Review of ‘Head On’ by John Scalzi

Efficient near-future crime thriller in which paraplegics operate robot avatars called threeps (presumably after Theepio) in a sport whose point is to rip the head off an opponent and use it as a football. No more stupid than any other mass-entertainment game, this one at least highlights the glaring disjoint between the absurd activity itself […]

Review of ‘I Still Dream’ by James Smythe

Gorgeous meditation on the ephemeral, humanising nature of memory, filtered through an insightful and original take on AI. It’s 1997 and teenage genius Laura Bow deals with the mysterious disappearance of her father ten years earlier by creating a nascent intelligence called Organon, named after a line in a Kate Bush song. Music, as a […]

See SF performance ‘The Minus Four Sequence’

Click here to see Part 1 of my performance of short science fiction piece The Minus Four Sequence at Virtual Futures on Tuesday March 12 2019. It was part of an event called Autonomous Agents that explored the seductive terrors of artificial intelligence, and was recorded in two parts because the Machines became worried and interfered, probably. Part 2 is here. Total […]

Review of ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi

This remarkable book is political rather than technological science fiction, because instead of electricity the creature is reanimated by the spirit of a soldier killed in a suicide bombing a couple of years after the pointless invasion of Iraq in 2003. Spirit is a key theme in the book, the spirit of Baghdad in particular, […]

Review of ‘Bandwidth’ by Eliot Peper

In a world of accelerating climate change and rising sea-levels, the new real estate is the bandwidth needed to run the feed, a post-Internet that everyone relies on and to which access determines whether a country is first or third-world. Real Man with a Troubled Past Dag Calhoun (yes, he really is called that) is […]

The Minus Four Sequence – Live SF next Tuesday

I’ll be performing another of my short science fiction pieces at Virtual Futures next Tuesday 12 March. This one is on the event’s theme of ‘Autonomous Agents’, and is called The Minus Four Sequence. The consequences of automation are a key concern for a society that is exporting much of its decision making to algorithms, automation and […]

Review of ‘Murmur’ by Will Eaves

A genuinely poetic exploration of how divisions of the self could mirror the operation of a true artificial intelligence. Blending psychology, mathematics and philosophy, this beautiful novel looks at the life and fate of World War 2 code-breaker Alec Pryor, a gay man who is chemically castrated and, it is hinted, commits suicide. It’s significant […]