, Stone Cold, The Flinkwater Factor, The Forgetting Machine, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as several adult novels. He lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at PeteHautman.com.

Read an Excerpt

Rash


By Pete Hautman

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Pete Hautman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689868014

1

Sharp objects do not belong in your ears or near your eyes. Protect your senses!

-- Sammy Q.

Gramps, who was born in 1990, once told me that when he ws my age the only way to wind up in prison in the USSA (back when it had only one S) was to steal something, kill somebody, or use illegal drugs.

"Illegal drugs? You mean like beer?" I asked, pointing at his mug of home brew.

He laughed. "No, Bo. Beer was legal back then. I'm talking about heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. Drugs like that."

"They sent people to jail for that?"

"They sure did," he said, sipping his beer. Gramps's home brewed beer was one of our family secrets.

"Why didn't they just regenerate their dopamine receptors?"

"They didn't have the technology back then, Bo. It was a different world."

"Yeah, but sending them to a work camp...that sounds kind of extreme."

"No more extreme than putting a person away for littering," Gramps said.

"Littering is only a class-four misdemeanor -- you don't get sent up for that."

"Mr. Stoltz did."

"That was for assault. Melody Haynes got hurt."

"But all he did, really, was litter. He dropped an apricot when he was unloading groceries from his suv."

"Yeah, then Melody slipped onit and got a concussion."

"She should have been wearing her helmet. My point is, Bo, all the man did was drop an apricot and they sent him away for a whole year. A year of hard labor on a prison farm. For dropping an apricot!"

"But if he hadn't dropped it, Melody wouldn't have gotten bonked," I said. Sometimes my grandfather could be kind of dense.

"Maybe so, Bo," he said, "but the fact remains, the poor man lost a whole year of his life for one lousy apricot."

Gramps could get real stubborn when he'd been drinking.

Back then there were five of us Marstens serving time: my father, my brother, two cousins, and an aunt.

My dad got put away for roadrage back in '73. Some droog pulled out in front of him, and Dad caught up with him at the next traffic light and jumped out of his car and pounded his fist on the hood of the guy's suv and made an obscene gesture. It would have been no big deal except that it was his third roadrage citation, so he was sentenced to five years under the three-strikes-you're-out law.

Last year my brother Sam went to an unauthorized graduation party and got in a fistfight. The kid he fought lost a tooth. Sam was seventeen at the time.

Like father, like son -- they sentenced Sam to two years. If he'd been an adult, he would've gotten five years, minimum.

I never found out why my aunt and cousins were locked up. Most people don't like to talk about their jailed family members. It's embarrassing. But having five close relatives in the prison system is not that unusual. According to USSA Today, 24 percent of all adults in this country are serving time. My family was only slightly more criminal than average.

Dad got sent to a prison aquafarm down in Louisiana. He wrote to us that by the time he is released, he will have shelled twenty million shrimp. That message included a thirty-second clip of him standing at his workstation, blue gloves up to his elbows, ripping into a bin of crustaceans. Sam was on a road gang in Nebraska, middle of nowhere, patching holes on the interstate.

Of course, without people like us Marstens, there wouldn't be anybody to do the manual labor that makes this country run. Without penal workers, who would work the production lines, or pick the melons and peaches, or maintain the streets and parks and public lavatories? Our economy depends on prison labor. Without it everybody would have to work -- whether they wanted to or not.

Anyway, here's my point: Given my family's history I should have known to keep an eye on my temper. Lose control for one tiny chunk of time and bam -- next thing you know you're ripping the legs off shrimp. But at the time...Well, if you look at history, you will see that I was not the first guy to do something really stupid over a girl. Look at how many Greeks died for Helen of Troy. How much self-control do you think they had?

Copyright 2006 by Pete Hautman

2

I was never very good at school things. Historical events didn't stick in my head. Science and math bored me. As for dealing with people, forget about it. I could never have been a counselor, or a doctor, or a politician. I didn't have the patience.

I was no better at the arts: Painting, sculpture, and music didn't do it for me. Not that anybody else was any good at those things. All the best art got made back in the last millennium, before we learned how to fix depression and schizophrenia and stuff. These days, with everybody more or less sane, the new art is about as interesting as oatmeal.

According to my sixteenth-year Career Indexing Evaluation, my top career choice was correctional worker. I guess that meant I'd make a good prison guard. Or maybe a good prisoner. Either way, with penal institutions being such big business I'd have no problem finding work if I wanted it.

The only thing I'd ever been really good at was running. I could run faster than anyone else on Washington Campus, with the possible exception of the intolerable Karlohs Mink. I could run a 50-yard dash in eight seconds, and 100 meters in under 14 seconds.

In fact, on the day I got into it with Karlohs Mink, I had been hoping to break the 100-meter school record of 13.33 seconds.

