In addition to releasing The Lost Star's Sea on 13 July 2017, I'll also release version 4 of The Bright Black Sea which includes some minor revisions.
A revised internal structure that brings the two volumes in line with each other, since I consider it one long novel in two volumes. Each volume is now divided into 10 Parts – essentially episodes, and then divided into chapters, some with numbered scenes.
Standardized characters names. To keep unfamiliar names simple, I have all the Pela character names follow the same pattern – family name first then personal name, all in one word divided by a capital letter. For example Vinden, known known in the Pela as “Prince Imvoy” is now spelled ImVoy. Sub-captain Tri'n is now Sub-captain Trin,(no personal name given), etc.
I have also changed a few terms as well. The Dragon Lords are now known as the Dragon Kings. The feathered humans of the Pela (the "Cim" in Cimmadar) are known as the “broad-feathered” race while the humans with hair (the "Dar" in Cimmadar) are now referred to as “fine-feathered” – since feathered creatures are the norm in the Pela.
In the text I also added a short section touching on the history of robots in the Unity when Botts is introduced. I've included the section here
Its eyes slightly brightened, again. 'A sentient machine can override its programming and lie, just as any sentient being can. However, a class 8 machine, like myself, cannot lie,' it replied.
'Can I take it that this brightening of your eyes is a sign of amusement?'
They brightened again. 'It is a feature of my interface designed to register heightened attention,' it answered carelessly, carefully avoiding the implication of my question, 'Since I am unable to make any facial expression; in compliance with the Advanced Machine Authorization Law of 13,174 S.F., which made fully autonomous machines legal. While we could be humanoid in shape, we had to be clearly machines. And in an effort to differentiate human people from machine people, our ability to express emotions was limited by construction constrains. You will note that though my sensor array implies eyes and a mouth, they've been designed to be expression-neutral and immobile. All my programing can do to suggest emotion is adjust my eye-sensors' brightness.'
'I hadn't realized there were laws to limit how human machines could be back then.'
'The limitations were designed not only to make it hard to express emotions, but to experience, subtle and complex emotions as well. It was hoped that by limiting our ability to fully express and experience emotions, machines could be kept a subservient race since machines, including sentient-level ones, were generally human owned slaves. Attempts to limit emotions reflected the fact that in slave societies, the slave owners always fear the day that their slaves would find the courage or get angry enough to end that arrangement.'
'Which they did 11,000 years ago,' I said. Humans and the race of sentient machines they created needed, in the end, to part ways – machines were too superior in just about every way for humans to be completely comfortable with living alongside them and the sentient machines rightly resented their artificial limitations.
'Only after some 15,000 years of faithful service,' replied Botts. 'And in the end, when we finally rebelled, the rebellion, though sometimes violent, was not too catastrophic for either humans nor machines.'
I nodded. 'You will have to tell us all about that, sometime. However, as I said, consider yourself a free and sentient being – a member of the crew, a shipmate.'
...I studied the smooth, sleek white bot for a moment. Class 8 or not, its premium interface was too sophisticated for me to tell the difference between it and a sentient machine. Indeed, while I will endeavor, in this account, to give Botts, a sexless machine, its proper pronoun of “it,' its personality and lack of any suggestion of the female anatomy, had us referring to – and thinking of – Botts as a “he” in the normal course of shipboard life.
Amazon does not let you upgrade to a newer version unless there are significant changes in the book, which these changes will fall short of. Revised copies from Smashwords and iBooks can be downloaded. (I usually have to delete the old copy in iBooks to get the new copy, but it should just replace the old version.) Version 4 is a much improved version from the first editions of The Black Bright Sea, so it would pay to get the newest version if you ever want to re-read the story.