Newsletter #6 - AI Cometh

Hey, everyone! Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author Paul James Keyes here with another newsletter!

Last time we got into the “song” of a molecule and how scientists can broadcast a drug into your mind. [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 5 - THE ‘SONG’ OF A DRUG] This time I thought it would be fun to talk about the fast pace of the advancement of AI technology and how it is changing humanity and our workflows.

My novels; covers created with aid of Dalle-2 and photoshop.

AI has been popping up all over the place this year, faster than ever before. If you haven’t been paying attention, it’s probably starting to get difficult to avoid with the new chatGPT and AI generated profile pictures all over the place. I know I’ve seen a few CGI versions of friends that looked pretty nifty going around on Facebook recently.

As a writer, I have NOT used AI to generate any of the words in my books, but I have used it to aid me in creating cover art image ideas that I worked over further by hand in photoshop. I am sure we will start to see people writing whole books with AI doing 99% of the work load pretty soon. In the future, it may be hard to find a book written by a human, and as sad as that is, we probably won’t be able to tell the difference between an AI story and one written by a human writer anyway by that point.

Hopefully you all will still be fans of this mere human writer when the AI overlords are running all our systems. 

And why shouldn’t AI run everything? Obviously we need to trust the governance of our systems, but AI will be more efficient than humans at basically everything with little to no exception as time goes by. There is absolutely nothing to stop AI and automation from taking over 999/1000 human jobs within a few decades. Humanoid robots like the movie I, Robot are probably in our future (Tesla is trying to develop one right now). Labor will be a thing of the past, and so will most jobs once enough androids are running around.

You don’t see people welding individual car doors these days—a robot arm does that. One technician watches all the machines work and maintains the workforce (well maybe not just one, but you get the point). Humans are becoming obsolete with every passing year. The trouble with this is that our capitalist system doesn’t care to pay the workers whose jobs were displaced by machines. This has always been the case. With automation, everyone is forced into a larger labor pool with fewer and fewer opportunities. The work required to run society is quickly dwindling, while expenses seem only to grow.

In the not-so-distant future robots will be able to take care of us, but we probably won’t be able to afford the Apple and Tesla bots because we will have already lost our jobs to them. A possibly bleak future is on the horizon if we can’t figure out how to make laws that force corporations and the rich into supporting human society. Our labor is trending towards becoming meaningless when compared to the power of AI and automation. There are only so many service jobs to go around. Eventually, the humans that can afford to eat will do so because of a basic universal income, and the rest will starve. That is what capitalism is heading towards without legal restraints, and it is unsustainable.

I’m not sure who the corporations think will buy their products once humanity is too poor to feed ourselves, but I have a sneaking suspicion that companies not providing basic necessities will be the first to go out of business, like dominoes falling until we are all slaves to the remaining companies that provide as little as they can get away with, while funneling their profits to the top .1%. There’s a reason Bill Gates is invested heavily in farmland.

This isn’t about politics, it’s class warfare, only the lower classes doesn’t even realize they are supposed to be fighting back. I did say it was a bleak outlook, right? As an economist, governments poor handling of finances along with corporations abilities to get away with anything is a concerning combo that doesn’t bode well for our future.

Will governments step in and save the people when unemployment and under employment rates skyrocket? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. So far, the homeless population has only grown while prosperity seems to be reserved for fewer and fewer individuals at the top of the food chain.

Isn’t AI fun?! Well, at least it helped me make better book covers. The technology lowered the cost of entry for publishing a quality book. I no longer have to rely on any other artist but myself, which I appreciate as a recluse, frantically typing away on my laptop about the end of civilization as we know it. I guess there is a reason I was drawn to create a post-apocalyptic world in my novels.

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Newsletter #5 - The 'Song' of a Drug

Hi, folks! It’s Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror  author Paul James Keyes with another newsletter!

Last time we talked about Avatar: The Way of Water, and how sad it is that it’s apparently easier for people to relate to blue aliens than to actual Native Americans. [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 4 - A CRITICAL LOOK AT AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER] Today, I thought I’d bring you some info about a new technology that absolutely blew my mind. So you’ve heard of A song of ice and fire… but how about the song of a molecule?

