The Enigma Beyond explores how AI and supercomputers are manufacturing choices in our lives. Do you see this happening today with our current AI?
The move to put Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives has already started. If you have an iPhone you probably already talk to Siri. Alexa is already handling your calendar and telling you about the weather, or changing music on demand. In the high-tech world, we already use to interpret security alarms received in our data centers. The established streaming media companies have been using it to tell you about your next binge-watching exercise. These are the somewhat tame AI applications homing their skills to understand human thought processes. We wanted to explore what would happen if our lax attitude towards letting AI govern itself rather than the creator. Once we had that premise, we wanted to see Who Won the AI WARS.
This book is the eleventh volume of The Enigma series and remains riveting and exciting. What were some challenges you set for yourself as writers with this book?
The challenge is always about building a credible scenario for a great story to be told. The small details, the overlooked poor decisions, and the hopelessly heroic assumptions are needed to craft a plausible situation that we can interject our characters into. While we like “Once upon a time” type stories they simply don’t work in the techno-thriller world. We have to use known technology that can then be stretched so the reader goes “yeesh, that’s so possible! How do they get out of this scenario?” It is a real challenge in our stories to create that desired line of doubt about fiction or reality.
The science inserted in the fiction was well balanced. How did you manage to keep the story grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
The technology we use in our books has either already been deployed in the data center (Cloud or on premise), or is close to becoming commercialized. We do a great deal of research and spend a lot of time trying to understand how to use the new goodies coming on line for our consumption. For that, we must understand how it will be attacked by bad actors from the Dark Net. When you spend a lot of time thinking like the bad guys, you’d be surprised about all the crazy scenarios we can create that are not that farfetched. A word of advice: don’t spend too much time or mental cycles in the Dark Net, just take some precautions.
What is the next project your working on and when will it be available?
We are currently working on two big projects for 2020. One is a non-fiction collection of Internet security from Gloabl fellow professionals/leaders. We target this to be available in the 1st quarter of 2020 as an eBook initially. We are also working on The Enigma Combat (Working title for Book 12 in The Enigma Series). Additionally, we continue to build our portfolio of short stories. And those are only the ones we are active on right now.
What happens when technology outruns our humanity?
Humans continue to give their decision making over to Artificial Intelligence. Or, was it simply confiscated? Computers are delivering manufactured choices to each person via their ever-pervasive personal devices. The seduction of mankind is eminent unless our champions can stop them.
The R-Group, with their own next generation youth, are poised to take on one of their most complex adversaries, supercomputers run by greedy powerful technological geniuses. The training for the new members of the R-Group is live, in the form of a real world cyber assault crisis. ICABOD, R-Group’s supercomputer, is their best weapon for this battle.
With corporate self-discipline gone and the power of U.S. Congressional oversight crippled, the dominance of the technical oligopolies has risen to dictate their terms.
MAG, the consortium of global technology predators, have come together to bring their insidious plans to fruition using humans’ desire for the easy and effortless lifestyles, even as it steals their freedoms. For groups caught in the cyber crosshairs, time has already run out. The social media noise blinds humanity to what is happening. MAG uses it to seize control of politics, healthcare, finances, and defense systems.
Award winning authors Breakfield and Burkey take readers, in their 11th book in The Enigma Series, on a one way trip to keeping or giving up their most precious human quality, the freedom to choose. No one saw it coming when they built computers to ease their work. Where are the guardrails to protect humans from giving up too much? Can humanity take back control?
You determine who wins in the AI Wars.
The Reefs of Time has the feel of a classic science fiction novel with the depth of modern novels like James SA Corey’s novels. What served as your inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
I think your characterization is spot on. I love the classic SF novel, but with depth of character and exploration of ideas. The initial impetus for the Chaos Chronicles series was chaos theory itself. I had recently read James Gleick’s Chaos, and about the same time was reading about chaotic movements of bodies in our solar system, and the risk to Earth of unexpected collision. That was half of it. The other half was the personal, the psychological: What are the implications of chaotic forces acting in the psyche of a man? Where might that lead? The Reefs of Time and its second half, Crucible of Time, had the momentum of the previous novels behind them and sent me headlong into a world far vaster in time and space than the world we know.
