Lots of research to study as part of writing first draft of the Search for the Sevenths.

More about my next book, The Search for the Sevenths, which is also my NaNoWriMo project for November. Instead of focusing on writing the required 50,000 words, I plan to do some writing but mostly to incorporate the research I have gathered for the book. Much of it I still have to read carefully and decide if and how it fits in the story.

If after reading the rest of this preview, anyone interested in what I’m researching and how I plan to use it can contact me through this web site.

The Search for the Sevenths will be a sequel to Saving Grace and A Biot’s Odyssey set about 30 years after the second book.

Ruth Donohue’s final request to the Biots and the Secund robots is to convince humans, Secunds, Dublos and Pozzens to emulate the Beings and accept creatures of artificial intelligence as partners, not a presence to be feared.

Gaopod, the Biot who discovered how to communicate with the creatures of Lavaworld through music, takes up her challenge now that he’s finished creating a 3-D model of the Milky Way that fits inside a specially-designed building the size of several football stadiums. It becomes the ultimate tourist destination. At the same time, he is among the Biots and robots organizing the search for the seventh species in the Milky Way as revealed by the Ancients when Genghis and the others visited the second Dome World.

Robots volunteer to crew the fleet of spacecraft captured during the battle against the mechanical insanity that threated the Secund and Dublo worlds to explore the regions of the galaxy where the Sevenths, as they have been dubbed, might exist. Information from this exploration is incorporated into Gaopod’s model of the Galaxy, making it a dynamic, constantly changing display.

With that search well underway, Gaopod and his team turn their attention to the AI issue only to be confronted by a mysterious virus that threatens the computer based information systems on Earth and Mandela. Trade, banking, transportation and other vital components of the economies of those planets as well as communications with the other worlds, are crippled by the virus. The Beings, Secunds and Dublos are restricting their links with the infected worlds to prevent the spread of the virus. There is a great debate about whether the virus was developed by groups opposed to contact with aliens or whether it was created spontaneously.

The Sevenths are aware of the other species in the galaxy but have avoided revealing their presence because they fear contamination of their planet (got to find a biological reason) from other organic species. When they detect the approach of the robots’ ship, the Sevenths shut everything down to make their world look abandoned. Intrigued by the presence of several seemingly-abandoned cities on the planet, the robots land anyway. They are confronted by the Sevenths whose hostility dissipates when they realize the visitors are mechanical beings and not organics loaded with bacteria that could wipe out the remnants of their once thriving population.

The Biots and robots organize a project to create a communications link with Sevenths and the other planets and undertake to restore much of the equipment left behind on the planet.

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The next Biot adventure

I’m planning to use this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November to create the next installment of my space stories. It would be asequel to A Biot’s Odyssey and the first book Humanity’s Saving Grace. Part of the process to me is making sure it is a plausible extension of thestory line from the first two books. So I would like to share some background with you and follow that later with a short outline for the next story, tentatively called The Search for the Sevenths.

The Universe is immense, really beyond our comprehension. When I was writing Humanity’s Saving Grace set in 2037, I read a most interesting scientific riposte to the old science fiction staple of a massive alien invasion of Earth to plunder its resources. You all remember Independence Day or the Day of the Triffids.
The article said the likelihood of such an alien armada descending on Earth was minimal at best. The writer noted that Earth’s place in the Orion Arm puts it beyond the outer boondocks of a small galaxy. Any resources available here could be found at far less cost closer to the heart of the Milky Way or in another Galaxy without any opposition from inhabitants.
Only a true alien explorer would likely find us, the writer said. He was undecided whether an alien would find much of interest about our species. In Humanity’s Saving Grace, Humbaw the Being found Earth by chance on a regular mission of exploring the Milky Way. His curiosity kept bringing him back every 25 years or so to see if we’d improved.
The Beings, who are reptilians living closer to the centre of the Milky Way, had developed biological robots called Biots as companions and helpers for their Confederation of nine planets. Biots accompanied Humbaw’s missions to Earth and saw some useful traits in humans that intrigued them. They also enjoyed our music and humor. In the end it was these visits that gave the Biots, which are the main characters of A Biot’s Odyssey, an opportunity to convince the Beings to give them a bigger role in the Confederation.
When the Beings’ technology couldn’t stop attacks on their Confederation, the Biots convinced the Beings that humans operating Being space craft could. The Biots wanted to see how the humans would do it so the Beings’ helpers could also be their defenders in the future.
Many Biots served as pilots and soldiers in the Nameless War and some like Genghis distinguished themselves. When the Being-human alliance prevailed, Biots like Genghis weren’t satisfied with returning to their traditional roles. The two alien societies they found needed the help of the Biots to recover including rebuilding the robots that were part of the Secund planets.

