Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?
Welcome to the December 9th stop on the blog tour for Can Machines Bring Peace? by Floor Kist with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Hi Jenna, thank you so much for hosting me on your site. What a multi-talent you must be to write, edit, illustrate!
Hello everyone, thank you for joining me on this site.
I thought it would be fun to tell you a little about how different my initial thoughts for my novel “Can Machines Bring Peace? Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic Age” were to the final version.
At first, I wondered if I wanted to write a TV series. So, I already had a catchy catchphrase:
“In the near future, a team of fresh diplomats uncovers a plot that could bring down the empire – and no one believes them.”
And I had a few ideas like: The 2000-year-old man, Outsmarting an AI, The coup, Boring economic negotiation, Hostage situation, where the team are the hostages.
Snazzy character types were in place with great descriptions like:
Princess – one of five daughters. Elite, but cares.
Jock – likes leading the team until he believes team is holding his career back.
Brains – good visual analytics. She gets false flagged and commits suicide.
Everyman – good dose of common sense and likes to talk to people. Especially elderly ladies like him.
Of course, I was also thinking about a novel. So, I asked my fifteen-year-old son what he thought. And he deadpanned that it was more probable to publish a novel, than to make a TV series. It’s important to have down-to-earth people around you.
Then, I had these ideas about a galaxy spanning conspiracy. The 12-star empire would be based on the Japanese imperial history. The novel would begin with the protagonist writing a letter to the Empress. And he would use cool titles like “Her Imperial Highness, Twelve Star Empress…”
And then the letter would reach one of the Imperial councilors. And his first thoughts would be about how an AI actually decided that the letter was important enough to send to an actual person. Not only that, it would be sent to an Imperial councilor and to that specific Imperial councilor.
And then I got stuck. Sure, I had all these little ideas and thoughts. But I obviously lacked a more solid storyline. The TV catchphrase didn’t seem to support a bigger adventure. So, I dropped the project for a while.
Until I thought it would be interesting to have someone actually build an AI for a difficult issue. And supposed he had to find people to help him do that. That might be interesting. I kept the story within the Japanese setting. And the protagonist is a diplomat, so that was kept in the novel as well.
What really helped was to expand on the idea to build a team, and that the team had to be diverse. And one by one, the characters seemed to invite themselves: the naïve diplomat, the admiral’s daughter (the admiral is the antagonist), the carnival cheat, the disgruntled professor and the engineer hiding in her room. And it was obvious that even without external pressure, it would be a challenge to make the team work and actually build an AI. The, of course, I added external pressures: the diplomat’s boss (the admiral) opposes the work he does, his second-in-command actively sabotages the project, the carnival cheat is involved with some shady characters. Oh yeah, the protagonist and the admiral’s daughter fall in love – this is something that I had not planned in the outline. But it really added a new tension.
So, when people ask me how long it took to write the book, my answer is: If you mean the first ideas and thoughts, then it took me two years. If you mean putting it all on paper, then it took me two months.
About the Book
Can Machines Bring Peace?
The Thinking Machine Trilogy Book One
by Floor Kist
Published 31 March 2021
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 224
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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?
Currently on sale in Kindle eBook format for $0.99 USD!
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.
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.
Floor Kist will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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