NBTM & #Giveaway: Can Machines Bring Peace? (The Thinking Machine Trilogy #1) by Floor Kist

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Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?

450 years after Earth was bombed back to the Stone Age, a young diplomat searches for lost human settlements. Kazimir Sakhalinsk narrowly escapes an exploration mission gone wrong and searches for ways to make future missions safer for his people. A festival introduces him to the Marvelous Thinking Machine.

A machine Kazimir believes can change everything

For his admiral it’s nothing more than a silly fairground gimmick. But Kazimir is convinced. Convinced enough to go against orders and build one of his own. Convinced enough to think he can bring peace. Convinced enough to think humanity is worth saving. What if he’s wrong?

He asks his hikikomori sister, a retired professor filling her empty days, the owner of the festival machine and the admiral’s daughter for help. Will that be enough?

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The memorial service is solemn. The admiral thanks the fallen officers for the ultimate sacrifice they made for the Empire. To the gathered wives, children, parents and grandparents he swears that they will not be forgotten. He tells the assembled men that he will do everything in his power to avoid these catastrophes in the future. And finally, he decorates the survivors, for their bravery and courage under fire. They are fine examples of Imperial officers.

Sugimoto shares the sentiment, of course. He is glad the admiral arranged this event. But it does feel a bit hollow, considering what happened to Kazimir Sakhalinsk. He steps forward when the admiral calls his name, announcing that he will lead the next mission.

He’s not surprised with his new orders. After Maeda’s death, Sugimoto expected as much. He gave his new team the report he received from the Kirisu-device as an example of what he expected. And they worked on the new one diligently. But he had to ask them to perfect it three times. And it took more than a week to prepare. Sakhalinsk’s Thinking Machine did it in half an hour. And Sakhalinsk’s is better.

Ogata will court-martial him for sure if Sugimoto visits Kazimir. But that’s preferable to dying in the middle of nowhere, isn’t it? It’s not as if Sakhalinsk will tell. He decides to risk it.

Hello everyone!

Merissa, Debbie, Charlotte, Beth, Rowan, thank you so much for having me on your site. I really appreciate this opportunity to write a guest post.

My novel is about a young diplomat who builds a Thinking Machine to help bring peace, only to discover a plot for war. The setting is Japan of the future, after the Final War. Humans are coming out of their underground vaults after three hundred years. And in that time, a lot of technology stopped working. So, there is a 1930s vibe in the story.

The novel hosts an admiral, an Empress, students, Imperial councilors, professors, women in kimono, Imperial guards, military men and a fortune teller.

In one of my wildest expectations on the critical acclaim my novel would receive, I wondered what a cosplay weekend for Can Machines Bring Peace? would be like.

So, lets imagine a Japanese restaurant before opening time. That would be a fitting venue. We would eat tamagoyaki (a kind of omelet), miso soup, yaki soba, a bowl of rice and tea. That’s why the restaurant allows us to have the place for free.

There are four sections – basically a couple of tables – with different events going on:

In one section you can get your picture taken with a background of choice. It’s a big green screen and the scenery is added later on. You can choose the Tanabata festival, the Imperial Palace, the Kyoto Gyoen park and the Sakhalinsk basement that houses the Thinking Machine.

In another section members of the Thinking Machine fan group sell collectibles. So over here is Merissa. She makes models of the Thinking Machine. Beth, on the other hand, makes models of the Marvelous Thinking Machine. Charlotte makes models of the Imperial car, the Sakai-Shibata Maboroshi II Kazoku. And Debbie makes models of the Imperial throne room. These are all unique and handmade! And in the last spot behind the table, Rowan sells Ogata glasses. She knows a guy where she can get them cheap.

The third section is the section of hope. The Nebraska Thinking Machine Fanclub has a standing invitation for the author. And that’s where I will sit and sign autographs and take pictures, when I decide to join them. Every year, I write them a letter thanking them for the invitation and either giving insights in how the first part was written, or sneak peaks for the next parts. I can’t believe they keep saving me such a seat of honor.

And finally, the fourth section, dedicated to the costume competition. Last year Janet was the first to don the red uniform of the Imperial guards, instead of the regular blue ones. The year before, she surprised us with the costume of Emiko the fortune teller/flower shop girl. We’re already wondering what she will be wearing next year. I think Beth and Merissa are taking bets on it being Mishi.

This year something happened that we all hoped to avoid: two Mizukis came in wearing the same kimono. There was a lot of fuss about that. But because of the subtle intervention of Debbie as Lady Saigō, it ended with all three of them in the photo at the Imperial palace (thank you so much, Debbie!)

And Rowan is asking the chairman for a fifth section. She would really like to set up a Dunk ‘em Ogata: if you hit the bull’s eye with a ball, Ogata dumps into a big tub of water. The chairman, of course likes the idea, but worries if there is enough room in the restaurant. Another location would cost money. He is willing to compromise on a Pie-in-the-face Ogata next year.

If I were to get their invitation this year, I would definitely go!

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Floor Kist lives in a Dutch town called Voorburg with his wife, two sons, two cats and their dog Monty. He is currently deputy-mayor for the Green Party and an AI researcher. He’s concerned about current divisive public and political debates. But he’s also interested in how AI can be used to resolve society’s big issues.

This is his first novel. He’s been carrying the idea about a story about AI bringing peace for a long time. The Covid-19 lockdown in the Netherlands suddenly gave him time to actually write it.

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Tour hosted by: Goddess Fish Promotions