My First Sci-fi Love: Gary Starta’s Gods of the Machines
December 17th, 2010 by Monique Muro
Based in a century when space travel and artificial intelligence are as common as catching a continental flight to Europe, science fiction writer Gary Starta fleshes out his futuristic tale, Gods of the Machines, with a kind of robot romanticism. When technology advances enough to populate a nearby planet called Ceres and create servant-like androids, a fresh parcel of problems arise between robots and humans with respect to the degree of humanity required for basic rights. It’s the civil war all over again, computerized.
It starts with the murder of Carol Walker, a woman who has an affair with researcher Dean Flavin as they are examining soil on planet Ceres. In a holograph engulfed world, detective Sam Benson and his medical examiner fiancée arrive on Ceres, an infantile planet with a population of 300, to investigate. After a suspicious decapitation in Walker’s murder leads Benson to point fingers at a man-turned android named James Starkman, and things begin to get hot and heavy with his partner, Sharon Laviolette, Benson quickly loses his credibility as an investigator in the eyes of both the Ceres population and his wife-to-be.
As mind-boggling events unfold, like robotic bees killing decision-makers and insect-alien entities blipping through walls to feed off humans, Benson suspects there’s much more going on than a fight to free androids from enslavement. Fending off obnoxious reporters and power-hungry earthlings looking to prod into the inner workings of robots for material benefit, Benson and his partner are later faced with something much deeper than they ever imagined, a clash between the ancestors of Ceres and its more recent, earthling inhabitants, culminating in a memorable end.
Gods of the Machines has to be the first science-fiction novel I’ve ever read and I absolutely loved it. The relationship between robots and humans, and their fight for basic rights to me seems like a precursor to our own future. With technology ever-advancing, it seems to me space travel and artificial beings will evolve sooner than most people think. That’s what I love about science-fiction writers. While I don’t read much of the genre, I’m familiar with the tall tales of alien beings and planet-hopping, and they always seem to have some secret idea of what how our world will evolve. Starta’s novel drew me in with both his ongoing dichotomy between robots and humans, and this subtle sexual tension between all of the male and female characters. It was like crime/science fiction, mixed with a little Katie Salidas. A fireside read indeed.
About Gary Starta
Gary Starta is a former journalist who studied English and Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.His love for science fiction compelled him to write his first novel ‘What Are You Made Of?’ published in 2006. Inspired by Isaac Asimov, the science fiction novel focuses on intelligent artificial life and whether sentient androids should possess the same rights as humans. The androids in Starta’s novel are created as hybrids – part machine, part human – further blurring the line between human and machine. Starta foresees a near future where humans will be forced to decide if intelligent machinery is indeed a life form. Possibly, in this near future, some humans will possess computer enhancements to overcome disabilities becoming hybrids themselves. The line between biological life form and mechanical life form will continue to be examined in a follow up novel now being written.
Starta cites Stephen King and Dean Koontz as inspirations for his 2007 novel ‘Blood Web’ which is also reminiscent of the The X-files television/movie series. Contemporary authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Kelly Armstrong also fuel his aspiration to create paranormal suspense. The follow up novel to ‘Blood Web’ – ‘Extreme Liquidation’ explores Caitlin Diggs’ supernatural gifts including the ability to see the future in dreams and to read a person’s character through emotions.
Starta’s crime novella ‘Murder By Association’ blends mystery with forensic investigation. It is a departure from previous books because it contains no science fiction or paranormal elements. Additionally, Starta foresees his 2008 novella ‘Alzabreah’s Garden’ – a fantasy romance – as another out-of-the-box effort.
Short story “Growing Pains” now published in Silverlight robot anthology THANK YOU, DEATH ROBOT
See the website for all his books: http://www.garystarta.net including Extreme Liquidation, a follow up to Blood Web now available from Lyrical Press or go to Amazon.com for reviews and posts.