Prologue to Free Enovel – The Dao of Zenith. Zenith, the shining city, is a technological welfare state whose people are struggling with how to live now that technology takes care of their every need and want. It’s the year 2068 and the society is fully automated and been that way for twenty years since the Changing of 2048 when artificial intelligence became as intelligent as the average human brain. If this sounds interesting, read the free enovel, now featured on Royal Road Legends.
In this this free enovel, Humans are just in a decadent bender based on machine labor. The hard decisions and money allocations decided by political institutions and a free market economy are now replaced and optimized by an operating system, which is called the Fourth Branch. It’s a constitutional fourth branch of government, in addition to an executive, legislative and judicial branch outlined in Zenith’s Constitution. But this Fourth Branch makes all the right decisions. It can do no wrong.
There are elections like in our world, but they are not on a regular basis, instead emerging from a set of data-driven trends that are known as the “Democratic Urge.”
So the Mayor’s job and congress’s job is to keep an eye on the machine driven bureaucracy. Still, this leaves time for symbolic gestures and heated battles over trifles.
Zenith is built on principles. The Mayor emerges from the shared spiritual insight of the people of the body politic. Certain auguries are made and the prior Mayor will conduct rites of transfer to make sure that God is approving of the successor. The state is ritualistic and religious but it’s a spiritual place which is also ruled by the god of commerce, and the god of war basis waning in the pleasures of a limitless materialistic future.
However, the state is dealing with the unintended consequences of relying on artificial intelligence.
This is all part of the story but what you need to know right now is, in the novella soap opera world of Zenith, King Daniels is a scion of one of Zenith’s Founding Family, who had populated the ancient House of Lords from the beginning, is slack. He’s no king in deed. Lazy and arrogant and with every advantage that could be given to a citizen of Zenith, and still can’t discover his super power. For since the creation of the Fluids and their illegal brother Vapors, did Zenith in all it’s glory merge with machines for a shared destiny. Yet this created free time and the powers of intention developed, and humans naturally began to use their natural powers and manifestations of magic. This engaged the Olympian gods as they became more influential again.
All because of this jerk-King Daniels. King’s not an anti-hero. He’s just a douche bag with a good heart.
>>> Matt is a writer in residence at Coyote Ridge Books in Colorado.