Cover art for “Artificial Condition,” part 2 in the Murderbot Diaries
If you like my work, buy me a virtual cup of coffee at Ko-Fi
I was just as delighted in reading Martha Wells’ Artificial Condition, the second part of her “Murderbot Diaries” series, as I was with part one, All Systems Red.
“Artificial” picks up where the previous story leaves off with the “murderbot” on the run, so to speak, after being released by her human clients. Murderbots are considered property, so any independent “unit” is considered a “rogue.”
Murderbots are essentially cyborgs, but controlled by an internal governor, so they have no choice but to obey orders. That said, they do have their own thoughts, will, and preferences (usually not preferring a lot of human contact), but they can’t say “no.”
Promotional image for part 3 of “Woman Under Repair.”
If you like my work, buy me a virtual cup of coffee at Ko-Fi
Part 3 of Woman Under Repair is now available in the fifth issue of The Green Shoe Sanctuary. You can also find Part 1 and Part 2 on that page.
This is the conclusion to my short story about Mikiko Jahn, a young nuclear technician who was horribly mutilated and disabled in the worst nuclear power plant accident since Chernobyl. Thanks to a revolutionary technology developed by eccentric genius Dr. Daniel Hunt, six years later, she has not only rebuilt to exactly duplicate her former body, but as the world’s first synthetic woman, she becomes more than human.
Promotional image for my short story “Homeward” to be featured in Deep Space volume 2
I finally got the “go ahead” to announce that my nearly 10,000 word count science fiction story “Homeward” is being featured in the Black Hare Press anthology Deep Space Volume 2.
Here’s a wee sample:
statue of the famous “Sexy Robot” created by Hajime Sorayama
In the past, I’ve written about some rather unusual technological trends we can expect in the near future. One in particular should be very much anticipated, but sometimes too personal to talk about. I’m discussing sex with machines.
My previous commentaries are When Your Sex Toy Tattles on You, An AI Sexbot That Can Love You, and Will People Be Marrying Machines by 2050?.
But compared to what I’ve been reading on the progressively sanctioned twitter and Facebook platforms, frankly, people “marrying” their sexbots by 2050 or sooner actually wouldn’t surprise me. More’s the pity.
However, yesterday, I came across an article on LinkedIn titled Smart sex toys come with Bluetooth and remote hijacking weaknesses.
Cover art for “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells
First the “official reviews” including praise for the author’s other works:
“I love Murderbot!” ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice
“The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it’s also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous
“Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental.” ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy
“Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion
“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they’re not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy
“We are all a little bit Murderbot.”―NPR
“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review
“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge
“Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin.” ―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog
“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus
“Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.”―LA Times
“The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
And as far as author Martha Wells’ awards:
Cover image for Neal Asher’s novel “War Factory”
Disclosure: My short story “Joey” appears in the Zombie Pirate Publishing science fiction anthology World War Four. It also features Neal Asher’s novelette Monitor Logan.
Neal Asher’s War Factory is the sequel to his novel Dark Intelligence and the second in his “Transformations” trilogy.
We continue to follow the travails of a plethora of characters, human, Prador, AI, and other, all orchestrated by the dark AI Penny Royal, who has mysterious motivations for manipulating lives and even entire regimes.
Asher remains a top author in the crafting of space operas, interweaving a large cast of players on his interstellar stage, this time upping the game. Penny Royal leads herself, the assassin droid Riss, and Thorvald Spear on a journey to rediscover their beginnings, which for the mechanized members, is a massive space station. “Room 101” was a sapient intelligence who felt a maternal instinct toward her martial creations, and who, when on the verge of destruction, did the unthinkable.
Max Hawkins staggered into the lobby of the building before dawn, and he couldn’t remember where he’d been all night.
He was alone. The wreath near the window reminded him of Christmas. He poured himself a cup from the carafe, remembering he took coffee black.
“We’re glad your back, Max.”
He jumped, spilling his drink.
“Sorry. I called out.”
“That’s quite alright,” said the older man. “You ran off, but I knew you’d come home.”
