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A Distant World Holds the Key to Mankind’s Survival
By Steven M. Bates

In this novel, it’s up to seven uploaded consciousnesses to save the human race after a pathogen kills everyone on Earth.


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A powerful pathogen is killing every inhabitant of Earth. Amid the chaos, an experimental spaceship designed as an ark is prepared for departure. After it transports Maria Ramos and six other people to a mysterious planet, they learn that their minds have been uploaded as digital consciousnesses and that all other passengers died during the journey. It’s up to these seven minds to save the human race. The ark contains frozen human tissues that can be used to grow colonists. But after the ship’s AI transfers the surviving consciousnesses into robots, some of them plot to steal and inhabit some colonist bodies and destroy the rest, even if it means that humanity dies out. After Maria’s murder, a community of mixed human and native blood develops, but it faces its own extinction event. Clues for survival come from a planet-wide AI created by an ancient civilization, astounding messages from a distant source, and an intriguing traveler who seems to know much about Maria and her long-ago efforts to promote sentient life. Castle of Sand is a compelling and inspirational exploration of what it means to be human.

Steve Bates’ first novel, Back to You, a humorous science fiction story in the mold of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, was released in 2021. More than a dozen of his science fiction short stories have appeared in periodicals such as Perihelion and Kzine. He has appeared on several television programs, including the “New York Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough,” as well as dozens of radio programs. His nonfiction book, The Seeds of Spring, Lessons from the Garden, was published in 2010. It earned an award from the Garden Writers Association and won an International Book Award. He was a reporter and editor for The Washington Post as well as other newspapers, magazines, and the web. He won numerous writing awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award for business journalism and an investigative reporting award for coverage of riots in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-63293-536-6
416 pp.,$29.95

ISBN: 978-1-61139-701-7
416 pp.,$4.99

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