Short story “Rocket Surgery” by Effie Seiberg was originally published in n Analog, 2016. Its audio edition can be found now on Escape Pod’s episode 588 on the 10th of August 2017. Summary: A military team trains an A.I. rocket how to eliminate the enemy by choosing the best path through a series of simulations. But something goes wrong and the narrator ends up in prison. Analysis: The narrator is a member of the military team, now locked up in prison. The reader wants to know why the narrator is in prison and what happened to the A.I.. The names of either the country of the dictator or the names of the rockets add an extra quirkiness to the story. This fact helped us understand that this story is more about the interaction of the A.I. with its teacher than about the hardware / software mechanics behind the A.I. The plot is revealed slowly by showing how the AI is trained until it has an existential crisis. The story uses also a repetitive set of questions and answers which are used for the final spin successfully.
We read the shorty story by Robert Reed “Two Ways of Living” in the Clarkesworld’s ISSUE 126, March 2017 The main idea of this story may be about a man hibernating to a future with better star-travelling conditions but what attracts our interest is the dog. A dog that has attached an AI on his collar thus making him able to communicate with the humans. Don’t we always wonder what our pets would tell us if they had they way to talk to us? As the main character sleeps and wakes after a couple of years each time he meets a lady who causes him only trouble but her friend the dog in the mean time evolves by using technology into a speaking being. Pros: + The dog Cons: – Not much going on apart from the sleeper’s interaction with the dog. But for the story’s size is acceptable.
Interchange by Gary Kloster is published in Clarkesworld’s January 2017 124 Issue Summary: Workers are building a highway interchange in an anti-time dome. They work for 6 months and not a minute change outside. Meanwhile the doctor has an android assistant which is identical to her late husband. But you know what they say, when you play with time… Pros: + A unique story. Usually we manipulate time in stories the other way around. But in this story is in reverse. Moreover, the plot evolves into a suspenseful mystery. + The android. The android’s point of view also helps us to look at more sides of the other characters. Cons: – Some of the characters emotions seem too extreme, a background story would be useful.(Like the doctor’s) – Doesn’t the ending create a time paradox?
“There Used to Be Olive Trees” by Rich Larson is published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s January/February 2017 issue Summary: In post-apocalyptic Spain, our hero is trying to prove his town that is a prophet. And by prophet we mean being able to speak to the AI gods with the means of a rare artificial implant. To do that he escapes the town’s fortress but he faces a dangerous wilder. Another man who is trying to save his people. Remarks: Pros: + Great world-building. We see an after world with two different types of human towns and also the AIs. + Concise dialogue between the characters, resulting to an unexpected bonding. + The action, described in a great way holding you at the edge of your chair. Cons: – The story ends suddenly. Would like to see the consequences of their decisions.
The Ghost Ship Anastasia by Rich Larson was published in January 2017’s Clarkesworld issue. Summary: An action packed mystery story about a space crew (including one sister who is physically dead) following the distress call received by a bioship. Its A.I. seems to have taken the ship over and its occupants are missing apart from one. Pros: + Action thriller packed. + Emotional because of the dead sister + Great ending Cons: + It’s not explained why the sister’s consciousness will deteriorate after a few hours in the spacesuit. Why does it fit in there at the first place?
Review for the short story “Blue Grey Blue” by Yukimi Ogawa is published in Clarkesworld’s December 2016 issue. Summary: Tsuyu doesn’t feel special (or belonging in high social class) because of his eyes’ colour. But when he starts dating an A.I. his eyes’ colour is changing and things are getting better… Pros: A serious matter that we are facing in our world through a different type of physical distinction. Cons: Questions are left unanswered as we don’t know much about the A.I.’s motives and its mechanics.
This is the review for “Checkerboard Planet” by Eleanor Arnason which was published in Clarkesworld’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: Lydia Duluth, a reoccurring character in Eleanor’s stories, is being assigned to infiltrate Bio-In’s compounds in this distant checkerboard planet by the A.I.s because they suspect of the existence of an extraterrestrial intelligence. Pros: + the World. A very interesting world has been created by the author. + Action Cons: – condensed. There was a lot of things going on in the story. And a lot of background information to the character’s backstory that as I understood can be traced in other stories as well. In the same story we are introduced in a complicated world, along with interesting characters.