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Wednesday 20 February 2019

ℚ♫ The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization Series [1-5] - Clayton Barnett

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with returning author to talk about his Science Fiction Series, The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization.

"There's never a dull moment in The Fourth Law, please do yourself a favor and check it out!" ~ 5* Amazon Reviewer, "The Fourth Protocol"

"There's never a dull moment in The Fourth Law, please do yourself a favor and check it out!" ~ 5* Amazon Reviewer, "The Fourth Protocol"

|| The Series || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome back to Clayton Barnett, whom we met with back in 2015 when he released his first novel, The Fourth Law; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Machine Civilization, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"This is what I – generally – listened to while writing these books…
“The Fourth Law” – ELO & Yes
“Echoes of Family Lost” – Giorgio Moroder
“Cursed Hearts” – ‘Nightcore’ genre
“Friend and Ally” – Jpop; esp. Perfume
“Foes and Rivals” – Jpop and Nightcore"
What was the inspiration for The Machine Civilization Series?
"Beyond the proximate two reasons for “The Fourth Law” that I’ve discussed elsewhere, a major factor in how I approach human/machine interaction came from watching the anime series Time of EVE.

Set about a generation ahead, it looks at the social and psychological relationship between people… some of whom are made of flesh and some made of code. But they’re still people. I carry that further, exploring questions of love and faith as well."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Nothing in particular… rather it is as if a lifetime’s experience of reading hundreds of fiction and non-fiction books each year over the last forty suddenly demanded their own voice four years ago.

What began with a paragraph of an unknown young woman in a rocky desert is now over 300,000 words of a future history that to-date stretches from Osaka, Japan to Knoxville, Tennessee and from our immediate future to a generation hence. I’m discovering more every day!"

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Machine Civilization Series - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.

"To answer the latter part of the question first, I’ve used for most of the covers. The most recent, “Foes & Rivals” is by an Army vet I got to know who has a studio just north of Detroit [Jacoby Alley]. I credit all of my cover designers in the opening pages of my books.

When I first decided that I was going to publish my works, I went to a brick-and-mortar book store and wandered around the fiction section. The pattern I noticed was FACES. Books, especially those ‘featured to sell’ had one or two faces prominently on the cover and looking right out at the reader.

Makes sense: our brains are wired to “detect friend or foe” in a split second based upon a person’s physiology, with facial features being a huge part. So, I’ve always directed my cover designers to make that an imperative in their proposals."
The Fourth Law: cover by MajaKopunovic Henge's Big Day!: cover and illustrations by Claudia Gadotti Cursed Hearts: cover by Kid Mindfreak Friend & Ally: cover by Labelschmiede Foes and Rivals: cover by Jacoby Alley
Why should we read The Machine Civilization Series and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"As I touched on in my first response, it may be that Amazon has me in the ‘SciFi’ category, but my stories are fundamentally about relationships:
  • “The Fourth Law” – friends; 
  • “Echoes of Family Lost” – families; 
  • “Cursed Hearts” – lovers; 
  • “Saga of Nichole 5, Parts 1 & 2” – all that, and politics, too!
It’s the people and their conversations that drive my stories, not high-tech gimmickry."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Machine Civilization Series, its story and characters?
"Hmmm. I skipped this one and came back to it later after I realized something I’d not seen before!

As it is a future history many of the stories touch in odd, little ways sometimes. What I had not realized is that there is one particular, but tertiary, character who touches all of them!

Clive Barrett, the father of Lily and Callie, is in one of Lily’s recollections to her friend Ai in “The Fourth Law.” He also has a part to play in “Echoes…” but that would be a huge spoiler.

In “Cursed Hearts” he’s taking a freighter from Japan to Vancouver, BC with a young man from Portland; on that freighter, he forms a brief, complicated friendship with Maya who’s on her way to San Diego to find her brother. After Vancouver, Clive Barrett is making his way up the Columbia River valley on his quixotic quest into the broken and starving interior of the former US. Before passing out from civilization, he encounters Nichole 5, just returning with a unit of cavalry troopers from a bloody engagement further up-river.

Who would you recommend The Machine Civilization Series to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"My teen daughters were some of my proof-readers for “The Fourth Law” and “Echoes…” so they are certainly all-ages.

“Cursed Hearts,” as a horror/romance has very direct scenes of romantic sex and bloody violence… so definitely 18+ for that one!

The violence and romance in “Friend and Ally” and “Foes and Rivals” are more ‘off-screen’ as it were, but for that and to grasp all the politics, I’d call those two ‘teen and up.’"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"While I’m not an IRL people person, I do like to get out every now and then, either virtually in social media or physically to things like animecons, and talk with others.

