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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

ℚ♫ The Fourth Law: Machine Civilization [1] - Clayton Barnett

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Fourth Law (, Clayton Barnett, 178 pages) a Science Fiction novel, book two of the Machine Civilization series.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


A big welcome to Clayton Barnett, thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

To start, do you have a music playlist that you used in The Fourth Law, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Playlist?  Well, now.   There was quite a bit I listened to while writing this, however, now that I think about it, I can narrow it down to three main things: the artist “Clean Tears,” the soundtrack of “Blade Runner,” and “Time” by ELO."
I chose a few tracks from Clean Tears and ELO…. and the whole 2007 soundtrack to Blade Runner (I LOVE THAT FILM)- enjoy!


What was the inspiration for The Fourth Law?

"An image of an AI reaching out to their friend (at 2:34), and a discussion (around 10:15) about how me might stop them from killing all of us!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Pretty much all!   I tried very hard to not get preachy about any topic – fortunately, I did not have the time to!   As they’ve grown up, I’ve told my daughters to believe in three things: God, family, friends; and in that order.   I hope that comes through in “The Fourth Law.”"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Fourth Law - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Being my first traditional novel – and one that’s self-published – I did not want to throw a wad of money away on some consultant that could not see what I see.   I went back to my colleague and friend who did the hundreds of illustrations for our visual novel, OTChi Kocchi, and asked him to make a cover.   I explained that I wanted the two main characters, Lily and Ai, to face one another, with some form of interaction between the two.   He did the rest, and came up with a back cover illustration on his own.   I am very, very grateful for his time and effort.   His website can be found here."
Why should we read The Fourth Law and what sets it apart from the rest?  What makes your book unique?

  1. ‘Three out of Four Loves!’  Okay, that’s trite, but it’s still true: this is not a high-tech book about AI’s; it’s about two young women who care for one another, and we watch how that caring unfolds, often surprising the both of them.
  2. Catholic orthodoxy: the main character, Lily, takes her faith very seriously.   After all, she’s the live-in assistant at a Catholic orphanage.   In her quiet dedication to her faith, she provokes some surprising responses from those around her (including me… it’s why I’ve now written book #3 of this series!).   It is rare these days for a science fiction book to have such a large thread of Christianity woven through it – in fact, one of my early reviewers said “that’ll be trouble,” – but I cannot let Lily down like that.
  3. Brevity.   Faced with a deadline of only a few weeks and the need for at least fifty thousand words, I wrote the story and dialog, but left the imagining up to the readers.   Do I spend five pages talking about the economic situation in Waxahachie?   Two pages describing Lily?   A page on the pistol used to shoot Lily?   No.   They each get about a sentence.   It’s up to all of you to bring everything else to life.
Can you tell us something quirky about The Fourth Law, its story and characters?
"The legal rambling on the lead page is just that: rambling.  Seriously: “Any resemblance to real persons…” every character of the four members of the Barrett family is based directly on my own family.   I, of course, cannot predict how much my youngest daughter, L****, will turn out to be like Lily, but I bet it’s more than less!"
Who would you recommend The Fourth Law to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Pretty much all ages, if they can read it.   My 12-year old was one of my proofreaders (“You forgot the page numbers, Daddy!” “Arrgggghh!”)   The librarian at my girls’ Catholic primary school has two copies of “The Fourth Law” filed under ‘Fiction.’   The first sequel, “Echoes of Family Lost” might go under ‘Young Adult,’ but we’ll see."
If you could / wished to turn The Fourth Law and the Machine Civilization series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Whoa.  This one stopped me in my tracks; I’ve little to no knowledge of popular culture, so we’re going to take a ride on the way-back machine for several of these choices!   Obviously it’d be filmed on location in central Texas. As for personnel…
     Director: John Huston
     Producer: Joseph Levine
     Lily: Anna May Wong
     Ai: Hatsune Miku
     Fausta: Jennifer Lawrence
     Thaad: ?
     Dorina: ?
     Henge: ?
     Carol: Helen Mirren.
Everyone else are secondary and tertiary characters, and this has made my brain hurt! I wonder what some of your readers might suggest!"
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Hmmm.   While my Machine Civilization series is about, well, machines (that are self-aware), and two of the four paths of my visual novel, OTChi Kocchi, has some fantastical elements to them, I’d rather think my stories are about friends.   People that either start that way and grow closer, or have just met and get to know one another.  I just love listening to my characters talk as they get older about themselves and those they care about.

As to what I read?   Historical fiction, such as Colleen McCullough’s ‘Masters of Rome’ series.   And, non-fiction history books.   While my personal library is a bit over a thousand volumes, I’ve not read any straight fiction for years."
What is your writing process?
"Alcohol and coffee.   Often at the same time.

I don’t actually ‘write’ any of this; as odd as it sounds, I’m simply transcribing the scenes that appear in my mind.   That’s one of the reasons when I first edited “The Fourth Law,” I realized I used the word, “then” about four thousand times… then this happened, then she did that, then he…. It was how I transitioned from scene to scene.   Much better now, though.   If I cannot ‘see’ a scene, I’ll putter about the house, go for a walk, lie down on the floor… try to change my perspective until it comes.   Once it does, I just type.   Scary, sometimes."
What is in store next?
"The immediate sequel to “The Fourth Law” is already available on Amazon: “Echoes of Family Lost.”   I hope to have another book tour with you for it, soon!   Book #3 of Machine Civilization, “Henge’s Big Day!” is a 20-page illustrated kids’ book I hope to have complete by Thanksgiving.   I’ve some notes of images I’ve seen for a fourth, a five year flashback about Sylvia Fernandez, at hot-shot 30-ish lawyer who gets sucked into working with Clive Barrett and his ‘ExComm’ terrorists during the Breakup and Formation War…but that’s really unpleasant and hard to think about.   I’d think I’d rather like for Dorina to tell me a story about relativity and reality that I can write down for everyone."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I mentioned earlier those three things that matter?   Here’s a selection from #2, my daughters. They’re cosplaying Blake and Ruby from RWBY at a local animecon.   My wife was Hetalia Hungary and I was Ginko from Mushishi.   We always get “Your whole family cosplays!   That’s so cool!   You’re the best parents ever!”   I certainly wouldn’t say that, but nonetheless I love them dearly."

Sounds like a lot of fun!  Have a great tour and we will hopefully see you soon for Echoes of Family Lost!

The Fourth Law
Available NOW! Only £/$0.99

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads

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