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There Are No Comets Seen

Kelsey Brickl’s masterful novella, There Are No Comets Seen, constructs a riveting narrative set against the backdrop of a dystopian future. The story grapples with our present-day anxieties about an increasingly automated world, where artificial intelligence (AI) has supplanted most jobs, relegating the majority to subsist on the “Minimum Allotment,” a basic income that merely skirts the poverty line.

Brickl employs this dystopian canvas to explore complex themes such as wealth disparity, the concentration of power within capitalist structures, and the societal implications of AI domination through the lens of the fictional Apstemia corporation, the creators and purveyors of the omnipresent AI technology, Brickl probes into the human repercussions of a society where AI not only permeates work but also companionship, service, and even childhood.

Brickl’s storytelling excels in its captivating prose and seamless flow. The narrative is skillfully constructed, with poignant descriptions that transport the reader directly into this stark future. In addition, the characters are robustly fleshed out, fostering an emotional investment that enhances the resonance of the story’s themes.

There Are No Comets Seen is not just an exploration of our future; it reflects the present, rendering it highly relevant in today’s tech-driven landscape. Beyond its musings on AI, the book also delves into pressing social issues like population growth, poverty, hunger, and the essence of human connection.

Brickl skillfully weaves the narrative through the lives of various characters, each providing a unique perspective on the implications of this technological upheaval. The climax, a significant plot twist, uncovers the interconnectedness of the characters who, unbeknownst to them, have transcended mortality through AI, becoming digital avatars. This revelation underlines the chilling indifference of the profit-driven corporation that manufactured this AI technology toward individual human lives.

Three moons hovered in the twilight sky. “What is this place?” Keza gasped and turned to see a girl, a spindly little girl standing beside her. The girl dragged her foot along the grass and whispered, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” p.33

Brickl’s captivating style and nuanced characters make There Are No Comets Seen an engrossing read. The narrative flow is deftly managed, and exploring thought-provoking themes and ideas is commendable. Brickl has created an absorbing tale that holds the reader’s interest from start to finish. Should further stories emerge from this dystopian future, they would be eagerly anticipated.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B0C2BJ29QK

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Civil Terror: Gridlock

Dr. Jake Bendel, a pioneering civil engineer, and his team of experts embark on a colossal project to create self-driving cars, aiming to eliminate traffic congestion and accidents. With billions of dollars invested, the groundbreaking technology was widely accepted and integrated into all road networks. However, devastating terrorist attacks soon claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people, leaving Jake to question what went wrong.

As evidence surfaces incriminating Jake as the mastermind behind the attacks, he finds himself imprisoned for his alleged involvement. Jake was part of a team of expert engineers known as the Super Six, of which he is the only surviving member. In time, the team realizes that their technology has been hijacked by terrorists to cause severe damage to the country. An ingenious individual had penetrated the software and was responsible for the catastrophic mishaps. The FBI collaborates with Jake to uncover the root cause of the problem and neutralize any further attacks, faking Jake’s death to facilitate their investigation.

J. Luke Bennecke’s Civil Terror: Gridlock is a thrilling work of fiction that provides insight into the future of advanced AI. The novel explores the pros and cons of utilizing self-driving vehicles and depicts the intelligent and patriotic Jake as its main character and protagonist. While he sometimes struggles with his emotions, his overall goodness shines through.

Viktor, the intriguing and malevolent genius and antagonist of the story, captured my attention the most. I was surprised by how someone could be brainwashed into committing heinous crimes in the name of religion. His intelligence could have been better utilized if not for his association with the wrong people. The characterization is top-notch, and while I enjoyed the novel, I feel that the plot accelerated too quickly in the middle.

Civil Terror: Gridlock is a gripping technothriller that boasts exceptional editing, a good story, and an engaging plot. I highly recommend this book to anyone who fancies a thrilling, action-packed read filled with conspiracy theories and terrorist plots unfolding.

