Can Machines Bring Peace

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Floor Kist and his science fiction novel, Can Machines Bring Peace?

Author’s description

Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?

 

450 years after Earth was bombed back to the Stone Age, a young diplomat searches for lost human settlements. Kazimir Sakhalinsk narrowly escapes an exploration mission gone wrong and searches for ways to make future missions safer for his people. A festival introduces him to the Marvelous Thinking Machine.

 

A machine Kazimir believes can change everything

 

For his admiral it’s nothing more than a silly fairground gimmick. But Kazimir is convinced. Convinced enough to go against orders and build one of his own. Convinced enough to think he can bring peace. Convinced enough to think humanity is worth saving. What if he’s wrong?

 

He asks his hikikomori sister, a retired professor filling her empty days, the owner of the festival machine and the admiral’s daughter for help. Will that be enough?

About the Author

Floor Kist lives in a Dutch town called Voorburg with his wife, two sons, two cats and their dog Monty. He is currently deputy-mayor for the Green Party and an AI researcher. He’s concerned about current divisive public and political debates. But he’s also interested in how AI can be used to resolve society’s big issues.

This is his first novel. He’s been carrying the idea about a story about AI bringing peace for a long time. The Covid-19 lockdown in the Netherlands suddenly gave him time to actually write it.

Find the Author

Link to website: http://www.floorkist.nl/author
Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21225715.Floor_Kist/blog

Buy the Book

Link to ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XK42BMP
Link to paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/151368115X

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

 

A Guest Post

A big thank you to author Floor Kist for sharing the following guest post with us. I always find it fascinating to learn more about an author’s thought processes as they research a novel!

Hi, Sherrie. Thank you so much for having me on your site. I really like how you’re fascinated by superpowers, because deep down you believe each of us has extraordinary abilities we can draw on when forced to deal with dangers in our own lives. I never thought of it that way. I tend to believe each of us does have cool abilities that help us do extraordinary things. At least we’re both optimistic about what each of us can do.

Hello, everyone.

Sherrie asked this about my novel Can Machines Bring Peace? Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic Age.

How much vocabulary did you create for your world of the future and what, if anything, did you use to guide the creation of your words?

Boiling it down to the actual answer to that question, I only created one new word. But I’d like to explain the principles of the world building I did, and why it only led to one word.

I didn’t create an entirely new world, I retrofitted the existing one. The novel is set in Japan of the 25th century. However, it has a 1930s vibe, because of the loss of modern technology after the Final War. So, in a sense, it became a historical setting. And most of my research was on Japan today and in the past.

Besides, you don’t really need new vocabulary when dealing with the Japanese Imperial Family. A Japanese emperor can have several names. Let me give you an example with the previous emperor Akihito: During his reign, in Japan, Akihito was never referred to by his name, but only by “His Majesty the Emperor”. The era of his reign from 1989 to 2019 bears the name Heisei, and according to custom he will be renamed Emperor Heisei after his death.

In my novel, Empress Suiko starts out as Princess Nukatabe. I took the name from Japanese history. Suiko was the first of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant, an empress who rules, not an empress because she’s the emperor’s wife.

So, do I really need new vocabulary?!

But I did need new technology.

I needed to adapt existing technological knowledge to the 1930s. The backstory is that just before the Final War, the Japanese government quickly built underground vaults. However, during that time primary systems began failing as well. Specifically, air filtering systems. Those suddenly broke down in more than half the vaults, killing everyone living there. They simply couldn’t revert those systems in time. Then, a brilliant engineer called Kirisu Mikase literally saved the Empire. She developed an oxygen-assisted aluminum/carbon dioxide power cell that uses electrochemical reactions to both sequester carbon dioxide and produce electricity. In one amazing swoop, air filtration systems kept working and also became efficient energy producers.

Her innovation led to more hydrogen-based energy. Because they didn’t have enough room in the vaults, they needed a power source that could be stored efficiently: electro-chemical hydrogen can be packed into small power cells. And with the CO2 sequestering power source, manufacturing hydrogen wasn’t a problem anymore. The cells are used to power surface households, factories and even airplane engines.

