In celebration of the release of Earthshatter, I’m happy to present some behind-the-scenes information and concept art on some of the characters you will meet in the novel!
Every member of the Crew was chosen by Kyrios, a near-omnipotent AI, for a purpose they have yet to discover. They were each given a card with their likeness and a title beneath it, the only clue they have as to the plan Kyrios may have in store for them…
When the great cities of the world fell, Kyrios was already ancient. Its origin is shrouded, Its intentions unclear. It watched over humanity, hidden, unnoticed, for thousands of years. But the great Cataclysm came, and with it a desperate need for a savior. Kyrios revealed Itself to the bedraggled survivors. It built Havens for them, thirteen in number. Haven Prime to Haven XII. Its help was received with awe and boundless gratitude.
Yet, as years became decades, gratitude turned to suspicion. Suspicion became resentment. Kyrios’s motives have always been a mystery. Is Its surveillance of the Havens the benign watchful eye of a concerned caretaker, or the relentless gaze of a tyrannical overseer? Some people have begun to question the extent of Its power and influence. After all, an artificial intelligence, no matter how advanced, can never understand what it truly is to be human. Or so they think…
A movement has begun to stir in Haven Prime, and from there it has begun to spread to other Havens. Its extremist members call themselves the Brotherhood for Human Sovereignty. They decry the constant presence of Kyrios in every electronic device, every windblown nanite with an active sensor that feeds back into Its vast network. They view the mechanical Mantid sentries which patrol the streets with hostility. The ancient symbol Kyrios uses to brand all of Its physical manifestations, fraught with meaning of sacrifices forgotten to history, has become the first casualty in the simmering conflict of man versus machine. Brotherhood members deface it at every opportunity. They wear it crossed over in T-shirts and laugh openly and those who dare to defend Kyrios out loud.
Kyrios has seen all this, and allowed it to come to pass. It knows it is the natural flow of things, like the rising and ebbing of the ocean tides. There is a much greater problem occupying Its vast mind. Something is wrong in the world. Something deeply unsettling is stirring in the darkness, a thing with no shape that bears the unmistakable mark of the cold void. Kyrios prepares Itself against an attack It knows will come, although when it will happen is impossible to predict. Even for Kyrios. It knows one thing for certain, though. When the time comes, It will be the only thing standing between humanity and total destruction.
The symbol of Kyrios. Art by Albert Nothlit.