Shipworld is a gloriously imaginative place. What were some themes you wanted to capture with this world?
Truthfully, I just wanted to play. I loved the idea of a vast world floating at the edge of intergalactic darkness just beyond the rim of the Milky Way. And who would people such a world? Why, perhaps the refugees of thousands of worlds that died or were at risk.
The possibilities inherent in all the alien beings we might encounter were nearly endless, and so was the potential tapestry of history and other worlds and other ways of thinking and being that we would glimpse only a small piece of. I especially enjoyed the fractally dimensional characters such as the shadow-people, the Tintangles Ruall and Rings-at-Need, and the pandimensional gokat. In no case did I have a clue at the outset as to the ultimate importance of these beings. I met them along with Bandicut and learned as he learned. The accretion of his “family,” his companions whom he met on Shipworld, was as much a surprise to me as to him.
Bandicut is a compelling and exceptionally developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?
He was, and is, a reluctant hero. He never asked for the adventures he was thrown into, and he didn’t really want to get into it all. He was called upon to make considerable sacrifice, and he kicked quite a bit about it. At the outset, he was pretty disaffected, in part because a botched operation on his neural implants left him susceptible to a condition called “silence fugue,” which sometimes put him quite out of his mind. But he learned, he grew, he developed into the hero role.
The Reefs of Time is part one in your “Out of Time” Sequence. What can readers expect in part two?
The rest of the story! The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time were written as a single novel, which grew in the telling. It’s two volumes, but it’s one novel!
The starstream is beautiful. But beauty turns deadly when an ancient AI bent on destruction uses it to travel uptime, to our near-future.
The Mindaru are dead. Or so exiled-Earthman John Bandicut and his alien companions believe, when they return to Shipworld after saving the Orion Nebula and countless inhabited worlds. But now another horde from this ancient and malicious AI colony is swarming toward the present from its birthplace deep in the past. Their opening: a temporal disturbance in the starstream, a hyperspatial thoroughfare used by myriad civilizations. The disturbance emanates from the planetary defenses of nearby Karellia, whose people know nothing of the starstream or the galaxy-threatening Mindaru.
Only Bandicut and his friends have the knowledge and experience to act. But several of Bandicut’s company have gone missing. Bandicut and Li-Jared must team with the pandimensional Ruall and her gokat—the oddest aliens Bandicut has met since the shadow-people—and journey to Karellia to find a way to cut off the timestream.
Separated from the others, Ik meets another human of Earth—a former lover of Bandicut’s!—and embarks with her on a perilous mission far back into deep time, seeking a way to stop the Mindaru at their source. They must thread a maze of impossible decisions. Can they tap the wisdom of the alien yaantel, known to the humans as the translator, to help them through?
The Chaos Chronicles returns at last in The Reefs of Time, part one of a heartstopping, two-part adventure. Concluded in Crucible of Time—coming in September from Nebula-nominated Jeffrey A. Carver!
An interesting kids chapter book is what readers will find when they pick up The Visitor from 4-D by Deborah Dolan Hunt. We come across the three Keating siblings who are visited by a tiny humanoid during a lightning storm. Not only does their visitor tell them about a parallel world in the 4th dimension, he even looks like one of the Keating siblings himself! So begins an adventure to help the inter-dimensional visitor return to his home.
The book is broken down into chapters that are easily digestible for young readers. The kids portrayed in the story are fairly realistic in their reactions and temperaments. There are some parts where the kids don’t exactly talk like stereotypical kids of their ages, but the core message of the story shines through.
Learning about differences, helping others in their time of need regardless of their origins and teamwork are all important messages to be sending to kids in the targeted age-range of this book. Doing so in a story format helps kids learn lessons without realizing they are.
The Visitor from 4-D is a fun story about inter-dimensional travel and siblings working together for the greater good. The Visitor from 4-D by Deborah Dolan Hunt is an entertaining book with an amusing plot and lively characters.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1644677849
Experiment X: Revolt finds Dr. Thaddeus bombing landmarks and vilifying Karen and her friends. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
I simply wanted the battle to move outside of the Lab and to show how easily war can appear in someone’s backyard. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it could.