I recently read about a new longevity technology being developed by a US startup company called EMulate Therapeutics that I found exceedingly fascinating. They use an extremely powerful microscope in shielded conditions to observe the unique magnetic field of a molecule, drug or RNA sequence and then record it in a wav format, like a song. They then play the “song” of the molecule back to the brain, using technology that can target precise locations and penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

What they discovered was that the brain responds to the sound of drugs as if they were present. It turns out, when molecules interact (dock with one another) information (energy) is passed between cells in the form of magnetic resonance that can be duplicated by a simple wav file. The energy transfer can be done without the physical presence of the drug, and so, like something out of science fiction, scientists have been able to trick the mind into different states with the power of sound.

It’s absolutely wild to think about! The effects have been shown to wear off quickly when the acoustic device is removed, allowing people to stop a treatment almost instantly if they start to experience side effects. For example, the sound of fentanyl was shown to provide pain relief, and the effects wore off within 15-20 minutes of removing the acoustic device. Supposedly, this should help cull the cases of addiction.

Not only does this new tech allow the sound of any molecule or drug to be played to any part of the brain across the blood-brain barrier, but the sound can be broadcast in either targeted or broad areas to elicit different effects. Another absolutely crazy part of this tech is that the sound of RNA can cause genes to either be suppressed or expressed, again either in targeted locations or more broadly depending on the programming of the acoustic device.

Another interesting part of this is that by not having a physical molecule present, there is no actual docking. A lot of messiness is removed by the lack of molecules building up in the system.

Just imagine that, a world where any drug can be delivered with a sound wave, directly and instantly to the brain. The company is currently looking into cancer treatments, pain management, and beyond, including longevity treatments.

Here’s a link to the article:

I can’t wait to see what they do with this one! Kinda scary to think people will be able to express other people’s genes with targeted sound waves, though. We really are living in a sci-fi world!

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Newsletter #4 - Critical Look at Avatar: The Way of Water

Hi, folks! It’s Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror  author Paul James Keyes with another newsletter!

Last time we talked about the “Stoned Ape” theory and how psychedelic mushrooms may have caused the evolution of mankind. [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 3 - THE 'STONED APE' THEORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF MAN] Today, I’d like to take a critical look at how Avatar: The Way of Water is conceptually problematic.

First off, I did enjoy the film. It’s a great story with themes that I believe are positive for society to grapple with, at least on a surface level, but boy oh boy are there a lot of troubling details that make this breakdown a mixed bag.

The analogy presented by James Cameron is an obvious one. The Navi represent Native Americans. The Humans represent Europeans. When I watched the first movie as a young man I understood it as basically Pocahontas for sci-fi/fantasy loving adults. The themes of the destruction of nature and the displacement of natives are correctly put into the light that they deserve.

The main problem with the Avatar movies is that it’s cringy to take a real people and make up a fantasy version of them as blue cat-like aliens to humanize instead of the actual humans that are still dehumanized in today’s society. I guess that’s also these movies’ strength, as they make you empathize with something that’s a reflection of real people. It makes the stakes lower for the audience instead of it being a sad period piece, everyone gets to pretend that the concepts are just fantasy.

As a white man, and the husband of a Native American woman, it has always irked me that white society’s view of Native American people seems to be locked in old westerns—as if natives were something of the past rather than a people that still exist (in shambles due to genocide and subsequent treatment). This is the same attitude that gets propagated when non-native people decide to dress up as “Indians” for Halloween. It reduces an entire people to a costume. Natives, next to ghosts and zombies, as if they are fictional characters. Reducing a people in this way is ultimately disrespectful and ignorant. If you’re thinking of ever dressing up as someone of a different race, maybe just don’t.

Avatar dresses up the natives as blue cats, as if they are feral. They have tails and pointy expressive ears that make them cute, like pets. Many of the humans in these movies view them as lesser—roots of racism much?—but the one saving grace is that the moral of these stories is that the humans are wrong to be repeating the sins of the past for profit at the detriment of these new alien natives. The problem for me is the dreadlocks and the war cries, the fact that their hair literally connects them to nature, combined with the reduction of them to a more animalistic status with the tails and hissing and other less-human mannerisms.