And, for the Thinking Machine computer, I needed vacuum tubes technology. A rudimentary model would need 3000 tubes. This has to do with the amount of memory that can be stored into the tubes. The vault engineers improved upon the basic vacuum tube by creating vacuum-channel transistors. An important benefit was that these were just as easily fabricated. By using field emission rather than the thermionic electron emission, the vacuum-channel transistors don’t require a heat source. And they don’t really need vacuum either. Instead, they use helium. That means the electrons traverse the air gap a lot faster than if they had to pass through an electrode. So, they are smaller and can be packaged more effectively.

No new vocabulary here either, I’m afraid.

So, what about that one new word: “tairikusei”. It means “continental” in the novel. And it is used as a derogatory word for outsider. I didn’t want to use existing Japanese words for obvious reasons. The protagonist is the son of Russian parents (or what’s left of it).  And in the traditionalistic setting of the 1930s Japan his heritage doesn’t work in his favor. However, he and his band of outcasts-in-their-own-way actually build a machine that brings peace. And it’s their diversity that makes them succeed.

No new words, but an age old story.

My Favorite Excerpt

The memorial service is solemn. The admiral thanks the fallen officers for the ultimate sacrifice they made for the Empire. To the gathered wives, children, parents and grandparents he swears that they will not be forgotten. He tells the assembled men that he will do everything in his power to avoid these catastrophes in the future. And finally, he decorates the survivors, for their bravery and courage under fire. They are fine examples of Imperial officers.

Sugimoto shares the sentiment, of course. He is glad the admiral arranged this event. But it does feel a bit hollow, considering what happened to Kazimir Sakhalinsk. He steps forward when the admiral calls his name, announcing that he will lead the next mission.

He’s not surprised with his new orders. After Maeda’s death, Sugimoto expected as much. He gave his new team the report he received from the Kirisu-device as an example of what he expected. And they worked on the new one diligently. But he had to ask them to perfect it three times. And it took more than a week to prepare. Sakhalinsk’s Thinking Machine did it in half an hour. And Sakhalinsk’s is better.

Ogata will court-martial him for sure if Sugimoto visits Kazimir. But that’s preferable to dying in the middle of nowhere, isn’t it? It’s not as if Sakhalinsk will tell. He decides to risk it.

Thank you!

Floor Kist — we appreciate your sharing your book Can Machines Bring Peace? with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

If The Light Escapes

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Brenda Marie Smith and her sci-fi post-apocalyptic novel, If The Light Escapes.

Author’s description

A standalone sequel to If Darkness Takes Us

 

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

 

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

 

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

 

If The Light Escapes is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

 The Author’s Story

2018-10-18_Brenda Marie Smith

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Find the Author

Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/
Twitter: @bsmithnovelist
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMarieSmithAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brenda_marie_smith/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJlLSnORIyoaygvZ1j49ZKw
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52206957-if-darkness-takes-us

Buy the Book

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

FROM CHAPTER 5:

“These northern lights bug the crap out of me,” I tell Alma. “What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be tied to magnetic poles. I saw this show a couple years ago that said the north pole was drifting north, not south. So how did they end up here? The poles can’t drift around randomly. That’s impossible.”

“I don’t know, baby. They worry me, too, but we need to be quiet.”

“They make me feel like something bad is gonna happen. What do you call that? Fore-something.”

“Foreboding?”

“That’s it. I’ll be quiet, now, and just stew in my foreboding.”

“Silly.” Alma reaches up and ruffles my hair.

When we patrol and we can’t cuddle on account of guns, Alma and I could talk all night. It’s not a good idea for us to talk much when we’re patrolling, though. We get all involved and forget to listen for anyone who might be sneaking around, hunting for food or water, or worse: getting ready to kill us for it.

We walk along with our rifles in the night. It’s cool out here, but not cold…

Alma stops and raises her gun.

“Hear that?” she whispers.

“No, what?” I’ve got my gun up, too, and I’m pivoting around, searching. I want to hide Alma, but she would never let me.