Karen’s narration was exceptional in exploring the anxieties and discomfort she felt. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
First off, thank you. So, you know when Tony Stark has a panic attack and he has to deal with anxiety? Well, for some reason, seeing a super hero go through this helped me a lot with my own struggles. I wanted to give my readers the same thing. Knowing that having anxieties, fears, discomforts, etc. doesn’t make you weak can be a powerful thing. If these super soldiers can feel this, then why can’t you or I, right?
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I wanted to keep it as realistic as I could. This isn’t a story that’s meant to be set in the future, but the present. It’s merely the beginning of a potential dystopia, a sci-fi world placed directly into our own.
What plans do you have for the series in book four of your Experiment X series?
There is no book four as of yet. However! There will be a prequel trilogy to the series told from Jack’s point of view. This trilogy starts when Jack is about eighteen, and it dives deeper into the horrors of the Lab. You’ll also learn things about the Subjects that they don’t talk about in the original trilogy. Plus, you’ll get to meet more Subjects from Experiment A.
Nothing will stop Karen Turner this time. Doctor James Thaddeus is attacking her once peaceful hometown; he’s bombing beloved landmarks, killing hundreds of innocent people, and smearing the names of Karen and her friends. Karen now has complete control over her Fire Element powers, and she is more determined than ever to burn the infamous Lab to the ground once and for all!
Jack Cortex, her best friend and mentor, once again steps up to the plate, splitting a large group of the super-powered Subjects into teams with a plan to finally gain their freedom—and keep it. Karen knows that if the Lab—and Thaddeus—aren’t destroyed for good this time, the other Subjects of the Experiments will continue to be abused and tortured until they take their last breaths. Doctor Thaddeus thinks he’s safe, but she’s coming for him.
Not everyone will make it out alive.
The hunter will become the prey.
The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero introduces a new superhero that changes how teens & adults consume faith, fiction & entertainment. What was your inspiration for this idea?
Almighty God and teenagers are the inspiration…
‘Bring the lost souls to me…through youth entertainment’ seemed to be the inspiring message I was imagining…
As I began writing I was sipping on Starbucks Christmas Blonde Coffee ( that’s where the idea of a Blonde blue eyed Muslim Superhero was conceived – can you imagine? ) located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, I would happily visualize teenagers across USA and the world gathered together reading ‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ as they busily chewed pink bubble gum, smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying reading the comic book or paperback or watching the movie or playing the Electronic Arts game of Angelina, Boris and Jules getting chased relentlessly while searching world Museum’s for clues…
Jules Khan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove the character development?
A modern day blonde blue eyed teenage muslim superhero – who would accept that? Changing the judgement narrative was one idea…Is Jules Khan the next new Avenger in the Marvel series or a Superhero in the mega entertainment world? Could he bring a ‘cool’ factor to young Muslims, Jewish, Christians and all faiths? I am hoping so…Could the characters in the book be as slick as the characters in a Hugo Boss commercial? So many ideas….
This book did a great job of blending faith with modern action comics. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your book?
Theme number uno: Marvel Studios crashes into the 3 monotheistic faiths was a main theme that would appeal to teenagers and adults; maybe a theme creation of a new acceptable way to learn more about other cultures and faiths in a safe, fun, entertaining and modern non-judgemental environment…
What is the next project that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Comic Books, The graphic novel, the adult novel, the movie, the electronic games, the merchandise…so much to do and so little time….