It really skirts the line of being down-right insulting to native people, erasing them in a new fantastical way. I’m glad he didn’t have any humans cut off the braids of the Navi, though I was half expecting it. I kept thinking it was going to happen and it actually upset me. The human Colonel at one point does say he will bring his higher-ups the scalp of Jake, the white man turned alien protagonist. Me and my wife looked at each other like ‘really??’.

At the end of the day, I think James Cameron must have love for the native people to write movies like these, but he is also removed from their struggle. His work can come across as tactless at times, despite all the painstaking detail he took to make the Navi come across as a real living civilization.  Ultimately, he is blatantly representing native people as aliens with the goal of it humanizing their plight (and making it more accessible to children who just think they are watching fancy graphics), but the whole thing comes across as a story of a dead people rather than a poignant tale of how to help native people with their current struggles. It’s a white man’s retelling a story that doesn’t belong to him.

James Cameron recently stated that he wondered if the Native people of the past would have fought harder against the white man if they could have seen the desolation of their children’s future. The implication that they didn’t fight is ridiculous and insulting, and that really frames the whole franchise for me. If the Navi weren’t so painstakingly crafted, I would have been disgusted by the whole thing, but as it stands, hopefully audiences can see the struggle of the natives and grow a little empathy for the people that were destroyed by their not-so-distant relatives. One thing that is exceedingly obvious is that this movie was not made for native people—it was made for white people.

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Newsletter #3 - The 'Stoned Ape' Theory of Evolution of Man

Hello again! Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author Paul James Keyes here with another newsletter and more musings!

Last time I told you story of how I spend over a year developing my characters with a police psychologist [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 2 - HOW POLICE PSYCHOLOGIST HELPED ME CRAFT MY CHARACTERS].  The time before that I left you with a poem about cheese [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 1 - INTRODUCTIONS AND CHEESE]. Who ate it first, risking life and limb? I have no idea, but isn’t it fun how human knowledge has developed in response to necessity? You plop down two starving men and watch them forage for resources. One eats a mushroom and dies. The other eats a different mushroom, and accidentally expands his mind.

Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about the ‘Stoned Ape’ theory, and how some believe that consciousness has its roots in magic mushrooms, or more specifically, the chemical found within, called psilocybin. If you haven’t watched the Netflix Documentary Fantastic Fungi, I highly recommend it. It’s not about taking mushrooms, but it is very fascinating.

The ‘Stoned Ape’ theory originated from Terrance McKenna, a psychedelics advocate, in a book called Food of the Gods, published in 1992. McKenna states that psilocybin caused a rearranging of information processing abilities within the brains of primitive man, and that this evolution of cognition is what led to early developments in art, technology, and language for our species. Basically, more shrooms in the diet may have led to more wrinkles on the brain.

I’m not trying to persuade anyone into taking controlled substances here, I just find the topic highly interesting. My favorite description of the affects of psilocybin is to picture the pathways in your mind like a well-walked forest. These are paths you tread every day to get from one thought to the next. Psilocybin acts as a snowy blanket, covering the landscape of the mind, temporarily forcing your neurons to wake up and make new connections—new pathways—that can be more efficient than how your mind was working before. The ‘snow cover’ lets you cut new paths and work through ruts. There’s a reason psilocybin is being used alongside therapy to treat depression and anxiety more frequently these days.

Maybe the ’Stoned Ape’ theory is true, and maybe it’s not, but one thing that’s clear is that magic mushrooms have had a long history of expanding the mind. One thing I am highly passionate about is that we, as humans, should constantly be refining ourselves, growing and expanding our thoughts so that we may grow as individuals within society. You don’t need drugs for that—just good old fashioned attention and intention.

Here’s a hot tip that doubles as a great starting point for expanding your own capacity for dealing with emotions:  Point with your index finger at a ‘thumbs up’ in the opposite hand. Now switch which hand is pointing at which, and go back and forth slowly, pointing at your thumbs. Do it a little bit each day, picking up speed if you can. The fact that it is difficult for the mind tells you you’re learning something new.

