Okay, you guys, for this one I’ll have the Author introduce the Series to you and then we’ll go book by book.
So here her is, Clayton Barnett introducing The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization Series.
For lack of a better description, the world of Machine Civilization started on a dare: the challenge of National Novel Writing Month, in this case, November 2016, to write a 50k-word novel in one month. I did. It was structurally awful, but the characters I met were so interesting that while I had that first book, now called “The Fourth Law” copyedited, I was off on its sequel, “Echoes of Family Lost.”
Following a side effort to try something new, a children’s early reader, which involved me finding an illustrator (Claudia Gadotti of New Zealand) I then wanted to try my hand at something like horror… a genre I don’t even read.
With a few pointers from some other writers, I slowly put together a tale which, without the character of Maya, would be a pleasant little love story between Chris and Cat. The fact that Chris’s sister Maya is a homicidal maniac does add some tension into the mix! The ending was so horrific that I spent the next six months on small writing exercises.
While messing about with those, I came to notice that just as Niven has his Known Space and Tolkien had Middle Earth, by setting all my stories in the same future history I was creating a place where both author and reader could return with some familiarity. Some might call that lazy; to a certain degree, I wouldn’t disagree… but popular series by popular authors exist for a reason. Everyone likes to come home.
The future history of Machine Civilization to-date spans about fifteen years. I must tread lightly for spoilers here but let’s take a look… the ‘earliest’ events are Lily Barrett being escorted to Okinawa to hone her Shorin-Ryu karate skills for a summer. This could be described as ‘contemporary’ to our world right now. Sometime during her summer stay, the US political and financial system began to die:
“Idiot.” Emma was learning quickly that her new acquaintance lacked manners. “Your President removed via extra-Constitutional means just as Russia, China, India roll out a new currency?” Maya stopped and turned so quickly, Emma almost ran into her. (Cursed Hearts, chap.13)
As what is later called “the Breakup” unfolds in the US, involving, ultimately, the deaths of 100 million (most by starvation), Nichole 5 is dispatched by the new Empress of Japan to try to aid the only functioning Pacific deep-water harbor: Portland. A few months after that, Lily’s father, Clive, takes a freighter from Japan back to what’s left of the ‘States along with Nichole’s friend, Joe, and a mysterious girl, Maya, who joins the ship in Hokkaido on their voyage to Vancouver BC and Portland.
The rest of “The Fourth Law” and “Echoes of Family Lost” play out about four years later after the events of “Cursed Hearts” and the two-part “Saga of Nichole 5.” My current work-in-process, “Worlds Without End” is ten years further on, beginning to tell the stories of the next generation of humans and machines. I’ve about a score short stories that serve both as writing exercises for me and which have allowed me to flesh out my future history, as well. Someday I may pull the larger ones, such as “Factory Girl,” featured on another Book Tour Stop, together into an anthology. We’ll see!
So long as they keep showing me more stories, I’ll keep writing them down as passing them on to you readers. There’s already so much existing material to delve into: what are Ai’s siblings, Shandor, Ninon, and Qin – who have no interest in humans – like? What do they do? I’ve seen that companies in Milan, Italy and St. Petersburg, Russia have also developed self-aware machines, tribe Arpeggio, and tribe Mendovovitch. Are they code like tribe Tohsaka or androids… or something entirely new? Let us grow older together!
A history beginning in our near future, these stories are set in a world where the US dollar has been displaced as the world’s reserve currency, prompting its economic and political collapse, with a few areas able to hold onto civilization.
At the same time, across the Pacific, under a resurgent economy brought about by the implementation of new technology and deregulation, three Japanese companies produce breakthroughs in both artificial intelligence and robotics. These newly made people exhibit an odd interest in the goings-on of the former United States.
To-date, my chronicling of this interest of theirs has led to stories that populate five novels, which I would like to share with everyone now!
The Fourth Law
In the near future, 23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time. Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely functional smaller states and vast swathes of barbarian badlands. His sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.
Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd but dear friend, whom she met online; a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.
Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seems only a quiet, simple life. But, that past and her present conspire against her.
Only 99 cents
Echoes of Family Lost
Alive! After four years believing her older sister lost and presumed dead in the horrible Breakup of the United States, Lily Barrett gets word from her dear friend, Ai – and Ai’s family of Machine Civilization – that Callie Barrett is very likely alive… but over 900 miles away in Knoxville.
Using the resources of her and Ai’s family, Lily puts together a search party to go find Callie: old, broken, and burnt Orloff – an expert in surviving in the Badlands, Ai’s little sister, Fausta – her machine mind controlling a Combat Android to protect her friend, all together in a cart pulled by their sturdy pony, Clyde.
It’s almost a thousand miles to go, with something very odd trying to limit their ability to communicate over distance and even to cross bridges. A chance meeting along the way in Huntsville, former Alabama, wrecks their plans, and puts all of their lives in danger.
Only 99 cents
Even with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day.
But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise: Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them.
While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way.
Friend and Ally
Model 5 is a prototype designed to fit seemlessly into human society. A meeting in Tokyo derails Nichole’s planned training as she is dispatched to Portland, former Oregon; the last working deep water port on the West Coast of the imploding US.
There, under her cover as a Graduate Engineering Student, she is to do her utmost to nurture the people and politics of the City-State into a Friend and Ally of the Japanese Empire. But from the first day in her new home, all of Nichole’s plans go awry.
Beset by those who want this small lamp of Western Civilization snuffed out, Nichole must find within herself the courage and ability to protect her new friends, at whatever consequence to herself.
Foes and Rivals
After residing nearly a year in Portland, Nichole’s life seems to finally settle down: with her classes, friends, and lover. But troubling rumors about secret deals between the City’s master and the savage horsemen to the east reach her ears.
With her own skills augmented by her friends and allies, she sets plans into motion she hopes will thwart those in opposition to her dream of a peaceful future.
Once again denied a quiet, normal life, Nichole is faced to make hard, dangerous choices that will jeopardize her, her friends, and the survival of the City itself.
For more about the books or the Author, follow the Tour. The dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/01/vbt-amazing-unfolding-world-of-machine.html
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
One time engineer, some time pharmacy technician, full time husband and father, Clayton Barnett stumbled into writing a traditional novel November 2014 during National Novel Writing Month. Liking the results, he edited what would become “The Fourth Law” and set about teaching himself self-publishing. In the following four years he has produced four more novels as well as a children’s early reader, all in what is now called Machine Civilization.
Clayton Barnett lives in central Ohio with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.
- Clayton Barnett will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.