Somehow after receiving a winner recognition through the Canada Book Awards 2019; New York City Big Book Awards’ for young adult fiction – Distinguished Favorite 2019 recognition, Literary Titan Gold Medal Book Award plus between 4 and 5 star reviews it has given me the confidence to develop
‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ from a simple commitment of a book into keeping this amazing project under development into the future…
The Comic book should be out in 2020…
New York City Big Book Awards’
What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world? It sounds intimidating, but one teenager, Jules Khan, embraces his destiny for the good of all mankind and all faiths. Jules takes you on a narrative adventure that spans the globe, which is already raging from WWII, racing against the evil National Weapons Association and their followers. With Mother Nature given superpowers and some surprising and formidable friends, can Jules find out the truth about his family and his future in time to save the world?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Teenage Muslim Superhero, action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Karim Kassamali Devji, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, The Adventures of Jules Khan, writer, writing, young adult
The Wrath of Leviathan is the second book in the BetterWorld Trilogy. In this book, the T.C. Weber artistically creates characters that are both enchanting and entertaining. The reader follows through the trials and tribulations of characters who, despite the evil of the world, fight to make things right. One is taken through insane and sometimes creepy locations that require the characters to be intelligent, keen on their surroundings and witty to survive. The Wrath of Leviathan covers various themes that are relevant in the real world. Political wars, state prisoners, cyber-crime, government relations, family and freedom are some of the major themes in the book. The pros and cons of technology unfold in the story as we follow characters who use their power to manipulate situations.
The reader experiences the turmoil and chaos created by individuals whose greed only gets crushed by people who have a conscience. Waylee Freid is in custody for acts the U.S government considers crimes. The good lady is charged with conspiracy, fraud, theft, assault, trespassing, and cyber crimes among many other offenses. I like how the author developed Waylee. Even with the alleged crimes, Waylee came out as a character whose aggression was necessary for her survival. Waylee was imprisoned in Sao Paolo, Brazil by the U.S government, something that bothered her sister Kiyoko. I liked Kiyoko as a character because of how passionate she was about the causes she cared about. Miranda Rossi’s character was too real, I could not picture her in any other role other than the Sao Paulo Bureau Chief, Department for Human Rights and Social Affairs. She understood her job and tried to be courteous every time.
The Wrath of Leviathan is packed with blustering adventure. Kiyoko and her squad were my favorite. Their dedication to fighting evil, and exposing and destroying MediaCorp’s plan to take over the world made the group easy to empathize with and root for. MediaCorp is almost the cliched villainous corporation with dangerous intentions and malign motivations. The yin and yang between MediaCorp and Kiyoko’s team is starkly drawn and I appreciated how easily it was to align with these characters.
I was thoroughly entertained following this inviting tale that engagingly handles trade agreements among countries, political affiliations, government operations, the lives of activists and hackers, and rebellion. T.C. Weber makes every piece of the story exhilarating as he pits well developed characters against well developed gambits. One constant thing throughout the book was the continuous action that was smartly placed to keep the story moving. Every new chapter unveils something new about the characters and a new twist to the story. I recommend The Wrath of Leviathan to readers who enjoy thrillers, cyberpunk science fiction and adventure books.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07GJVHMQS
The Reefs of Time is a classic science fiction story about the adventures taking place in a distant cosmos. The novel starts out with our protagonists, John Bandicut and Co., feeling restless and ready for action after the end of a successful mission. Ik, Bandicut’s friend, manages to get ahold of Julie Stone, Bandicut’s ex-girlfriend. In his quest to bring her back to their world, he messes up and suddenly, the gang finds themselves in a strange new place. The portal has messed up and communication is becoming tougher. When the threat of the Mindaru looms over them, the group is split up to take care of this danger. Interesting new characters and a lot of gripping adventures follow and lead to a tremendously exciting ending.
The Reefs of Time is rich in character development, which I found refreshing for a science fiction novel. The characters were not always what they seem, but they were drawn with enough depth and sensitivity. I could empathize with nearly every single one of them. Although I felt that some elements of John and Julie’s relationship were left unexplored, their dynamic was super fun and interesting.
Shipworld was a glorious and imaginative place. The history and elements of this universe were very well-detailed. I felt immediately absorbed and captivated by this new, futuristic world. The story was also about Shipworld as a whole, not only focused on the lives of protagonists. It often hinted at a deeper picture at play, a sinister and nefarious plot that was puppeteering all of their actions. Even some of the well-intentioned were misguided in their behaviour. At times, I was confused about who I should root for, but I believe that’s a mark of a well-told story. Some of the scientific and futuristic jargon alienated me at times, but it was never too much. After all, who knows what the future really holds. The starstream is almost poetically depicted, lending a surreal nature to the whole deal.
