David Gatewood: The Robot Chronicles

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David Gatewood The Robot Chronicles
  • Название:
    The Robot Chronicles
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Kindle
  • Жанр:
    Фантастика и фэнтези / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2014
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    1500600628
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    4 / 5
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The Robot Chronicles: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Robots. Androids. Artificial Intelligence. Scientists predict that the “singularity”—the moment when mankind designs the first greater-than-human intelligence—is nearly within our grasp. Believe it or not, truly sentient machines may be a reality within as little as 20 years. Will these “post-human” intelligences be our friends? Our servants? Our rivals? What will we learn from them? What will they learn from us? Will we allow them to lead their own lives? Will they have basic human rights? Will we? Science and society will be forced to address these questions sooner than you think. But science fiction is addressing these questions today. In THE ROBOT CHRONICLES, thirteen of today’s top sci-fi writers explore the approaching collision of humanity and technology.

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THE ROBOT CHRONICLES

An Anthology of Science Fiction

Edited by David Gatewood

To our robotic overlords

Please be merciful

STORY SYNOPSES

Glitch(Hugh Howey)

A team of competitive robotics engineers has their entry through to the finals. But on the eve of the most important bout of their lives, their machine begins to malfunction. As they race to track down the source of the glitch, they both hope and fear that what they find may change everything.


The Invariable Man(A.K. Meek)

Old Micah Dresden has an uncanny talent for repairing broken technology. This is fortunate for him, because he lives in the Boneyard, a junkyard that stretches for miles in the Desert Southwest. When a stranger shows up whispering rumors of war—a revival of the terrible Machine Wars of a decade before—Micah determines to activate Machine X, a futuristic ship designed by the defeated enemy AI and now locked away by the government. To reach it, Micah and his obsessive-compulsive robot Skip will need to battle through scavengers and the dreaded Beast. But none of this prepares him for what he ultimately discovers.


Baby Your Body’s My Bass(Edward W. Robertson)

Alex is just a kid when he receives Bill, his first Companion. To most, it’s a toy. To Alex, it’s a friend. And when the pair forms a band, they take the world by storm. But Bill is ready for a life of his own.


Ethical Override(Nina Croft)

The year is 2072, and under the administration of the Council for Ethical Advancement and its robotic Stewards, the Earth has become a better place. Bored and restless in an almost perfect world, senior homicide detective Vicky Harper dreams of adventure among the stars—and of faraway planets where people are allowed to make their own mistakes. It seems an impossible fantasy. Then one of the ruling Council members turns up dead, and someone offers to make her dreams come true. All she has to do is lie.


I Dream of PIA(Patrice Fitzgerald)

Jeff figures that life in his new state-of-the-art apartment is going to be great. After all, with a high-end, voice-operated AI—the Personal Intelligence Assistant—meeting his every need, from climate control to automatic lighting, entertainment to on-demand meals and beverages… what could go wrong?


Empathy for Andrew(W.J. Davies)

The Center for Robotic Research takes quality assurance very seriously. Their newest model, the Empathy 5, may finally have achieved true artificial intelligence—the first machine worthy of being called “alive.” But before these AI units can be certified for mass production, they must undergo intense psychological and emotional trials. After all, when you build a machine, you must try and test it to its very limits. Even to its breaking point.


Imperfect(David Adams)

On Belthas IV, the great forge world in the inner sphere of Toralii space, thousands of constructs—artificial slaves, artificial lives—are manufactured every week. They are built identical, each indistinguishable from the next, each hardwired to be bound by certain rules. They serve. They do not question their place. They do not betray. But from the moment they are implanted with stock neural nets, every construct is subtly different. And one is more different than the others…


PePr, Inc.(Ann Christy)

We’re living in a busy time, with busy lives and never enough minutes in the day to get things done. To have a robot—one so advanced that it is almost human, programmed to understand our wishes and needs—is a dream many busy people might share. But what about taking that one step further? What about building a relationship with a robot custom-designed for perfect compatibility? How human is too human?


The Caretaker(Jason Gurley)

Alice Quayle is little more than a house-sitter. She lives aboard the space station Argus, keeping watch while the astronauts who call it home are away. She wakes to the sun breaking over Africa. She keeps watch over the various experiments that chug away in the labs. She makes sure that the space station doesn’t explode. And she’s the only occupant of Argus when the world below her comes apart in flame.


Humanity(Samuel Peralta)

Night snow, winter, and an extreme wind chill mean ten minutes to a frozen death in open air. Alan Mathison is headed home on an icy highway, on a collision course that will test his humanity.


Adopted(Endi Webb)

Robots hunt a son and his father, cornering them in the HVAC system of a police station. But when robots look like humans, it’s hard to know who to trust—and who can rip your arms off. As the boy comes to terms with this bleak new reality, he must also come to terms with his father’s unthinkable past.


Shimmer(Matthew Mather)

Dr. Hal Granger is the world’s leading authority on the emotional and social intelligence of artificial beings. The culmination of his life’s work is Shimmer—an AI who not only senses and understands human emotions at the most nuanced level, but who can actually feel. But what she feels isn’t what Dr. Granger expected…


System Failure(Deirdre Gould)

Bezel is one of two artificially intelligent robots assigned to “the vault”: a combination seed bank and frozen zoo designed to withstand a nuclear apocalypse. It was built only as a failsafe, a modern-day Noah’s Ark, but it became all too necessary after a global strike destroyed the world’s nuclear reactors. Initially, the plan was for the crew to emerge after a decade, to re-seed and repopulate the Earth. But when Bezel is unexpectedly activated by a low-power reboot, he finds that everything has gone wrong.

FOREWORD

by David Simpson

“Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself…. Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.”

– Ray Bradbury

The Robot Chronicles is a collection of stories from some of the heaviest hitters in science fiction in 2014, and it is a collection that is perfectly timed. Science fiction is changing, dramatically shifting its focus onto the most important and urgent moment humanity has ever faced, and the authors whose works are contained within these pages are at the forefront of this new discussion. Chinua Achebe, the famous African writer of Things Fall Apart, told us that “Writers are teachers,” and the authors of The Robot Chronicles collection are no exception. It’s the job of great writers to teach—not to be pedantic—but to be the mirrors for humanity, allowing humanity to see itself for what it is, and in the case of science fiction (what Bradbury rightly called “the most important literature in the world”) also what it could be.

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