Can Machines Bring Peace?
by Floor Kist
GENRE: Science Fiction
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?
NOTE: The book is $0.99.
Kazimir hears the beep-beep response to his beacon. The plane is overhead! His breath shortens as he peers through the night. Standard protocol states the plane will land at a safe landing zone within a kilometer radius of ground zero. If Kazimir can find the right direction, he may actually have a chance. There! The shape of the plane against a clouded moon is a beautiful sight. He is afraid to smile, but can’t help himself.
He follows it, stumbling over the thick roots of the trees. Quickly, he looks up.
There she is again. No. ‘That’s… that’s… black flag.’ That means the others are dead.
Standing against the tree, he retches. Cold sweat forms on his forehead and his back. He shouldn’t have left the settlement. He could have saved them. No. He would be dead too. Kazimir gags and coughs. He spits out the sour taste, and wipes his chin. ‘Yuck.’
He looks up, trying to control his breath. The twin rudders and the nose turret machine gun nozzle give the Ki-2 light bomber away. Kazimir has only seen it in the hangar of the Ryūjō. He remembers the pilot telling him about the 500-kilogram maximum bomb load. All headed towards the settlement.
The ground trembles with the explosion. Kazimir sees the red and yellow clouds grow against the dark sky. Seconds later, he hears the wheezing sound of the dropping bombs, followed by the roar of a thousand dragons. Sound travels at three hundred meters per second, so he must be about 300 meters away.
The hot blast wave that follows knocks him down. He hits his head on the root of the tree. ‘Stupid tree.’ He feels a sharp pain. Warm blood dribbles into his hair. Its metallic scent reaches his nose.
Sounds of the explosion die down.
A Special Note To Sybrina From The Author
Hi Sybrina, thank you so much for hosting me on your site. You must have had a lot of fun writing “Journey to OSM – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale” if the description of your novel is: “The Blue Unicorn’s Tale by Sybrina Durant is an enchanting escapade about a metal-horned tribe of space-faring unicorns stranded a universe away from their home world of Unimaise. It is full of magic and adventure with walloping dashes of pseudosciencey stuff sprinkled throughout. It also offers a thought-provoking look into love and war amongst the other denizens of MarBryn… including Magh, the sorcerer who wants to kill all unicorns.” Wow!
Thank you, Floor! This post is supposed to be all about you but I’m always happy for people to know about my unicorns from Unimaise. Thanks for the shout out. Your book sounds amazing, too. I can’t wait to read it.
A Special Note To Sybrina’s Readers From The Author
Hello everyone, thank you for joining me on this site. Sybrina asked me to explain about the wonders of the Marvelous Thinking Machine.
Kazimir is the sole survivor of a peace mission gone bad. And he HAS to improve the way these missions go. Pondering on how to do this, he suddenly finds himself in the crowd of the Tanabata festival. He can hardly cope with all these happy people who have no idea that he lost his team members. He walks by a festival attraction and the owner of the stand catches his attention: Wouldn’t he like to try to get real answers? Kazimir blurts out the question about the meaning of life. The owner takes the question very seriously and puts his Marvelous Thinking Machine to work. It rattles, and steam comes out of openings, and it whistles and at the end of its thinking process a note pops out of a letterbox. And the answer isn’t all that bad, thinks Kazimir.
Then and there, Kazimir decides he also wants a thinking machine – one that can help bring peace. Only, he has no clue how to build one. And he doesn’t know that the Marvelous Thinking Machine at the festival is just a festival attraction. Lots of bells and whistles, and a small kid inside choosing the right answers based on cues from the owner.
When he later asks the owner to help him build a thinking machine, he gets a lot of technical jargon. Even his engineer can’t follow the descriptions and workings. And the owner of the Marvelous Thinking Machine hesitates putting his secrets into writing. And of course, he can only do this for a hefty sum.
Other members of the team see the situation for what it is: an elaborate confidence trick. And, they send the owner of the festival machine packing. But Kazimir is shocked. How will they ever build the real machine now?
But his engineer already has a rudimentary Thinking Machine in place. And throughout the story they keep adding new modules to deal with the peace missions that Kazimir wanted to be successful.
So, the true wonder of the Marvelous Thinking Machine isn’t its entertainment value, but its spark of inspiration that leads to the real Thinking Machine to bring peace.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
Link to website:
Link to ebook:
Link to paperback:
Floor Kist will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js