Karlohs was never my favorite person. Even before the first time he looked at Maddy Wilson, I hadn't liked him. For one thing, the way he spelled his first name was really irritating. And I hated his wrinkly minky smirk. And his stupid-looking asymmetrical hair: so pretentious; so 2060s. The only thing I liked about Karlohs was his last name. Mink. It was perfect that he had the name of a diminutive, beady-eyed, nasty-smelling member of the weasel family.

But I never set out to harm his smirking minky face. At least not at first. Not until he started his minky sniffing around Maddy Wilson.

I had called Maddy that morning and told her I was about to set a new school record for the 100 meter.

"Oh, Bo," she said, her laughing face filling my WindO, "you are so funny."

I don't know why Maddy did it for me. Something about her mouth and eyes lit me up every time I saw her. I wanted desperately to impress her.

"I'm serious, Mad. I'm gonna set a new school record."

"I think you and Karlohs are simply ridiculous."

"Karlohs? What's he got to do with it?"

"You're both just so competitive."

"Maybe so. But I got the bear after me."

"Oh, Bo, you and your silly bear!"

* * *

Back when Gramps was in high school, kids ran faster. Gramps claimed to have run 100 meters in 11 seconds, and the mile in 4:37. That was before the Child Safety Act of 2033. Now every high school runner has to wear a full set of protective gear -- AtherSafe shoes with lateral ankle support and four layers of memory gel in the thick soles, knee pads, elbow pads, neck brace, tooth guard, wrist monitor, and an FDHHSS-certified sports helmet. We raced on an Adzorbium track with its five centimeters of compacted gel-foam topped by a thick sheet of artificial latex. It's like running on a sponge.

Before the Child Safety Act dozens of high school athletes died in accidents every year. They died from things like heatstroke, skull fractures, heart attacks, and broken necks. Today, high school athletes are as safe on the athletic field as they are sitting in the classroom.

Gramps thought it was ridiculous.

"They might just as well put you in a rubber room and see who can stomp their feet up and down the fastest," he once said. "We used to run on hard-packed cinders -- no helmets, no gel-foam, none a that."

I tried to argue: "But, Gramps, it's just as healthy. I mean, with the equipment and the Adzorbium, we probably get twice the workout, only nobody gets bonked."

"Nobody goes very fast, either. I ever show you my old track shoes?"

"Yes, Gramps. I've seen them." Gramps kept his old running shoes in a box in the garage. Every now and then he'd bring them out and wave them around and go on and on about the days of the "real" athletes. You couldn't talk to him when he got like that.

"Look, Gramps, as long as we all have the same rules, the top athlete still gets the trophy."

"That why you run, Bo? For trophies? Hell, when I was a boy, reason we ran was 'cause we were getting chased. We played football back then. Real football. Tackle football."

Football has been illegal since before I was born. I've seen recordings of the old games, and I can see why it has been banned. The only place they play it now is in some South American countries like Columbistan and Paraguay.

"It was run like the devil or get eaten up." Gramps had drunk a few beers that day.

"Yeah, right. Who'd want to eat you?"

"You'd be surprised, boy. It was the twentieth century back then. Bears everywhere."

"You were chased by bears?"

"Damn straight, boy."

"You don't expect me to believe that, do you?"

"Hell, boy, some of the things you kids believe these days...how do I know what you'll believe? But I'll tell you this: You want to run a little faster? Just imagine you got a grizzly on your ass."

Copyright 2006 by Pete Hautman



Continues...