A Biot’s Odyssey is now available in everywhere, as well as in digital versions

A Biot’s Odyssey is now available in print and e-book formats on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as other e-book distributors: Apple iBooks (iBooks Canada) , Sony and Kobo or ePUB format from Smashwords. You can look it up by the title as well as ISBN 9781988657042.

It would be much appreciated if you would write a review for Goodreads as well as Amazon and B&N.

Meanwhile I’m working on other books and thinking about a follow up story to A Biot’s Odyssey. It involves the Biots and the robots they encounter in Odyssey searching for a reclusive 7th species in the Milky Way. At the same time, they want to develop a way to inculcate artificial life with the kind of empathy for organic species that will overcome the fears of Artificial Intelligence shared by humans, bSecunds and Dublos. It involves understanding why Beings don’t possess this fear and in fact always encouraged the Biots.

Beyond that, my Ultimate Wizard story is out for consideration by a publisher and I’m working on final edits of By Intelligent Design about a deadly pandemic that appears to be engineered to wipe out most of humanity while altering the few survivors.

After that there’s Consciousness Rising, which is a rough draft form from the 1994 NaNoWriMo and The Circle, my only fantasy story.

Most of my reading in the past year has been non-fiction, which has generated plenty of ideas for my science fiction stories. Among the books I’d recommend are Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and the sequel, Homo Deus, by Yuvul Noah Harari and Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff. Lots of ideas to chew over in Harari’s work while Markoff detracts from his insightful ideas into the fears of artificial intelligence with too much insider information of the architects of the computer and information revolution.

Meanwhile my freelance journalism has been hectic all fall and winter so far. My main customers are trade publications; Ontario Farmer, Manitoba Co-operator, Canadian Sailings and IHS Fairplay. I’ve also started to contribute a story or two a week to Nationalnewswatch.com.

A Biot’s Odyssey – Book Launch Nov 20th, 1:30pm at Books on Beechwood

Sunday November 20th – starts at 1:30 PM – Books on Beechwood, corner of Beechwood and MacKay.
All welcome. There are numerous eateries and coffee shops in the area.
The book is set 30 years after Humanity’s Saving Grace, my first book, and
follows Genghis, one of the Biots (biological robots), on its journey to
realizing that the Biots have become an independent species and partners with
the Beings and humans. Genghis and his small band of fellow Biots discover who
else lives in the Milky Way.

Price $17.95

A Biot’s Odyssey – A science fiction novel by Alex Binkley to be published this fall

A Biot’s Odyssey, a sequel to Humanity’s Saving Grace, is set 30 years after Earth’ first contact with the Beings, another species living in the Milky Way. The main characters in the new story are the biological robots developed by the Beings. The Biots are coming to terms with their development into an independent species through the evolution of their predictable programing into individual personality traits similar to those of humans and Beings.

The Biot Genghis is serving on a transport starship when it encounters a mysterious derelict space craft. He succeeds in boarding it and after he’s joined by four more Biots, the craft powers up and takes off with them. As they explore the craft they discover nine shutdown robots. It travels to a rundown space station where a few functional robots greet them. Unknown to them, the Beings send much of their fleet of Galaxyships after the runaway craft.

The robots were built by a species called the Secunds whose civilization on seven planets has been nearly wiped out in attacks the survivors blame on their rivals the Dublos. Genghis, Kelsey, the first Biot to command a Fleet Galaxyship, and Woodsy, a maverick robot, discover the Dublo worlds were attacked at the same time as the Secunds and set out to find the aggressor.

For more information, check out the first chapter.

Our Story, a review of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”

If you’re looking to give your brain a good workout, I heartily recommended Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. The author does a superb job of bringing together the history of humanity from the early days of Hominids and demonstrating how and why we ended up where we’re at today and where we might be headed. It makes the reader want to investigate all the topics Harari raises in more details. 

Its big picture approach stands out in contrast to the far too often narrow minded analysis of humanity’s problems and accomplishments we see in the news media. I gave it 5 stars in my review of Goodreads. com out of respect for its thoroughness and readability even though I don’t agree with a few of his conclusions. And there’s nothing brief about the book. There are parts I look forward to rereading (when I get my copy of the book back) because I would like to reflect further on his arguments. I found reading a couple of chapters at a time and then thinking about the content before reading more was the best way to approach the book.