The story is chock-full of action and adventure, pretty much guaranteeing an edge of the seat experience from start to finish. It’s definitely an innovative and thrilling universe and I would love to return to it.
Pages: 474 | ASIN: B07R3D5WZL
The Lost Signal is a thrilling science fiction novel that finds humanity on the cusp of invasion. What was the inspiration for the setup to this story?
Besides ourselves or nature, what’s our greatest threat? This is a question I’ve always enjoyed asking from a fictional standpoint. I wanted humanity to face the ultimate danger as they realize they’re not on top of the world. I love alien invasion stories and fantasize about all the possible outcomes. If another species came to Earth, would it be on a friendly basis or as enemies? I decided to answer this question with another one: Why not both?
Fiona is a compelling and well-developed character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
Fiona’s character was created to explore what it means to be human. For that, I needed someone with the potential to become a hero while having the flaws of the average person. I wanted Fiona to be brave, but prone to doubt herself at the same time. She’s someone with a great sense of justice, but she can also be selfish. Everything about her is a dichotomy, and she’s always caught having to choose between one version of herself or the other. Her story is the journey to find a balance without betraying herself; even if this balance doesn’t always match what people around her want her to be. I like to think of this as the ultimate human struggle. As individuals, we always strive for the approval of society. Sometimes this means we must sacrifice what we really want in order to obtain it. We always surrender a little bit of our freedom so we can thrive as a social species. I wanted a hero who could be the embodiment of this struggle—a hero just like you and me.
The backstory of this series explores the myth of creation in an intriguing way. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
The theories behind ancient astronauts have always intrigued me. You could say it’s a little obsession of mine. When you take all the ancient myths and interpret them with aliens in mind, they kind of make sense. And if you really think about what this means to us a species, it makes us feel little and insignificant. We are the rulers of this planet, but what if that wasn’t always the case? What if we are not as big as we think we are? I wanted to explore those questions and reduce humanity’s importance to that of an ant. We are no better than any other species, we just so happen to exist on this planet and be good at surviving.
This is book one in your Slaves of Zisaida series. What can readers expect in book two of the series?
The next book will be called The Last Guardian. It’s an exploration not only of human nature but also of what it means to be good or evil. Expect the characters to sink into morally gray areas. Humanity will be thrown into the bigger scheme of things. This time, the war will extend to the rest of the galaxy, and more alien species will be introduced. Zisaida will play a much bigger role in the next book as it’s the center of the whole plot. Those who mean to control it won’t rest until they have it all.
The signal shouldn’t exist, but its disappearance brings forward a harbinger of doom. Humans can’t fight this war. Not without help.
For years, Dr. Ethan Fawkes has been communicating with a mysterious scientist using an encoded signal. Together, they designed the first space-faring warship. But when the government orders Ethan to dismantle it, his collaborator has no choice but to reveal a terrible secret. An army of powerful aliens is about to invade Earth, and humans must rush to prepare a defense or risk losing their freedom forever.
The future looks bleak, and it’s about to get worse.
Fiona has no memories of her origins, but somehow, she shares half her DNA with the invaders. For this, she lives a life of scorn and shame amongst humans. When the enemy arrives to enslave her village, will she help the humans who hate her or join the aliens who welcome her? The key to victory lies in the depths of her obscure past. Can she remember her true heritage before it’s too late?
The signal must be sent once again.
Human beings mastered technology and designed it to make work easier. However, they are now the servants to that technology. It seems that every day humans surrender more and more to technology. The R-Group yet again is on a mission to save humanity from their own creations. With new blood in the consortium, things are bound to be interesting. Will ICABOD be useful in this fight? Which side will win the war? What is to be done about the rowdy congressional oversight team? Can human beings break free of this self-inflicted dictatorship?