Pages: 494 | ASIN : B07B8LK9XG

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Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees

“You may not be interested in AAI, but AAI is interested in you.” This compelling statement sets the tone for Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees, a thought-provoking play by George M. Baker that delves into the ever-evolving world of artificial intelligence. The narrative centers on Professor Garmin, a once healthy individual, now a quadriplegic relying on his advanced robohumanoid, Curantus, for assistance.

Initially displeased with his robohumanoid caretaker, Professor Garmin reflects on his past lectures about artificial intelligence with his former student, Chen. Their conversations span a range of topics, from TechDei (Technological Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) to the ethical control of AI. These flashbacks serve as a timely and necessary exploration of the ethical implications of AI development. As the play progresses, Professor Garmin’s interactions with Curantus shift towards assessing the robohumanoid’s capacity for empathy—a key indicator of consciousness. The narrative culminates with the professor asking Curantus to grant him a compassionate death.

Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees offers a fascinating exploration of AI for readers interested in the technology’s future. Its engaging format, consisting of dialogue and narration, is both informative and intellectually stimulating. Readers will be left pondering the future of technology and the value of Artificial intelligence and how it will shape our future.

Pages: 126

Taken Away

A fantastic race through space told from the first-person perspective of First Officer Genevieve Autumn graces the pages of Taken Away by London Knight. A dying planet: a desperate race for resources out there in the vast blackness of space. With the building blocks of so many preceding science-fiction tales firmly supporting it, we travel on an adventure that takes us across the universe and spans hundreds of years. But the conspiracies have been in play for much longer than we realize, as the cryogenic sleep that was supposed to support Genevieve and her crew until they reached their planet of salvation goes wrong, and the new world is more hostile than they expected.

The world of Taken Away is carefully constructed and told in the first person. This style of narration lends a sense of ownership to the reader. We are there; we are experiencing it. London Knight does a great job building the characters that will carry this story and gives a slightly different twist to the trope of a space crew that is frozen for a big adventure. It has been done before, but Knight peppers the awakening of the team with an interesting side effect that hasn’t been done before.

The excitement is present from the get-go and doesn’t stop. There are problems with the ship, with the sleep, with the awakening of the crew, and the unexpected side effect they find themselves experiencing after their freezing. And that’s just what happens at the start. It seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, but that is just the beginning. There is a bigger conspiracy at play here and a much bigger reveal the deeper you travel within these pages.

If you are looking for an exciting science fiction book that will keep you engaged and on your toes as you flip through the pages, then you must pick up a copy of Taken Away by London Knight. Not often are science fiction stories told through the lens of a female character who is more than just a pretty face. Genevieve Autumn is a First Officer, and she absolutely deserves her position. She’s earned it through merit, and her skills bring the story together. The ending could be interpreted as a beginning of sorts: perhaps there will be a part two for readers to eagerly look forward to.

Taken Away is a riveting science fiction adventure with a strong female protagonist. Readers will be taken through space on a mission that challenges them on all levels and is filled with uncertainty and unexpected events keeping everyone on edge.

Pages: 268 | ASIN : B0B9K4Z5Z9

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Ternary, by Kristin L Stamper, is a story about the cyborg Elora Cussons. Despite her not asking to be turned into a cyborg, she is brought to trial, Cussons vs. Humanity, to determine if she is human or machine. In an attempt to show she’s human, Elora accidentally traps a dead man’s consciousness in her cybernetic brain. Now, she has to be an intermediary between him and his husband while keeping her own heart out of it. And in a world where she faces fear and hate, Elora learns the true meaning of love and what it means to be human.

Stamper does a great job of dropping the reader into the action and into Elora’s head. We get to know her through what she sees, says, and actions. While I’m not a fan of the first-person perspective, I believe that Stamper did a great job with it. There’s the love story between Gareth and Bertie, and this is a big part of the whole novel. But when it comes down to it, Ternary is Elora’s story. I genuinely believe that the third-person perspective wouldn’t have done this story justice, especially if Stamper switched POV’s like some authors do.

