Thursday, February 21, 2019

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Jade Rebellion (The Jade Chronicles #1) by Alanna MacKenzie

The Jade Rebellion
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Jade Rebellion by Alanna Mackenzie. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have a guest post for you, and there's also a tour wide giveaway. Be sure to check out the rest of the great blogs participating in the tour here for more guest posts, excerpts, reviews, interviews, and more. Enjoy!
The Jade Rebellion bannerTitle: The Jade Rebellion 
Series: The Jade Chronicles #1
Author: Alanna MacKenzie
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 1 May, 2018
A reckoning. A rebellion. The worlds of artificial intelligence and ancient magic collide.

Crystal City glistens with diamonds, but its dazzling beauty comes at a deadly price. The capital of Khalendar thrives on a steady supply of gemstones from the neighboring Barrens, a colony of the Empire.

Walter Saltanetska translates AI code for the Khalendar government, helping to breathe life into the ambitious vision of the AI Masters. When Walter discovers a terrible secret which could destroy the life of his lover, Elaine, he decides to tell her despite strict orders to keep what he translates confidential.

What begins as a catastrophe eventually grows into a rebellion. Elaine is taken captive by the AI Masters, and Walter must do everything in his power to rescue her. He starts his quest with a single goal in mind, finding Elaine, but along the way Walter discovers that saving her is only a small part of his destiny. During his travels, he encounters a long-lost relative, a warrior matriarch, and a mystical kingdom forgotten to time. Yet Walter's true journey occurs not in physical space, but the captivating depths of his mind.

An inventive blend of dystopian science-fiction and fantasy, the Jade Rebellion explores whether we can overcome technological determinism by preserving history, nature, spirituality, and ultimately, our humanity.
Alanna Mackenzie
About the Author:

Alanna Mackenzie lives in Vancouver, Canada. She holds degrees in History, French studies, and Law from the University of British Columbia. An environmentalist at heart, she believes in using the law as a tool for social and environmental change. When she is not pursuing that passion, she can be found brainstorming the next chapter in her novels, playing Irish fiddle tunes on the violin, and hiking West Coast trails.

Guest Post:
Who are your favorite top 3 influential figures in history?

I am going to take a bit of a feminist slant on this, not because I don’t have any favorite male historical figures, but because I think women are under-represented in historical narratives. Especially because, as it turns out, there are some amazing historical women out there! It’s very hard to choose my favorites, but if I need to narrow it down here are my top three. I chose these particular ones because they intersect with many of the themes and issues in my novel, The Jade Rebellion, such as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, romance, and intrigue.

1) Ada Lovelace (First Computer Programmer)
The world of computer programming is undeniably male-dominated, but Ada Lovelace was one of the most important figures in the early history of the computer. The daughter of the famous romantic poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace was encouraged to pursue her keen interest in mathematics from an early age because her mother did not want her daughter to become “purposeless” like her father. Lovelace was highly influenced by Charles Babbage, who is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer. His “Analytical Engine” contained all the essential components of modern computers, including memory, storage, and programming. While many modern commentators have downplayed Lovelace’s contributions to Babbage’s work, it is clear that she had brilliant insights into the Analytical Engine and its capabilities. While Babbage viewed the machine as limited to performing mathematical calculations, Lovelace had a broader vision of its abilities. She recognized that it could also carry out processes to govern diverse applications, and that it could perform a range of different tasks, such as composing music, if properly set up to do so. Lovelace was also cognizant of the limitations of computers, however, remarking once that computers can never be as intelligent as humans because they can only do what we program them to do. Until a machine can originate an idea that it wasn’t designed to, Lovelace argued, it can’t be considered intelligent in the same way humans are. This insight led to the development of the modern Lovelace Test, a more rigorous measure of machine intelligence than the famous Turing Test: an artificial agent passes the test only if it originates a program that it was not engineered to produce. The makers of the Lovelace Test believe that the test will never be passed, but only time will tell as to whether their predictions are correct.

2) Maria Merian (Naturalist, Illustrator and Traveler)
I recently read Andrea Wulf’s biography of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Invention of Nature, and loved it. I was actually thinking of including Humboldt in this list, just because he is so cool – for those who haven’t heard of him, he is the forgotten father of environmentalism: he came up with the idea that nature is a web of life, and he was also the first person to describe the phenomenon of human-induced climate change. But then I did a bit of research into his female counterpart, Maria Merian, and I realized – okay, so he was a brilliant naturalist, but you know who is even cooler? A woman who basically did what he did, just 100 years before him. Merian was the first European woman to independently go on a scientific expedition to South America: in 1699 she travelled all the way from Amsterdam to Surinam (a Dutch colony in South America) to study and record tropical insects. At the time, it was very unusual for women to travel to such places, and only men received government funding to travel to the colonies to find new species of plants and animals. Yet Merian’s expedition was self-funded. Moreover, it was successful – she discovered a wide range of previously unknown animals and plants. Merian described and classified her findings in extensive detail, making descriptions not only of the insects she discovered, but also their uses to indigenous people. Amongst her major contributions to ecology and biology, were her depiction of insects’ life cycle, her observations on the interaction of organisms, and her depictions of the struggle amongst species, which predated those of Charles Darwin.

3) Cleopatra (The Last “True” Queen of Egypt)
It is not surprising that Cleopatra is considered to be the most complicated and well-developed female character in all of Shakespeare’s plays. What I like most about her is her complexity, and the fact that she resists easy categorization. During her lifetime, Roman propaganda portrayed her as a relatively one-dimensional character – a temptress and seductress who used her beauty in strategic political ways – and this stereotype persists even today. However, in reality her defining feature was likely not her beauty but her intellect; she spoke a dozen languages and was highly educated in subjects such as mathematics, philosophy, oratory and astronomy. She was the first member of the Ptolemaic line of rulers of Egypt to learn the Egyptian language, despite being Macedonian Greek in heritage. Her cleverness was also apparent in the infamous way she met with Julius Ceasar, by wrapping herself into a carpet and smuggling into his personal quarters when he arrived in Alexandria in 48 B.C. She is also an inspiring figure because she bravely confronted numerous challenges. When she took the throne, Egypt was beset by a terrible drought and there was intense political unrest. She faced one political setback after another, and near the end of her reign she was confronted with the task of personally leading several dozen Egyptian warships in a naval battle against the Romans. In a twist of tragedy that was befitting of her dramatic life, Cleopatra died of self-inflicted poisoning shortly after the death of her lover Marc Antony. Cleopatra may be considered the last true Queen of Egypt, but she certainly left her mark on the world long after the end of the great Egyptian dynasties.
This is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Jade Rebellion. One winner will win a physical copy of The Jade Rebellion by Alanna Mackenzie (US Only). Good luck!