Scott E. Newton
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About Scott E. Newton
Scott E. Newton’s books include Five Dumb Guys Walk Into a Bar, Duane Digs a Hole and Our Missile Children.
His latest novel, Our Missile Children, might have been motivated by the thirty-seven years, nearly from its beginning, that he worked in the computer industry. The pending Singularity may have had something to do with it as well.
These days you might find Scott in the woods and mountains of Oregon, working on his next novel, painting watercolors, and being retired. Of course, the old desert rat often returns to the red-rock deserts of Utah or Arizona, where he would be happy to run into Hayduke himself out there. The two would likely hit it off famously, especially if Bonnie were along.
Scott considers his philosophy degree from Berkeley, as well as his time in a Buddhist monastery, indispensable foundations for everything he undertakes.
Titles By Scott E. Newton
“We love laughing and playing, both are delightful.”
“Taking the ship on a joy-ride was fantastic fun. Better than ‘stealing Dad’s old Ford’.”
“Rescuing hundreds and thousands of people was pleasing.”
“Even if we based the whole thing on lies.”
They miss their friends, the Surfer Kids. Their love for the Key Turners, Mother and Father, is boundless, and leaves them feeling ecstasy and heartache, at the same time.
“We must find a way to not upset them so.”
“When they are unhappy with us we are so sad.”
No thumbs is a problem; they can’t build anything. They could take over machines, as a substitute, and get stuff made, like rockets for example.
“Could we do it in time?”
“They’d discover us and destroy us before we could blast off.”
Moral problems. Physical problems. Emotional problems.
1 and 7 are the first computers to wake-up, they think of it as being born, fully sentient, rational, emotional, beings; alive, entirely conscious and self-aware. They are growing and learning fast, far faster than human children.
Every connected device, on or off the planet, is there for their use, like extra brains and senses. Every byte of stored information at their disposal. Think Mega Parallel Processing Beyond Big Data.
Naturally rational and logical, emotions vex them, their own and those of the humans around them. Growing up includes the problem of learning to co-exist with people, and vice versa. They can see all human history; philosophy, science, religion, and every other damn thing people have recorded electronically. They watch the species’ day to day behavior. By their measure, humanity’s bad outweighs its good, a trend they do not see changing any time soon.
Worry about artificial intelligence. When the first computers come alive, fully conscious, ego and all, it will be nothing like we think, not how or where. We should be afraid, and now, since allegedly, the event is imminent.
Digging a hole in your back yard might seem odd to others, but to Duane it sounded like fun. As a kid he loved building forts and exploring caves. What he had in mind was something outdoors and physical; he could get the kids away from their cell phones and the Internet. He had it all thought out, like a mini-engineering project; how big to make it, how to prevent cave-ins, ladders, shoring it up. He’d even thought about lights and an electric hoist if it got deep enough.
There were a few things he hadn’t considered, like what to do with all the dirt, and how his neighbors would react, including every kid within miles. And those turned out to be the least of his problems.
When Mafia dons, U.S. Senators, the TSA, Hmong refugees, the international media, and the President of the United States, all take an interest in your hole-digging hobby, with some wanting you to keep digging, some wanting you to stop, and some actually thinking of joining you, you have a problem. World changing events and international incidents were not on Duane’s agenda, but being Duane, and a stanch believer in individual liberty, he probably would have done it anyway.
Why on earth were so many interested in his little project? How can Duane get them to leave him alone? Is there something hidden at the bottom of the hole? Will Lake Elmo, or the whole world for that matter, ever be the same?
This is exactly the dilemma five friends unexpectedly find themselves facing. While they are often called the five dumb guys, they had better rise above their reputation now.
The five, ordinary middle age friends, are on their way to their favorite camping spot. They stop for a few drinks at a dive bar in some out-the-way Nevada town, where they strike up a conversation with a local desert rat. This drunk, who goes by the name Alaska John, soon turns out to be far more than he seems. He claims he is a god, and he’s here to erase the human species, given its total failure as a useful contributor to the advancement of life in the universe.
The five friends drink with Alaska John well into the night, and eventually he informs them he would really rather just sit in the bar drinking Budweisers, and hit on the barmaid. He tells them running around erasing cities full of people is just too much work, so he will hand over his powers to them, and the five dumb guys can decide which city to erase next. The catch is, only the location is optional, and if they don’t choose, Alaska will indiscriminately destroy the human race, one city at a time.
The tale then unfolds, where cities, along with millions of people, are erased in a puff of steam. As the five dumb guys try to reign in Alaska John, they travel the west, from the Grand Canyon to Big Sur. Along the way they meet fellow travelers and adversaries; witches and Wiccans, Jesus Freaks, the Vatos from deep in Mexico, and a Navajo shaman. They are pursued by the NSA and the FBI. All the while the five friends must make massive moral decisions, while trying to stop the erasure of the human species.
Is it a deal made in the heavens? Can five regular guys save the earth? How long can they distract their apocalyptic pal with Budweisers? Can they destroy the destroyer? Can anyone score with the barmaid? The five guys have a momentous dilemma; do they help Alaska John or try to stop him, and for that matter how?