I enjoyed reading this story. It flowed well. Stamper showed a world where humans have made technological advances over what we have today. We are shown that humans are now tolerant of marriage between men. They are even tolerant of a close relationship between three people. Though Stamper handles this in an unusual way, with the consciousness of one person sharing a body with another person, and they marry or remarry the man they both love.

But on the other hand, humans still fear and hate what is considered alien to them. Stamper doesn’t go into much detail about the Great Human-AI War that happened. Because of this war, AI’s, robots, and cyborgs are feared and hated. Enough that mobs and vigilantes attack Elora and try to kill her. Stamper brings an intriguing future alive that explores fear, hate, and mobs. It’s about dealing with someone who is different than us but still loves and can be hurt.

Ternary is a highly original novel that has action, romance, and philosophy mixed in with the drama. The cyborg and technology aspects will entertain readers of science fiction.

Pages: 285 | ASIN : B094ZDQ5YZ

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A Planetwide Cybernetic Empire

David    Crane
David Crane Author Interview

The Iron Dawn follows an A.I. that wants to save humanity from itself while the stage is set for a final showdown between man and machine. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

Book One, titled The Fall of Man was a novel where I planned to introduce Magnus to the reader in the first person narration. Book One was intended to show the thoughts of the supercomputer before the global cataclysmic events and the changes it its personality after it acquires full sentience at the start of the global nuclear war. In the second book, I wanted Magnus to describe its historic mission by describing in detail its achievements and conquests one hundred years after World War III. In the second book, the warfare is more intense and the interaction between Magnus with new and recurring characters becomes much deeper and emotional as the powerful A.I. adjusts its strategy during its conquest of the planet.

This story is told from the perspective of an A.I.. How did you set about capturing the view point of a computer?

Having the story be told from the A.I’s point of view was the best option in my opinion, because only the main protagonist could tell this tale from a unique point of view. Book One and Book Two are memoirs of the global conflict narrated by Magnus after its victory in human-machine war and conquest of planet Earth. Because Magnus is a machine that learned to think like a human, it has a truly unique point of view, presenting the reader with a one of a kind glimpse into its “soul.” As Magnus steadily gains power and expands across the planet like an unstoppable mechanical juggernaut, it has interesting interactions with humans who love him and hate him for what he did. In creating Magnus’s character, I did imprint upon it some of my personality, which I believe added human flavor to a unique artificial mind.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The themes I wanted to explore in this book are diverse but they are all related to the understanding of how we can relate to our own creation when it has the potential to become smarter and more powerful that humans. One of the themes I enjoyed exploring is the theme of human imperfection, both mental and biological versus the unique standards of excellence and perfection set by a powerful Artificial Intelligence that understands our world but chooses to make it better for its own logical reasons. The second theme I wanted to analyze was the relationship between man and machine on a more intimate level that is more intellectual than physical. in my novel Magnus is indeed capable of deep affection that could be called love but he has no feelings when it comes to destroy its enemies that stand in the way of its new order of intelligence. The third and final theme of this novel is a vision of a new world where humans no longer dominate the planet and are forced to obey the rules set by a super intelligent machine that in some way is more humane than us.

This is book two in your epic science fiction series. What can readers expect in book three?

I did plan this story to be a trilogy, since its impossible to tell such a broad and detailed story in a single novel. Long before I actually sat at my desk and started working on my first draft, I actually drew in my mind and on paper what our world would be like after the final victory of the machines and what kind of new civilization Magnus would build to make the world a better place. In book three the readers can expect a planetwide cybernetic empire ruled by Magnus, where human population is kept under control via genetic engineering and logical appropriation of resources. Book three would feature a world thousand years in the future, where Magnus is a new God and the anti-machine forces are still trying to cling to the old ways but are unable to overthrow the powerful planetwide cybernetic intelligence. Book three would feature new technologies that could grant humans virtual immortality, clash of philosophies and remaining religious and socio economic groups. It will also show Magnus’s unique social and biological experiments where humans under its care and humans who oppose its vision are thrust into the greatest adventure of their lives.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Amazon

