Science fiction author Ali Banks discusses her latest novel

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‘Transition Keeper’ is writer Ali Blanks third novel based within the genre of science fiction. Focusing on intrigue, suspense, and terrorism, the story aims to keep readers on the edge of their seats. I spoke with Ali about her career thus far, and how has she been managing her hectic schedule during COVID-19.

We began our discussion, by speaking of Alis background,  Transition Keeper,  and its inspirations:

“Ali Blank is my pen-name. In real life, I’m a woman and my name is Helen Sibiriakov. Transition Keeper is my third book in the science-fiction genre but at the same time it is my first “touch” with an English, and especially British, target audience. In my opinion, I already took a great place in the “Man`s World” (in the traditional meaning), at the beginning as a journalist in the media-sphere, and then, as a businesswoman in the political consulting sphere.

My previous book “Ukraine, G-point”, which was written in Russian, is my hidden autobiography. It was dedicated to the particular qualities of election technologies in the post-Societ area.

Regarding my current scientific activity, it is more about creating a new exploratory model of collecting and analyzing big data in the global world.

To make a long story short, I just tried to explain that the plot about a woman, who got the unique power of God-AI and with the help of this power tried to prevent global danger, is a good background to start and lead the discussion about improving AI with the wide society”.

Science fiction writing inspired by media and politics

In terms of her current projects, Ali believes that her background in the media and political consulting has prepared her for a career in creative writing:

My last investigations in the sphere of high technologies and analyzing Big Data became the prototype for such plot-constructions as General and his self-training machine or, for example, Gofman`s innovations in the game world”.

We moved on to speak of the last 12 months and how Ali she spent her time preparing for the release of the novel:

“Last year I was fully immersed in the writing process. For a better feeling of the story, I also visited most of the places described in the book, for example, Austria, Portugal, Britain and etc.

It is not a secret that when you see this beauty in your own eyes, it helps you to feel like the main character, get his thoughts, impressions from the surrounding nature, and to find a lot of answers”.

In terms of what she would have done differently, Ali described her desire to have carried out more practical investigations that could prevent global threats, which she shall proceed to do in the future:

I wish to have an ability to continue the practical investigations in the sphere of AI which can prevent different kinds of global threats. Also would be a great option, to have some virtual reality or something like that, where we can simulate the conditions of the global threat to find a few ways to solve it in case it really happens.

The second idea is to create a platform, where the leading theoretics and practices could organize different debates on topics of new challenges for humanity. Terrorism, which is described in the Transition Keeper is just one of the thousands of real treats, we can run in the nearest future”.

She spoke of her most recent projects and how she adapted her work to get through the coronavirus pandemic:

I have been working online even before the time of Corona. I really can work from any place where I have my laptop and the internet, that is why COVID didn’t change my life so much. The only choice I faced was, where to spend this quarantine time.

I was born in Ukraine, which is why I decided to spend this time with my family and friends. I barely got to Europe from Washindtone with the last flight before all the borders were closed.

In general, the quarantine time was a great possibility for me to finish with the book. The world in the Transition Keeper was modelled as the masculine orientated world of the institutes of government and money, where there is no place for LOVE.

On the other hand, love is one of the most important life components for women. I would like to continue this thesis by looking for the secret of the Transition Keeper.

When asked why she wrote Transition Keeper, Ali referred to a quote from Elon Musk which refers to world superpowers potentially using artificial intelligence to bring about a potential world war:

“I was inspired by Elon Musk, who said: ” China, Russia, soon all countries with strong computer science, will compete for AI superiority at a national level, which could bring about world war 3.

It seemed to be very interesting to modelete the world with the machines and antipodes. In such conditions (I mean the phrase) it is quite difficult to get all the answers for the questions you have.

But if you try to reconstruct these questions correctly, or just formulate them in the other way, it might be a better way to show the problem more strictly”.

Ali discussed how the ideas present in the book, will be beneficial for modern society and feminism in particular:

“The most important “thing” is the woman, who is hidden under the meaning of Transition Keeper. She is above the confrontation of machines and ideas. And she is the real one who can establish the Truth”.

Before we finished Ali revealed her main inspirations and what inspires her creative side:

“The main source of my inspiration is the people who have their “deep” stories. In this sense, I’m so similar to the one of my personages Thailor. He says that he serves to the wings of angels, which are creating the people`s stories.

I also fell in love with British museums and gardens. I always can find some specials artifacts there, they also inspire me to create new spaces and forms”.

If you would like to get in touch with Ali, follow her social media accounts, which can be accessed here:

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-sibiriakova-1b783a4b/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sibiriakova.alena
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AliBlank3


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