Audiobook Update (Quantum Proliferation)

Hey all, for those of you who listen to your books, I wanted to spread a quick update. 

I’ve decided to use the Patreon funds to help secure Melissa to do book 2. If you’d like to back that project, you can contribute over at: https://patreon.com/joekuster

Rough availability to start it will be May. From there, it’ll take recording, retakes, edits, and however long it takes for publishing. That’s probably not as quick as you all would love, but it’s the soonest I think I’d have the funds together out of the book project. 

If I’m fair, the audiobooks are a bit of a money pit at the moment, but I’m hoping to change that. So, when I do have it ready, spreading the word would be super appreciated. 

Thanks!

JK

Quantum Beginnings Free Days

Awesome news, my best selling near-future cyberpunk thriller, Quantum Beginnings – Entangled Fates 1 is free from 3/8/2020 to 3/12/2020.

I could try to talk it up, but my reviewers do a better job.

P.M.: “Outstanding writing, excellent story, well developed characters you will love, one of the best books I’ve read this year.”
A.: “An amazing story of early development of cyber tech. The way it’s written feels really realistic and how people react to transhumanism.
A.C: “This is one of those gems you always hope to stumble into
J.D.: “Couldn’t put this down.
C.D.: “A wonderful read that would not let go even after I finished the book!
M.M: “I absolutely loved this book. The characters were awesome and I lost track of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading it.
L.T.: “Stayed up crazy late because I couldn’t put it down.
M.: “It was an amazing book about struggle and survival.
See more at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W1534R8#customerReviews

Synopsis:
Artificial intelligence was nearly mankind’s last invention. AI took off like a rocket, then when it racked up an impressive death toll, it crashed before it could blossom and took most high-tech industries with it. Resistance and fears became deep-set.
Two decades after the infamous Rev. 4.6 incidents, humanity hasn’t quit dreaming of the wealth and power that could be at their fingertips. A new generation of mega-corporations rose from the ashes. When one melds a quantum computer to a barely functional mental patient as a PR move, there are those who seek to profit, those who want to destroy it, and Alex.

Alex Sage is a typical college student trying to keep up his grades and maybe find a meaningful connection with the fairer sex. Then, an automated semi crashes into his home, killing his family and turning his head into a pin cushion in the process.

Alex awakens to find most of his memories gone and an illegal AI hidden in his brain implant. Now the pet project of a tech billionaire and heavily in debt, Alex struggles to stay valuable enough to be kept online. Still grappling with the repercussions of his injuries, and threats from a dangerous anti-augmentation political movement, there are no easy answers and threats loom around every corner. Alex must use whatever resources he can to escape from under the thumb of a ruthless corporation, while keeping those he comes to love safe.

This series features an anti-hero protagonist, does not shy away from complicated relationships (multiple partners), and is not fade to black. 18+

If you enjoy techie thrill-rides, action-packed scenes, morally gray main characters, and aren’t afraid of a bit of spicy romance, this might just be for you.

Writing Calendar

Assuming Muse doesn’t get involved, EF4 is going to complete the First Arc (others will follow). It’s also becoming a big damn book as I create new threads for the related series and close out a bunch of plot threads.

That means I get to do two things:
Start working on the extended EF universe (non-Quantum).
Begin splitting my time between EF and another series that I’ve been tinkering on. Realistically I think I can juggle 2 series + the occasional stand-alone.

I’m well aware of where the action left off in EF3 and will be pushing to get 4 out the door as soon as it is ready. The first draft is around 90% complete, so it’ll be a couple months at a minimum to wrap up editing, cover art, etc.

An Editorial on Neural Modification and Writing in Layers

I’ve been getting this feedback through lots of small little snippets. Based on what I’m hearing, there’s at least a limited perception that Sophie tweaking Alex’s mental state is somehow a weakness or her coddling him.

My intent is simple:

Alex is a mental patient. You know, big damn hole in his head and missing gray matter. That twitchiness? Strange conflicts? Panic attacks? Sudden and intense depression? Spontaneous anger or mood swings? Promiscuity? Bouts of cold logic and apathy? That’s based on my experience with people with neurological damage or antisocial personality disorder. It’s what makes it such a realistic case for neural hardware in the first place.

Alex isn’t magically “better” after his accident. He’s got permanent damage and has to deal with the repercussions of it. Anything beyond him being a compliant but squishy robot requires software in the implant to work.

That requires Sophie to continually adjust the code in his personality matrix. Something that is wildly incomplete at this point. She has to make continual changes to make it all work.

On the flip of that, Sophie has been building up their shared matrix to make herself more human. In effect, stealing his thought processes for her own.

The MC Alex, the guy most of the story is about, is really a hybrid consciousness. A delicate ballet between biology and technology. It’s really one of the core philosophical aspects that few really ponder. We’re looking down the barrel of this from a societal stance already. There are thousands of books that discuss porting of a complete mind into VR scenarios, but there’s a critical in-between step that humanity is likely to encounter. Neural implants, enhancements, AI-based electrical stimulation. Some of this, we’re tinkering with already.

The question I want people to ask themselves is when we begin editing our minds, are we really still ourselves? At what point does the “messy” biology no longer matter? Are we willing to give that much of ourselves away? As you progress down that path, would digitizing a personality end up becoming eventually nothing more than an advanced chatbot on a neural network? Does it even matter?

In this case, it’s clear that Alex’s mind isn’t exclusively his own. That hybrid consciousness is a spinning plate on a stick that takes continued adjustments from both sides. He does not have a complete personality. He simply doesn’t. It’s not been written in his software yet. So, yes, per mutually agreed upon bounds, he is continually adjusted to keep him on track. In most cases, it’s no more coddling that your thermostat coddles your HVAC unit. It might be done with a loving hand, but it’s still just flipping the controls to keep things going.

That’s my intent anyway. It’s not to magically make him a “weak MC” or something from a (insert genre of books that I have never read). I’m not leaning into a trope. It’ll probably surprise most, but I’ve literally never read a Manga or light novel, and my only Anime experience was a roommate in college that insisted on having DBZ running 24×7 so I found excuses to be elsewhere.

Instead, I’d like to think that I’m creating a progressive journey that calls into question some of the very real issues humanity is going to have to address over the next few decades. I may have to fine-tune my messaging though, so feel free to let me know when I’m drifting too far off point, or belaboring the issue.

Quantum Escape is Out Now!

This was a fun one to write. It ended up quite the action-packed thriller.


Covalent Technology’s unveiling of the next generation of Mesh caused ripples felt worldwide. In one move, Alex and Sophie not only launched their latest money-making scheme but also their opening salvo in their war against the rogue AI that stands to destroy all those that might oppose it.

Such a thing was always bound to attract attention. Months of careful moves had been taken to prepare, but when one stray phone call blows their cover, the response is immediate and lethal. Plans come crashing down as Homeland Security, Chiwen, and a betrayal that will shake Alex to his core converge.

With a ticking clock, Alex and the Black Flags are thrown into their deadliest battle yet in a desperate bid to keep Sophie online as they fight for their very lives.

There are deals to be made, and lives to be taken. The blood gods are hungry.

Quantum Beginnings Audiobook Release!

Hey all! If you enjoy digesting your books through your ears, Quantum Beginnings just dropped on Audible. It’s 13.5 hours of Near-future Cyberpunk, Hard Science, Emergent AI’s, and non-fade-to-black fun.

Quantum Beginnings hit a #1 bestseller in Hard Sci-Fi, and the reviews have been fantastic, so I’m hoping it’ll do well over on Audible.

Disclaimer: contains both weird but real quantum physics and mature content. It’s firmly aimed at those who enjoy their sci-fi realistic, their characters complex, and relationship status as “it’s complicated.” 

Audible US: https://www.audible.com/pd/B0842R8XHB/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-179651&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_179651_rh_us

Audible UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B0842QC6ZL/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-179651&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_179651_rh_uk

Audible FR: https://www.audible.fr/pd/B0842QV9YZ/?source_code=FRAORWS022318903B-BK-ACX0-179651&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_179651_rh_fr

Audible DE: https://www.audible.de/pd/B0842R7PP5/?source_code=EKAORWS0223189009-BK-ACX0-179651&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_179651_rh_de

Entangled Fates 3 update

Hey all, just a quick note that we’re roughly on track for a February release for Quantum Escape, Entangled Fates 3. Editing and rewrites are mostly done, so I’m working on cover art and a few other things behind the scenes.

If you are interested reading early-chapters or giving feedback on the artwork hit up my Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JoeKuster/