Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tech Tuesday with Drew Conry-Murray - Robot Friends, Robot Foes



Tech Tuesday is a weekly spotlight on the relationship between real life and a writer's imagination. As science fiction is all about looking ahead to the future, we asked our authors here at Dog Star Books to send us a link to a new technology that influenced their writing, sparked a new idea for a story, or simply caught their attention and got them thinking.


The Author

Andrew Conry-Murray was born in Boston, MA, and lived in the area until age sixteen, when his family moved to New Jersey, and then to California. He attended Caldwell College, where he met Scott, his co-writer of Wasteland Blues, their first novel with Dog Star Books. After college, Scott and Drew moved to Boston. He earned a master’s degree in education from Boston College, but decided not to go into teaching.

Instead, he got a job as an editor at a small publishing company that specialized in books on Chinese martial arts and mediation. He also studied martial arts and meditation with the publisher’s founder, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming. Drew trained with Dr. Jwing-Ming for four years. Drew is currently  editor of a technology website called Network Computing.com.

The Spark
Imagination, sci-fi movies, and this article.

The Idea
I’ve always been fascinated by robots and artificial intelligence. I find the idea of sentient machines both alluring and scary. The allure comes from the potential for robot companionship, like the robot from Lost in Space, who served as both friend and guardian for Will Robinson. And of course there’s R2-D2. While R2 doesn’t have human features or speak English (or whatever is the lingua franca of the humans in Star Wars), he’s willful, clever, and loyal. I don’t think I’d mind having R2 take care of me when I’m old and decrepit

As for scary, there are innumerable examples, from HAL 9000 (not a robot, but still a sentient machine) to the Terminator. Unfortunately, I think we’re making more progress with malicious machines than friendly ones. Drones may be piloted by humans at present, but given advances in computing power and machine intelligence it’s not hard to imagine autonomous drones becoming a regular feature in city skies. They’d make excellent tools for law enforcement, surveillance, and who knows what else.
The Result
My fear of thinking machines crops up in my novel Wasteland Blues in the form of Mr. Tines, a robot who takes his duties as curator of a museum dedicated to the folly of humanity a bit too seriously for our protagonists. Mr. Tines is polite, earnest, and implacable in wanting to embalm one or two of our travelers to use in an exhibit. 
Now that I think about it, the implacability, the relentlessness to achieve an objective, may be the root of my fear. Humans can be relentless in pursuit of misguided or downright evil goals, but they’re still flesh and blood. When you sheath an unyielding will in a body of steel, you create something truly terrifying.

Find Out More
about Drew Conry-Murray at his website, andrewconry-murray.comand follow him on Twitter @DrewConry Murray.

Be sure to check out Scott Christian Carr and Drew Conry-Murray's Wasteland Blues.
Wasteland Blues

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tech Tuesday with K. Ceres Wright - Biohacking


Tech Tuesday is a weekly spotlight on the relationship between real life and a writer's imagination. As science fiction is all about looking ahead to the future, we asked our authors here at Dog Star Books to send us a link to a new technology that influenced their writing, sparked a new idea for a story, or simply caught their attention and got them thinking.


The Author

Daughter to a U.S. Army father, K. Ceres Wright has lived in Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Frankfurt, Oberursel, and Munich, Germany; Seoul, Korea; and the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Wright received her Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. An accomplished poet, Wright's science fiction poem "Doomed" was a nominee for the Rhysling Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association's highest honor.

The Spark

The Idea
Biohacking became a small but strong movement thanks mainly to body modification artists like Steve Haworth who were already skilled in piercing and scarification — and they were aided by our changing relationship with technology. Is it really so extreme, they ask, to wed technology and tissue in a time when we can't go a single day without our smartphones? We clutch our devices like talismans, wear Google Glass on our faces and have developed doors that unlock by tracking our heartbeats.

But the leap from Google Glass to sub-dermal technology is a big one, and real-life cyborgs are far from mainstream.

"You get this visceral reaction, this recoil, from people who make a snap judgment and don't know what it's about," said Amal Graafstra, a cyborg who creates and sells biohacking devices — including a chip that Zoe Quinn implanted in her own hand in May — through his company Dangerous Things.

Just $39 buys a glass-encased embeddable chip that works with some Android smartphones. A full DIY cyborg kit, including a sterilized injector and gauze pads, runs about $100.

The Result
I write cyberpunk, which deals with the near future, as well as the implantation of tech devices and/or genetic manipulation. This biohacking movement has been a trope in cyberpunk for decades, and we're seeing it come to pass. The process for mainstream adoption is for an idea to be adopted by 1) innovators, 2) early adopters, 3) early majority, 4) late majority, and 5) laggards. I think we're in phase 2, but I'm no social scientist. As a writer, I can use the ideas within this article and try to project out 60 or so years to craft a somewhat believable future in my books. For example, even though doctors now shun this type of implantation, I think an entire industry will spring up where doctors will undergo different levels of certification to become qualified to implant tech in people.

Find Out More
about K. Ceres at her website, http://www.kcereswright.com, and follow her on Twitter @KCeresWright.


