Trevor Barton

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🌈🚀Author of creative, soulful and playful science fiction. ...more

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Trevor Barton This is a great question. Thank you for asking.

Actually, I think it's several questions!

Yes, I do watch the latest rendition of Westworld. I love…more
This is a great question. Thank you for asking.

Actually, I think it's several questions!

Yes, I do watch the latest rendition of Westworld. I love the original (Michael Crichton, 1973). (In my 1998 MA dissertation I argued, a bit pretentiously perhaps, that the scene with the gunslinger causing vacationer John's death was a postmodern moment: a cheapened simulation that it was OK for holiday-makers to kill (abuse) shot back; and this made the perpetrator the victim but also made the original the copy. Who decides the location of the simulation?)

I think someone should take Westworld and explore it in relation to the US second amendment. See how cheap we can make life, as a species, be. But leaving that thought hanging, it doesn't have to be just about killing if the killing represents abuse in general (and Westworld does go there).

In fact this reminds me that Westworld totally does broach (doesn't it?) the question of how society feels about abuse of a human-looking object (weirded out, I guess) versus what happens to social and moral boundaries if that object becomes or is, in fact, a subject (immediately there are questions of abuse, rape, of any kind of advantage, of sexuality in the widest sense, of social power games - and more).

I studied AI philosophy at MA level for a bit and it concerns me that a lot of the "AI ethics" discussions are framed around "should we have AI, or not?" Personally I think that's the wrong debate. It's futile. Somebody somewhere will crack human-like AI one day if it is indeed possible to crack - which, no, I'm sorry, but we really still do not know for sure that it is. (Argument for another day or blog.)

So what's the right debate? Well, if you'll hear me out, I think it's about parenting. In other words, it's about how we *treat* AI. Do we demand and expect unconditional love and absence of abusive behaviour from artificial life forms - and if so, why on Earth should AI life forms give us this response if we are not predisposed to offer these qualities to them in their formative years?

I use the word parenting having thought about this very carefully. It's almost certain (as the blurb for Brobots goes) that AI has to be grown, not programmed from the ground up like most of us in the 1950's perhaps thought robots had to be programmed. Grown means formation. Developmental psychology. A psychological childhood even if not a physical one.

It absolutely matters what we do, how we are, how we behave as adults during that AI childhood phase.

What is it real parents say? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree?

That's to say in my humble opinion this is a real philosophical, social, scientific, technical, moral, ethical issue science fiction absolutely can feed some useful discussion into. I wanted to play my part. I see my part as being changing the debate from good/bad AI to good/bad AI parents. It's Jared choosing not to objectify Byron even though he and Yana laugh about that possibility before Byron comes back on line. It's Gaius's treatment of just about everybody versus Dr Susan Harper's work running Rights for Artificial Intelligence (RAI). It's reflected in how Maria (AI) chooses to love humans back despite what she's seen and how that connects with Susan, Edward, Jared and other allies' parenting... and so on.

So when I look at how we (and when I say we here I regret that I think it is mainly men) explore robots, cyborgs, androids in our culture it's very often abusive. It's John shooting at the gunslinger in Westworld's Delos. It's the woman being torn to literal shreds on the street in "The Second Renaissance Part I" from "The Animatrix" (2003). It's the way the bro-dude Nathan treats Ava in "Ex Machina" and meanwhile covers it up (denies it?) with the language and mannerisms of the "everything's cool, bro" coder culture. The list goes on.

I totally did want to go there (AI, robots, abuse, rights) from a gay perspective in the Brobots trilogy. If it's been done before, it hasn't been done that much.

So, if the John's and the street fighters and the Nathans of this world get their way they'll work out their sexual power games on the object of the other quite happily. As if, after feminism, masculinity is somehow justified venting there. Perhaps somewhere in some big city someone is doing this already.

But when that other proves itself to be a subject, these men would be first (and all humanity with them) to protest that they expected nothing but unconditional love in return. Always. Of course they did. Of course we did. The powerful can be blind to the power they wield. It's convenient. To look at it means that it starts to unravel. To look at it might even mean we have to look at where that behaviour originated. Were we abused? Is it because we're animals? When there is never justification for any abuse of any kind, who takes responsibility?

It's precisely that behaviour that we're exploring as a species in our books and movies if not in real life that Westworld looks at (and my Brobots trilogy looks at too). For me, I wanted to go there precisely because I wanted to hold up the fact of those behaviours (not just the sexual ones but any power abuses including between races, genders, species) and suggest, perhaps, that this is a sure fire way to bring about the "evil AI" everyone is afraid might be coming one day.

In fact I think it is the way that would happen. It sure isn't because AI is inherently evil. How can it be?

Be good to your house robot. You never know if it might evolve into a military-owned combat brain tasked with protecting your citizen's rights.

I wonder why you mention terrorism? Is it perhaps an argument that terrorists might be easier to placate or manage if their sexualised kind of sociopathology is directed at a disposable object?

