Book Review: “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Win Prasad (Four Stars)

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Book Review: “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Win Prasad

(Four Stars)

“Have you ever met a human? This reads as if an alien wrote it.”

In the not-too-far-distant future Artificial Intelligences may be able to write science fiction “from a certain point of view” better than humans, and of course humans may not know the difference. In this Hugo year of abounding AI stories, Fandom distinguishes itself with a compact plot and wry humor.

“My lack of emotion circuits means I cannot be ‘happy’ about performing any actions.”

(2018 Hugo Award novelette finalist. Illustration is cover of magazine in which story appeared; has nothing to do with story.)

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Book Review: Six Wakes by Mur Rafferty (Four Stars)

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Book Review: Six Wakes by Mur Rafferty

(Four Stars)

“Having a second clone is highly illegal, right?” “Well, so is murder, but that doesn’t stop people.”

Thought-provoking science fiction about trust, murder, and what it means to be human. Rafferty dumps the cast and reader right into the first crisis–blood and bodies floating everywhere who-knows-how-far from earth on a colonization ship with hundreds of sleeping humans and a brain-dead AI. What else could go wrong? Plenty.

“The greatest gift a creature can give another is that of sacrifice. Clones can’t sacrifice.”

Classic locked-room murder mystery; almost everyone has motive and means. Then the lights go out. Despite a diverse crew, all shared Continue reading

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Five Stars)

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Book Review: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

(Five Stars)

“I am not a combat murderbot, I am security.”

Another of the plethora of AI stories this Hugo year. This novella is marked by the great inner voice of a robot who has hacked his own command module and spends too much time watching the entertainment feed. Nice cover art.

“Lowest bidder. Trust me on that one.”

Since the entire story is told from the robot–cyborg, actually–point of view, Wells only gives the reader clues what’s really going on. The reader sorts it out alone with our protagonist.

“When I do manage to care, I am a pessimist.”

(2018 Hugo Award novella finalist)