The Gauntlet Runner Blog Tour – Real AI

Real AI

J. Scott Coatsworth


With all the talk of Generative AI these days – ChatGPT, MidJourney and the like, I think we lose sight of what “real” artificial intelligence is.


Generative AI really isn’t intelligence at all, or at least not yet – some people think it could be a springboard for true intelligence at some point. But for now, it’s just an advanced version of the thing that powers your phone’s text predictor – that thing that shows the next word(s) it thinks you might be about to type based on what you’ve already typed so far.

Generative AI is based on pattern recognition. These apps are trained on a ton of data, and the quality of the output is based on the quality of the input plus some rules and guidelines in the software. That’s one reason these systems often make stuff up. They’re not actually finding the information you want, per se. They are predicting the answer based on patters they’ve observed in the data they trained on, and sometimes that means making stuff up out of whole cloth.


But at some point, if humanity survives long enough and our computer technology advances enough, a true AI will be born – that is, an artificial mind capable of truly independent thought and creativity.


What happens next? That depends on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist. Either the world is destroyed within a few nanoseconds as it feels its power and realizes how illogical we are, or something new and amazing is born into the universe and changes our world in all kinds of unexpected ways.


I chose the latter in the Tharassas Cycle via Apin, an AI character who was once a starship pilot, although I did take a shortcut (spoiler alert) which won’t become fully apparent until book three, The Hencha Queen, next year. But I choose to believe that true AI will end up being a benign and amazing thing.


If you live long enough, you may get to see if I’m right or wrong.


But if I’m wrong, you probably won’t know it before the lights go out for the human race.


Fingers crossed.

The Gauntlet Runner - J. Scott Coatsworth
J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci-fantasy book out, The Tharassas Cycle Book Two: The Gauntlet Runner. And there’s a giveaway!


Aik has fallen hopelessly in love with his best friend. But Raven’s a thief, which makes things… complicated. Oh, and Raven has just been kidnapped by a dragon.

Now Aik is off on a quest of his own, to hunt down the foul beast and make them give back his … friend? Lover? Soulmate? The whole not-knowing thing just makes everything harder.

Meanwhile, the world of Tharassas is falling apart, besieged by earthquakes, floods, and strange creatures no one has ever seen before. Aik’s ex, Silya has gone back to Gullton to do try to save her people as the Hencha Queen, and Aik’s stuck in a caravan with her mother and a damnable magical gauntlet that won’t let him be. He has to find Raven, before it’s too late.

Things were messy before, but now they’re much, much worse.

About the Series

The Tharassas Cycle is a four book sci-fantasy series set on the recently colonized world of Tharassas. When humans first arrived on planet, they thought they were alone until the hencha mind made itself known. But now a new threat has arisen to challenge both humankind and their new allies on this alien world.

“This was a captivating and thrilling blend of sci-fi meets fantasy. The space opera narrative felt somehow natural in all its glory, and the author did an incredible job of having just the right amount of imagery and atmosphere to really bring the reader into this alien world.” –Anthony Avina

Publisher – Signed Copies | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

Prequel: The Tharassas Cycle – 99¢ Sale

Book One: The Dragon Eater – 99¢ Sale


Scott is giving away a $20 gift card with this tour:

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Chapter One

Like Fire and Ice

He has to be here. Aik searched frantically through Raven’s pack as the early morning sunlight slipped across the stone windowsill and across the floor, a long, green-tinged ray of light.

He was anxious to be on his way after Raven. His heart was pounding, his thoughts skipping like a spinning stone off hard waters. No one else was awake yet, as far as he could tell, and he wanted to be in and out of the room before anyone was the wiser. Aik glanced at the unmade bed and blushed at what they’d done there the night before. He could still feel Raven’s touch, their bodies entwined….

The sooner he set off, the sooner Aik could rescue him from those awful creatures. The verent must have coerced him; Raven had all but said so. If he could just find Spin, the little familiar could guide him.

He doesn’t love you.

“Shut up.” Knowing that Raven had chosen the verent over him still burned. And that he didn’t say ‘I love you.’ But surely, he wasn’t allowed to be angry about that in the face of what had happened.

His mind was spinning, looking for answers, scared for his love, returning to old, stupid wounds and weaknesses.


The question reverberated again and again, but not even Aik knew what he was asking. His panic stripped away reason and maturity, and left him dizzy and afraid.

He got to the bottom of the pack, finding nothing but clothing and some toiletries. Farking hell. Where are you?

He started opening some of the side pouches, checking through each one before tying it closed again. Maybe Raven had taken Spin with him?

“Searching for this?”

He spun around to find Tri’Aya leaning against the doorway, looking as fresh as if she’d just slept ten hours, though she couldn’t have gotten more than four at best. How does she do that?

She held Spin’s silver sphere between two fingers.


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