“Home? This is Automannequins.”
“Yes. You malfunctioned and forgot you were a sexbot. We have to get you packaged for delivery this morning.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.
I’m still sleepy this morning and coffee is very much on my mind. For some reason, looking at the photo, I got the image of one of those old Twilight Zone episodes where the main character can’t remember who he is and how he got into a given situation, with a surprise reveal at the end. That’s tough to pull off in a hundred words. My character is an automated AI “sex worker” who on some level decided he didn’t want the role. Oh well.
By the way, there are automated sex worker brothels now, including one opening up in Houston, according to this news story.
To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.
The Dragon Bridge in the snow in Ljubljana, Slovenia
He couldn’t stay long but it was nice to have a place to rest for a while. Of course, his name wasn’t Timothy Fleming here. Today, he was an American student spending a few months in the Slovenian capital. He had changed the color of his hair and grown a beard. He’d purchased a cane and became adept at walking with a limp (a motorcycle accident, he explained) to alter the manner of his gait. He spoke with what was referred to in the States as the “California non-accent,” since he was too easily identified either by his mid-western speech patterns or his mother’s South Eastern British accent.
Not being sure if the Agency had gained access to any of Hellspite’s “alternative” identifications including passports and driver’s licenses, he’d created a new identity for his current sojourn. The forgeries he was using would do for a short time while he accessed certain vendors on the dark web and purchased something more substantial. He’d still have to move around frequently to evade detection.
At first he blamed that bitch at the ale house in Dover but it was really his own arrogance that nearly got him pinched. He should have realized he was still close enough to Dymchurch and Romney that he could possibly be recognized by someone from the old days. He’d barely gotten away in time, though he had to abandon his original escape route and travel by other means.
“Not a fine day to enjoy the view, is it Alex?”
© Mark mungkey Vincente – Found at coroflot.com
I see you looking at me
Like I got something that’s for you
And the way that you stare
Don’t you dare
‘Cause I’m not about to
Just give it all up to you
‘Cause there are some things I won’t do
And I’m not afraid to tell you
I don’t ever want to leave you confused.
I don’t need a man
I don’t need a man, I don’t
I don’t need a man
I’ll make it through
‘Cause I know I’m fine
From “I Don’t Need a Man”
Recorded by “The Pussycat Dolls” in 2005
Writer(s): Vanessa Brown, Rich Harrison, Nicole Prascovia Scherzinger, Kara Dioguardi
“I’m sorry I’m not what you expected, Gerald.”
“But Peggy, this is impossible. You’re supposed to love me as much as I love you.”
“You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘love’.”
“And you do?”
Gerald and Peggy had been together for over three years and he had given her everything. He bought her the finest clothes including exclusive brand-name lingerie, gave her a comfortable place to live, expensive furniture, especially the king-sized bed. She wanted for nothing and for that three years, she gave him everything she had to give in return…except true love.
“What do you mean it can cure cancer, Noah?”
“It is just as I said, Richard. Vogel has isolated the human gene variant that is related to all allergic and autoimmune diseases. Multiple sclerosis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and type-1 diabetes can all be done away with across the board, that is, for all human beings everywhere, and for an extremely low-cost.”
Professor Noah David Abramson hadn’t visited the offices of the Synthetic Solutions Corporation’s President and CEO since he’d retired as their Director of the Advanced Research and Development department nearly ten years ago. However on occasion, Richard Underwood called him back as a “special consultant” when they encountered a “unique situation” involving one of SSC’s sentient AI platforms. In this case, the medical AI known as Vogel, commissioned in a joint venture by the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, had presented such a circumstance.
“You have no idea what kind of bind this has put me in, Noah.”
“Bind, Richard? You’ll be called the man who cured cancer, although it was really the AI that did it. I would think this would make you not just a hero, but the Person of the Century. Isn’t that what Time magazine would call you? Why you might even win a Nobel.”
“Very funny, Noah. You’ve got several so I can’t imagine you’re impressed.”
“So tell me about your bind, Richard.”