Path in the Darkness by M.D. Cooper Guest Post

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Path EbookThe colony ship Intrepid is falling into a star.

The ship’s AI has lost control of the engines and core systems. Battling a saboteur who strives to isolate him, his last act is to wake Colonel Tanis Richards from stasis.

Tanis finds herself alone on a dying ship, unable to contact the AI. She must discover what has happened and save the Intrepid from burning up in the star’s angry red light.

Even if she is successful, the journey to the colony world of New Eden is just beginning. With decades of travel ahead, she will have to find a path in the darkness.

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About the author:

Michael Cooper has been writing since the day he closed Return of the King and wanted more. He’s written a lot of fantasy that he never tried to get published, but one day decided to try his hand at science fiction, of which he has published one book (Outsystem) and is working on the sequel, A Path in the Darkness.

Michael is a software engineer at a company which builds sites and services around the open-source CMS named Drupal and enjoys the creativity involved in building web applications.

When not writing stories or code Michael is spending time with his wife and daughter, or doing carpentry–a hobby which he has been growing over the years.

His other interests include astronomy, cars and racing, blacksmithing, movies, and just about any creative work one can do.

Follow M.D. Cooper:

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A story’s setting is as important as any character in the book. A good, well-constructed setting is a character in its own right. It sets boundaries; defines norms—social, religious, and political—and very often opens up new avenues for telling the story.

As I began to create the world of Aeon 14 I knew that I wanted to tell stories of long journeys between the stars and what humanity would be like far in the future. I didn’t want to tell a story where a trip between worlds was a short jaunt with no risk or danger. The had journey to be as much of the story as anything else.

I decided that there would be no FTL (Faster Than Light) travel. You’ll often hear this referred to as warp drive, hyper drive, hyper space, worm holes, etc… While there is science that points to these things being possible, there is also science that says if you do it, you jump through time, or you consume all the energy in the universe—I could get away with ruling it.

I realized that if this were to be the case, people would discover new technologies to make the most of the resources they had at hand. The solar system is ripe with resources and humanity can expand throughout it. But to do so we will advance our technologies in different ways, building greater things than just ships that fly fast. We would create the next step in our evolution: AI.

So many stories that touch on AI are filled with the social, political and philosophical struggles the emergence of AI is sure to create. In Outsystem and A Path in the Darkness you’ll see references to the laws that govern AI/human interactions, as well as references to the sentience wars and the Phobos accords which were signed at the end of human and AI wars which hint that those issues did arise.

But I didn’t want to write a story about that time. I wanted to look beyond. What if humans and their creation found a way to work together, in harmony, supporting one another and building a future they both desired? What sort of laws and interactions would be in place?

The logical conclusion? To learn how to work with humans, AI would have to merge with humans. They would need to live inside a human’s mind and understand what made them who they are. Thus the idea of embedded AI was born, a symbiotic relationship between human and machine where both learn and understand more about the other—or at the very least make sarcastic wisecracks regarding the other’s inner dialog.

If the idea of a future where humans share their minds with machines, but still retain their humanity, then the stories of the Intrepid Sagamay be for you.

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