SCIENCE FICTION FOR THE THRONE ed. by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. Fantastic Books (www.Fantasticbooks.biz), 2017, 182 pp., $14.99. ISBN 13: 978-1-5154-1025-6.
I thoroughly enjoyed this premise: supershort stories you can enjoy while taking care of very personal business. Wasn’t there a collection in the 1970s in paperback called “100 Super Short SF Tales”? Or something like that? I know I read it.
The book is broken down into segments: artificial intelligence; aliens; arts and media; religion; reviving the past; space; strange relationships; technology and its discontents; time travel; and shaggy dogs.
I enjoyed these:
“For the Love of Mechanical Minds” by Brenda Cooper. This is a conversation about a childhood robot-nanny named Bibi. Even young artificial intelligences, like human ones, need time to learn.
“Candle” by Liam Hogan. This AI wants people to actually appreciate it. And when questioned at a party, the AI gets jealous of the humans and wants to throw its OWN party. Except the AI is far too connected to many things for that to be anything but dangerous.
“Staff Meeting, as Seen by the Spam Filter” by Alex Shvartsman. Programmers install a decent spam filter, one with AI characteristics. But the filter identifies far too many emails as spam and will resist any alternations to its so-called perfect programming.
“Space Opera” by Daniel M. Kimmel. One space ship, the Gotterdammerung, is all that stands in the way of a humanity-destroying meteor headed for earth. The ship’s crew is of many nationalities and they all have to give their native-tongue commands to fire four plasma torpedoes at the invading object at the right time: and in the correct language, of course.
“Ten Things I Know About Jesus” by Steven Popkes. Apparently He is real to one man, but first, there are far too many myths that need to be dispelled. This Joe Lansdale-like tale will have you laughing and, sometimes, merely shaking your head.
“The Coffeemaker’s Passion” by Cat Rambo. What happens when all our appliances and other devices are gifted with far-to-good artificial intelligence?
Lastly, who is responsible for fake news? Well, author Paul Levinson has discovered who it is: a disgruntled time-traveling inventor in “The Man Who Brought Down The New York Times.”