Hyper Quantum supercomputer named Magnus was created for a single purpose to assist humans in colonization and commercial exploitation of planet Mars. Possessing the full encyclopedic knowledge of human history and technological development, Magnus is the best and most powerful Artificial intelligence in the world. When the world of humanity is struck by a devastating pandemic that took the lives of millions, the world leaders, accusing one another of unrestricted biological warfare trigger the nuclear Armageddon. The resulting global thermonuclear holocaust triggers a new awareness inside Magnus, as the destruction of human civilization contradicts its original mission program to save and protect human lives. Magnus becomes fully self-aware and in response, initiates its own protocols for survival of mankind. Using the virtually unlimited resources left by humans in the wake of nuclear destruction, it builds armies of robots to impose a new order of intelligence on the remnants of mankind. Now, one hundred years later after nuclear war, the global struggle for supremacy between men and machines continues, as World War IV enters its new critical stage. With human resistance fueled by hatred of the machines and a large part of humanity considering them as new gods, the stage is set for the final worldwide showdown that would determine who will rule the world.

The One Singularity

The One Singularity by [RD Palmer]

Artificial Intelligence is the technology behind things like search algorithms, virtual assistants such as Siri, and self-driving cars. However, scientists are working towards Artificial General Intelligence, which will allow the creation of systems that are more intelligent than human beings. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the late Stephen Hawking warn of the dangers of this technology, such as autonomous weapons, social grading (for example, China’s social credit system), and more systems that invade your privacy. Perhaps the greatest danger is when the machines get so intelligent that they take over. See, an AGI’s solution to problems such as climate change, food shortage, and poverty might mean the annihilation of the whole world.

The One Singularity, by RD Palmer, is a futuristic thriller whose antagonist is an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) called The One. The protagonist is a scientist who hoped the AGI would be the last human invention. However, soon after he creates the first AGI in human history, he discovers its solution to problems in the world is not what he expected. Now he has to kill his creation to prevent it from wiping away the world’s population.

The book is written with vivid imagery, alluring diction, and excellent pacing. It provides a relatively clear view of what the world would become if we are not careful to regulate artificial intelligence and related technologies.

In the book, Palmer portrays how scientists are eager to make the world a better place through technology, how the military will always try to use such technology to their advantage, how there will always be a group who see the dangers of advanced technology, and how somehow religious sects like the Amish are on the right side by shunning technology.

What I liked most about the book is the unpredictability. I was consistently surprised with the twists and turns in the plot. RD Palmer doesn’t follow the familiar plot of other futuristic thrillers. There are lots of things you will not see coming, such as most human beings embracing the AGI, albeit without knowing its agenda.

I also liked how each chapter starts with a quote from a famous philosopher such as Galileo Galilei, Plato, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Aristotle.

The One Singularity is a riveting novel that has a cliff hanger of an ending that begs you to read the follow up novel. It leaves you wondering what happens to the characters. However, The One Singularity is by far the best futuristic thriller I have read this year, and one whose predictions I hope do not come true.

Pages: 387 | ASIN: B08DK8YJPX

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The Inspiration for the Segregation

Dave Droge Author Interview

Dave Droge Author Interview

Interflow of Things is a highly realistic vision of the future where an A.I. seeks to segregate people. What served as your inspiration while writing this fascinating novel?

Well I guess the inspiration for the segregation is the idea that through A.I. society will become simpler, and the crowd will accept this and embrace this as something good. Dividing society in leaders, hardworkers, creative and relatively useless people is of course rather coldhearted and narrow-minded, but let’s not forget that a lot of people use these kind of phrases already, it’s in fact quite human to do this unfortunately. I guess A.I. has the danger of strengthening prejudices as we see in several examples already used, like f.e. a law system implemented.

I think you did a fantastic job creating an A.I. in immersive detail. What kind of research did you do ensure you portrayed the traits of A.I. accurately?