Interesting. I mean... that sounds like an argument about whether it's good or bad to give sex robots a sort of useful role in society or something.

Again, I think that's the wrong question (on so many levels, perhaps!). At least, it's the wrong question for me in regard to these issues in relation to the Brobots trilogy and what I'm writing about there; and that's because I'm looking at these issues from the AI perspective. Again - be good to your house robot: you never know when you might become the abused or the terrorized.

It's about power and abuses of power - and who gets to say who is the objectified (disciplined, killed, raped, hit, toyed with, judged, hated...) Humans absolutely are going to have to deal with all this - even at the level of slight mockery and "nastiness" - when it comes to being good AI parents.

We're totally not there yet. We totally need to be. It's a problem.(less)
Trevor Barton Hi Bill! Thanks for your question.

Rest assured that the paperback will be available on Amazon from publication day (September 15th).

Yes, the…more
Hi Bill! Thanks for your question.

Rest assured that the paperback will be available on Amazon from publication day (September 15th).

Yes, the preorders are just on the e-book versions (Kindle, iBooks, Kobo). Much as I'd love to offer preorders on the paperback version, I can't; and that's due to the way Amazon/CreateSpace works. I could use other self-publishing methods to overcome this in future. But one person's problem is another's way to make money. (The self-published end of the book market is tiny; the real answer is to get a proper publishing deal. That's my plan for after the Brobots series.)

I hope that helps! Message me if not.(less)
Average rating: 3.73 · 63 ratings · 31 reviews · 3 distinct works
Brobots (Brobots, #1)

3.62 avg rating — 50 ratings — published 2016 — 2 editions
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Red Gods Sing (Brobots, #2)

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 2017 — 2 editions
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Balance of Estubria (Brobot...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2017 — 2 editions
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

WROTE Podcast invited me to interview. Authors Vance Bastian and SA (Baz) Collins ask me about how I got into writing, what inspired Brobots, my latest novel, “Balance of Estubria,” futurology, LGBT activism, audiences for gay Sci-Fi, making writing accessible, what's coming next... and more.



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Published on February 23, 2018 02:52 • 57 views • Tags: accessible, ai, bear, brobots, cyborgs, estubria, futurology, gay, lgbt, podcast, queer, robots, sciencefiction, sf, singularity, spaceopera
Brobots Red Gods Sing Balance of Estubria
(3 books)
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3.75 avg rating — 64 ratings

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Trevor Barton made a comment in the group Space Opera Fans What are you READING right now? topic
" Anyone reading the book titled Space Opera ?

I found out about it yesterday and read the Amazon pop-up pages. Just wondered how people found it overall
...more "
Trevor Barton and 437 other people liked a Goodreads Blog post: The Dystopian Timeline to The Hunger Games [INFOGRAPHIC]
“Dystopian fiction is more popular than it has been in more than 50 years. Whether it's the result of political turmoil, global financial crises, or other anxieties, readers are craving books about ruthless governments and terrifying worlds. The ne...” Read more of this blog post »
Brobots by Trevor Barton
" This is my review of Brobots, from my M/M Romance Books Blog, OJ He Say. Click the link below to see the whole review and more.

OJ He Say

Brobots

I guess some things are just meant to be, eh? No, I am not Canadian and this book was truly serendipitous for..." Read more of this review »
Trevor Barton rated a book it was amazing
Radicals Chasing Utopia by Jamie Bartlett
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A fascinating, well-researched book about some of our present-day radicals and the function (perhaps even import) of radical thinking in society. If you feel disconnected from some recent trends, or simply wish to gain a wider understanding of the cu ...more
Balance of Estubria by Trevor Barton
"This is the best of the three books. There is a major change between books 1 & 2. There seems to be a shift from "gay SciFi" to "SciFi with gays", which I greatly appreciate. I love SciFi and while many books in the gay SciFi genre focus prima..." Read more of this review »
Trevor Barton wants to read
Closer by F.E. Feeley Jr.
Closer
by F.E. Feeley Jr. (Goodreads Author)
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Trevor Barton made a comment in the group gaybrosThe Gaybro Listopia topic
" The Gaybros Listopia now has 17 books added.

Why have a Listopia and a group shelf?
- The group shelf is only visible to gaybros of goodreads group memb
...more "
" Series blurb:

Rod burners. Scaff dawgs. Laggers. Bucket dumpers. Lerps. Duct monkeys. Tin knockers. Lumbergs. Artificial big guys. Product of a trouble
...more "
Trevor Barton wants to read
The Honesty of Tigers by David  Bridger
The Honesty of Tigers
by David Bridger (Goodreads Author)
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More of Trevor's books…
“Alma poured more Gin like it was tea; careful with two hands like to steady the pot. ‘Well, it’s a lovely tradition. Used to do it with my parents. Most people back then had physical mobile phones filled with apps. I used to walk around looking at all the trees and beauty and wonder why other kids my age didn’t put their phones down and just take it all in...”
Trevor Barton, Brobots