Excerpted from Rash by Pete Hautman Copyright © 2006 by Pete Hautman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Rash 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
lchs.mrso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rash by Pete Hautman is set in the future in United States. Regulations have taken over and made everything extremely safe. Bo Marsten is a teenager that has an anger management issue. In this society, he is sent to jail for punching someone. At the prison, Bo is recruited to join the factory¿s illegal football team. Bork, the artificial intelligence that Bo made, gets him released from prison. Bo then returns home but feels unsatisfied being so restricted. In the end, Bo goes to South America to get away from all the regulations. The cover is quite intriguing with an outline of an animal¿s face and a man running. It tempts the reader to find out what that is all about. Those who like books with futuristic societies should read this book.
lscottke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Futuristic Sports Fiction. Middle School to HS average reader. Main Characters: Bo Marsten, (Gramps, ¿Rhino¿, ¿Hammer¿)After losing his temper too many times in a future world regulated for complete citizen safety, Bo is sent to work in a prison pizza factory (a McDonalds merger!) in the northern tundra. Many of his fellow inmates are in for similar misdemeanors, and Rhino is in for unsafe, self-destructive eating habits. The USA is now the USSA (the extra S for ¿safer¿) and runs on the manpower provided by the large percentage of citizens imprisoned in work camps for misdemeanors. Any aggression, any strenuous contact sport, any reckless behavior is enough to go on record. USSA laws and municipal regulations are fear-of-litigation driven. Medication, Levelor, suppresses any emotional outbursts.Bo (who doesn¿t take his Levelor, a misdemeanor in itself) is jealous about his girlfriend¿s interaction with an arch track (running) rival. He loses his temper once too often after being blamed for a rash outbreak that is in fact a reaction to a skin cream. He ends up on a prison football squad coached by an ex-pro footballer, playing illegal contact sports against other prison teams (Coke!)When Bo¿s computer A.I. creation, Bork, manages to arrange an early release, Bo is thrown out of the prison to fight his way to the nearest arctic town while avoiding polar bear attacks.Back home again, Bo must face hard realities: he doesn¿t like his father, he has outgrown the soft high school life, and he knows he doesn¿t want to live either like his maverick grandfather (a beer swilling relic of the late 20th century) or in obeisance to the minutiae of safety regulations. A move to another continent is inevitable.Some appeal, but this story doesn¿t have the power or the strong social message of Feed. It does point out the power of teamwork and determination.
rumyana2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is very entertaining. It is as much packed with action as with humor and satire.The protagonist, Bo Marsten, breaks one law after another in the United Safer States of America, towards the end of the 21st century. He is sent for 3 years to the Canadian tundra, at apizza factory where he has to survive the hard work and illegal football pracices or be polar bear food. As the events in his life unfold eveyrthing is being ridiculed and exposed, at times with humor, and at other times with downright harsh sarcasm - from the obsession with safety, to big business mergers and the government itself. Kids will love the action, and relate to Bo's high school experiences and the way he feels. They might even enjoy the intellectual game of trying to keep track of all the things the author is denouncing with irony and satire sprinkled throughout the book.
mjspear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bo Marston has a problem with his temper... so when he acts, well, rash, he gets sent to a work camp/prison for rehabilitation. Set in a dystopic future, prison means churning out food for global-sized burger and pizza companies. The guards discover that Bo is a fast runner and he is soon drafted to play an elite -- but highly illegal -- game of football. There is a curious subplot about Bo's virtual alter-ego and a subsequent spring from prison and an escape through the arctic. Bo finally gets home and is acquitted but faces the even harder road of returning to (normal) high school and resuming his life. A book that contains more football play-by-play and less suspense than one would expect (being chased by polar bears should be exciting but, meh...) The avatar subplot is, to this reader, just weird. The notions of a future society that is overly-protective and a prison/corporation meld are intriguing but the book feels half-baked; not one of Hautman's best.
snat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My immediate thought after finishing Rash: Huh. What a peculiar novel. And I'm still not entirely sure what to say about it. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. However, I think its target audience would love it. That audience is teen and preteen boys and heaven (aka Barnes and Noble) knows there aren't enough books out there for them. The novel is set in the not too distant future of the United States, which is now known as the USSA (United Safer States of America). In this dystopian-lite future, anything that is dangerous to one's safety has been outlawed: no drinking, no smoking, no contact sports, no fast food, no foul language. Children can't play outside without the appropriate safety gear. Most of the populace is taking a cocktail of drugs to maintain their health and well-being (including Levulor, which dampens the instinct toward anger). The reason for the emphasis on safety is that it has significantly increased the lifespan of the average human. The tradeoff is that one really can't enjoy that life. (And if you think this future is a ridiculous hypothesis, look at national, state, and city legislation attempting to do things such as yanking toys out of Happy Meals, attempting to make walking and using an electronic device such as an iPod or cell phone illegal, implementing Body Mass Index requirements at public schools, etc.)In this society, even the most minor of infractions can be a criminal offense that sends you to a prison workfarm. These workfarms perform the potentially "dangerous" (by this futuristic society's standards) jobs no one else wants to do. They produce goods and produce, and they also maintain the nation's infrastructure. Bo Marsten's famously short-tempered family knows this first hand: his father (convicted of road rage) works at a shrimp farm and his brother works on a road crew. It's only a matter of time before Bo's own temper gets the better of him and he's sent to a production facility in the arctic that is run by a football fanatic who arranges illegal sporting events for his own entertainment. Because of Bo's ability to run faster than anyone else, it isn't long before he's recruited to the team and learns first hand what pain really feels like.There are a lot of draws here for teenage boys: very short chapters, rapid fire pacing, frequent changes in topic (you'd almost think Hautman himself is ADD as frequently as events and settings change), a futuristic society whose ridiculousness makes it simultaneously frightening and funny, and, of course, football.
