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.

Black Flag Journals: One Soldier’s Experience in America’s Longest War

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Dennis Woods and his memoir Black Flag Journals: One Soldier’s Experience in America’s Longest War.

Author’s description

The story of America’s longest war is complicated and difficult to convey, unless you were there. Dennis Woods was there. By following his stories in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can sense the enormity of his combat experiences. Originally written for his daughter, Black Flag Journals is taken from the author’s nine battle book journals. It covers his time from the fall of the Twin Towers through his last combat tour.

Black Flag Journals contains not just stories from the first war of the new century, but a day-by-day record of events that other veterans may use to relate their own experiences. All who enjoy real life stories, and followers of history will connect with this first person account of America’s longest war.

About the Author

CSM Woods combat tours include;
Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia – Iraq, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Fox 1998, Qatar, 5th Group Special Forces.
OEF 2 Afghanistan, 82d Airborne Division.
OIF 1 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OIF 6 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OEF X Afghanistan, 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
OEF XIII Afghanistan, 191st Infantry Brigade

CSM Woods civilian education includes a Master of Education, (training & leadership) from North Central University, Prescott AZ, and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior, Albany, New York.
Military education includes the United States Sergeants Majors Academy class # 58, Army force management course, Jump Master, Drill Sergeant, US Army Recruiter, Infantry Small Arms Master Gunner, Artillery Master Gunner, Amphibious Warfare leaders’ course (USMC), Anti-Armor Leaders course, Machine Gun Leaders course, Artillery Mechanics repair course, Small Arms repair course, Nuclear Biological Chemical defense, and all levels of air load planning and hazmat certification USAF.

CSM Woods awards include; one Distinguished Service medal, one Legion Of Merit,( 5) Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 ARCOM, 4 AAM, 1 Humanitarian service medal, 2 Armed Forces Expeditionary medals,  Afghanistan and Iraq service medals. German Jump Master Wings, Qatar Jump wings as part of 5th Group, Netherlands Jumpmaster wings.  Other awards include; Department of Defense “Inventor of the year” (2003) with 45 separate inventions. CSM Woods saved the United States Government over one Billion Dollars through cost avoidance.  He is also the first recipient of the GRUBER award for an outstanding field artillery professional.

CSM Woods is credited by the US Army Smart Ideas program as the inventor of;

  • The 105mm Howitzer night direct fire sight system M913 GELON.
  • The 155mm towed Howitzer night sight system.
  • The dual use day/ night direct fire sight reticule.
  • The Dual optic MILES Laser trainer.
  • The Urban Assault kit (PALADIN) improved crew protection, 155mm system.

On his most recent tour to Afghanistan, CSM Woods pioneered the first use of artillery training rounds in combat as a form of scalable fire support designed to limit civilian death and collateral damage.  He is the author of, ‘Black Flag Journals One Soldiers Experience in America’s Longest War’, and numerous magazine, newspaper articles, including training pamphlets concerning Artillery, night vision, and combat operations.

Find the Author

Twitter: @djwoodswrites
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Dennis-John-Woods/e/B01KU91GFI%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15660793.Dennis_John_Woods

Buy the Book

Amazon Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Black-Flag-Journals-Soldiers-Experience-ebook/dp/B01L0LW7US/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0
BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-flag-journals-dennis-john-woods/1124419537
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Black-Flag-Journals-Audiobook/B08MBHSQQ9
Koehler Book: https://www.koehlerbooks.com/book/black-flag-journals/

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

The flight we were on this morning was an ordinary, run-of-the-mill resupply operation. Its purpose was to service Afghanistan’s numerous small camps and bases. What it carried, though, was not ordinary or run-of-the-mill. What we were delivering was an unusual allotment of artillery ammunition and GELON mounts. Part of my mission on this trip was about to be completed. However, once in the air, I was given a new defensive challenge to solve.

Thank you!

Dennis Woods — we appreciate your sharing Black Flag Journals: One Soldier’s Experience in America’s Longest War with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future endeavors.

No one person should have first strike capability

Every once in awhile you come across a fact and think that can’t be right. And then you find out it is. That’s what happened to me when I received a plea to ask my members of congress to discuss restricting the first use of nuclear weapons.

My first response was Oh, you mean if someone lobs a nuke at us, we tie the hands of the president so that she or he can’t strike back? Do we really want to do that?

No, I was told, the bill has nothing to do with responding to a nuclear attack. It only concerns being the one to first launch the nukes.

Queue the response: that can’t be right. So I have to ask. Did you think that the president could launch a nuclear weapon for any reason right now? With no declaration of war? All by himself? Well, it turns out that he or she can.

I admit that the next thing I did was guess that this bill had been introduced because of the rash immaturity frequently shown by the man now occupying the white house. And I admit that part made sense to me. But it turns out I was wrong about that as well.

The bill was originally introduced in 2016 during the Obama administration, with the encouragement of the Union of Concerned Scientists. This group believes that we need to have a robust congressional discussion about the wisdom of giving any president, no matter how cautious or how brash, the unilateral power to initiate a civilization-ending event. I think they have a good point.

Our current situation increases the probability of nuclear war in a real and dangerous way. It makes perfect sense to me that we should insist that Congress take these dangers seriously and that we should work to change a system that puts all of our lives at risk.

Right now both measures (known as Senate Bill 200 and House Resolution 669) are sitting in committees (Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs) while congress spends its time handling what they believe to be more pressing matters. (Don’t get me started on that.)

If you haven’t developed the habit of contacting congress yet, it is an easy and worthwhile activity. Find out who you should be contacting at whoismyrepresentative.com. Then search for them by name, go to their website, and hit contact. The easiest thing to do is to fill out their little form with your information, and then type in something simple like “Please lend your support to bringing House Resolution 669 on restricting the first use of nuclear weapons to the house floor for a vote.” A poorly paid intern will note the subject matter of your email and will tally up your opinion on it.

It’s a little bit like littering. If just you do it, it really doesn’t make much of a difference. But if five percent of the population does it, everyone is going to notice.