Friday, October 30, 2015

The Path & guest post from author Peter Riva

Developing a sci-fi world by Peter Riva

Hello Jonel, thank you for inviting me, and what a demanding question…

I guess I am a knowledge junky. I sleep every night, ear piece in, listing to podcasts from around the world – mostly technology and human endeavor. Creating a new world, especially one in the future, requires me to use those building stones of acquired knowledge to construct a more realistic future world. I am not really one for flights of fancy – although authors like Brin with The Practice Effect – truly amaze me by their brilliance.

Nope, my world in The Path and the sequel out in January, Reaching Angelica, both rely on technology just at the edge of what is already possible today. Okay, sometimes I do allow the imagination to conjure up the possibility that the interface with a computer could be more visceral than this keyboard I am typing on (badly). So Simon Bank, my hero, dons a helmet with electrodes similar to those strapped to chimps in today’s brain function labs, and he delves into the very inner-workings of a supercomputer, arranging codes and changing passwords and gate keys to the library (storage). Some people will, no doubt, skim over the techno-babble (okay I admit it can read like that to those who do not understand how a computer works) and others will know what a FAT is and smile as they see the signposts to unlock their imagination in believing that Simon really does get to “know” Peter the AI. Either way, the action allows the story to advance.

Heck, it is meant to be fun! I see no point in making a tomorrow that is pessimistic and depressing. Today’s life has too much of that. I prefer to tell a story, reveal frightening facts in a fun way (like the Calhoun Rat Studies – which are real!), and sculpt a new world that, frankly, I would like to live in.

You know, years ago, I came out of seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds in Leicester Square in London. As we came out of the matinee, the trees in the park opposite were full of screeching black birds, thousands of them. Some movie-goers screamed and ran back inside. Me? I watched the birds, saw a woman feeding them, went over and asked if I could help her. Heck, if that was the new world, better to join ‘em than run for cover.

My new world, the future, is pretty much like that. But only if you see the present and the past accurately, only if you have the information you need to build a new future. Here’s a hint… a large percentage of what seems fantastical in my book has actually happened, currently exists or is already in the planning stages. Future world in The Path? Maybe, it all depends on how the next ten years are played out on the global stage.

About the author:

Peter Riva has worked for more than thirty years with the leaders in aerospace and space exploration. His daytime job for more than forty years has been as a literary agent. He resides in New York City.

Connect with the author

Title:  The Path
Series:  Tag Series #1
Author:  Peter Riva
Publication Date:  January 20/15 by Yucca Publishing
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  SciFi
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

All life on earth is about to be terminated by an entity as old as the galaxy itself. To make matters worse, Simon has broken everything already.

In a future world that is run by computer systems and that is without want, how can a man find his role? Then, if the very computers he works on to try to make them more human suddenly try to kill him, revealing a secret so vast that it affects every living soul on the planet, can that man be a hero?

These are the questions that face the stumbling, comic, and certainly flawed Simon Bank. His job is to work with the System’s artificial intelligence, making it fit more perfectly into human society so that it can keep the country running smoothly. But when the System threatens the peaceful world he knows, Simon suddenly must rush to save his own life, as well as the life of everyone on earth. Forced to reassess everything that he thought he knew, he is caught within circumstances way beyond his control.

Simon’s only hope is to rely on intellect and instincts he didn’t know he had, and on new friends, not all of them human, to change himself and all humanity. And he doesn’t have much time.

My Review:

The premise behind this novel was extremely intriguing. Riva made me think while telling a one of a kind tale. The intricate techno talk definitely appealed to me, even if I can see where it may turn others from the story. The concepts that Riva put forth were both intellectually and imaginatively stimulating. But Riva went beyond this, developing a world that was easy to picture.

The characters were unique. They filled the story well, their actions highlighting the double standards in the world that he’s created. Their actions and reactions were just as revealing as they way in which Riva developed them.

As a whole, this was an intriguing and unique foray into the realm of science fiction. Riva developed a world and characters that held my attention throughout.