Asimov’s Rules Are For Children

I was recently discussing Isaac Asimov’s rules on Facebook and decided to post my opinions here, where I am king and cannot be argued with. :) Asimov’s three rules of robotics are so simple, they are almost primitive. It is that simplicity that has made them so famous (you can read the rules at the end of the post). Like the ten commandments, they take complex issues and fears and break them down into easily digested and understood expectations. I am not trying to take away from Asimov’s talent at constructing such a simple set of rules, it is not easy to create something that the public can digest, understand and regurgitate. More importantly, the rules have affected those who actually work in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence, meaning Asimov’s rules on robots are actually being incorporated into the plans for modern robots. Nice job, Isaac!

Unfortunately, in real life, they would never hold up. The main reason is because the rules are horribly restrictive to what we need them to do.  Robots are being designed for two basic functions: Human companionship and hazardous work. If you are making cute teddy bear robots, you are obviously going to want to incorporate the rules, however if you’re creating robots for the second reason, you are going to find the rules impossible to implement. The primary job of a robot is to substitute itself for a human being. Whether the robot is mining lava or fighting crime, its basic programming would HAVE to allow it to place itself in danger, otherwise it would be useless. The world doesn’t need a robot nurse, it needs a robot soldier, combat or rescue are the two primary uses for intelligent machines.  I’ll get back to this one in a minute, for now lets read through the first rule.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

This rule is almost naive in its simplicity. Does this mean you cannot have a robot doctor or dentist? Because surgery and medicine are major industries for new technologies. Can a robot be a mid-wife? Not only is it hard to determine what exactly constitutes an injury (no robot wrestlers I guess), it is almost impossible to expect a machine to stop a human being from coming to harm. The only way a robot could fulfill this expectation would be to nanny human beings, every moment of the day, all day, forever. No smoking, no running at the pool, no diving, nothing at all that might cause injury or promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Will the robots force everyone to take yoga classes, or refuse to let bad drivers get behind the wheel? Once a robot is forced to value human life, it is a short jump to calculating which human lives are worth more. When two people of different cultures and races are in conflict, who does the robot assist? You see if a robot cannot clearly comprehend and deal with issues like our military deal with in places like Iraq, then the robot is useless.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. You know what humans love best about machines? They obey. This rule is almost laughable and goes against our entire culture of ownership. If I owned a robot, it would be MINE, it would listen to only my instructions, follow only my rules, do what I tell it to do. We all have cellphones but how often do you share it? How many people know your password? This rule makes it sound like anyone can come along and tell your robot what to do and it would have to listen. That would make for some funny pranks, but that’s not how our culture works. When you buy something, you own it, no one wants to share with other human beings.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. This is the rule that has always made me laugh. This sounds more like a civil rights bill than a rule for robots. A robot is supposed to be destroyed, that it what it is built for. Machines are made to be used until they break and they are either repaired or scrapped for junk. What could would a squad or space exploring robots be, if they ducked for cover at the first sign of danger? How could we send a robot to the bottom of the sea if its programming tells it to protect itself? A robot not willing to be damaged would be useless. Asimov’s robots lack motivation and dedication, because their programming is build around avoidance of danger. If a robot cannot take my place in dangerous situations and will not automatically protect me from other humans, why would I pay so much for the damn thing? All the most interesting robots are immoral or are killers. Asimov’s rules make us feel safe with the concept of robots, they give us hope that we’ll have absolute control over our computerized children, but they would never actually be implemented. There are just too many reasons to kill and ways to die that a machine that avoids harm would be virtually useless. If she can’t hurt you, how much fun can you possibly have??

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

Gale Allen Returns!

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My last anthology book, WHITE ZOMBIE, was a unique take on the zombie genre that challenged writers to contemplate racial and social issues.

This time, we’re going to challenge gender issues and expectations and give the world a new group of exciting, female, space adventurers!

Who is Gale Allen?

Gale Allen was a Venusian princess, the direct descendant of King Rogert who was the first human to land on Venus. Gale went on to become an agent of the Universal Space Patrol, and traveled throughout the galaxy fighting injustice. She held the rank of captain (though she was sometimes seen with a sergeant’s insignia on shoulder) and she commanded a team called the Girl Squadron (or more formally, The 40th Women’s Space Battalion), entirely comprised of female pilots and soldiers. Gale’s headquarters was in Vanam, the canalled capital of Venus.

Allen’s primary nemesis in her early career was Prince Blaga Daru, a tyrant who nearly conquered the Earth and wanted Gale for his mate. During the battle against Daru, Allen was made the top commander of the US Air Force. Her early adventures were supposed to take place around 1990, and her later adventures took place in the early 21st century (roughly 50-60 years in the future).

Gale was a skilled pilot and fighter who carried a ray gun on her hip.