“Over there.” She points at the corner by the park. And I hear a jangly noise, like car keys. No one drives cars now, though…

Thank you!

Brenda Marie Smith — we appreciate your sharing your book If The Light Escapes with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Death’s Curses

Today it is my pleasure to welcome authors Becca Fox & Martha Agundez and their urban fantasy/romance novel, Death’s Curses.

Author’s description

After one screw up too many, Esmeralda Barnes is shipped off to Seattle to start her first semester of college while living under the strict guardianship of her great aunt. She’s prepared to serve her time in simmering silence when she meets Charlie Campbell, the only person worth talking to at the tiny community college she’s being forced to attend. His efforts to scare her away don’t work, not even when he lefts it slip that he has a psychic twin sister who helps their uncle—a police detective—solve murders. As the former member of a gang, Esmer’s confident she’s tough enough to take anything he throws at her in stride.

Then she has a near death experience. And Charlie is the first person on the scene. It turns out, his sister isn’t psychic but she does have a special connection to Death. She and Charlie both. So maybe this friendship will take a little more work than Esmer originally thought. But hey, it’s better than the gang. Even after being pulled into a string of grisly murder investigations, running with people possessing supernatural abilities, and dealing with the very real presence of a minor goddess, Esmer’s pretty sure hanging with Charlie is better than being back with the gang. Yep, pretty damn sure.

About the Authors

Becca Fox is a socially awkward introvert who loves to read and write, binge watch crime-solving shows and anime, and play video games next to her gamer husband. She also loves to bake, and plan trips she hopes to one day take. She has a toddler and a crawler, which means that her house truly is as messy as you’re imagining.

Martha Agundez has a BA in English from Sacramento State University. She worked as a tutor at the Sacramento State University Writing Center for two semesters and was a journalist for The State Hornet Newspaper for one semester. She was also the Calaveras Station Literary Journal Fiction Section Editor for a semester. She has worked as a 916Ink manuscript copy editor for three years and counting, while also offering her editing services as a freelancer.

Find the Authors

Blog: https://fanofthefiction.wordpress.com/
Website: http://becca-fox.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Becca-Fox/e/B076PTNPV9/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17274613.Becca_Fox
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bears_Goose1?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beccajfoxauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beccajayfox/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rjagundez.5/?hl=en

Buy the Book

Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Curses-Becca-Fox-ebook/dp/B0949T79FL/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The authors will be awarding a custom made bookmark, a candle inspired by one of the characters in the book, and an eBook copy of the book, US only, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Charles

It was probably juvenile but I told myself there were worse things I could be doing than supporting the local rage room. Responsible enough for Uncle Vic, no one had to get hurt, and I could work out every toxic thought in my head for forty-five dollars. Win, win, win.

Wiping the sweat from my brow, I made my way to the locker rooms to change out of all the protective gear they’d forced me to wear. I was standing in line at my favorite taco truck maybe twenty minutes later. A couple was arguing nearby. Ordinarily, I would’ve ignored the grown-ass adults making a scene on the street, but the female’s voice sounded oddly familiar.

“Just because you gave me a beer doesn’t mean you own me, asshole!”

I turned to see a girl with short red hair, switchblade open and pressed against the throat of a rail-thin guy who looked about ready to piss himself. She wore a gray hoodie sweatshirt which was probably too thin to offer any warmth, ripped black jeans that clung to her slender hips and exposed her pale knees, along with well-worn neon pink sneakers. All she needed were rough tattoos and she’d look like she belonged in a gang.

“S-Sorry,” the guy stammered, stepping back. “My bad.”

I rolled my eyes and paid for my tacos before stepping away from the truck. Of course. Of course it was Esmer.

Her scowl stayed fixed on the guy’s retreating form as he hightailed it down the street with what appeared to be a six pack under his arm. Well, it was a five pack now.

Some of the onlookers whooped and cheered.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Esmer snapped her knife closed with a flick of her wrist and shoved it into her back pocket.

Thank you!

Becca Fox & Martha Agundez — we appreciate your sharing your book Death’s Curses with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.