Enola — Alastair Reynolds

Enola, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the anthology, Zima Blue and Other Stories.

A really enjoyable, short, post-apocalypse story.   A bit confusing at first as it jumps back and forth between a human girl and an AI machine, but it all makes total sense at the end.

Next up from Alastair will be Digital to Analogue.

Alastair’s Page

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Nunivak Snowflakes — Alastair Reynolds

Nunivak Snowflakes, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the anthology, Deep Navigation.

Messages from the future found inside fish falling from the sky landing in front of the person the message was meant for.

Basically, someone from the future is being naughty and messing with the past in an indigenous community in Alaska.

Other than The Big Hello, of which i have no idea when published, this is Alastair’s first published story.   So it’s very early Alastair Reynolds, so don’t be expecting Revelation Space or anything like it.

But it’s a reasonable, quirky, little read that’ll keep you happily ensconced in you favourite reading pit for a while.

Alastair’s Page

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The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect — Roger Williams

So what if we humans suddenly find ourselves immortal, with the ability to have anything whatsoever that we desire other than real death?   That’s essentially the basis of this book.

A super computer AI, Prime Intellect, has taken over and zapped everything into a virtual reality that is ruled over by Prime Intellect.   Prime Intellect has done this because of the three laws of robotics and it computes that the only way of preventing humans from dying, which it can’t allow, is to essentially upload everything into one galactic sized cyberspace and make all humans immortal.   Within this new reality, as long as the humans don’t do anything, or ask for anything, that contravenes the three laws of robotics, they can do and have anything they want.

Sound good?   Or does it sound like your worse nightmare?

Enter the realm of the death jockey.   People who want to ratchet up the suffering and get as close to death as Prime Intellect will allow.

Yes folks, this book is really fucking twisted.   If you’ve read the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy and thought some of the scenes in those books were extremely brutal and twisted, then you’ll be glad to know that you can put this book on the same bookshelf right next to them.   If you haven’t read them and enjoyed this book then i really suggest you do give them a go: they’ll be right up your twisted alley.

I would say that, at its core, this book is a critique of the three laws of robotics, and how they may be interpreted by any AI governed by them.   The critical pieces of the jigsaw being: what the AI decides it is going to label as human, what is therefore governed by the three laws of robotics and how, therefore, it then treats everything else.

I thought the ending was really good too.

So yeah, the future is bright my friends, rush out and buy your virtual reality gear today.

Me thinks i shall be looking forward to having a read of more of Roger’s books in the future if this is anything to go by.

Roger’s Page

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The Big Hello — Alastair Reynolds

The Big Hello, written by Alastair Reynolds.It’s listed on Wikipedia without a date, but it’s first in the queue of Alastair’s uncollected short fiction, and it is The Big Hello, afterall, so you may as well read it first if you’re reading all of Alastair’s books: me thinks.

You’ll have to hunt around the internet for this, it was originally published in German translation in a convention program.   But, like most rare things, it’s well worth a bit of a hunt around.

Basically, it’s a greeting from the rest of the galaxy informing us stupid Homo sapiens of a bit of etiquette, manners and how to go about things outside of out little insular bubble.   But, let’s be honest, we all know people like Musk & Co. are going to ignore everything Alastair says and totally fuck it up for the rest of us.

Alastair’s Page

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The Girl who Leapt Through Time — Yasutaka Tsutsui

There’s two short stories in this book and i’ll review each of them separately below.

The Girl who Leapt Through Time

A short while ago i read The Maid, which was my first trip into the writing of Yasutaka, and i thoroughly enjoyed it: so much that i decided to collect every book of his i could find and read them in published order.   And so i began with The Girl who Leapt Through Time from 1967.

What doesn’t get a mention when approaching this book is that it’s a children’s book, i would perhaps place it around 11-12 year old level, so that’s something to bear in mind if you do decide to read it.

So it’s very simple writing and a rather simple story about some children having a bit of a crazy time with time travel and teleportation.   I felt the best thing about this was it’s simplicity in it’s writing because as an adult you don’t have to think about anything and can just breeze along with the story itself, and it’s quite a good little story.

So yeah, i’m more than happy to have come back to Yasutaka’s earliest book that’s so far been translated into English.   Definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of his writing, or if you just want a quick and easy read of some temporal sci-fi.

The Stuff that Nightmares Are Made of

This is quite a different story to the previous one.   Once again, it’s another children’s book, but this time dealing with the theme of repressed trauma manifesting as unexplained fears.

Although it’s a book for children, i do feel that there’s a few things for most adults to learn here as well, especially parents, whose words and actions can create all kinds of unintended consequences for children.

And that’s me done with this book.   The Maid was next in the original publishing time line of Yasutaka’s translated books, but i already read that, so next up will be Paprika, which i hope to get around to reading some time soon as i’m really enjoying Yasutaka’s writing.

Yasutaka’s Page

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Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences — Ursula K. Le Guin

Come Into Animal Presence – 1961 • poem by Denise Levertov
Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight – 1987 • novelette by Ursula K. Le Guin
Three Rock Poems – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Flints – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Basalt – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Mount St. Helens/Omphalos – 1975 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
“The Wife’s Story” and “Mazes” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Mazes – 1975 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Wife’s Story – 1982 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
Five Vegetable Poems – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Torrey Pines Reserve – 1980 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Lewis and Clark and After – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
West Texas – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Crown of Laurel – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Xmas Over – 1984 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
“The Direction of the Road” and “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Direction of the Road – 1973 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
Vaster Than Empires and More Slow • [Hainish] – 1971 • novelette by Ursula K. Le Guin
Seven Bird and Beast Poems – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
What is Going on in the Oaks Around the Barn – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
For Ted – 1975 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Found Poem – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Totem – 1981 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Man Eater – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Winter Downs – 1981 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Sleeping Out – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
“The White Donkey” and “Horse Camp” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
The White Donkey – 1980 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
Horse Camp – 1986 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
Four Cat Poems – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Black Leonard in Negative Space – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
Tabby Lorenzo – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
A Conversation with a Silence – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
For Leonard, Darko, and Burton Watson – 1987 • poem by Ursula K. Le Guin
“Schrödinger’s Cat” and “The Author of the Acacia Seeds” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
Schrödinger’s Cat – 1974 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
“The Author of the Acacia Seeds” and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics – 1974 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin (variant of The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics)
“May’s Lion” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
May’s Lion – 1983 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin
Rilke’s “Eighth Duino Elegy” and “She Unnames Them” – 1987 • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Eighth Elegy – 1987 • poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. of Die achte Elegie 1922)
She Unnames Them – 1985 • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula’s Page

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The Wind’s Twelve Quarters — Ursula K. Le Guin

Semley’s Necklace
April in Paris
The Masters
Darkness Box
The Word of Unbinding
The Rule of Names
Winter’s King
The Good Trip
Nine Lives
Things
A Trip to the Head
Vaster than Empires and More Slow
The Stars Below
The Field of Vision
Direction of the Road
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
The Day Before the Revolution

Ursula’s Page

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