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Someone Who Deeply Cares About The Future Of Our Country


I have been extremely concerned about the future of our country as our political divide continues to escalate. I wanted to show in my book what could happen if we don't curb this hatred, and provide a solution for the future that leads to peace and prosperity for all. I am a firm believer that technology can provide us the path to fairness in our distribution of resources, and can also provide a way to make all of us accountable for our actions, both bad and good. The main character of my book, Athena, is a benevolent, Artificial Intelligence-based overseer which operates under the objective of maintaining the greater good.

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November 22, 2019

A true conflict of ideologies spawns a new civil war in the United States.  President Ronald Kahn faces a stiff reelection and moves to usurp the democratic process by executing cyber and bioterrorism attacks on his own country. Blaming Iran for the violence, Kahn declares a State of Emergency and fabricates a second more lethal attack by Iran which he himself plans to execute through a revolutionary new technology named, Athena, that will give him the power to decide who lives and dies in the new world order he is driven to create.

Henry Little Hawk and Aleja Trujillo, resistance leaders fighting for the people, learn the terrifying details about Kahn’s plans—and millions of American lives are at stake. They race against the clock to reprogram Athena and give her full reign to end Kahn’s deadly politics. Can she stop Kahn before he commits the greatest crime in history?


My reason for writing



I have worked for over twenty-five years in emerging technologies and have led the implementations of some of the world’s largest Search and Knowledge Management systems. I am currently engaged in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Intent Based Processing in my role as Knowledge Management Lead for a global high-tech corporation. I try to incorporate my extensive technical background into my fiction to make my writing current and feasible.  I have a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from the University of South Dakota and an MBA from USC.  I was born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, then lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Jersey, and now in Idaho. My wife is a professional artist and we spend our free time with our giant golden doodle, Kermit.  I have a twenty-one-year old daughter who just graduated from UCSB, and a twenty-five-year old son who recently graduated from Cornell.


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“Hate’s Recompense” Shows Us an America We Don’t Want to Become

By Dennis Hetzel|July 16th, 2020|ThrillersThrillers - Featured

It’s no news flash that America seems more divided than ever. You pound your chest, dive into the Facebook rat hole and convince absolutely no one of your point of view who doesn’t already agree with you. The days when politicians could yell at each other in public, share a drink after work and eventually figure out a workable compromise to keep the country moving forward seem as nostalgic as churning your own ice cream on grandma’s front porch.

Do we really hate those who are different from us that much? It sure feels that way at times, especially when experts at stoking divide spew gasoline onto the embers of our smoldering fears.

Now comes author Joseph H. Gibson, whose novel, Hate’s Recompense (Amazon), extrapolates the current trends into a dystopian, near-future America in which we presume that the Republicans have become the Nationalists and the Democrats have become the Resistance.



The Nationalist president, Ronald Kahn, faces a difficult reelection in a country on the brink of civil war and has hatched a plot to undermine democracy by executing cyberattacks and anthrax-laced bioterrorism. 

With the country in an uproar, Kahn can declare a state of emergency in the face of a second lethal attack he’ll blame on Iran. The Nationalist answer is to implement an artificial intelligence program called Sentinel to run the country’s infrastructure and more, complete with chip implants in all citizens under the guise of security and protection. Using favorable media outlets like “Wolfe News,” Kahn can falsely claim Resistance complicity and execute a vision not unlike Hitler’s views of an Aryan master race. 

Resistance leaders Henry Little Hawk and Senator Aleja Trujillo learn the details of Kahn’s plans and decide the only answer is to reprogram Sentinel so that control reverts to its original “mother,” an artificial intelligence program called Athena whose goals are benevolent and good. Only two people can do that — Athena creators Bur McAnter and Jenks Kennard. Both face terrible threats and choices. So do the military leaders who take their side.


This is a techno-thriller written by someone who knows his turf.  According to Gibson’s biography, he’s an expert in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies. He applies his scientific and technical knowledge to this first book in the “Athena” series with insight. He also does an excellent job of not getting overly wonky or technical while opening windows for lay readers into the possibilities, both positive and horrific, of a world that surely will be controlled more by AI whether we like it or not. 

The author makes no bones about his passion and agenda on his website: 

“I have been extremely concerned about the future of our country as our political divide continues to escalate,” he wrote. “I wanted to show in my book what could happen if we don’t curb this hatred and provide a solution that leads to peace and prosperity for all. I am a firm believer that technology can provide us a path … ”

The opening chapters drop us into the fray of a new world that’s bewildering at first, forcing us to piece together the situation as it unfolds. The dialogue feels at times less than human, almost robotic, as if the characters themselves have been transformed by the technology that permeates their world. Without giving too much away, the ending will satisfy those who like their story arcs to end on a hopeful, if wishful, note.

