Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Becky Cooper

Second Advisor

Steve Feffer


D-042503 is the first four chapters of a sci-fi dystopian novel following the story of a teenager named Nova. This book takes place in the distant future, in a time where Earth is falling apart due to lack of natural resources and overpopulation. Scientists have discovered a planet remarkably similar to Earth, and have struck a deal with the alien population that allows them to live on this new planet with them. At first glance, this place seems perfect, almost utopian, with its clean air and environment, room for everyone, and plenty of food and resources to support the human race. However, once Nova gets to the planet and really takes a look at it, she realizes that it’s not all as it seems. The aliens seem suspicious and wary of her and some of her friends, and people are disappearing without so much as a trace. Now, Nova must figure out exactly what the aliens are up to in order to save her friends and herself.

One of the key themes of this novel is mental health: more specifically, how society sometimes views mental health. This is shown throughout the plot and narration of the book. As the story continues, Nova discovers that she is treated like an outcast because she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (more commonly referred to as OCD), as well as anxiety. She, along with the other mentally ill humans, are treated poorly because the aliens are secretly drugging the humans so that they are more susceptible to their commands, but the drugs don’t work on those who have mental illnesses. Because of this, the aliens treat the humans they can’t control with hostility to make them afraid to live in the new society. This forces the outcasts to live underground, which is meant to represent that some people view mental health as something that needs to be swept under the rug and that it shouldn’t be discussed.

The novel also explores the fact that mental illnesses (especially in social media and popular culture) can be misrepresented, specifically OCD. Some people on social media or in popular culture portray OCD as a disorder that makes one excessively clean and organized, which is often not the case, and it just reinforces incorrect stereotypes about the disorder itself. The book is told from a first-person point of view so that readers can get an accurate glimpse into Nova’s thoughts and so that they can understand exactly how OCD can affect someone, thereby separating OCD from the stereotypes that often accompany the name. By working on this project, the author hopes to show at least a glimpse of what it is like to have OCD and show that talking about one’s mental health is important.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted