The Human Algorithm tagged posts

A new genre: Real Tech

Category: BooksTechnology

If someone were to ask me what genre the Algorithm Trilogy falls in, I would say Sci-Fi.  When I submitted the book to a publisher for consideration, I started with publishers who specialize in Sci-Fi, which in retrospect was likely a problem.  The first installment, The Human Algorithm, was submitted to Kindle with that genre.  I would prefer to use a different genre, though, but I have yet to hear of one that fits.  Until then, I will just refer to it as Real Tech, for realistic technology.

I wanted to stay away from the label of Sci-Fi.  What is the difference between genres of Sci-Fi and Real Tech?  Nothing, because I just made it up.  But when I think of Sci-Fi, I think of a galaxy far away, aliens, time travel (stay tuned for more on that), lasers, space, and pushing the limits of physics to their theoretical boundaries in the name of literature.  I didn’t want to go there with this book.  I want it to be futuristic, but realistic.  There are definitely areas in the book that will stretch the imagination, but the technology is all real.  In fact, every piece of hardware or software, building or vehicle are all based on theories being worked on today.  Not just theories, but realistic projects that we will likely see many of them become physical manifestations within our lifetimes.

The problem with writing about realistic technology, though, is that I can barely get through a single revision without the ideas in my book becoming outdated.  The first iterations of The Human Algorithm were written before any of the new generation tablets had reached the market.  I say “new generation” because Apple didn’t invent tablets with the iPad, they have been around for a while, but were definitely popularized by Apple.  I didn’t even know anyone with an iPhone when the majority of the plot was taking shape, and Android was still a promise, not a movement.  Now the concept of a PED is a logical next step, not a forward thinking notion.  Maybe that is why people prefer the far out Sci-Fi style, because it is a lot harder to be disproven until the work is a classic.  In one of the many revisions of the book, I had to add more features and devices to keep the book futuristic, rather than a relic of the past.  It’s apparent that the ideas I have added to the Human Algorithm will likely be old news much sooner than I had hoped.  I am fine with freezing the story, however, and calling it a period piece.  Letting the plot drive the interest with technology as the accents along the way, rather than a traditional science fiction endeavor where the technology plays center stage.

Or we can just say it isn’t even Earth and then I don’t have to answer to anybody.  But that is the Sci-Fi way out, and I promised you a Real Tech book.

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The Human Algorithm available on Amazon Kindle

Category: Books

The Human Algorithm CoverFive years after the concept, three and a half years after finishing the first draft, two years after my first and only rejection letter, seven months after finishing the trilogy, and five months after launching this website, I can now say that my first novel, the first book of the Algorithm Trilogy, The Human Algorithm, is now available for purchase from the Amazon Kindle store.  In all that time, I have been married, lived in two different homes, seen the birth of my first child, cheered for 3 Alabama National Championships, and revised this book seven times.  I will likely continue the revisions and post some deleted scenes on this website.  I doubt I will ever be satisfied with the book, but I think that is just part of being an author.  I do promise that I will move on to future books and not let the obsession with editing bring the publishing process to a halt.

I expect that the frequency of posts will pick up now as well.  Now that the book is out, now that the child is out.  Upcoming posts include creating the book covers, more information on the Algorithm Trilogy future, publishing process so far (kindle and others), an excerpt from the second book and more.  Or possibly less.  But hopefully more.

One more gratuitous link in case you missed the last one: Buy The Human Algorithm for the Kindle

May the Fourth be with you

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The Boot Up of The Human Algorithm

Category: Books

For the first post after the first post, I wanted to cover a little about exactly how my first three books progressed from nothing to something.  Tracing the beginning of a something like an idea is a daunting task.  It is conceivable that I could go back as far as middle school classes or writing stories on AOL BB’s (bulletin boards) or a great extinct website called The Reader’s Vine or even my first failed attempt to write a book back in High School.  I will leave that ancient history for another post on another day.  For this book, there are a couple notable events that stand out in my mind as the main catalysts.

The idea to write about computers and technology was a no-brainer for me.  They say to write about what you know, especially when it is your first book, or if you are struggling to get words on the page.  Since I took my first computer programming class in 11th grade I knew I would be a computer programmer.  After school I went into software development.  So when I started coming up with ideas for a book, technology was my entry point.  I wanted to focus on the software side of technology, but I felt like that was too intangible to write a whole story about.  Hardware, cell phones, TV’s and the like don’t particularly interest me as much as software, but when you know “computers” you instantly get lumped into a bucket that family and friends refer to as “Tech Support”.  So over time, I have developed a substantial knowledge on the topic, sufficient to supplement the software in the book.

With the genre decided, I needed a story, characters, and a setting.  By nature, I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  The best motivator that I have found is a challenge.  Set a goal and a date, make it a competition, and make it difficult.  So when I heard about National Novel Writing Month, I signed up immediately.  National Novel Writing Month (or more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo) is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  The first year I heard about this, I started a few days late (which already makes a touch challenge nearly impossible), but I also missed some days due to work commitments.  But during the days I did participate, I started the tale of the Human Algorithm, with a few key differences.  The law enforcement / police character was not the main character, but a secondary one, still very important to the plot, but not the absolute focus.  The main character was a computer programmer, of course.  So as you can tell, these characters were eventually merged.  Many of the elements of this first book survived into the Algortihm Trilogy.  For example, there was a SHADE type organization that operated in secret, and a DMZ area where technology was barren.  The writing of this first draft had a number of plot problems and silly scenes that did not fit the tone I wanted to achieve.  So after I abandoned my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I also archived this original writing for reference, bust started again from scratch.  The following year I took another shot at the 50,000 word challenge, this time armed with 2 full sized poster boards drawn from edge to edge with diagrams of the world and flow charts of the plot.  The second time I succeeded.  Five full length revisions and I feel like it is time to let the words out into the Internet, where they rightfully belong.

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books.stovercash is live

Category: Website

To fit with the sci-fi /computer theme, the most appropriate introduction would be “Hello, World”.  That is, of course, the default first test that programmers use on any new programming language.  And now I realize that in 3 books I never had Nic say, “Hello, World”.  That is likely a mistake I will have rectified before the books go to print.

With the impending doom of the physically printed word, I wonder what phrase will replace “go to print”.  Maybe people will instead say “Become downloadable”.  But even that has an expiration date assuming everything will be cloud based so downloading will eventually go the way of print.  At which point we will just say “Become available for access”.  I am not suggesting we use these terms.  I am hoping someone more clever will develop the new standard phrases.

Which brings me to the point of this post and the point of this site.  I have launched this subdomain site to supplement the eventual kindle self-publishing of my first three books, known currently as “The Algorithm Trilogy”.  And assuming I continue on my current projected trajectory, there will be more books forthcoming at the conclusion of these works.

I’ve decided against closing with the antipodal of my opening statement, as “Goodbye, World” carries a much different feeling to it.  I will leave this first post at that, with more details to follow.


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