Planet Comics was a science fiction comic book title produced by Fiction House and ran for 73 issues from January 1940 to Winter 1953. Like many of Fiction House’s early comics titles, Planet Comics was a spinoff of a pulp magazine, in this case Planet Stories, which featured space operatic tales of muscular, heroic space adventurers who were quick with their “ray pistols” and always running into gorgeous females who needed rescuing from bug-eyed space aliens or fiendish interstellar bad guys.

Gale appeared in almost every issue between #4 and #42. Written by Douglas McKee, Gale and her Girl Squadron were illustrated by Bob Powell in issues #4-10 and Fran Deitrick/Hopper in #28-40. In or around issue #34, the squadron were dropped.

The Anthology

GALE ALLEN AND THE GALAXY SQUADRON.

A series of short stories focusing on Gale, her Galaxy Squadron, and/or anyone from her mythology. The focus is on stories starring a female lead, or focusing on a female character and her over-the-top, space-faring adventures. Allen’s primary nemesis in her early career was Prince Blaga Daru, a tyrant who nearly conquered the Earth and wanted Gale for his mate.

Gale is now the leader of the US Space Force, overseeing her forces from an orbiting space station. Dozens of women pilots (and men) serve under her, helping protect our solar system from alien threats.

Here is what I am looking for:

Space stories featuring women.

Writers can be of any gender, being a woman is not a requirement, however I would love to showcase up and coming female authors in this anthology if at all possible.

I am not in a position to pay for the work, so it would be a fully collaborative venture. All proceeds would be donated to a women’s charity that will be chosen by the authors who contributed to the book.

Deadline: July 1st, 2016.

I would be overjoyed if a female editor would be interested in guiding this ship and handling the editing duties while I do the book cover and design.

Titles for 2015

The year is half done and I feel like I am really behind. LONDON UNDEAD is almost done, I swear. I have to finish it soon, I am bored of editing it. It’s like a kid that hangs around to long, you love them but it wouldn’t kill them to go outside and play for a bit.

After that I will be finishing of PUNCH.

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PUNCH is the story of a billionaire vigilante who takes in a young man after his parents are murdered. As they seek justice, they begin to develop feelings for each other. PUNCH is a love story between two damaged, driven, men who are determined to bring down the criminal organization known as the London Underground Circus.

After that there should be a new Legion book and I’d like to finish the short story BREATHE this year as well.

Time to keep writing!

Seeking Reviewers

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Game of Blood needs some reviews, so I am offering to give away copies to anyone that wants to read it and is willing to give a review on Amazon or any of the other major book sites.

Either comment on this page or e-mail me directly and I will send you over a copy.

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Blood-Raven-Heisenberg-ebook/dp/B00U0QL31Y

In a world where vampires are real and the forces of the supernatural are as deadly as any terrorist organization, only a vampire secret agent can protect mankind from the creatures of the night.

One of the world’s deadliest vampires, a man known only as “The Number,” has been a prime target of MI:13 for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, The Number will likely be “retired” by his masters, a mysterious organization known only as GHOST. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon finds himself dodging would-be assassins, fighting off brutal torturers, and going all-in to save the life of his beautiful human counterpart, Vesper Lynd.

In this 21st century mash-up of Britain’s greatest secret agent, you are introduced to a whole new world of shadowy espionage, blood-drinking spies and ancient, unspeakable evil.

Take a bite out of the new Bond.man-fixing-tie

LONDON UNDEAD

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Transylvania lies in ruins, the people devastated by a mysterious curse. Count Dracula is forced to flee his homeland in search of new blood to join his fight against the shambling hordes of the walking deceased. Unfortunately the curse follows him to London and quickly begins to spread, turning London into a city of the undead.

A cast of London’s most famous 19th century characters are brought together in a desperate bid to escape the city, not all of them human.

News On London Undead, New Blog

I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately because I haven’t been writing a lot lately, but I’ve decided what to do with London Undead. I am currently “carving” it, which is what I call editing and rewriting. What I do is I take blocks of text and I cut and paste them into a new document, rewriting and restructuring each block as a I go. This allows me to deepen and expand on the thought and purpose of each line. It’s the only way to catch all the grammar and spelling mistakes, its kind of like taking a comb to a beard. It’s still the same story after, but it will feel a little different.

I’m also contributing to a new wrestling blog at:

http://wrestlingweekday.blogspot.ca/

If you are a wrestling fan, be sure to head over there and check out the posts. It’s a joint effort by myself and Nick Ahlhelm.

An End to (Some)Things, On to New Ideas

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It has been right months since I started taking medication for bi-polar disorder. At first it was a bit disorienting; I suddenly found myself detached from the well of strong emotions I’d lived with my whole life. I began to disconnect from other people, making it difficult to understand or emphasize with them in the same way I used to. This is a good thing. After being disconnected my moods balanced out and the constant voice in my head that had constantly hounding me about things went quiet.