This physical action of pointing at your thumbs uses both sides of the brain at once, thus creating new connections between the left and right hemispheres. It creates a superhighway of sorts, and has been shown to aid in emotional processing, among other positive benefits. Once you’ve mastered pointing at your thumbs, try giving a thumbs up while pointing your index finger at something else. Once you master that, start pointing with your pinky instead of your index finger. Find new ways to make the action you take difficult again—that’s when the brain-building happens. If it’s difficult, it’s working! Try it for a few minutes each day over the course of a few days or weeks and you just may be surprised how much this impacts you in a positive way.

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Newsletter #2 - How Police Psychologist Helped Me Craft My Characters

Hello again! Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author Paul James Keyes here with another newsletter!

Last time I introduced myself [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 1 - INTRODUCTIONS AND CHEESE], this time I’ll be writing about how I spent over a year working with a police psychologist crafting my characters.

As a writer, it always helps to hone the authenticity of my characters by getting another pair of eyes on my work. It helps even more when those eyes happen to belong to a police psychologist with many many years of experience under his belt.

Enter my first publisher, a man named Michael Thompkins; police psychologist by day, successful murder mystery/police procedural detective story author by night. He began a journey as a publisher when the publishing house that managed his stories went belly-up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. (At least that is my understanding of how that situation played out.)

I met him at a birthday party for a family friend and had just freshly “finished” my first manuscript for my first novel, Wrought by Fire—now book one of my successful Epic Fantasy Horror series, written for scientifically minded individuals like myself. [WROUGHT BY FIRE ON AMAZON] What I didn’t see coming was the year and a half of meetings—more like therapy sessions for my characters—before Wrought by Fire would truly be considered complete. Inexplicably, the novel became about 100 pages longer! During that time a 3rd protagonist was born and developed.

Michael and I would sit together for a few hours a week and pour over both of our notes and changes from all the previous months. I knew most people didn’t get a chance to refine their stories with such care, and I did not squander the opportunity!

Michael always respected my creative oversight, but we debated endlessly about my characters’ decisions—about who they were inside and out. He always made me back up my choices with nitty-gritty character development that felt like a creative writing bootcamp. We nitpicked over what they would say and do, and even talked about the psychology of the experience as a whole—what my future readers would ultimately get out of my books.

He helped me develop my good guys and their relationships with one another, and helped me see better into the minds of my bad guys. There’s no one quite like a police psychologist to help you understand the inner workings of the psychopathic and sociopathic minds.

The novel grew, not only in length, but in depth. I honed my world-building skills and Michael contributed invaluable insight that really helped make my characters flourish on the page. It was always exciting for me each week to see his reaction to my edits and additions.

I enjoyed hearing his compliments: “I don’t know how you do it, creating a new world like this. I stick to real things that already exist in my writing. Not everyone can write all this fantastical $#%T like you.” He could be blunt. He also wasn’t easily impressed. Sometimes the compliments were hard to hear through the criticism, but I always felt he respected my writerly abilities. At times, I dreaded his critiques: “You need a new first chapter. It opens too slow and the stakes aren’t high enough until you’ve gotten in too far.” It was a fair critique.

I asked myself, how do I start this story in a more exciting way?—in my mind it was already complete and I didn’t want to rewrite the whole thing! Suddenly, inspiration struck, and a character mentioned merely in passing as a piece of a backstory for one of my protagonists became a protagonist in her own right.

I couldn’t leave her with only one chapter—Michael insisted as much—“People will be mad at you if you drop her.” And so more chapters appeared, telling my new character’s story.

I should mention I was already well into writing Wrought by Fire’s sequel, Ashen Sky, at the time, and my new protagonist didn’t really fit in. But then suddenly she did! Somehow this new character solved many of my lingering plot threads deep in the series as if she was meant to be there all along. It felt serendipitous! I can’t explain the high of an integral piece of your story suddenly falling into place. I haven’t experienced anything else quite as satisfying. It’s the same excitement my readers experience when they discover the twists and turns of my story for the first time, combined with the cathartic release of creating something new. Sometimes it feels more like discovery than creation.