And be sure to check out COG:



Thursday, July 31, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Dog Star Books to Release J.L. Gribble's STEEL VICTORY

STEEL VICTORY
Dog Star Books is pleased to announce we have signed a deal to release J.L. Gribble’s debut novel Steel Victory in 2015.

Originally a thesis novel from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, Steel Victory is an alternate-history urban fantasy. The independent city-state of Limani is beset from within by human separatists and from without by the territory-hungry Roman Empire. The city’s lone vampire and her adopted warrior-mage daughter must join forces with the other supernatural creatures of Limani to defend their city, their culture, and their very lives.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


J.L. Gribble is fascinated by the construct of the English language. By day, she is a full-time medical editor, in which she wrangles authors and translates medico-babble into something coherent. On the side, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Most recently, she was co-editor of Far Worlds, a speculative fiction anthology.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter) and Twitter (@hannaedits).

Dog Star Books Author: J.L. Gribble


J.L. Gribble is fascinated by the construct of the English language. By day, she is a full-time medical editor, in which she wrangles authors and translates medico-babble into something coherent. On the side, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Most recently, she was co-editor of Far Worlds, a speculative fiction anthology.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter) and Twitter (@hannaedits).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Confluence / DogCon 3

July 25-27, Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North Belt
This year DogCon 3 is being held during Confluence. Dog Star Books authors Matt Betts & Albert Wendland will be involved in the regular programming as Michael Arnzen, Lucy Snyder and John Edward Lawson from parent publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press. There will be a rapid-fire reading, we'll announce the winner of this year's Readers' Choice award and host an End of the World launch party for Lucy Snyder's Soft Apocalypses. Below you'll find a schedule all the events our authors will be involved in.


Friday

4 pm Opening: John E. Lawson
5 pm Making the Science Sing: Albert Wendland
6 pm Happiness in Horror: Michael Arnzen, Lucy Snyder
My (Girlfriend, Mother, Sister) will Kick your Butt: J.L. Gribble
Kaffee Klatsch: Matt Betts
7 pm The Games We Play: Lucy Snyder
Autographing: Matt Betts
Kaffee Klatsch: Michael Arnzen
8 pm RDSP Rapid Fire Reading: Matt Betts, Michael Arnzen, Lucy Snyder, J.L. Gribble, Albert Wendland, John Edward Lawson
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WINNER OF THE READERS’ CHOICE AWARD
9 pm ***SOFT APOCALYPSES launch party*** Lucy Snyder, Room 525

Saturday

10 am What Dreams May Come: Albert Wendland
Writing Workshop: Matt Betts, J.L. Gribble
11 am Non-SF books every SF reader should read: Albert Wendland
What Makes You Think That? John Edward Lawson
Autographing: Michael Arnzen
12 pm SF as Games; Games as SF:  Lucy Snyder
Making it on Mars: Albert Wendland
1 pm Humor and Genre: Michael Arnzen
2 pm The Writing & Publishing Game: John Edward Lawson
Autographing: Albert Wendland
4 pm Collaboration: Lucy Snyder
5 pm Why did Steam punk? Matt Betts
Want to see something REALLY scary? Michael Arnzen
These Kids Today: J.L. Gribble
Kaffee Klatsch: Albert Wendland
7 pm Beyond the Experiment: John Edward Lawson
9 pm Movies as Series: Michael Arnzen
10 pm Erotica: Writing, reading in more than 50 shades of grey: Lucy Snyder

Sunday
12 pm Writing and the Day Job: Lucy Snyder
SF Art and Illustration: Albert Wendland
1 pm How Alien is too Alien: J.L. Gribble
Truly Creative: Financial realities of the writing life: Lucy Snyder, Matt Betts
2 pm The Amazon’s Right Breast: Women in Combat: Lucy Snyder
SF Rediscovers the Solar System: Albert Wendland



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Event Photos: The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes Launch

The In Your Write Mind book signing at Seton Hill University was also the site of the launch of Albert Wendland's THE MAN WHO LOVED ALIEN LANDSCAPES. The book sold out in the first hour of the signing, helping Raw Dog Screaming Press break our record for the most sales at an event by 150%. 

You can read Al's blog post on the book signing at his blog and view photos from the event below.








Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Event Photos: In Your Write Mind Book Signing

Dog Star Books authors Matt Betts, Heidi Ruby Miller, Al Wendland, and K. Ceres Wright were on hand Friday night to take part in a massive book signing as part of the In Your Write Mind workshop at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Raw Dog Screaming Press broke our record for most sales at an event by 150%!

Shanna Sampson receives a signed copy of Ambasadora from Heidi Ruby Miller

K. Ceres Wright shows off a poster for COG

Raw Dog author Jason Jack Miller shares a laugh with Dog Star author Matt Betts

K. Ceres Wright signs a copy of COG for Becky Watson

K. Ceres Wright

Amy Culey receives a signed copy of Greenshift from Heidi Ruby Miller

Dog Star authors K. Ceres Wright, Al Wendland, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Matt Betts