GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Sheep Jr. Interview: SciFi author Timothy J Gawne + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sheep Jr. Interview: SciFi author Timothy J Gawne + giveaway

Recently my 13-year-old son Logan was introduced to an amazing sci-fi series called The Chronicles of Old Guy by author Timothy Gawne. This series that revolves around cybertanks set in the future has honestly changed his young life in so many awesome ways. We reached out to the author and he was gracious enough to bring his main character "Old Guy" to chat with Logan. Enjoy.

Meeting Planet: Alpha Centuri Prime
Location: Park and Library

Logan: Thank you for having me here on your planet Old Guy, it was a bumpy ride but I made it. I would like to ask some questions that I’ve had.

Old Guy: Great to have you here. Ask away.

Logan: Tell our readers, who don’t know you, what is it like being a cybertank?
Old GuyAt a philosophical level, nobody can really know what it's like to be someone else, but I think I can answer the question. Remember, when the humans decided to make truly self-aware artificial intelligences, they quickly realized that trying to make a mind that is fundamentally smarter than you are is a really, really bad idea. So they made us psychologically human, so we could relate to each other. My baseline mental state is pretty much just like yours. The difference in bodies is less important than you might think. I mean, if a human is driving a car or flying a plane, the machine becomes an extension of them and they feel that they are the car or the plane - does that make them not human? Ditto when I decide to animate a humanoid body - does that make me not a cybertank? The big difference is that I don't get hungry or have itches or backaches and I can think a thousand times faster than a biological human (when I want to) and see with 20 major senses at the same time (when I feel like it). So being a cybertank is really awesome.

Logan: What are your greatest victories and your most spectacular failures?
Old GuyMy greatest failure would have to be when the Yllg destroyed an entire planet full of biological humans that they had created, and I was unable to stop them. That still haunts me. On the other hand, my greatest victory was when, having finally defeated those same Yllg and discovered their last redoubt, I decided to spare them. I got a lot of flack for that at the time, but pulling back from genocide was not only the right thing to do, but I think has garnered major credit in what passes for galactic civilization.

But in general, I think that my greatest victories are the ones where I manage to avoid a war in the first place - though often this doesn't make for good adventure writing. If you are really slick, you can just make things work and it looks so effortless that everyone takes it for granted and you don't get credit for it. But that's OK, I'll take that any day.

Logan: Being an author of your own chronicle series, do you think you are doing a good job?
Old GuyMostly I just write for myself, if other people enjoy reading the series, that's fine, if not, that's fine too. But the chronicles seem to have attracted some interest, so I guess I'm doing OK.

Logan: What is this thing running around? 
Old Guy: Hey, don't touch that.

Logan: Is it actually rude for a cybertank to go into battle without an escort screen or combat remotes? 
Old GuyDid I say that? I think maybe I suggested that it was indecent or something. If you have to go into battle without an escort - or if you've lost your escort - well, that's how it is, we do what he have to. But in general, the whole point of a cybertank is that it can control and coordinate a distributed swarm of combined-arms systems. Just charging into battle with a single big gun is not, in general, a smart thing for a cybertank to do.Old GuyReally, don't touch that.
Logan: Yeah, it looks like it bites!

Logan: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
Old Guy: I would turn Milton Friedman into a tree shrew.

Thank heavens, it's gone off to harass someone else with its weird political opinions. Good thing you didn't touch it.
Logan: It was hideous, whatever it was.....

Logan: If you do go in for a rebuild, what would you like to be?
Old GuyThe absolute cuttingest bleedingest edge system possible. I want a rebuild that is so incredibly cool that even I can't imagine what it would be like. On principle. Otherwise, I might as well keep on being me.

Logan: Thank you for talking with me Old Guy, is there anything you would like to add before I go back to Earth?
Old GuyJust to wish you a safe journey, and OH MY GOD IT'S BACK. Quick, hop inside this open hatch and make your way to the commander's cabin and strap in. I'm going to do some hard maneuvering and coordinate some strikes, we should be OK if I can just keep it off balance and prevent it from quoting Wittgenstein...
Logan: *covers ears* Don't listen to its quotes!!!!

The Chronicles of Old Guy (An Old Guy/Cybertank Adventure) (Volume 1) 1st Editionby Timothy J. Gawne
November 30, 2012
192 pages
In the distant future mankind creates sentient cybertanks patterned on the human brain to help fight their alien enemies. Then, inexplicably, the humans vanished. They just went away. All that is left of the human empire are the cybertanks who, in their own way, keep the human civilization alive. With an intelligence based on the human psyche, the cybertanks continue to defend human space, but also perform scientific research, create art, form committees and ponder the universe. These are the stories of one of the first cybertanks, known to his friends as “Old Guy.” He has outlived most of his peers, and has had a wealth of experiences over his long life, but he is starting to slowly become obsolete. Join him and his comrades Double-Wide, Whiffle-Bat, Smoking Hole, Mondocat, and Bob, as they live and love and fight alien enemies such as the deadly Fructoids, the Yllg, and the fiendish Amok.
About the Author:
I grew up in Boston, MA, and got an electrical engineering degree from M.I.T. I then worked at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for a time, then got my PhD in Physiology, and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at the NIH. Since 1996 I have been on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in the Department of Vision Sciences. My primary research interest is in the nature of the neural code, and the physical basis of human thought. I live with my wife Adrienne and an Australian Shepherd named "Ginger" and a strange mutt named "Proton." I have a son who works as an engineer in Vandenberg Air Force base in CA, and a daughter who teaches English in Japan. My hobbies are carpentry, tinkering with electronics, and making plants die.

Another BIG thank you from all the sheep to both Old Guy and Timothy. Please enter the giveaway below for a chance to win 1 of 5 ecopies that is being given away. Good luck!