“Charlie smiled. ‘Actually, right now I feel like venting; maybe seeing how loud I can make the speakers in the gym and doing a workout of some kind. Does the hotel have music?’
‘Um, pass?’
‘You haven’t tried? Dude! Sort the shit. Hey, Valles?’ ‘Hello.’
‘Play Queen.’
‘Disambiguation. One: Play the Queen: Act like a queen:
female monarch. Subjects needed. Two: Play the Queen: Act like a queen: a person with excessive emotional outbursts. Setting demanded. Three: Play music related to “Queen”: Playqueen: New Zealander electropop group. 2040s. Four. Play music related to...’
‘British rock band. 1980s.’
‘Album, or track?’
‘I Want to Break Free.”
Trevor Barton, Balance of Estubria

“So why do it?,’ he challenged. ‘Why return to biological when a quantum existence can empower you to overcome general relativity and become interstellar, intergalactic, intersupercluster, inter-whateverthef*ckyoulike?’
‘Because once you’ve seen one Laniakea you’ve seen them all? I don’t know. Any number of reasons! Lament? They prefer squishy? The sex is better?”
Trevor Barton, Balance of Estubria

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Space Opera Fans : Brobots 2 23 Mar 20, 2017 01:37PM  
Gay Science Fiction: * GSF group authors 5 349 May 22, 2017 09:41PM  
Gay Science Fiction: Gay Science Fiction I just read 126 685 Jun 16, 2017 02:40AM  
Gay fiction/non-f...: Gay Fiction by Goodreads Authors 98 457 Nov 01, 2017 12:49PM  
“Charlie smiled. ‘Actually, right now I feel like venting; maybe seeing how loud I can make the speakers in the gym and doing a workout of some kind. Does the hotel have music?’
‘Um, pass?’
‘You haven’t tried? Dude! Sort the shit. Hey, Valles?’ ‘Hello.’
‘Play Queen.’
‘Disambiguation. One: Play the Queen: Act like a queen:
female monarch. Subjects needed. Two: Play the Queen: Act like a queen: a person with excessive emotional outbursts. Setting demanded. Three: Play music related to “Queen”: Playqueen: New Zealander electropop group. 2040s. Four. Play music related to...’
‘British rock band. 1980s.’
‘Album, or track?’
‘I Want to Break Free.”
Trevor Barton, Balance of Estubria

“So why do it?,’ he challenged. ‘Why return to biological when a quantum existence can empower you to overcome general relativity and become interstellar, intergalactic, intersupercluster, inter-whateverthef*ckyoulike?’
‘Because once you’ve seen one Laniakea you’ve seen them all? I don’t know. Any number of reasons! Lament? They prefer squishy? The sex is better?”
Trevor Barton, Balance of Estubria

“The only social change presented by most SF has been towards authoritarianism, the domination of ignorant masses by a powerful elite—sometimes presented as a warning, but often quite complacently. Socialism is never considered as an alternative, and democracy is quite forgotten. Military virtues are taken as ethical ones. Wealth is assumed to be a righteous goal and a personal virtue. Competitive free-enterprise capitalism is the economic destiny of the entire Galaxy. In general, American SF has assumed a permanent hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with rich, ambitious, aggressive males at the top, then a great gap, and then at the bottom the poor, the uneducated, the faceless masses, and all the women.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

“From the chapter titled "R3curs1on" (Typographical irregularities are for effect and require context.)

“Godnet removes the uncertainty. I miss the Bro o o o... Is there an official response from NEXSA at this stage?” “We’re assessing our options. I can’t tell you specifics at this...” “bots but I know they turned eeeeeeeeee turned eeeee turned tur ur ur ur ur” “...important thing is to ensure the safety of the Hotel occupants and escort them home.” “Sanija, what possibility is there of their protection, or indeed our own, when such advanced vehicles make their return trip? I mean, the threat’s...” “eeeevillll Mommy says my kids kids my kids are on it every day because we know your rights we know your rights and we made them disappear. We miss love love the Brobots better because we made them made them made them made them them them disa disa dis dis dis... A totally encryption constitution raaaaaaainbow cat now diiiiignity nooooiiise.”
Trevor Barton, Balance of Estubria

77494 G/G gay fiction for gay men — 514 members — last activity Aug 18, 2018 12:36PM
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A group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and supporters interested in fun and stimulating conversation about books, movies, art, ...more
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The members of The Backlot (formerly AfterElton) love to chat about the latest in gay books. With the site changing, we're moving the discussion here. ...more
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A group for gaybros of Reddit. Gaybros is an online men's interest community that aims to build a brotherhood around shared interests, promote self ac ...more
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The #1 resource on the Internet for M/M Romance fans, this group has something for everyone. * Book and Series Discussions * Daily Updates on New Rel ...more
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A group for sharing thoughts on favorite books involving gay life, themes or issues. (To see all discussions, click on "all" to the right of discussio ...more
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