After Wrought by Fire was completed, we moved on to Ashen Sky and continued the same process, always striving for authenticity. Working with Michael is a time in my life that I will always cherish. My novels would not be the books they are today without his not-so-subtle urgings.

Sadly, Michael passed away last year after a lengthy battle with illness at the age of 78. Our conversations will be missed, but at least I can say that some part of him will live on his stories, and now mine as well, forever.

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Newsletter #1 - Introductions and Cheese

Hello! My name is Paul James Keyes, Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author, and this is my newsletter.

I write about being an author and give book recommendations from time to time, but mostly, I just fill these newsletters with subjects that interest me: Cutting Edge Science & Technology, Futurology, AI, Robotics, Psychology & Mind Hacking, and much more across my vast range of fascinations. As both a fiction & science writer, I’m constantly researching a lot of different fields, and I’m quite good at explaining complicated concepts in accessible ways.

With this first introduction, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and share with you some personal insights to give you a taste of the kind of messages you can look forward to receiving from this newsletter in the future.

First off, who am I? My name’s Paul; I’m 35; a father; a husband in an interracial marriage to an amazing Native American woman; I’m a software developer; a science & technology enthusiast/writer; a fantasy lover; I’m a novelist with thousands of pages under my belt—that’s six books across two series, so far!

I’m a free-thinker who believes that change is necessary for a successful future. I believe there are answers to our society’s problems—that vast change is required despite the difficulty of implementation, rather than the stagnation and old ways of thinking that are currently driving society. All of my views are based in logic, science, and possibly most importantly: Empathy.

As a writer I am constantly conceiving of, inhabiting, and then embodying the minds and “souls” of my characters to deliver faithful reproductions of life to my audience. With this comes the ability to see things from many different perspectives.

I grew up well-traveled—and I know how fortunate I am to have had such an upbringing. I attended the University of Washington and obtained degrees in both creative writing and economics. When there’s a problem, I like to dig deep to its root. I am a student of human nature, inter-culturalism, philosophy and so much more as my interests inevitably wander with my writing and research.

With this newsletter, I will share with you my musings on many topics.

The next few include:

  • How I worked with a police psychologist for over a year to develop my characters
  • The ‘Stoned Ape’ theory of the evolution of man
  • A critical look at Avatar: The Way of Water
  • A new cutting edge technology that can broadcast the “sound” of a drug straight into your brain
  • A piece about how Artificial Intelligence may soon steal most of our jobs
And much much more! Ultimately, what interests me is dissecting what it means to be human in this wide and wacky world. I believe deeply in inclusion, equality, and respect.

For now, I’ll leave you with an original poem:

How Do We Know What We Know?

Not as individuals
Rather, a collective
Someone ate that cheese

That very first cheese

They didn’t know if they would die
I hope you never have to experience that

To risk it all for a bite
of unknown

Spoiled milk stored in a goat’s stomach
It turned hard and became storable
Someone took that bite
What was its smell?
Funk beyond funk in a cheeseless world

Now you sprinkle that crap on everything

But ponder this:

How many experiments did not end so cheesily?🧀

Freebie: Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated - A Fantasy Horror Series


Free Book Promotion

Free Book Promotion


For Prime Day this year, both of my series opens are free to download October 13-14th, 2020.

To celebrate the pre-sale launch of my new novel, Ashen Sky, Book 2 of The Arcadian Complex, (, I am making both of my series openersFREEto download from Amazon for the next two days! 



Wrought by Fire, Book 1 of The Arcadian Complex


Fated, Book 1 of Into the Beyond, my YA Fantasy series that takes place in my hometown, Edmonds, Washington.


Ashen Sky, Book 2 of The Arcadian Complex is available for Pre-Sale, Shipping on November 24, 2020.










Wrought by Fire
Ashen Sky
Howls on the Wind
Into the Beyond - Part 1: Fated
Into the Beyond - Part 2: Far From Human
Into the Beyond - Part 3: Fires of Heaven

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