QSFer Trevor Barton has a trilogy omnibus out with Beaten Track: Brobots: The Complete Source Code.
Rod burners. Scaff dawgs. Laggers. Bucket dumpers. Lerps. Duct monkeys. Tin knockers. Lumbergs. Artificial big guys. Product of a troubled firm. BROBOTS. They’re easy to treat like trash. But not so easy to ignore; especially the ones experiencing the wake up.
The idea was that they could work hidden in society’s plain sight allowing humanity time to get used to the fact of sentient machines.
But it’s all too easy for others to take advantage of those who live on the edge. What they, and their allies, must do is work out who, and why, before it gets too late.
Brobots – a critically acclaimed cult debut of substantial science fiction with gay characters enjoyed by a wide audience – is, for the first time, in one complete and revised special trilogy omnibus volume.
THE SECOND PLANET was the fourth from its main sequence star on the Sagittarius arm. Unlike the soft amber sunlight-painted villages and fields of the previous specimen, this one prickled with the jagged black edges of super-tower structures and bristled with artificial light.
There appeared to be one ocean. The rest looked like one mega-city, a mono-culture spanning a globe.
“We have to be careful here,” Delta admonished.
“I noticed the different Ship design.”
“It’s our latest model. The cloaking abilities of the saucer beings are not up to the job out here. We needed something more robust.”
“Are they better? In your view?”
“A little like Jared’s dog-being, but I have a fondness, yes.”
Maria surveyed the planet in front of them. It didn’t look like Delta was going anywhere near the surface this time; they were still a few thousand miles in orbit.
“Another exception. Robots destroyed biologicals?”
“Why show me? Why not just pass me a vector, or fork a memory, or describe it around a campfire while we drink cosmic whiskey or smoke a stardust spliff late into the night?”
Delta’s face glowed with a straight line from ear to ear.
“Because storytelling is very Earth-human so it didn’t occur to me. Because, if you see, it stays with you, haunts you. It delights and torments. It informs, and it guides. It does many things, but it never goes away. If I show you data, you’ll have information. If I tell you stories, you’ll have knowledge. If you see it for yourself, you’ll have wisdom.”
Maria stared at the planet. It looked dark. Sinister. Evil. What sunlight played across its surface somehow got sucked in by the insatiable-seeming blackness of the mega-city’s pointy cancerous growth—a hungry demon in red stilettos.
“Trevor Barton was born on the south coast of England to a biker and a supermarket attendant. The conservative small town of his childhood was a place which, by the late 80s, felt to him more like a miniature US State than a British place for stiffened upper lips. The town’s locals adored line dancing, his church shot its theology from the hip, fast food appeared—punk was out and baseball-capped rave was in.
Shifting senses of nationhood, unusual theology and some family tragedy—his father became disabled, his mother died when he was sixteen—weren’t his only sources of childhood alienation and estrangement. For a few years as a teen he was sent to a military training corps for toughening up. As an attempt—almost certainly—to turn him straight, this failed wonderfully.
He studied at Bath: a place known for its emphasis on skills development during the study of arts subjects—and particularly known for its creative writing expertise. His main submission was a well-received script for a play. His multi-disciplinary MA dissertation (in 1998) explored why our culture takes interest in cyborgs using—among other things—feminist criticism, and the latest in AI philosophy.
His love of technology, words, and creative industry led him to become a managing editor writing a mainstream UK web tech magazine after only his second career move. From there he stepped sideways into web development—something very new at the time—and sent sites live for global names like Nature and OUP. This got him bar-crawling Nashville and sharing sidewalks with alligators in Florida while on business trips to meet scientists.
A member of the SOA, he lives with his husband in Europe.