William X. Adams

Biography

Bill Adams (writing as William X. Adams and William A. Adams) is a cognitive psychologist who left the academic life for the information technology industry to find out if the mind is like a computer. He writes nonfiction in philosophical psychology, and psychological science fiction to dramatize what he discovered. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Smashwords Interview

What's the story behind Reluctant Android?
My main character is Andy Bolton, a software engineer in Seattle. He thinks he's just an ordinary guy, but circumstances gradually convince him that he's a robot, made of circuit boards instead of organs. His boss, Lucy, finds out. She's skeptical, of course, but the evidence is overwhelming. She wants to take him apart and see how he works.

Forced into hiding, Andy finds his creator and learns he is an artificial intelligence, not psychologically like humans but not a mindless machine, either. He reluctantly accepts that and calls himself a Newcomer, a new life form. Lucy is relentless however. Convincing as Andy is, he's just a bucket of bolts to her.

It's hard for us to accept any machine as an ethical being. This issue haunted the remake of Blade Runner. So I thought, why not tell the story from the android's point of view? And that's how the Reluctant Android came to be.
Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy the classic "hard" sci-fi stories from the middle of the twentieth century written by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Stanislaw Lem, and Philip K. Dick. In their novels, science was in the forefront, reflecting the times. Unlike today's blend of sci-fi and fantasy, nary a dragon was encountered.

Many of those early authors tried to make the characters psychologically complex, whether the scientists or the AIs. You can hardly beat Asimov's I, Robot series or P.K. Dick's Blade Runner for that. But even going back to Karel Capek's 1920 novel, R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), the androids were psychologically humanoid, setting up the paradox that fascinates me: do we really know what an artificial intelligence is supposed to look like?

I call my work psi-fi, rather than sci-fi, because it's about psychology, artificial and human, in a storytelling context. When I have androids or aliens in my stories, it's to explore the psychology of being an android or an alien. I'm all about investigating consciousness. I have little patience with space ships and ray guns, alien empires and talking squid. Well, maybe I care about the squid, because that involves language, which is central to consciousness. I liked the movie, Arrival, for that reason.

More recent authors I've enjoyed include Elizabeth Moon (Remnant Population) and Jaroslav Kalfar (Spaceman of Bohemia). I count them as members of the psi-fi club, writing psychological fiction in a technological context. So many books; so little time. I review psi-fi books at www.psi-fi.net
Read more of this interview.

Where to find William X. Adams online


Where to buy in print


Books

Intelligent Things
Pre-release—available May 1, 2019. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 81,200. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Engineer Jennifer Valentine releases advanced AI personal assistants online to revolutionize the internet of things, but her softbots go rogue and she must save the national power grid. Can she bring herself to destroy the entire online world she created?
Alien Talk
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 82,580. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Robin Taylor, android resarcher, discovers that language is an extraterrestrial virus infecting humans. The ET is enraged by the false language of digital assistants and unleashes a pandemic of language disability. How can Robin explain all this to humans?
Reluctant Android
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 80,530. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Andy, an eccentric young engineer, discovers he’s a robot and his boss tries to capture him. A truce is agreed if he can pass a public Turing test, but he surprises his boss with an offer of reconciliation based on mutual trust.
250 Recent Movies You Will Like If You See Film as Art
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 74,700. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Consumer guides, Nonfiction » Entertainment » History & Criticism
Reviews of 250 feature-length movies are listed. Reviews are short, to give a sense of what the movie is about and if you would like it. The movies are artistic and thoughtful, which does not necessarily mean “serious.” There are plenty of humor, horror, romance, animation, musicals, documentaries, and kids’ movies. You will find a lot to like.
Hunter And Hunted Revised Edition
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,010. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A Seattle businesswoman and archery hunter buys a prehistoric hunting artifact that turns out to be a forgery. But somebody thinks it is real and wants it. Charged with murder, she must find her assailant before it is too late. Can she count on help from Artemis, ancient goddess of the hunt? An international thriller with a supernatural twist.
The Purpose of the Body
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,780. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Theory
The body is a conceptualization, by the linguistic and self-aware Social Self strand of consciousness, of the non-self-aware Sensorimotor Cycle strand of consciousness. From that confusion, the concept of the body is projected away from subjectivity and reified into a self-existent object, a projection that guarantees psychological individuality, and thus the survival of the mind.
Six Short Stories of Crime and Suspense
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,390. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
As a challenge, these six stories were limited to 3,000 words each. All but one met that challenge. Drawn from life experience then exaggerated, they deal with topics from mass murder to sci-fi. Most involve a crime, usually murder, no doubt an influence of membership in Arizona Mystery Writers. They were fun to write; I hope they are fun to read.
The Three-In-One Mind
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 43,290. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Theory
The Three-In-One Mind proposes that the normal, adult, human mind includes three different streams of concurrent consciousness, called the Sensorimotor Cycle, the Social Self, and the Motivational Core. “The mind” then, is not a single mental process but a concert of three. This analysis offers useful innovations that plausibly resolve many perplexing problems of psychology.
Scientific Introspection: A Method For Investigating the Mind
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 65,720. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Research
Scientific Introspection calls for psychologists to use introspection to investigate the mind. What researchers do now is study the brain and behavior then try to guess what the mind must be like. But why guess? We have the ability to look directly into our minds. Scientific Introspection is an adjunct to traditional cognitive psychology, an investigative tool to discover how the mind works.

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