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.
That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn originally appeared on Tor.com in March 2016. It is narrated by Amy H. Sturgis in EscapePod ‘s podcast EP581 22nd June of 2017 Summary: Calla of Enith, a nurse, has feelings of affection for the Gaantish prisoner, officer Valk. Officer Valk with the power of telepathy (a common characteristic for Gaantish people) wants to learn to play chess while she becomes his prisoner. Analysis: The idea of a chess player having the power of telepathy adds an interesting and challenging note to chess. Admiringly, it is followed through successfully, reminding me how the big chess masters won the AI. (Although as a chess player I know random moves are not usually lead to a winning position) In addition with the war set as a background makes it a story that satisfies the reader. Also I never expected that telepathy can be a bad thing in the war, which as I see in prisoners camps it must be. Pros: the characters are very well depicted more than one ideas are described around telepathy very good flow that leads to a sort of climax Cons: maybe a slow start?
A review for the short story “When They Come Back” by Natalia Theodoridou First published in Crossed Genres‘s issue 22: Robots, Androids & Cyborgs (October 2014) Narrated by Ibba Armancas in EscapePod’s November 2016’s podcast Summary: Men are long gone, and the only thing left are robots and angel-like creatures who are still searching for humans. A robot befriends an angel while looking for his lover. This is an abstract story that gives bit by bit any information about a meta-apocalyptic world where android-like robots have survived. We don’t know exactly what are the angels, but apart from their fluid-shape-changing ability, we know that were faithful companion to men. Friendship, loss, grief, hope are examined through this Natalia’s work. Pros: + lyrical writing which suits the story well + various themes examined based on loss + imaginative world building, including the angel-like creatures Cons: – The story’s abstractness due to its short form make us ask lots of questions (although this can have a positive side-effect since it will stick in our mind for a longer time while pondering it)