Plug them in. Wish they never end.
Rod burners. Scaff dawgs. Laggers. Bucket dumpers. Lerps. Duct monkeys. Tin knockers. Lumbergs. Artificial big guys. Product of a troubled firm. Brobots.
They’re easy to treat like trash. But they’re not so easy to ignore; especially the ones experiencing “the wake up.” The idea was that they could work hidden in society’s plain sight, allowing humanity time to get used to the fact of sentient machines.
But it’s all too easy for others to take advantage of those who live on the edge. What they, and their allies, must do is work out who, and why, before it gets too late.
Brobots is a work of substantial science fiction with gay characters told across three continuous books.
Brobots, Brobots Trilogy Book 1 by Trevor Barton
Rating: 5.0 stars
I guess some things are just meant to be, eh? No, I am not Canadian and this book was truly serendipitous for me. I had been searching aimlessly on Amazon for some science fiction with gay characters when I came upon Brobots. What is this, thought I. It actually looked like good, quality science fiction with gay MCs. Something I could sink my teeth into just for my own enjoyment, so I one-clicked. Damn you Amazon and your one-click!
A few days later I received a message via my blog from Mr. Barton wondering if I was interested in reviewing his trilogy. I was so surprised I just sat there for a minute staring at the monitor and quickly answered him back.
Hey Bros, I’m so glad I got to know Mr. Barton!
Jared was immensely curious, a little (okay, a lot) geeky, loved to code, and to put it plainly just couldn’t leave this stunningly handsome broken machine behind in an oversized trashcan. Wiener and geekery were winning out over sanity…
He was adorable. He had a polished-looking button nose and big dark eyes peeking out from a chubby face. It would be puppy fat, but he somehow looked older than ‘twenties.’ Kind of Jared’s age: mid- to late thirties. He had something of a gentle look about him too. The craftsmanship was amazing.
Jared was indeed, by all measures, cute. He had looks. Blue eyes. Fair, short hair. He was tall, and built. Coding hadn’t done that, but dog walks and gym trips had done their work. He’d never considered himself to be a looker; always judging himself by what he wasn’t: not a model, not a bodybuilder, more of an otter than a bear, no longer young enough to be a twink. His penchant for scruffy clothes probably didn’t help. De rigueur though his outfits were for code monkeys, they might not be right for his age any more. A man couldn’t get away with tees, cargo pants and trainers much beyond 35.
I can’t tell you just how good this story is. It’s really, really good. Like hardcore science fiction good, enough to start me to get my geek on with the first book in the trilogy and a whole new, to me, trope. It’s set just far enough into the future to have it be real.
Do you have an Alexa? Perhaps one of those Google home things? I have an Alexa. I have two Alexas so I’m not far from her, ever. She controls our AC, which I’ve named Hal 9000. She controls our ‘smart’ air purifiers, which I’ve named Chucky 1 and Chucky 2. She starts my car from our apartment and sets the temperature on it so it’s warm/cool when I get to it (it’s a Florida thing). She controls all our lighting in the apartment through a hub, which I’ve named The Borg. Go ahead and ask Alexa if she’s Intelligent. Oh, go ahead. Really. And while you’re at it, ask her her IQ. I dare you.
So, what I was getting to is that in the next ten years, maybe even sooner, we’ll be seeing an exponential increase in AI and robotics. Are we ready? I think not, and that’s exactly what this book is all about. We are going to undergo seismic shifts in our lives and culture unlike any before, not even the industrial revolution. Hold on, sweetie, this is gonna be a hell of ride.
This story is about that shift and one potential outcome. It’s timely, well set in the time continuum, and has excellent nods to a group that ‘may’ have just gained legality but will struggle with acceptance and pushbacks for years to come. LGBTQ, anyone? It even has the development of new, non-conventional family structures. Color me surprised.
The ending is phenomenal. Took me by surprise, that’s how deep I let myself fall into the story. Well done, Mr. Barton.
Please think of Book 1 in the trilogy as the appetizer and soup in a multi-course dinner. There’s a deeper story yet to develop and I, for one, can’t wait!
Oh, one last thing about the story: have you ever wondered what it feels like for an android to have sex? Well, what are you waiting for? Come and find out.
Mr. Barton’s writing was crisp, well-crafted, and to the point. It’s not florid and it doesn’t go into a lot of needless detail. Yeah, it’s a tad geeky and that’s part of what makes the book so enjoyable.
The characters are well developed for a science fiction book. This isn’t a romance book, boys and girls, it’s science fiction. Good, solid science fiction and yes, some darn hot sex! Yes, there are relationships that are well crafted in the book, but we don’t need to get deep into why Jared does what he does. Suffice it to say that it’s adequately covered in the book and let’s get on to the shenanigans at hand, and those there are aplenty!
Trevor Barton was born on the south coast of England to a biker and a supermarket attendant (whose brother was a trucker). He got sent to Air Training Corps for toughening up. His curious local town was into line dancing and hard-line Baptist theology (making it closer in vibe perhaps to a southern US State than to South East England).
“Myth of the Cyborg: The Perpetuation of a Cultural Fantasy” was the title of his M.A. Dissertation in 1998. Part of this involved studying the philosophy of artificial intelligence with Ray Monk and looking at issues in representation with Deniz Göktürk (now at Berkeley).
There not being many jobs in Cyborgology, Trevor took the editorial helm of a U.K. search engine (because Google U.K. had not been heard of then). His tie-in magazine had distribution throughout the U.K. and the actor who plays Blackadder’s Baldric was the advertising voice.
With later jobs involving a great deal of U.S. business travel he’s published globally recognized websites, bar-crawled around Nashville and taken sidewalks with alligators in Florida. He’s also slept rough (for charity), established a peace center, helped save four lives, been ordained as a Buddhist and cleaned satellite dishes with a mop and bucket.
Trevor has lived experience with mental health. His mother died when he was 16 and his father was disabled. Trevor lives in the U.K. with his husbear.
Hey ma, look! There’s no disclaimer. I bought the whole darned series just before Mr. Barton reached out to me. So there, Claire!
Copyright © 2016 by Trevor Barton All rights reserved.
Produced in the United Kingdom
First Edition, December 2016
Jacket design “Emotional Uprising” by the author.
Middle Earth NF font by Nick Curtis (cover) and Streetwear font by Artimasa (cover) via 1001fonts.com (FFCU license.)