Saturday, May 23, 2015

What happens when artificial intelligence meets a self created killer computer virus?

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In the not so distant future, people cellphones will be littering the junkyard like VCR's did once DVD's and digital recording were invented.  What invention could make us all care less about cracked screens on our iPhone?

Brain Prosthetics.

Need to answer a phone?  Look over at the white circle that pops up in your virtual viewing pane and choose to answer or ignore the ringtone that only you can hear in your head.  Dr. Hagan is the neurosurgeon to some powerful people - including the family of the richest person on earth.  Dr. Hagan can do what once was thought impossible, heal the brain - and when your last name is Devron and your son needs something - it gets done.

As a hobby, Hagan dabble in artificial intelligence.  Well, dabble might not be a strong enough word.  If a hobby causes you to constantly have your job threatened, have your wife walk out on you, and almost kill billions of people - it might just qualify for obsession status.

The trouble with super advanced prosthetics implanted in someones head is that when things go a little wacky - it isn't an easy fix.  And when the prosthetic is like a primordial swamp that can give "birth" to new virtual life forms - that's not good.  And you might get an idea of the character of this new "life form" by the user name it chooses for itself - RedDevil_4.

It is up to the odd couple team of cops to find the connection in murders popping up all over the city and put an end to it.  Krantz, an old curmudgeon of human, still is using outdated prosthetics in his head.  You know the type - still has his Beta and VHS VCR's so he can play his whole library of tapes that he finds in future antique stores.  Krantz is old school, solve a cases by hard work and gut feelings.  Tara is the former military, super-hot, super-cop partner that can't stand working with someone whose brain implant means she has to wait a whole 3 seconds to download an encyclopedia into Krantz's head.

When these three are forced to team up, they will need everything they have - and somethings that they don't quite have yet - to stop RedDevil_4 from wiping out everyone with an implant.  That means only the lost villages in Brazil and some pygmy tribes in Africa are left.  So whatever this team needs to do, including getting past robotic driveway gravel (I know, doesn't sound menacing - but you are sooooo wrong.....) must get done. 

Red Devil 4 is a fast paced thriller with well developed characters and almost constant action.  The story had more than a few twists and turns that kept me guessing just enough to keep my interest.  If you are a fan of medical science fiction - this needs to be on your brain implant e-reader!

Friday, May 8, 2015

An Epic Adventure!!! A Humble Heart by Tim Vander Meulen

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Book Description

An epic fantasy of war and adventure! Set in the world the Elves call Iělŗenväd, where peace has been upheld between the Elves, Dwarves, and men for a century, the human country of Gemdals is conquered by those that possess the Mark of Evil. Receiving this news from two young boys who escaped the battle, the leader of the Elves must decide, per their request, to take the long journey to the West and recapture the lands of men. 
As far as anyone knows, the two young refugees are the only remnants of the 
human race in the world. As they decide to comply with the boy's request and seek out the allied races to join with their cause, the characters find that the war is not only something external, but is within their own selves. They are not out to fight another race entirely, but they fight the Possessors - Elves and Dwarves and men who have chosen to abandon their old ways and join a cause that opposes the survival of their former kindred. 
It takes great courage to survive the growing night, and morality has no place in the grand shift of the world. "
A Humble Heart" is a term applied to Delenas Farlong, the leader of the Elves, who throughout the tale faces tremendous adversity and who shows great valor and humility as he leads his people on their dangerous journey.
From the Back Cover
Sightings of Northerners...
An attack on the Elven tournament...
The appearance of a band of Dwarves and two human boys who possess three magic stones...
Could it mean war?
For a hundred years there was peace in Elveran. Now the Elves learn that the kingdom of men has been invaded. The two young refugees, Henty and Clese, ask that the Elves and Dwarves go to recapture their homeland, and so the choice is laid before Delenas, leader of Elveran. But it is not an easy decision, for it would mean marching an army across half the world, facing unspeakable dangers, and joining forces with people who would not easily agree to the venture.
Can the boys succeed in their mission? Will the Elves and Dwarves agree to their request? Will they all be strong enough to resist not only the enemy but their own inner conflicts, both of which seek to destroy them?
"Whether we go to our deaths, or to end all darkness, now is the time of testing."
(Not a review - cover and book blurb as part of paid ad) 

Author Interview with Theodore Singer - "Jabberwocky: A Novella"

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1.  What was your motivation in writing a book featuring such an enigmatic creature as the Jabberwocky?

I was simply inspired by the poem.  It describes the monster physically, but doesn't really say more than that.  It doesn't say what its essential nature and purpose are or where it comes from.  This left a lot of room for filling in the details and telling a story.

2.  How much did you try to mimic Lewis Carroll's style when writing your book - or wasn't that a consideration?

It wasn't a consideration.  I've been very careful to say that the book is inspired by the poem, rather than based on it.  I took the poem as a starting point and wrote my own story from there.

3.  Other than Astreus - who is your favorite character from the book and why?

Gssa.  I love cats, as you may have guessed, and Gssa is based on a cat I once owned.

4.  Do you have any other works floating around your head that you are going to be working on next?

Right now I'm working on a novel inspired by classic Sword and Planet (e.g. Edgard Rice Burroughs' Mars books) and Sword and Sorcery.  It's set partly on the moon and partly on a prehistoric earth where Atlantis still stands.  What makes it a little different is that the heroes are magicians rather than warriors.  This is obviously meant to be a light, fun book, and the first of a series, but I also have an idea for something longer and more serious - something that takes the poetry and melancholy of Jabberwocky and extends it further - which I will write at some stage in the future.

5.  What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you when you started writing this book? 

Be disciplined!  Set aside time every week and push yourself to write during that time.  Even if it's rubbish, you can always edit it later.  It's better to write rubbish than nothing.