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.
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)
This is the review for “Painter of Stars” by Wang Yuan, translated by Andy Dudak and published in ClarkeWorld’s December 2016 Issue. Summary: A robot becomes a tattoo artist by marking the human skin in an original way (and not very apparent). It starts first with its master and ends up being world famous. Pros: + Humor, there are some funny bits in respect of the robot’s interaction with the world. + Robot’s development. It’s very interesting seeing how a robot becomes self-aware and self-creative. Creating someone’s identity is also one of the story’s main subjects. Cons: – Not very believable in some parts. Specially as the story reaches its conclusion we have some questions You can read the story here
by Chen Hongyu, translated by Andy Dudak In an Wall-E world an artist robot and its companion start their “journey to the West”. What they discover is their selves. What I like in this story is that it doesn’t end when the robots reach their goal. Another story in a away unravels after that which helps the robots to evolve in a away.