Podcast 11: Religion in Machine Civilization

Having covered politics and sex it was time to turn my attention to the last of the “not to be discussed” triumvirate of religion. More specifically Christianity and ever more so, Roman Catholicism. Only two of the machines are believers and I’d guess about half, barely, of the human characters who get a speaking role in my twelve books are. I and my characters are never preachy but it is a very important matter for many of them.

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Podcast 10: Sex in Machine Civilization

Nearly twenty minutes of a middle-aged ex-engineer talking about sex. Perhaps your time would be better watching your grass grow? In modern times, this very important subject is treated so lightly and so callously that our society finds itself confusing “gender” with sex and thinking there are scores of them. That’s not how I roll.

Even in one of my earliest books one of the machines says, “Sex differences go all the way down in a way even we do not comprehend. The coders did not know that and many early models went insane.” Never once does any character speak of gender. Even the co-creation byproduct of humans carries elements of their sexuality, leading to Thaad’s most interesting development.

NOTE: more than any other podcast to-date, this one is packed full of spoilers. FYI.

As you hopefully can see, I have made several structural changes to this site. The RSS’s for the podcasts are now at the top of the sidebar. Instead of listing all links to my books – after all, they are on display right there – I have an overall link to Amazon and Smashwords. Yes, yes: baby steps. But steps nonetheless.

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Podcast 3: The Machines – everyone else

My shortest installment to date as I didn’t want to wander into the weeds again over what I know about the other two tribes, the androids, and synths. Details such as that, I believe, will be dealt with when I turn my attention to talking about the books and stories themselves.

Even so, I cover a lot of ground in little time. Next week will see us turn to the human sides of Machine Civilization, specifically the human families of the Barretts and the Hartmanns. See everyone then!

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“No better friend; no worse enemy”

This is a freebee to all my readers. It is from my short story collection entitled “Empire’s Agent.” The reason I’m tossing it out there is that a fellow Gabber, and a good man, is dying and expressed concern what to tell his grandkids. Thought I could lend a hand.

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Tough Times Demand Tough Talk

A bit of a long-ish addition.  I wanted to wrap up Part One of Empress’ Crusade, at about 18k words, and get on to the campaign itself.  For the historically minded, it will be loosely based on Caesar’s Gallic Wars, always a good read.  In the meantime, I have some research to do about the populations of former Alabama and Mississippi and how that extrapolates one generation on into the Breakup.

Below the fold is a family who loves one another but find it increasingly hard to like one another.  That is probably an odd concept for my younger readers but is something we in our dotage just nod at.  Thanks for everyone’s support!

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Check. Up.

Looked over my notes for a-while this morning (another day off; work the next three) and saw PART 1:  KEEP HUMAN circled.  My handwriting so I guess I was drunk.  Imagine.  Still, per my Lenten oath to not only complete the MS for “Empress’ Crusade” but also to make it more Christian than its predecessor, I’m trying to keep the opening parts of this story in that vein.

My other, more coherent notes, speak to Faustina chatting with MacRae, (check) and Reina.  As she’s the machine who will end up as Acting Prime Minister of the Russian Empire (should I have said *spoiler warning*?  oops) that is not “keeping it human.”  So, instead, I saw Fussy’s nurse drop in at the legionary fort to check up on her.

One of my other scrawled notes was “eugenics.”  That plus Faustina is not something I want to think about right now.

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End. Middle. Begin.

The design contest for the cover of my short story collection, “Empire’s Agent” is complete.  I hope to have a proof copy in my hands in less than a week and a commercial release days after that.

At 57k words I have passed the MS of “American Imperium: Princess’ Crusade” onto one of my new copyeditors.  He’s a little spastic about “?!” punctuation but I like the cut of his jib.  Once “Empire’s Agent” is loose in the wild I shall likely begin another cover design contest.  Tricky:  the main character, 18-year old Faustina, spends half the book in a hospital bed with 2nd degree burns and no hair.  Not the stuff for an eye-catching cover, is it?

And… speaking of Faustina:  if there’s a part one, there better be a part two.  Below the fold is the opening scene of “American Imperium:  Empress’ Crusade.”  Faustina is utterly full of herself and as arrogant “af” – as the kids say.  I wanted to start things slow and humble.  I have tiny, faint glimpses of where she might be going, but I won’t know until she gets there.  Enjoy the ride with me!

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“A place for everyone and everyone in their place”

A bit of a turn for the political but I thought it best for Faustina to let the locals know from the get-go how she intends to administer the land and people under her control.  And, after something as awful as the Breakup, I’m sure the survivors have been thoroughly disabused of any insane notions of equality of ability or outcomes.

Just one last scene, the awards to her heroes, before I can finally turn to the copyedit of my short story collection.  This is an odd week – I’m off Tuesday and Thursday, but I shall try to get it done before the weekend.  So much to do!  Overwhelming sometimes…

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Taking back the reins

Faustina returns to Savannah to find out all the little details of what’s going on and what needs her attention.  A fly-by gives her an overview.  Right after she receives something not heard on Earth for a very long time… and guaranteeing her triumph.  But she understands her most important task:  “take me to the wounded.”

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“Doing nothing is usually best”

That is one of my life-mottoes.  It is derived from Calvin Coolidge saying “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”

Strangely, one of my other life-mottoes is from the US Marine Corps:  “Doin’s better than thinkin’,” which I have used in one of my books.  The gripping hand between the two is knowing when to act and when not to.

First Councilman MacRae’s proposal to Faustina was a bolt from the blue for her and me.  Thankfully he gave her time.  She takes a little of that time to place it before the brother she loves so much and her sister-in-law she thinks so mistaken.  They come to the same conclusion:  give it time.  In a month or two, they could be in a hot-war with the PLA, or attacked on another front, or revolution at home, or… or… the horse just might learn to sing.

Tomorrow:  back to Savannah!

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