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Links to Short Stories around the Interwebs

Peter Watts - MalakFor reasons mainly to do with my brain, and what's current in it, I'd like to point you to Peter Watts' story Malak. Malak is a drone. More so, it's an autonomous drone, and is being trained (there seem to be software upgrades, and neural networks, and general tinkering in play) to make its own 'moral' decisions. All in the name of removing slow, fallible, guilt-stricken, hesitating humans out of the equation. Because it's so much easier to have machines make our dirty decision for us, never mind do the dirty work...

The drone here is called Azrael (after the angel of death...), and we experience the story through its 'eyes'.

I'm not gonna spoil your enjoyment of the story by giving away more. If you know Peter Watts then you know that what he shows is realistic, rarely very edifying (especially when humans are involved) and mirrors the complexities of the real world.

The picture on the right is of a drone called Azrael (I don't know if that's inspired by this story, or a parallel development), built in Lego, and posted on Flicker by a user called [MIXBRIX]. Recommended soundtrack to reading this: Drones, by Muse. Obviously.

Links: Peter WattsMalakFlickr - [MIXBRIX] - Drones

 

Angela Slatter - St. Dymphna’s School For Poison GirlsTor.com have reprinted Angela Slatter's collection The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings.

To launch this they have posted a little taster, called St. Dymphna’s School For Poison Girls. It is, to some extent, a school and schoolgirl story, albeit with a twist. St Dymphna's is a finishing school - for girls who plan to kill their future husband, and potentially more of his family, in the name of revenge, of family honour, or any other societal reason.

But, as you might have guessed, there's more to the school than simply preparing girls to kill proficiently!

The story in illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Kathleen Jennings - the picture to the right is an example.

It's an entertaining read, and a good recommendation for the book, methinks!

 

Links: Tor.comAngela SlatterSt. Dymphna’s School For Poison Girls - Kathleen Jennings

 

Xia Jia - Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, JoyThis is a recommendation for the wonderful, and wonderfully understated Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by the Chinese SF writer Xia Jia, translated by the apparently ever-present Ken Liu.

The story consists of a number of short vignettes, focussing on family occasions and celebrations in a near-future Chinese society.

It was, in it's translated form, published over at Clarkesworld - go check it out, it's well worth your time if you have any interest in non-US/UK based SF with an interesting societal slant.

 

Links: Xia JiaKen LiuClarkesworld - Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy

 

Aliette de Bodard - The Breath of WarWhilst I'm enjoying myself at Dysprosium, the 66th National SF Convention out in Heathrow, here is an interesting short story by Aliette de Bodard, called The Breath of War.

It talks about  a society coming out of a (civil) war, about what people do during such a time, even if not directly involved, and what his means you have to live with afterwards, when times and the situation have changed, when you're older, and when your aims and desires have evolved.

Haunting, fascinating, and nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award (which is for stories published in 2014, and will be awarded in 2015).

 

The picture on the right is from the Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where the story was first published.

 

Links: DysprosiumAliette de BodardThe Breath of War - Beneath Ceaseless Skies

 

Peter Orullian - A Beautiful AccidentTor.com have not been entirely lucky with their recent acquisitions of short stories for their site, for a number of reasons.

 This here, though, is really rather neat - have a look at Peter Orullian's A Beautiful Accident

This is a Sheason story, set in a culture which follows a path of pain, and more relevant, suffering; all in the name of finding themselves, and keep themselves grounded in reality and the world. By bringing a stranger, foreign to their ways, into their midst it talks about being human, about how new thoughts can fit in with old and established ones, and about bitter lessons that need to be learned.

It also comes with a gorgeous illustration by Tommy Arnold - click through to the story to see it in all its glory.

 

Links: Tor.com - Peter Orullian - A Beautiful Accident - Tommy Arnold

 

 

Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

 

Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments

 

Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me

 

Lavie Tidhar - Central Station

 

Somtow Sucharitkul - The Throne of Madness

 

Ian Sales – Adrift on the Sea of Rains

 

Somtow Sucharitul – Starship & Haiku

 

Peter Watts – Maelstrom

 

Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner

 

S.P. Somtow – I Wake from a Dream of a Drowned Star City

 

Iain Sinclair - Radon Daughters

 

Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow

 

Peter Watts - Blindsight


Andy Weir - The Martian

 

Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep

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