Lancer Kind, Science Fiction author

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A.I. Machines love pets

23 November, 2013 (13:33) | Bit Storm, Daily Science Fiction digest | By: Lancer Kind

January 2011 Digest

Why would an artificial intelligent (A.I.) machine want a cat? Actually that’s the wrong question.  A better question would be, why wouldn’t an artificial person who’s like a person in every way want a cat? Tests designed to determine if someone/something is human or not are called Turing tests. (You know those annoying things web pages ask us to do–compute math or select the correct picture–to see if you’re a robot or not.)  Wouldn’t a suitable Turing test check to see if you have interest in pets?

By definition, an artificial person should be the same as a regular person except manufactured in a non-biological way.  An A.I. should be able to pass a Turing test. Today we accept that our artificial constructs which we call A.I., really don’t have much intelligence and know that they cannot pass the Turing test. In the movie Blade Runner the humans are finding it harder and harder to differentiate robots from humans, and finally Harrison Ford’s character whose job is to conduct Turing tests realizes that he’s unable to tell if the woman he’s in love with is a robot (artificial person) or not. Later he learns that she has no mother or father, but no behavioral test could reveal this because she was programmed with the memories of a detailed childhood.

Back to cats. In my novelette Bit Storm, software engineer Diff’s A.I. demands that Diff get a pet. Diff resists because he wants Jack, the A.I. machine, to finish their work first, but eventually Jack guilts Diff into doing it. (Diff’s going to a Halloween party while Jack stays at the office, so fair’s fair and Diff decides to get Jack the pet.) Unfortunately for the both of them the pet is more than meets the eye and Diff’s Halloween party turns into a nightmare.

Not only is Bit Storm available as a stand alone novelette, for a little more it’s also part of a digest from the fine folks at Daily Science Fiction, along side stories from: Edoardo Albert, Barbara A. Barnett, Jacquelyn Bartel, Nicky Drayden, Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, Greg van Eekhout, Karina Fabian, Elena Gleason, Michelle Ann King, Terra LeMay, Shelly Li, Melissa Mead, James Van Pelt, Victoria Podmajersky, Christian Roberts, Victoria Sonata, Eric James Stone, and Lavie Tidhar.

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Good ol’ pulp fiction

16 November, 2013 (12:00) | Argosy Magazine | By: Lancer Kind

Argosy Magazine

Argosy Magazine is coming back to the world as an ebook.  Argosy Magazine is one of the, if not THE original pulp magazine. It came out in the UK when publishing on pulp paper was cutting edge.  Argosy’s Fantastic Frontiers volume will feature a science fiction story I wrote called Parsec Hiccup, a western style tale about a meteoroid mining  camp that’s the site of a love triangle that turns into a musical battle for the fittest.

Action

Before November ends, visit Argosy’s crowd funding site at Indiegogo and earn yourself something cool you can show the gang at work on your ebook reader. For as little as contributing a British pound, you earn perks such as recognition, to a life subscription.  (If you use dollars, don’t worry, Indiegogo or PayPal will sort that all out.)

Even if you don’t contribute, later Volume 1 will be available for digital download and you can read read a story I wrote called Parsec Hiccup, which attempts to settle once and for all which musical genre is better: Rock or Jazz.

More about Argosy’s History

parsec hiccup Argosy

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A Halloween that Raises the Bar on Pirates V Ninjas

26 October, 2013 (13:09) | Bit Storm | By: Lancer Kind

Bit StormPirates versus Ninjas is cute, kitsch, and if your girl/guy is dressed as a pirate, that’s an added bonus. Chances are the costume is an off-the-shelf product of plastic, cheap textile, and glue which is why I’m here to tell you the future of Halloween costumer is in nanotechnology! Imagine going to a store, searching through bottles of Fairy, Naughty Nurse, and Furry Squirrel, and then selecting a bottle of Pirate. (Yeah, I know, you’ll spend a lot of time considering Doctor or Intern so your girl will wear Naughty Nurse.  You’re only human.)

Then you go to the costume shop’s mirror, open the bottle, and tip it over your head releasing trillions of bits of particles that glide en masse around you, forming a costume about your body, pressing itself into and against your clothes (if you’re wearing any), changing color, and binding to other bits until in moments, you’re wearing a pirate costume customized to fit your form factor!

