All We Leave Behind: Transits of Three
by Benjamin X. Wretlind
GENRE: Science Fiction
Following the exodus from rising floodwaters, the surviving descendants of those who came to create a society on a planet far from Earth have struggled to rebuild within the remains of an ancient temple. Now, as disease and an unfamiliar environment threaten to destroy them yet again, everyone seems to have an opinion about what to do next.
Miriam and Tobias Page, newly married, believe there may be a possible home beyond a distant canyon. Their journey with a quarter of the population doesn’t start well and soon nature and their own humanity will conspire to end it all. Meanwhile, Miriam’s two cousins, Joel and Micah, have different ideas. Joel is convinced the best course of action is to return to the mountains they left to mine for the ore that would make a great return to Earth possible. Micah hopes to stay, learn all he can about the temple’s previous occupants, and prove both of them wrong. But soon, he and his new partner Patience realize that no option is truly safe.
As the transits of three different groups get underway, new dangers and surprises emerge from within the rainforests, mountains, and deserts of the planet…and one of those may have followed them from Earth. While a final home is a dream away, present nightmares must be dealt with first if any of them are going to survive.
“How many?” Moran asked.
“Four. Just up ahead.” Tobias tightened his grip on his weapon.
“Bethany is waiting for us.”
Moran stopped and watched as the caravan slowly edged toward the right, away from immediate danger. “Wish we had more to spare.”
“So do I.” Tobias took in a calming breath and let it out slowly. The nervousness in his stomach eased up. Miriam had taught him several techniques for dealing with fear, for calming his anxiety and sharpening his mind. He would forever be grateful to be married to a counselor, a therapist, a wise wizard of the brain’s complications.
“Ready?” Moran asked.
They both walked slowly toward Bethany’s position, their eyes locked on the trees where Tobias saw the four animals.
“Eight,” Bethany whispered as they approached. “Four more in a cluster of trees to the right of the others.”
“Typical pack. Haven’t heard the growl, yet,” Moran said. “Maybe they didn’t see us.”
“Oh, they did.” Tobias pointed to the tree with the first rychat he spotted. “I swear I saw that one lick its lips.”
“Well, we’ll have to take care of that.”
Moran raised his crossbow and took aim at the one Tobias pointed out. In tandem, both Tobias and Bethany raised their own weapons.
“One on the trunk,” Tobias whispered.
Bethany responded. “The big one to the right.”
The three were silent as they steadied themselves.
Generative AI and the Writer
Guest Article by Benjamin X. Wretlind
Just in case you haven’t recently looked up from your writing to procrastinate on the Internet, there’s a new thing out there: AI-generated text. I have been involved with AI-generated text for a while now, primarily because faculty members of the two universities I work for have been panicking. As someone involved in instructional design, I knew I had to help dispel some rumors. As a result, I dispelled rumors that I have seen in the writing world, too.
AI will not replace writers.
One of the most popular AI-generated text websites out there right now (maybe because there’s a free version?) is ChatGPT,a language model developed by OpenAI. It’s designed to generate human-like text responses to questions and prompts given to it.
You can find this same AI technology in chatbots and virtual assistants to provide instant and automated responses to users. It’s been around for a while, not just since last November when the latest iteration popped up. Generative-AI is trained on a large corpus of text data, allowing it to understand and respond to a wide variety of topics in a conversational manner. The goal is to provide quick and accurate information to users in a human-like manner, making the interaction feel more natural and intuitive.
Sounds neat, yes?
What Can Generative AI Do for Writers?
Generative AI can assist writers in several ways, such as generating ideas for stories, suggesting words or phrases to enhance writing, completing sentences or paragraphs, and even writing entire articles or stories based on a prompt.
On the latter, don’t. I may need to capitalize that: DON’T. You may have read articles about people writing whole books using AI, but, well, they aren’t very good. I suppose they might get a whole bunch of five-star reviews from other AI-reviewers out there (is that a thing yet?), but you’re a writer.
You want to write.
What Generative AI can help you with is by passing off repetitive text (e.g., data tables, lists), allowing you more time to focus on more creative tasks. You know, the fun stuff. Additionally, ChatGPT can assist with language-related tasks such as grammar checking, vocabulary expansion, and even translation. Maybe you’re looking for a theme in one of your stories? AI can help.
These capabilities make ChatGPT and other AI text generators a valuable tool for writers who are looking to increase efficiency, improve their writing, or generate new ideas.
What Should Writers NOT Do with Generative AI?
While Generative AI can be a useful tool for you as a writer, it’s important to keep in mind that it should not be relied on exclusively.
Generative AI is a machine learning model and its output is only as good as the data it was trained on. Garbage in, garbage out (and there is a whole lot of garbage that’s already out there). As a result, it may produce text that is grammatically incorrect, culturally insensitive, or even offensive.
You also shouldn’t use Generative AI to plagiarize or pass off its output as your own original work without proper attribution. This goes against ethical and legal standards for writing and can result in serious consequences.
Most importantly, don’t rely solely on Generative AI for your writing, as the models do not have the creativity, nuance, or personal perspective that is unique to human writers. Your voice, perspective, and writing style are important aspects of your work and cannot be replicated by a machine.
I’ve been writing a slew of articles on the subject, specifically targeted at writers. If you’re interested, here’s the link: https://bxwretlind.com/blog/blog-series-generative-ai-for-writers/
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Benjamin, a speculative fiction author, ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes, paints, uses sharp woodworking tools and plays with glue. Sometimes he does these things at the same time.
Benjamin lives with his wife Jesse in Colorado.
Benjamin X. Wretlind will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.