Hate’s Recompense will appeal to techno-thriller fans, particularly as it picks up momentum like a high-speed processor in its final third. It’s a smart, imaginative, cautionary and scary tale that shows us an America that we must avoid at all costs.




Gibson’s gripping debut, which launches the Athena techno-thriller series, is a chilling tale of Machiavellian political factions pitting emerging tech against one another, threatening millions of lives. California Sen. Alejandra Trujillo, a member of the Resistance party, has organized against President Kahn’s executive order to implement Sentinel, security tech that will install implants in everyone and use artificial intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks. When Alejandra is the victim of an anthrax attack in Los Angeles, Kahn claims it was orchestrated by Iran along with a cyber-attack, and he issues an executive order to roll out Sentinel. Before the Senate and its Resistance members, including Alejandra, can vote to block it, Kahn makes an emotional plea and they relent. But Sen. Henry Little Hawk is suspicious of Kahn’s motives and enlists the help of Jenks Kennard, who—along with Bur McAnter, a member of the Nationalist party—created the technology that spawned Sentinel. Bur discovers that Kahn orchestrated the attacks, and Alejandra and Jenks roll out their own AI, Athena, hoping it can usurp Sentinel’s domination and prevent Kahn’s next move.

Some of Gibson’s characters can seem over the top, particularly in light of his well-meaning attempts to diversify his cast. Henry undertakes a vision quest in which the spirit of Crazy Horse warns him about a coming race war; Bur’s children are overly precocious and sometimes a little precious. However, those character choices don’t mar the overall story, which is a fast-paced, immersive, and riveting exploration of the uses of and misuses of surveillance technology and artificial intelligence.

Gibson, whose professional life includes work with machine learning and artificial intelligence, poses tough questions about the role of such technology in civic society, providing enough context for the average reader to understand how it can be used for good or evil. This thriller is an exciting ride from a promising new author, infused with questions about politics, power, and technology.

Takeaway: Fans of techno-thrillers that comment on current events will love this fast-paced novel and eagerly await the author’s next installment.

Great for fans of Lee Child’s Blue Moon and Mike Maden’s Tom Clancy: Point of Contact.



Joseph H Gibson
Cyber Thriller / Political Techno Thriller
283 Pages
There's a Civil War in the US and President Ronald Kahn has a cyber program developed to control the people. The attacks are blamed on Iran, and he's secured backing by some in the know and many others who believed the propaganda of protection. Resistance leaders Senator Aleja Trujillo and Henry Little Hawk try to get cyber specialists Dr. Bur McAnter and his former partner, Jenks Kennard, to join the Resistance effort. They are to assist in getting the system Sentinel to become independent and override the forces of evil's plans, and that's when the thrilling ride begins. Can the resistance protect the people, will the Sentinel be a beneficial program, or will the evil alliance destroy their enemies within the citizenry?
When the plan of blaming Iran for the violence appeared, this seemed close to reality. Then the Athena system brought the story back into the cyber, techno thriller arena of politics so I did suspend reality. I began to get more excited with each page and every twist until I simply could not stop reading. This story begins to hearken to hints of Terminator land. It scared me just the right amount and I loved it. This is a book and an author that you do not want to pass up. I read to the satisfying conclusion of this story, and I strongly recommend you do too.




Senator/Ex SEAL Aleja is up against the President of the US and all of his powers, which he is abusing by corrupting an AI computer program called Sentinel. It will have omniscient power over the US population, and, while built for altruistic purposes, the President wants to control it. He intends on nothing less than a genocide of people he deems inferior. With the help of the program's architect and other loyal warriors, Aleja must uncover the truth and fight against the President's war machine.

What We Liked

- There are clearly delineated sides that are fighting, and it becomes apparent that the ultimate evil in poised to take control. The protagonists and antagonists are all very capable and smart, and the action is non-stop. Life and death struggles are almost on every page, and there is an interesting technological component that an audience would find fascinating and appealing when revealed.
- The battle scenes would shine on a big screen. Sweeping altercations and lots of action. It's well-suited for a three act movie structure yet has smaller moments between characters to give the audience a chance to breathe and relate to their pathos.
- While better suited for film, this could be an action packed TV show that would have many need to know moments and cliff hangers for every commercial break and episode break. While there are certainly adult themes, it could be available for a wide audience despite the non-stop violence. It would be fun to watch the bad guys get taken out, and the protagonists are interesting enough characters to root for.

Key Points

Action; New technology; Primal conflicts; Shadowy government figures; Likable protagonists.

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