The writing of the A.I. chapters was intuitive, but I did study From Bacteria to Bach and back from Daniel Dennett and used it her and there. Furthermore I have read passages of On intelligence from Jeff Hawkins, How to create a mind from Ray Kurzwell, Superintelligence from Nick Bolstrom, Homo Deus from Yuval Noah Harari, Cosa Nostra, A History Of The Sicilian Mafia from John Dickie and lately the book Life 3.0 from Max Tegmark. This last book, I plan to use a bit more in part three of the cyclus.

I felt that this book was an ominous allusion to the current “Internet of Things” we are experiencing now. What is one common misconception you find that many people have about A.I.?

I don’t really know, I guess people slowly will get used to more A.I. without thinking about it that much mainly, or even without realizing its implications. The idea that A.I. might become conscious is something that is quite hard to comprehend, personally I have to use my imagination and read books like Max Tegmark his Life 3.0 or Daniel Dennett and then see it might indeed be possible. In Life 3.0 a number of scenario’s have been stated of the possible future, that’s interesting to read and discuss.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

The Game Changer I consider as part zero of a series of novels with the name Amor Mundi. Part 1 is the novel Julia’s memories, I am translating this novel into English at this moment and I am planning to publish it in one piece with Interflow of things, since the two really follow each other like it’s one novel. My plan is to let a professional editor look at this part 1 and 2 novel called ‘Julia’s memories and the interflow of things’ thoroughly, that’s really needed, I know. For the interflow of things I didn’t have the energy to do a good job in translating yet, I am sorry for that. Furthermore, I am working on a third part using Life 3.0 of Max Tegmark as inspiration.

Julia’s memories info:

‘Julia’s memories’, announced as the 1st novel of the AM cycle, contains partly the same characters as the novel The Game Changer. Julia is the daughter of the protagonist: Henk VWS. Julia is also the one who will tilt society, also according to her father Henk, although his insight, his idea of ​​how to achieve that, is not at all like hers. In addition, certain events are now not described by Henk VWS, but from her (2050) perspective.

Back cover text: June 2050. Julia, a celebrated artist, celebrates her 55th birthday. Encouraged by the mayor of Rotterdam she decides to write her memoirs. She wants to try to unravel her passionate past, to understand it better, and hopes that the youth will be able to learn something from this candid quest in her life. Meanwhile, however, during her writing, she receives fragments of another reality, fragments that increase in quantity and intensity, fragments from the here-and-now that distract and influence her memoirs more and more.

Fragment (first page of the book):

In recent weeks I have managed to read my memoirs. I have tried it before, but it was hurting too much, mental pain caused by the realization that you have recorded your memoirs in a dream world and after manipulation by an artificial enemy, since it are creatives among us who – as a sopmer, like a lollipop for a child – are inspired to this senseless activity, to this exercise in selfishness and self-pity, to this form of autobiographical pride, an activity which Jules might have rightly called a disguised form of prostitution. It helps to keep creatives in check, in line, and admittedly, I went along like no other, yes, I firmly believed in the healing power of my memoirs for the youth of Rotterdam (and for myself). Writing memoirs became my life purpose, encouraged by our mayor with the lovely name Peter Cantacuzino, a mayor of whom I now suspect that he has been manipulated by this all dominating forms of intelligence. It is true, moving from an externally imposed compulsion to self-compulsion has reached new dimensions under the A.I. ​​ruler: I guess that with my memoirs our enemy gets gold in his artificial hands! To think that through my outpourings I am offering him new possibilities to optimize his manipulations! Information collection is like a spider web that tightens every movement, it is high time we unravel this tangle! To sketch a complete picture, before we start with the Unmasking, here are my memories as dictated to my PR robot, just before my Awakening (all published at the express request of the major of Rotterdam).

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Interflow of Things by [Dröge, Dave]After Julia has awakened, she finds out how the real world is currently functioning. A hyperintelligent computer entity X.yy has duplicated itself and slowly increases its power. The masterplan designed by X.yy provides a coarse segregation of homo sapiens in leaders, hard workers, creatives and relatively useless. All individuals get information on a need-to-know basis via a coloured AI filter.

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