Monday, October 21, 2019

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The Sound of Blue by Michael Duda - Book Tour + Giveaway






The Sound of Blue: Four Science Fiction Stories
Michael Duda

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Michael Duda

Date of Publication: August 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9984984-0-9
ASIN: B07VQ8L9C8

Number of pages: 69
Word Count: 17,504

Tagline:  The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery

Book Description:

The story “The Sound of Blue” was awarded Silver Honorable Mention by Writers of the Future, Q2 2019.

Aliens exist everywhere. They are android. They hide within the mind. They live on other planets. And they can even travel the universe using technology far beyond our understanding.

Markey VI, an android on an orbiting space station, assists an artificial intelligence. David, the A.I., ponders the question of humanity’s fate. The ultimate question is, “Should life be returned to Earth?” The answer is known as the Singular Conclusion. But the answer’s impact reaches far deeper into Markey VI’s electronic components and programmed logic than could be anticipated. And the android’s final moments bring it closer to humanity itself.

David Grayson volunteered for a project called, ‘Threading.’ Unfortunately, Threading slowly alters David’s mind. And it affects the other two subjects. But in what way? After the final test goes wrong, David unleashes a powerful ability capable of distorting time.

Shiran accuses Abian of murdering her husband. She claims that Abian tells lies about the events leading to the death. She also keeps a secret that could reveal the truth. When Abian uncovers Shiran’s secret, Shiran discovers that there is more to her simple village life than she first believed.

It’s a futuristic version of 1930s Chicago. Named Chicago VI, the shielded space city exists somewhere at the far edge of the Oberon Galaxy. And all space cities connect by jump trains, faster-than-light machines. Bobby and his dog, Mister Pleats, barely make ends meet at Chicago VI’s jump train station. But when Bobby meets an alien Xenoarchaeologist, he’ll discover that there’s more possibilities in the galaxy than shining shoes.

The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery. A journey just out of atmospheric reach. To a mysterious planet and at the far end of a galaxy. And into the mind where superhuman powers wait to be untapped.


Excerpt:
Holding a modified
acoustic guitar, Markey VI sat down in a chair facing the space station’s
observatory window. There were no distracting sounds inside the room. Only a
low frequency hum could be detected nearby.
Skin sensors indicated
that the observatory maintained a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It was an
optimal temperature for the operation of so many telemetry electronic
assemblies that covered the walls to the left and right. This temperature would
also be suitable for the transmission of sound waves.
David continued to argue
for the purpose of suspended chords being played on the guitar. Or any
instrument. To Markey VI, the guitar was a straight forward procedure.
“Suspension of chords is
more than just playing music in time,” David said.
“And what other purpose
do they serve?” Markey VI asked.
“It’s about tension, then
prolonging the tension. It keeps humans listening, excited, wanting more. Geez,
what do androids know?”
“But you are an
artificial intelligence. You can only predict how a human might react. How
would tension benefit you?”
“You forget I was once
human. And your creator.”
This answer was
illogical. The subtleties of being human were both inefficient and
unnecessarily complicated. The A.I.’s responses indicated a potential reset of
its system.
“Should I play for you?”
Markey VI said.
“Yes. It helps me think.”
Markey VI positioned
artificial hands over the guitar’s fretboard and bridge. David remained silent,
working on the Singular Conclusion.
This was the ninth
iteration of David’s A.I. During each new iteration, he attempted to once again
resolve humanity’s fate. The question, Should life be returned to Earth? did
not have a straightforward solution.
When this new iteration
had begun, David had told Markey VI that the process was not to be taken
lightly. It was like playing the role of Grand Creator. He had said that he was
responsible for granting new generations of people a second chance, if they
were worthy. And that was a matter of predicting behavioral outcomes in
multiple scenarios. Markey VI had offered no response.
But David’s recent
prediction efforts were now being interrupted by a second question. Had
humanity all been an unfortunate accident? If David could not come to a
satisfactory resolution soon, there would be another A.I. reset. And a tenth
iteration of David would once again work at resolving the ultimate and final
question.
“David, I will begin
playing.”
“Look down below us and
use real images to inspire you.”
From the observatory’s
vantage point, the orbiting space station could more easily monitor the Earth
through electronic means. The lifeless planet could also be viewed from a
distance. Markey VI’s synthetic eyes granted good magnification. But at
approximately 250 miles above the surface, details of what existed below were
still somewhat limited.
The station had just
moved into the light side of Earth. Below, the unfocused image of the Atlantic
Ocean ran along the coastal line of what had once been Spain.
“What is it that you
see?” David asked.
“Blue. Along a craggy
cliff.”
“What are the sounds of
blue against a cliff? Play it as music.”
“I could select a work
from my memory. Would this inspire you?”
“Surprise me.”
Markey VI processed this
request and seconds later decided on Charles Trenet’s La Mer. Initiating a
backing track, metal fingers moved flawlessly in rhythm and time over the
guitar’s nylon strings. As each chord changed, just enough pressure was applied
to harmonize with proper effect. And scales rang out notes in perfect pitch, a
singular voice that complimented the progression of music.
When finished, the
android asked if the work was played satisfactorily.
“I have made you as close
to God as possible and yet you lack a soul,” David said.
“I do not understand.”
“You don’t play. You
imitate.”
“I will stop.”
“Did you know that when
La Mer was first performed, audiences dismissed the work?’”
“I did not mean to offend
you by playing it.”
David made a laughing
sound, his voice spreading out through the mounted speakers spread across the
observatory.
“Markey VI, does the
color blue mean anything to you? Anything?”
“It has a visible
spectral wavelength of –“
“I’m talking about
concrete images conjured by the senses. I can’t taste spectral abstractions.
They don’t remind me of the woman that smelled like cherry blossoms, or a soft
kiss like a cloud’s caress, and ocean waves that softly ebbed and flowed to our
beating hearts.”
“My output data could be
modeled after several physical parameters of the landscape below.”
The observatory speakers
went silent. Only the humming of electronics could be detected.
For several minutes, the
station moved further around its orbit. The ocean shifted away as rock and
grass came into view. The tops of trees appeared in random numbers and
groupings. Hills rose and fell in no particular design or fashion.
Markey VI reviewed
photographs and paintings stored in internal memory. They were compared to the
foliage below. There was no logical reason for why humans had artistically
recreated so many images of these topographical irregularities.
Finally, David spoke
again. “I’ve reached the Singular Conclusion.”
“Are we to abort Project
Eden?”
“No. Your music has shown
me today what I can never predict tomorrow. Without flaws, without
irregularities, humanity has no meaning and no reason for hoping for something
better.”
“Their flaws caused their
own self-destruction.”
“The greatest of all
accidents. But they lived a million times more than you ever can, Markey VI.”
Markey VI stood up and
placed the guitar in its stand. Strings plinked as the instrument settled into
a resting position. The final task would soon begin. The station would be taken
out of orbit.
“I will initiate Project
Eden. A new cycle of humanity will evolve,” Markey VI said.
“And hopefully it will
resolve to something better.”
“And if it does not?”

“Then a future version of me will try to fix humanity’s
flaws, only to realize the miserable accident of a perfect android.”


About the Author:

Michael is the author of several collections of short stories. Under pen name M. Duda, his titles include We Dream at Twilight and Whispers from the Grave.

His most recent story, "The Sound of Blue," won Silver Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future. This has fueled his passion for writing fiction.

He lives in Ohio with his wife, three dogs and two cats. He writes because his cat hates him.







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