It’s one of the reasons my stories are driven by character interaction. A reviewer once said that I don’t so much write novels as screenplays!

 As for genre, I’m still learning so much about Machine Civilization that I think I’ll be staying on there for a while yet.

Speaking to what I read, in the past years, when I have the time, I tend toward history and historical fiction. I’m concerned that if I read sci-fi it might ‘contaminate’ my ideas."
What is your writing process?
"I always reach for my Hemmingway quote: “Write drunk and edit sober.”

It’s working so far!

Also, when seriously writing as opposed to dabbling with ideas (although one of those dabbles turned into “Friend and Ally”) I set aside at least 45 minutes as ‘my time’ once I come home from DayJob."
What is in store next?
"I’ll give hints, but there is no way to avoid tiny spoilers as I do…

Toward the close of “The Fourth Law” the eldest of the machines of tribe Tohsaka, Thaad, becomes intrigued by Lily’s mention of the Catholic notion of co-creation, to the point that he uses “Miss Lily’s Path” in an unexplained way to create – not a copy, but a daughter – Henge (who later goes on to star in my children's early reader, Henge’s Big Day!).

Later, in the epilogue of “Echoes of Family Lost” after many trials and adventures, humans and machines get together for a barbeque in “their home.” At that point Gary, the young son of Leslie and Callie… well, let's just see:
However, the two youngest came walking out of the surf toward them.  So cute that they’re holding hands, Lily thought.
“Mother?” Gary said.
“Step-mom?” Henge asked.
“Yes?” Callie and Lily replied.
“We want to get married,” Henge announced.
There was a clatter as Thaad dropped his tongs into the fire. “What?!”
From underneath her umbrella, Dorina let loose a huge cry.
“Eeeeee! THAT’S SO COOL!”
I’m already about a third of the way into a novel set about ten years later, in which Gary and Henge seek to find a way to bridge what seems to be an impossible gap between them, and marry. Please anticipate “Worlds Without End” this summer!"
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?
"Here’s a pic of me with Lucky Star.
He had beat cancer about a year before this was taken. In three months, a different type attacked him and he was dead. My copyeditor suggested that I make mention of him, so here’s an excerpt from “Foes and Rivals”…"
      Teresa laughed as she downed the last of her wine and easily made her way to the steps and out. Nichole pushed her chair back and followed a minute later. She paused at the door to the outside. It appeared cold and wet; foreboding. Yet she was suddenly surprised by a sound she had not heard since her youth in Osaka: the yip of a small dog.
      Nichole turned about to see Nike squatting down to pet the head of a silver-grey Schnoodle.
      “I didn’t know you kept a dog, Nike,” she observed. Non-farm dogs were an expensive luxury, post-Breakup.
      “I don’t; he’s just visiting,” the proprietor replied. “We met at the Bridge once.”
      “I see. May I pet him?” she asked.
      “That,” he replied, “is entirely up to him!”
      Nichole walked over and extended her hand as she leaned down. The fluffy one sniffed her hand and looked to Nike.
      “Unfamiliar smell!” he laughed.
      “Yeah.” How much does Nike know about me?
      The small dog took two steps to push his head into the palm of her hand. Nichole rubbed and scratched behind his ears for half a minute.
      “I must be off,” she said, standing. “What bridge did you say it was where you met him?”
      Nichole paused at the door. So far as I know, there is no such bridge in the City or its surrounds!
      She put her hand onto the doorknob.
      “You should leave.” Nike’s voice sounded behind her, in the shadows of his place.
      “I am. I am going home now.”
      “No.” His contradiction was complete. “This city. You should leave.”
      No matter what he might be, she could tell he was telling the truth: warning her.
      “No. I shall not leave my friends and allies.”
      There was a silence followed by the absence of his presence and that of the dog. She opened the door and went to her home.
I saw some pictures of him on your Instagram, he was a very beautiful boy who loved his friend :-) Poor little one... Thank you for sharing that picture and excerpt with us.

The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization Series
Available NOW!

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Unknown said...

Thank you for your hard work! I much appreciate it!

Clayton Barnett said...

Just as you did years ago with my first, "The Fourth Law," your hard work and attention to detail makes you the platinum standard-bearer for book tour stops!

Clayton Barnett said...

My third post makes me redundant, but I'm sharing on what 'social' media I know...

BooksChatter said...

Hello Clayton, thank you!
I am glad you like the posts :-)
Thank you for popping over to see us!
I've been looking for you on Facebook and Twitter to no avail! :-)


Clayton Barnett said...

I keep coming back as you've provided such a sandbox to play in... in the YouTube compilation, the Perfume vid of 'Spring of Life' is one I cannot watch again; when all my works feature intelligent machines, watching them die is too hard.