Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest - Aubrey Watt


Good morning! Today's guest author is Aubrey Watt. And she'll be discussing my favorite genre, Science Fiction Romance. Aubrey also has a giveaway so make sure you follow her instructions to enter the drawing.

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Hi everyone! I’m Aubrey Watt, and I just released my first full-length science fiction romance novel Paragon. I’m giving away one free copy to a lucky commenter on Star-Crossed Romance!

I was inspired to write Paragon after reading the book Wired by Douglas E. Richards and falling in love with the character of Kira. Although I mostly write erotic romance, I wanted to tell an action story about a smart, sexy protagonist. At the same time, I was waist-deep in philosophy, reading about the hard problem of consciousness in cognitive science while taking Stanford’s online class in artificial intelligence. From this unlikely combination the character of Chal Davidson was born. She is a neuroscientist who helps to create an android prototype at a secret military base. Alan (the prototype) must learn everything from the beginning – how to talk, how to feel, and especially how to love.

“If anything was universally accepted as the hallmark of humanity, it was the insatiable curiosity at the heart of the species.” – Douglas E. Richards, Wired

Another book that shares similar themes is Catherine Asaro’s The Phoenix Code. My favorite part of Asaro’s work has always been the underlying philosophical implications of the worlds she builds. While I enjoyed the action thriller-style sequences, the discussions about artificial intelligence were what kept me turning the pages. In The Phoenix Code, Asaro shows us the emotional ramifications of an android that becomes attracted to a human as he grows self-aware. And I began to think: what if the robotics expert was the one who fell in love with the android?

Although Paragon has its share of action, the second half focuses on the budding romance between the two main characters and the curiosity that drives both of them. This is a love story about discovering passion, and as Alan learns how to love, Chal begins to discover, albeit reluctantly, the passion that is hidden inside of herself. Her academic curiosity has launched her career at the expense of her real world relationships, but she has never been comfortable exploring her own emotions. Alan forces her out of her shell and into the real world.

Science fiction, and science fiction romance in particular, digs deep at the heart of human conflict and emotion. What does it truly mean to be human? What does it truly mean to love? In this book, I hoped to get at some of these major issues in philosophy and neuroscience while developing Alan and Chal’s romance. I remember reading The Left Hand of Darkness for the first time in high school and being blown away by Ursula K. Leguin’s portrayal of sexuality and love in an alien world.  In a science fiction setting, authors can develop a completely different context for human emotion.

At its very best, science fiction romance can change the way we view the world and the humans who inhabit it. I only hope that Paragon can add in some small way to the universe of new and strange love stories in this genre.

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..

In the middle of the Arizona desert, a hundred feet underground, the United States military is illegally developing the first emotionally sentient android. Classified top secret, the mission has failed to successfully awaken the first two androids created in the lab.

When brilliant neuroscientist Chal Davidson is called in to assist, the third android is just hours from being awakened.  By the time she realizes the vast implications of her work, it’s too late to stop the prototype’s development. Torn by her moral and scientific responsibilities, Chal is even more confused by the emotional connection she is starting to feel with the newly-created man.  The only hope she has is escape—for her and the android—and time is running out...

Excerpt

He floated now in the tank, attached with an IV to the liquid that would wake him from his unconscious rest. It was remarkable how much he looked like a normal human. Chal knew that, physically at least, he was as human as she was. It was just a matter of making sure his mind could weather the transition into consciousness. His dark hair waved in slow motion in the water. She watched him, for the first time taking in his appearance.

Alan.

He was handsome, and this was something that she had not prepared herself for. His body was perfect, chiseled and lean, and his facial features were decidedly masculine, dark eyebrows slanting across his brow, an aquiline nose.

His naked body bobbed slightly in the saltwater, and Chal adjusted the padding around the sides, not wanting him to bump his head on the tank walls. She moved slowly, carefully, but her hand accidentally touched the prototype's limb. She let her fingers move on his skin. He felt warm to the touch, and Chal let his wet skin glide under the pads of her fingers.

Smooth. Like a baby. Yet full-grown, a man already on the outside. It was strange, and as Chal examined him she felt a mixture of emotions surge forward under her skin. Curiosity surpassed all of the rest, but it wasn't a clinical curiosity as it had been in the past. Every animal she had worked with had been on the very low end of the Freitas consciousness spectrum. The difference between a baby rat and a full-grown rat had more to do with size and mobility than with intelligence. They could both run mazes, after all. But a human man is so different from a human infant that Chal trembled at the thought of waking the prototype up.
Her hand traced the line of his shoulder, his neck. She was curious who he would be once he woke up. Would he be a conscious person? Really? His mind would be an infant's, although not for long. She would have to remember that, to make a point of remembering.

His face was calm as her hand made its way up to his cheek and rested there. Chal's fingers stroked the skin at his temple absentmindedly.

What will you think when you wake up?
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If you’d like a free copy of Paragon, just leave your name and email in the comments within the next seven days from this post for a chance to win. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it! And if you’d like to keep up with my future work, you can visit my website or join my mailing list for discounts and freebies. This novel is also part of the Insatiable Reads Book Tour, featuring 16 romance authors who love to read and write steamy romance.

Thanks, and happy reading!

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-- Lynda Again,
    I think Aubrey is exactly right when she says 'science fiction romance can change the way we view the world and the humans who inhabit it.' What do you think?

     Have a Blessed Day!

8 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Welcome, Aubrey! PARAGON sounds like a terrific book. Alan's journey to humanity and love is something that many readers can relate to (well, maybe not the humanity part ;-) )

Hope you get many, many sales!

karinshah said...

SFR is my favorite, too, Lynda!

PARAGON sounds awesome, Aubrey!:-)


Karin

Karin @ shahs.com

Aubrey Watt said...

Thanks for having me Lynda! So far I've been floored by how well Paragon has done. I hope your readers like it :)

Karielle Stephanie said...

Congrats on the release, Aubrey, and on Paragon's success!!! I can't wait to read it.

♥ Karielle @ Books à la Mode
thestephanieloves AT gmail DOT com

Linda Andrews said...

Paragon sounds amazing and I love how your heroine falls in love with the robot first:-)
What other research did you do to write the book?

linda.lindaandrews@gmail.com

Aubrey Watt said...

Linda, I have been reading a LOT of stuff on consciousness - mostly from Daniel Dennett and David Chalmers (which is where the name Chal Davidson came from for my main character!) One of my favorite books ever is called The Mind's I, and it talks a lot about artificial intelligence as it relates to consciousness. I highly recommend it if you're interested in any of the science behind this book, as it also includes a lot of fun short stories to illustrate their points.

bn100 said...

Nice excerpt

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Aubrey Watt said...

And the winner is.... Karin! I'll be emailing you today with your copy of Paragon. Thanks again for having me here on Star-Crossed Romance!