Now imagine what it would be like if something went wrong and it happened at a Halloween party, and someone wanted it to go wrong to prove a point. This is what happens in Bit Storm, a novelette that won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. So get yourself a scifi Halloween read for 99 cents at Amazon, and learn what happens when high tech good guys meet a high tech psychopath.

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Free Hottie, for a LIMITED TIME ONLY!

21 September, 2013 (17:18) | Honolulu Hottie | By: Lancer Kind

Honolulu HottieYes, it’s almost the end of summer. Soon the days of lounging at the beach and surfing the waves will be gone. You do have a beach right? Never mind. I’ll give you the one I have in Hawaii in the form of Honolulu Hottie, a novelette about a surfer and a beautiful woman, and how she gets him it trouble but it’s OK because not only is she beautiful but she’s right and he’s wrong. It takes a while for the surfer to see things her way. But when he does, he’s totally cool with that. See? Everybody’s happy!

So mark your calendars!  You can get Honolulu Hottie for free on Amazon on September 27 (Friday) until September 30 (Monday).  Get it on your Kindle and read it at the beach, in your car, at your desk, whatever. It’ll take you to a future where Hawaii deals with rising sea levels and sly mega corporations.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a book trailer to nurture your appetite.

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Book blurb bloodbath

14 September, 2013 (11:48) | Bit Storm | By: Lancer Kind

Bit StormA few novelette publications later, a friend refused to read and write a review for Bit Storm because he thought the Amazon marketing blurb was lame. Nothing freaks out a writer more than telling him despite hours of obsessing in front of a computer screen, the highest level of achievement is “meah.” So I tossed aside the 300 piece puzzle I was doing with my daughter—Daddy time is over sweetheart—and checked what was on Amazon.  What I saw looked good:

As a highly paid, top-notch, software professional, Diff has it made. He wears black t-shirts and jeans to work, his co-worker is an AI (Artificial Intelligent machine), and he has time to play online games. All this and a girlfriend who games too.

But Diff’s easy life becomes complicated: the AI wants a pet cat, and a political antagonist named SickDevil has decided Diff is his new best friend. Neither problem is a show-stopper until SickDevil tries to prove his social Darwinism theories making Diff’s Halloween party not only a fight to the death, but a fight to the nano. [...]

I went back to twitter and promptly lambasted my critical friend for being lazy and if he didn’t want to read fiction about nanotechnology, AI machines, and a Halloween party, he should go back to reading whatever slew of YA girl angst books that forty-year-old software engineer dads in the Bay Area enjoy as a guilty pleasure.

He responded with this:

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five. [...]

This blurb is doing some different things. The sample came from John Grisham (The Racketeer), an author who sells an awesome number of books. The blurb’s opening uses italics AND bold. Outside these typeface enhancements, I’m not sure it’s outright superior. It’s using a different angle to hook readers. However, I am suspicious of myself of being lazy when it comes to marketing so I took up the challenge and rewrote the blurb. I ended up liking it more so I used it on Amazon.

War is as natural as breathing to a society. To be unskilled at war is to cease to exist. Compassion is exercised only when risk is minimal. You wouldn’t put yourself at risk to save another because that would be irrational.

Successful societies are more skilled at war than compassion.

Diff admires and is annoyed by SickDevil, a skilled nanotechnology engineer who crashes game servers and pickets peace rallies for fun. SickDevil claims an AI (Artificially Intelligent machine) would concur with his philosophy. Diff agrees to let his employer’s AI run a simulation to prove SickDevil wrong so he can knock SickDevil down a peg and trash SickDevil’s internet reputation.

But SickDevil pulls a fast one: the simulation transforms into a virus that reprograms nano-technology to produce warlike societies that turns Diff’s Halloween party into a fight for survival.[...]

I then went back and apologized for accusing him of seeding his bookshelves of Math Algorithms and Python books with girl angst books. In the end, it was the the friendship bracelet that won him over.  We hugged and went back to being friends.

Do you agree the new blurb is more engaging?

The comments are open!

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