Seventeen-year-old Diane Three-One-Seven knows something is wrong with the gravity core. She’s been on edge since “the incident,” but the quakes shaking the space station feel bigger than her paranoia. Her suspicions make her an outcast, but when the only home she’s ever known begins a lethal fall from orbit, they also land her in the one escape pod to an unrecognizable Earth.
Junkie Virgil has one goal: survive long enough to secure a Stormcell big enough to power his home and keep it safe. No one in the Junkyard knows about the place—green grass, fresh food, cool breezes—and he plans to keep it that way. When he happens on Diane, trapped in her escape pod and slowly running out of air, Virgil knows he needs her. She’s free from the Junkyard Blues, the radiation poisoning that’s slowly killing him and every other human left on earth between hits of “battery.” Her clean blood could buy him the time he needs to find the Stormcell and bring it home, and he just so happens to have the one thing that can keep her safe from the polluted atmosphere—a suit of human-operated battle tech, better known as the Grave Walker. When Virgil presents Diane with a choice: enter the suit and survive with him or see how she fairs on this ravaged Earth alone—the answer is obvious. Together, the pair embark on Virgil’s original mission, but in a world ravaged by a war that turned human vs. machine, leaving the remaining humans sick and desperate and the remaining machines armed and violent, will they survive?
Set in the American Southwest of a cyberpunk world and told in alternating perspectives, Brennan Gilpatrick and Gregory Lang’s Battery Life blends elements of Neuromancer by William Gibson, Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien, and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy for an action-packed read with a compelling cast of characters that’s undeniably dark and gritty, but not without hope.