So it started out like this:
I took one look at that Tweet and said, oh hell, here we go again with me calling out a trend before it happens. This is the sort of digital thought clone notion that I came up with in the Martiniere books.
Well, not quite exactly. The digital thought clone concept I conceived in The Heritage of Michael Martiniere, then expanded in Justine Fixes Everything: Reflections on Mortality as well as the ending of The Enduring Legacy was driven by Philip Martiniere’s desire (at least in one universe, because Legacy dragged a multiverse concept into that collection of related books) for immortality. Essentially, the concept was as Desai described above–the use of recorded data as well as digital records–with the addition of an AI algorithm that made the digital thought clone sentient with agency. It wasn’t the same as a digital personality upload (for that, see the Netwalk Sequence books), but I had started fiddling with the ideas in the Martinieres. Then I started thinking about what-ifs, other universes, and started considering the idea of a digital clone war across universes.
But I didn’t do that much with the notion back in 2021 and 2022 because both Heritage and Justine weren’t that popular, and I had other things–such as multiverses, where I could examine different aspects of the Ruby and Gabe story–to write. Plus non-Martiniere stories. Oh, I had considered the idea. I had even written a short story about digital clone wars that I submitted to an anthology, set between Heritage and Justine.
It didn’t sell, of course.
I kept poking at the notion, and decided to put it into The Cost of Power, the latest Martiniere serial on Substack (first chapter here), about a month ago. I was already writing a universe where Gabe and Philip reconcile, and while the twists and turns of the mind control technology plot were intriguing enough, by about 40k words I didn’t quite have enough juice in the plot to justify Philip’s rationale for mellowing toward Gabe. Even given that Philip knew that he had been manipulated by Walter Braun and the Braun family in an attempt to take down the Martiniere Group and the Martiniere Family.
Enter the digital clone wars. Where Gabe of the Legacy is facing off against an even more toxic and evil version of Philip, who killed Gabe in one universe. Where digital clone (digi) Philip is determined to eliminate the more positive versions of himself across the multiverse, as well as Gabe, Justine, and the other Martinieres who stand against him. Where the insidious mind control program of the Martinieres amplifies the effect of a malevolent digi with an agenda.
When I saw that Tweet yesterday, my immediate thought was to get this damn story up ASAP and see if it flies.
I have no idea yet how well it’s gonna do. Nonetheless, as the result of spotting a Tweet that had a number of reactions to it, I did some edits to the story, whipped up a quickie cover in Book Brush, slapped that story into Vellum for formatting, added an excerpt from The Cost of Power where bad boy digi Philip first makes his appearance, and here you are.
Digital Clone Wars…The Beginning is available for $2.99 at all ebook distributors. Links below.
DIGITAL CLONE WARS…
The sentient digital thought clones (digis) of Gabriel Martiniere and Ruby Barkley thought that they were the only ones of their kind remaining after they defeated the digis of Gabe’s toxic father Philip and his tool Lily, their doomed granddaughter, in The Heritage of Michael Martiniere.
Then they discover that something or someone is manipulating digis—including that of their son Brandon, whose data was destroyed after his death. And Lily may be redeemable.
Can Ruby and Gabe manage to save Lily and her father Brandon?