Breakfield and Burkey have written eleven installments in this series. It seems like the plot, prose and even character build get better with every installment. This mysterious thriller is colored with intrigue and adventure. The authors have done a great job of narrating R-group’s mission. They have described the Enigma universe in such vivid detail. The reader will walk around the scene as the chaos unfolds and technology takes over human beings’ lives. This book is an explosion of great characters and brilliant plot twists that left me sufficiently entertained.
Authors Burkey and Breakfield are very good at presenting their characters. The characters are well rounded and presented with just enough transparency to reveal their true natures but enough mystery to create an enigma. The characters are relatable and serve to execute the plot quite well. There is so much talent and determination in the characters. Despite all the hurdles and challenges that face the group, they keep going and that resolution is felt in the writing. You can tell from the tone and smooth prose that the authors have a good relationship with their characters.
The Enigma Beyond being the eleventh volume of this series remains riveting and exciting. It’s a continuation from previous installments but it did not leave me feeling like I joined a conversation in the middle. As a reader, you will find this book so well written and the plot so clever that you will want to go back in time to be introduced to the characters in their infancy. It makes for such a wonderful addition to the series despite being self-sufficient on its own.
The authors continue their mission of waking people up to the possibility of an enslaved humanity. They do it with great stories. The reader will be taken on one literary sojourn filled with mystery and intrigue after another. The Enigma Beyond will keep you gripped and teetering on the edge of your seat right from the beginning. You will certainly enjoy the authors’ uncanny ability to maintain novelty in a series that has run for so long.
Pages: 369 | ASIN: B0818875T3
The Modronovich Incident starts with a missing ship and dives into a cover up 250 years in the making. How did you want to start this book that was different from your other works?
I felt that I had to open up with the mystery itself. We see the Modronovich fleeing from a pursuing ship: who are they, why are they chasing the Modronovich? My hope is that the reader will become interested enough to join the search.
I appreciated the balance between story telling and science fiction elements. How do you find the right balance of these things in your novels?
At its core all good sci-fi is a human story. As a reader, I want to experience the characters’ lives, I must in some way empathize with them, you do that through ‘story’. As an author, I pulled a fast one: I transposed a mystery to a space-opera. I could have as well wrote about a missing wagon in 18th Century America that was rumored to carry Humphry Davy’s first light bulb. If I didn’t dive into the lives of the characters it would have been a bland documentary in fiction format.
The mystery and backstory in this book were well developed and something I really enjoyed. What were some challenges you faced when creating the backstory?
The passage of time was the biggest challenge. I think it’s difficult for a modern audience to relate to things that happened ten years ago, let alone two-hundred fifty. This is no slight to them, but simply the reality of our progressive environments. There is always an upgrade … bigger, better, faster, etc. Yet, I needed a way to ‘shroud’ the incident in ambiguity, and time has a way of doing that. If you search the internet you can find three ways that the German Reformationist, Martin Luther, died. That’s what I needed for the Modronovich … but that just makes a dead end. So, enter longevity. Humans can now live about 160 years, this means that there is a relative, if tenuous, connection to the Modronovich. I used that connection to propel the story.
This is book one in your Thomas Spaulding Mystery series. What can readers expect in book two of the series?
Bea, aboard the Isaac Brin, chasing down the Sagan Artifact … whatever that may be.
The Modronovich, a cargo ship testing a prototype Newtonian drive, loses contact on its shakedown cruise. It was briefly seen, overdue and far off course, and then never heard from again.
Two-hundred and fifty years later, Penelope Middleton walks into Spaulding Recovery Services with a copy of a garbled transmission recorded by her grandfather, a communications technician serving aboard Capella Station during the Modronovich’s voyage. Haunted by childhood memories of him as a paranoid, broken man that spent the last century of his life in depression, and the enigmatic partial transmission, she hires Spaulding’s pilot and wreck diver, Beatrice, to unravel the mystery of the Modronovich and answer the questions surrounding her grandfather’s breakdown.
Chronicled in Bea’s diary it is the story of a cover-up decades in the making. What she finds leads to the disturbing details that caused two generations of PTSD and depression, the divorce of Penelope’s parents, and the truth about what happened to the ship and her crew.