Since then, the things that used to preoccupy my mind have been swept away, the deep negative emotions have passed and the anger seems to have faded (mostly). Now the chemical blocks in my brain have settle into new arrangements and I find myself feeling, at least mentally, like the last twenty years never happened. I happy enough to want to be active and healthy enough to want to do something beneficial with all this energy. I don’t want to let another 20 years slip through my fingers without making it count for something.

It seems I am officially done with comics. Although I still plan on doing one more submission, I’ve been forcing myself to do it. I don’t take pleasure in writing in the genre anymore, primarily because I know no one is going to ever read the scripts I write, even if they do get published. It has not been a labor of love and I am not confident in the pitch itself, even though I think its a fantastic concept. The only reason I want to do it is so I can continue to be a guest at comicbook shows. The more comic work I do, the better my chances are of being accepted as a guest. I’ve been forcing myself to write this damn thing for a good, but entirely selfish, reason. I haven’t read any comics in months, I don’t have any interest in any of them and I think that I may just bury this submission and call it quits once and for all. I know so many good people in the industry but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Even if I could make a living at it, it wouldn’t make a difference.  It’s not about the money anymore, its about making a difference in some way, even if it is small and insignificant. I don’t want to waste my time anymore on childhood dreams that aren’t practical for adults.  The comic industry is such a small, weak, miserly little fellow that even if I attained huge success there would be little reward. The only thing you have to look forward to in comics is a movie deal, which is just as likely to happen with my novels as it would for any comic. If I worked on licensed properties, I wouldn’t even have that to look forward to. Work for hire is just work, nothing more, and I just don’t want to take on more work that barely pays. Unless you happen to be a certain type of person on a certain type of book, mainstream comic success is unattainable. I am  just not politically correct enough, pretty enough or motivated enough to make that happen. I want to apologize for all the teasing and broken promises, there are artists I’ve talked to about collaborating and I feel bad that they wasted their time listening to my ideas only to have me dump them in the trash. Sorry guys, I just can’t do it and it is time to stop pretending.

So what do I do?

Even writing books right now is boring me. I did it, I published two novels and a serialized book, as well as a few other short stories and odd books. I write because I can’t help it, but right now I am slowing down. It’s a side effect of not being paranoid and manic, I don’t feel driven to produce something every single day. Lately, with spring in the air, I’ve been itching to do something else. Working on films would be great but totally unrealistic. So instead I’ve started taking an interest in wrestling. I reached the goals I set up to do as an author and now I want to move onto other things.

Wresting is something I’ve been into since I was a small child and my father trained for a very short time with Sweet Daddy Siki. I am going to try and get involved in a local show, try to involve myself in the creative aspect of it and bring the stories and heroes I specialize in to life in a new media format. We’ll see how it goes. Sitting in front of the computer all day, putting my own spin on the fantasy world we create online, just doesn’t satisfy me anymore. Life is happening, out there somewhere, not on here. I need to find some part of it that I can keep with me when I am forced back in front of the computer screen. I feel like Frankenstein’s Monster, alive for the first time. I want to live!

In the mean time I’ll be finishing off LONDON UNDEAD and BREATHE so keep an eye out for those announcements!

This is Sweet Daddy Siki, btw, a legend in Canadian wrestling.

Wrestling and Comics

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The more I get into the new WWE, the more I see how shitty comics really are.

Wrestling and comics have always been two things I’ve loved since I was a little child. The dramatic, weekly adventures of colorful heroes and villains, whether on paper or in the ring, have always captured my imagination and inspired me. The two industries used to be a lot alike, even right down to the carnivalesque promoters.

The difference, it seems, is that while wrestling continues to grow and expand into different markets, comics remain as stagnant as ever.

There are many different reasons for this, but the main one is this:
Comics have never put fans first. Ever. There is an arrogance at the two major publishers that they know what is best for their product. They have shown that they obviously do not. Ego comes before business and that is never good.

Look at Wrestlemania 30. The company gave the fans what they wanted, even though it wasn`t their idea to push Daniel Bryan to the top. No one at the WWE believed Bryan was star material. They pushed him anyway, because the FANS wanted it. They wanted Batista to be champ, he had the GOTG movie coming up and would have been able to promote their company through the summer. The fans had no interest in a guy who hadn`t worked in years coming in and taking over.

Marvel and DC consistently ignore their fans in favor of their own plans. They truly believe they know better than anyone else how to handle their properties, even though the numbers show they don’t.

There should be a major Marvel/DC crossover every year, launching at San Diego Comicon. Every year. Nobody wants crossovers. Nobody wants reboots and relaunches.

Can you imagine what would happen if they relaunched new wrestlers under the names of old wrestlers? Would anyone support a new Macho Man or Ultimate Warrior? Hell no.

Wrestling promoters have to balance a fine line between the new and the old. Although there have been some shameful wrestling promos over the years, the industry learns from these mistakes and moves on, while the comic industry seems destined to consistently repeat them.

It’s too bad. The new WWE universe is better than ever before. I’m glad to have come back, but I am even more glad they have a superior product worth coming back for.

If only I could say the same thing about comics.

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