The A.I. Chronicles (The Future Chronicles) delivers fascinating, provocative, well-written stories that belong in the hallowed halls of science fiction. Thirteen stories by thirteen accomplished, professional authors are a steal at only six dollars. Watch for my review in Perihelion Science Fiction ezine, March 12, 2015. An all-new issue goes live on the 12th of every month. Scroll down for author bios, photos, Twitter links and other fun stuff. (Unless you’re an Aspie, in which case, the “fun” may elude you. Details in a minute.)
Samuel Peralta * Elena E. Giorgi * David Simpson * Chrystalla Thoma * Pavarti K. Tyler * Peter Cawdron Patrice Fitzgerald * Susan Kay Quinn * Julie Czerneda * Alex Albrinck * Sam Best * Angela Cavanaugh * A.K. Meek * Logan Thomas Snyder * Ellen Campbell (Editor)
Every month I rewrite the opening paragraph of my review a dozen times. Rather than losing the old versions forever, I’m sneaking a few into this blog. Here’s Version One:
TECHNOLOGY HAS ALWAYS ACCELERATED too quickly for the Luddite. Just when some of us finally learned how to program the VCR, along came the DVD player, then satellite TV and the diabolical task of finding the mute button on the new remote. We were not scared, mind you; just annoyed. What’s scary is when scientists and techno wizards—the makers and masters of sleek, shiny new implements of mental torture, aka electronics –start speaking in hushed tones of The Singularity. The Terminator may have taken a short break from our collective nightmares when mutant flu strains, shape shifters and zombies seized the popular imagination, but now A.I. is the next big thing. No, don’t check under your bed for robots gone rogue. Artificial Intelligence hides in plain sight and everyday usage: your watch, your phone, that annoying voice in your car “recalculating” the route to a friend’s house. If that doesn’t alarm you, I dare you to check out the latest in science fiction ezines, magazines, books and movies. A good starting place is “The A.I. Chronicles,” the latest in Samuel Peralta’s acclaimed Future Chronicles series.
Here’s the second version I dumped:
MUTANT FLU STRAINS, ZOMBIES, AND SHAPE SHIFTERS, move over: the next big thing in science fiction is A.I. No, don’t check under your bed for robots gone rogue. Artificial Intelligence hides in plain sight: your watch, your phone, that annoying voice in your car “recalculating” the route to a friend’s house. While Neill Blomkam’s endearing “CHAPPiE” may inspire sympathy for A.I.s, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates tell us that A.I. could render the human race obsolete. I wouldn’t be too quick to sell the house and start my bucket list, though. AI is “a necessary and inevitable culmination of the developments of the last few thousand years,” the next step in the evolution of the human race, according to author Samuel Peralta.
The final version starts like this:
A.I. IS THE NEXT STEP IN THE EVOLUTION of the human race, Samuel Peralta writes in his foreword to “The A.I. Chronicles,” the latest anthology in his acclaimed Future Chronicles series. Artificial Intelligence has already surpassed human abilities, he says. A.I. helps us calculate satellite launches, diagnose illnesses, and produce new medicines and pharmaceuticals.
The technology that serves us, however, also enslaves us. Is this necessarily a bad thing?
My first go-to beta reader is a retired lab tech who has no formal training as a writer or reader but for fun, he reads Bertrand Russell, and he has some sort of Aspie-magic gift with math and calendars. He almost never knows when I’m just kidding (is that an Aspie thing?) so I shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed that he can’t tell my first goal in reviewing books is to have fun. (I don’t want to sound like I have a degree in English. Because I do. And if I’d had the aptitude to go with the passion, I’d have a PhD in genetic engineering, or something.)
“McDougall,” as he shall henceforth be called when I quote him in blogs, read the final verson of my March 2015 review and said:
Your review was largely an introduction to the myriad ways our invention of and dependence upon artificial intelligence could affect us, individually and as a species. Some of the stories are dystopian (a word you taught me), while others are benign or more optimistic. From a selfish point of view, I doubt that I will see robots learning on their own how to multiply, rule the world, implant AI modules in people, or annihilate the human race; I am likely to die before any of it could happen. But the possibilities written about do cause one to consider what’s down the road for our survivors. Perhaps as important, the selections spur my imagination.This is a tangent, but your review brought me back to questions I don’t think anyone has has answered. (Correct me if I’m wrong – please.)— How did it happen that I experience the universe through this body and not another?— What is the mechanism of awareness?— What causes our subjective sense of I-ness?I’m persuaded it’s all in the brain, but I can’t even imagine how it works.Back to the review itself. The terms you had to look up I had to look up. I’ve heard of the Turing Test, but have no idea what it is. I know nothing about string theory. I am comfortable with imaginary numbers, though. :<)So you, as you have done before, opened a new world to me. Was your review fun to read, you asked? To an extent, it was like a textbook to me because of the above. I don’t have the knowledge base to breeze through it, as I suspect nearly all of your intended readers would. Your lively style, of course, made it an easier and more pleasurable read. But I can’t honestly say it was unequivocally fun.
Not…fun? NOT FUN??How does this guy remain one of my best friends?
By now you may wonder if I ever talk about The Chronicles instead of me, me, me. Here is the publisher’s synopsis:
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Even today, machines that mimic human thinking surround us. As the intellectual feats of computing machines grow more and more astounding, will there be a day when their apparent intelligence approaches, or even surpasses, that of human beings? And what if these machines then become conscious, self-aware?
In this latest title in the acclaimed Future Chronicles series of speculative fiction anthologies, thirteen authors confront the question of the Singularity: at and beyond that point of time when A.I. becomes more than simply a human construct. From first awareness to omniscience, these original short stories explore that territory where human intelligence comes face-to-face with what is either its greatest hope, or its greatest threat.
The A.I. Chronicles features stories by bestselling author David Simpson (the Post-Human series), Prix Aurora winner Julie Czerneda (In the Company of Others), Amazon Kindle Scout sensation Peter Cawdron (Anomaly) plus ten more of today’s top authors in speculative and science fiction.