Alina100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is very entertaining. It is as much packed with action as with humor and satire.The protagonist, Bo Marsten, breaks one law after another in the United Safer States of America, towards the end of the 21st century. He is sent for 3 years to the Canadian tundra, at apizza factory where he has to survive the hard work and illegal football pracices or be polar bear food. As the events in his life unfold eveyrthing is being ridiculed and exposed, at times with humor, and at other times with downright harsh sarcasm - from the obsession with safety, to big business mergers and the government itself. Kids will love the action, and relate to Bo's high school experiences and the way he feels. They might even enjoy the intellectual game of trying to keep track of all the things the author is denouncing with irony and satire sprinkled throughout the book.
Kashif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is set in the 2080s when most things we enjoy are illegal.
Asata on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun and provocative, original--try it for a twist!
Librarygirl66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a future society that has decided it would "rather be safe than free," sixteen-year-old Bo's anger control problems land him in a tundra jail where he survives with the help of his running skills and an artificial intelligence program named Bork.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a future America, where safety is of the utmost importance and people are sent to corporate work camps for a whole host of offenses, Bo is accused of causing a rash that impacts his entire school. He's packed off to a work camp in the tundra that is focused on making pizza. The warden of the camp has a love for football and forces his wards to play on the team in exchange for special food rations. Bo's school artificial intelligence project, Bork, seems to have developed sentient thought and starts to shake things up.
Stevejm51 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine a future world where safety is more important than freedom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first time i read this book i had no idea it was about football otherwise i wouldnt have read it but this book was an exception it kept me reading i couldbt put it down its a great read read it and i promise you will enjoy it
Michael-Van-Riessen More than 1 year ago
The book Rash is about a high school kid named Bo Marsten. It seems like Bo has a normal life. He has a girlfriend, he's athletic, he is keeping his grades up, that sort of thing. However, 2076 in the United Safer States of America isn't so normal compared to what we live in. The United States has become a Safety-Freak country. So, Bo ends up getting thrown in a Pizza Plant in the Canadian Tundra for assaulting a kid and for somehow spreading some type of disease throughout the school. Bo then joins a illegal football team at the pizza plant while working for them and Bork, Bo's "cyber-buddy" from school tries to get Bo out of jail. I really liked how Pete Hautman included the illegal football team at the pizza plant to give the book more excitement. I disliked however the ending of the book, which was quite uneventful. The book was alright, but not as long and as detailed as I hoped it would be.
AStoopidReader More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Everything about it was just an experience that was well delivered with Hautman's great prediction for the US and it's citizens. After first reading this I even started to run as though there was a Grizzly on my ass! I love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very good, and enjoyed the plot and the action. The plot kept moving which kept me interested in the book. Although, I did think the ending was dragged on a little too long. The high point ended, Bo came back and rejoined his family, but after that, it just goes on about him adapting back into a normal life. I thought that part was kind of slow and uneventful. But all in all it was a good read, and I do recommend it.
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
In this story a 16 year old, Bo Marsten lives in a futuristic america, where the government is obsessed with safety, and anyone who does even the slightest thing wrong is arrested. Bo has anger management issues, so he almost gets sent to jail because of previous incidents. When Bo attacks one of his peers, he is sent to a prison to do work. Not long after arriving, Bo finds out that a special group of prisoners is chosen once in a while to play on a football team in the Tundra Bowl. I would recommend this book to other people because of it's interesting take on the future, and it's gripping story. For example, the author depicts the world as a place where safety is above all else. For example, they make civilians wear protective gear at all times. I could not put this book down, it was amazing.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Several of Bo's family members are locked up and he REALLY doesn't want to follow in their footsteps. But in 2076 in the United Safer States of America, the craziest things can get you in trouble. Bo's temper causes him to be sent to a pizza-making "prison" near Hudson Bay where he endures pain and humiliation. Once his school-project artificial intelligence "being," Bork, contacts him, Bo begins to think he may be able to reduce his three-year sentence. A great sci-fi look at government control and how the rules we live by today may not be as bad as they could be. Because the game of football plays a large part in Bo's time in prison, teen sports fans will enjoy this book. Thanks to Puget Sound Council for this review copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very entertaining and an all around great science fiction novel. Whovians like myself would probably enjoy this as much as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this. I don't think you'll read anything else like it.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
The lesson that I have learned from reading this book is to keep your anger to yourself or something even worse will happen to you. For example, Bo said to himself," You can do this. Turn and walk away. It's not worth it. Turn and walk away." but he didn't, he punched Karlohs. This shows that if you do bad decisions, then bad things will happen to you. Another lesson I learned was that to not do bad decisions because you would not only hurt yourself but others too. For example, Bo's mother said," First, your father, then your older brother and now you." This shows that when you do bad decisions, your family will also suffer.
TheBookReviewer69 More than 1 year ago
The book was actually one of the better books that I have read in my lifetime. I will rate the book in the top 5 of my favorite books along with the Hunger Games and Gym Candy. The plot of the book really makes you think about what if this was me in this situation. The book isn¿t a hard read I read it in 2 or 3 days and the suspense is killer. If you like the future and football then the book is definitely for you. I recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago