Today, I would like to turn the spotlight onto a fellow writer Bard Constantine!
Here’s what he has to say, “Allow me to introduce myself: I’m what you might call a neo-pulp author. If you pick up a Bard Constantine story, chances are you’re looking for hard-hitting action, unique jargon, and relatable characters you can journey along with for a while. Gritty futures and epic fantasy are my specialties, though I dabble in just about anything if the mood strikes.”
Heavanwolrd, his latest novel, is a connected universe featuring mixed genre stories set in a dystopian future. Phase One will be available August 2018!
Readers can vote for the story they want to see expanded into a full novel. The story with the most votes will be the first book published for Phase Two. How cool is that?!
— — —
The excerpt below is from the upcoming novel Havenworld by Bard Constantine:
The machines do not know me.
They don’t see as I do, nor do they possess instinctive reasoning. I’ve been raised in the habitat since I was an infant, so I know. My earliest memories are of cold, unfeeling metallic bodies, gleaming gears, and silent, whirring parts. My sisters are like I am: human, fleshly. Alive. The machines bred us in laboratories for unknown purposes. They don’t bother to tell us what that is.
The automatons are my parents, my caretakers, my teachers. They provide healthy food, adequate clothing, and protective shelter from the savage wilderness, deadly superstorms, and roving marauder bands that abduct and enslave the defenseless. In return, the machines control every aspect of my being.
They gave the name Michelle, but deep inside I have another name. A name I gave to myself, one they can’t take away or control. I took a name to match my brown skin and thick, curly hair that speaks to me of the fiery sun and untamed beauty of the land of my genetic origins.
My name is Zina, and I am the first. A daughter of no one with a destiny of her own choosing. The machines do not know Zina. I allow them to see what they wish, but I watch. And I wait. Patience is paramount because one mistake can end it all.
The other girls aren’t as cognizant as I am. I don’t know why I differ from them, but where I observe and calculate, they accept and submit. They depend on the machines for everything, so much that they’re almost machines themselves. They fall into docile acceptance like the domestic animals we learn about in our history lessons, docile and compliant. I like to remind myself that those peaceful, domesticated beasts were slaughtered and eaten every day.
My daily schedule is one of monotonous routine. Exercise, education, exercise, sleep. Lines of girls in navy and white uniforms march in unison, walk in single file lines and sit in square cubicles with holovisors on as synthetic humanoids instruct us in literacy, mathematics, and earth’s catastrophic history.
Of all the instruction, it’s history alone that fascinates me. I’m fascinated by the world as it used to be before the Cataclysm shattered its foundations. I eagerly take in the crowds of differing faces, the glittering cities, the breathtaking landscapes of yesterday’s world.
It’s the tragedy that attracts me for some bizarre reason. From the holographic projection of my visor, I witness the abuse of power and fathomless greed which led to hundreds of millions slaughtered in wars and conflicts, and even more dying from poverty and famine. I witness the woeful ignorance as religious and political entities tried to force their will upon the people, resulting in slavery, genocide, and insurmountable divisions.
I find it hard to believe such an advanced society could not find the means to save themselves from their own obliteration. The Skygate Collapse may have destroyed the known world, but it was almost an act of mercy. The earth was already suffering the throes of global cancer, shuddering in a slow and painful demise which happened to be punctuated by a final desperate act that unleashed the gates of a swift and sudden destruction.
Or so we are told. I have reason to doubt everything, every so-called fact, every command given. How can one trust a cold and impersonal machine? Some are fashioned after adults, simdroids designed to imitate humans as if to supply some artificial familiarity to our lives. But there are only circuits firing within their chests, clicking cameras behind their eyes, and cold, artificial flesh covering their gleaming insides.
So I feign obedience, supply the automatons with a mask of compliance. I learned early on that bucking the status quo only results in more attention, more time strapped to the holovisors with endless streams of submission-inducing images flickering across my eyes. I mentally sleep during those times, eyes open but my mind far away in a daydream of running through tall grasses coated with freshly fallen dewdrops that sparkle like a million liquid crystals. The air is wet and I feel alive, free to run and breathe and laugh.
When the session ends, I have learned nothing except to be more careful in the future. Machines are pattern based, and behavior is just another pattern to them. So long as my behavior falls under their accepted parameters, I have nothing to worry about. During the day I fall into place, follow the established routine. Exercise, education, exercise, sleep. I engage in mental games and physical challenges with the other girls. I give every indication I am submissive to the program.
But at night my world comes alive.
— — —
— — —
— — —