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David Martin Ward Powers is originally from Sydney and is currently based in Adelaide, but has lived and worked in many countries. He is a scientist, researcher and inventor in Artificial Intelligence, Behavioural and Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Robotics and Digital Health. His award-winning research has been foundational for half a dozen or so startups, and he is the author or co-author of around 300 scientific publications - including a couple of books published by Springer.

Powers is Professor of Computer Science and Cognitive Science at Flinders University in South Australia, and is also founding Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Cognitive Science and Technology Series. He founded the SIGNLL peak organization and CoNLL conference series on Natural Language Learning.

He has written a number of short stories in a Science Fiction, Fantasy or Allegory vein, which have been used in teacher training, research or other academic contexts, including publication in small circulation newsletters (published under a variety of names).

Recently, he has been writing the "Paradisi Lost Mission Series" of science fiction novels under the name Marti Ward. The second novel (Moraturi Lost) has just been self-published and the third (Moraturi Ring) is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

These novels are firmly in the Hard Science Fiction genre and aim to appeal to precocious school students and inquisitive adults interested in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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South Australia
Authors Book Genres
Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Author's Books
Book Title
Science Fiction, Young Adult

A 3.5 year mission from which they'll never return, a 2.5 million lightyear journey to another galaxy, a 1.5 member crew comprising a solitary captain and a half-baked AI...

Captain Sideris is a loner and knows LETO ships like nobody else, having risen to command the Lunar-Earth construction fleet, as they build ships to mine asteroids and colonize Mars. Suddenly he finds the colonization effort is for another planet, in another galaxy, and he’s the sole human guinea pig being gated through a wormhole with an AI playing Noah to LETO SS Casindra’s ark.

Everything goes well as he starts to survey four planets they plan to exploit, as he gets to know emergent AI ‘Al’, as he discovers he’s building a special relationship with empathic cat ‘Simba’. Problem is message drones gated home are not being returned per protocol, with little explanation, no supplies, and some cryptic and disturbing messages.

The sci-fi elements are wonderfully developed and thoroughly researched, and the character development gets a similarly rigorous level of attention. Sideris' relationship with Al, the AI onboard, is particularly charming. The narrative moments when the point of view temporarily shifts to Al, or even to the feline passengers, make for amusing reprieves within the story.

The limited number of characters also allows for deeper probing into ideas of identity, solitude, adventure, and sacrifice for the greater good. This journey to New Eden, and the process of settling on the planet, provides a fascinating view into humanity's near future, as similar exploratory missions will undoubtedly occur in this century.

Blending scientific fact with a brilliant fictional premise, Casindra Lost is an impressive first piece of the Lost Mission series, and a great read for devoted sci-fi fans and new readers alike. - The Independent Review of Books

This extraordinary story made us think, and it compelled us to turn the pages as if we were running a red light. With all of the phobias and anxieties of a humanity on the brink of extinction, Ward brings the true trials and tribulations of our current world onto the pages and deck of Casindra and many, many worlds beyond.

This novel is a cat-and-mouse game between humanity and entropy. Tangled webs of heavy themes such as what it means to be human, the nature of relationships, humanity, empathy, and morality, are buried deep within the pages of this profound work. We struggled to find a balance between not wanting to put this story down and having to pause for a deep breath. - The Authors Circle

'A classic sci-fi saga with a strong emphasis on all that's technical in space travel. Fans of The Martian will probably love it!' - The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

Book Title
Science Fiction, Young Adult

After a wormhole radiation incident, a 20-year-old vetinerary nurse finds herself in charge of a mission to another solar system in another galaxy... with as motley a crew as had ever graced sea or sky… a crew of amnesiac patients.

Many of them don't know how they got there; none of them know where they are...

Three of them are teens who will find unexpected responsibilities, two of them are cats who seem to know more than you'd expect, and one character is a basic level-one AI who will need to step up to replace the unrecoverable level-three Quantum AI.

In addition to the complex and fascinating story, Marti’s prose grows more sophisticated with each novel. His ability to create credible characters in a fantasy sci-fi realm is a gift he continues to polish. As he has stated before, he is turning science fact into science fiction, and the transition is successful! This series is addicting and wholly successful! – Grady Harp

I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book’s mystique. When I stopped reading to work, I found myself wondering what happened in the book, and replaying parts of the novel in my head to see if I could figure more out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much. It’s a well-written sci-fi adventure with perfect pacing. Highly recommended and looking forward to the next instalment. - Piarus

I found the first book of this series to be very good. It had a certain Alien meets 2001 quality to it. This next installment takes the reader in a new direction. We still feel the claustrophobia and isolation of deep space, but we also find the tension and suspense that comes from the failed plan and the horror of so many people being trapped with few options. I enjoyed the setting, the character development, and the pace of the narrative. Fans of science fiction will enjoy this read and the series that it is part of. While this is the second book in a series, it does not need to be read in order to be enjoyed. - Phil Bolos

Book Title
Science Fiction, Young Adult

What a 21st!

Eva's big birthday 'present' was a tired old spaceship lost in space and time, a motley crew of amnesiac patients, 500 colonists in cryo, and a mission that would take a lifetime - assuming she could keep everyone alive till they made planetfall.

SS Moraturi is a Lunar Earth Transfer Orbiter - a kind of spider robot designed to construct space stations and ships in and around the Earth-Moon Lagrange points 1 and 2. Now Moraturi is taking two cryoholds full of colonists to New Eden, an earth-like planet in the Paradisi system, 2.5 million light years from Earth in the Andromeda galaxy.

Eva's problem is that the trip that was to take one year is now going to take decades - their emergency supplies were based on 200% of expected needs for just 16 crew members with the 500 passengers in cryo, and the cryotechnology can't keep them alive for decades at a stretch.

This book is the third in the Paradisi Lost Missions series and the second in the Moraturi arc. While it can be read as a standalone novel, the author recommends starting the Paradisi Lost series with either Moraturi Lost or Casindra Lost.

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