08 Apr

Slaughterbots: if human.kill()

Banner: Movie clickAutonomous battlefield AI. Dystopian future. SciFi.

Already here.

Yes, it’s a controversial topic. AI could do a lot of good. It could also make precision killing very, very cheap.

After all, it takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to train a professional soldier. It takes a couple of minutes and maybe a thousand dollars or two to build an autonomous gun (once the platform is established).

Here’s a political movie about it, and if you’re interested, a behind the scenes look at Slaughterbots.

02 Mar

Book Rec: Murderbot Series by Martha Wells (Character-driven SF)

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells CoverI know I just recommended All Systems Red two weeks ago, but I’ve read all the Murderbot books that I’ve got (1-5), for the fourth time, and you absolutely need to read them.

That’s a strong recommendation.

Let me explain it. Murderbot is a cyborg/human construct, living peacefully in a corporate dystopia future, hiding that they (an asexual they) are a free agent and trying not to get killed. Or let any of their friends get killed. Or let any strangers, or stray pet bots, get killed.

It’s a violent, violent world, full of profiteering corporations, dangerous alien remains, spaceships, combat drones, prejudice, slavery, and human stupidity. Read More

16 Feb

Book Rec: All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Character-driven SF)

All Systems Red CoverIt’s rare that I find a book that I want to re-read immediately after finishing it. I’m too old, too jaded, I’ve read too many great books to be swept away. Yet, All Systems Red swept me away, and I re-read it immediately after finishing.

I’ve now read it four times over two years, and it’s still great.

All Systems Red is the first installment of the Murderbot Diaries, featuring a surprisingly human killing machine on the run. I’ve seen people describe it as being inside the head of a neurodiverse protagonist, but, personally, I figure Murderbot is just your regular Joe take to the extreme. Read More

04 Jun

Friday Links: Confessions of a Clarkesworld Slush Reader

Banner Mouse Click

Why did my story get rejected?

This is a forum thread in the form of an AMA by an (ex-)Clarkesworld slush reader.

Lots of interesting analysis of short fiction markets in general and Clarkesworld in particular. Great if you’re submitting or planning to submit to the big mags.

Pay close attention to the “I slushed 2000 stories, passed up 150-300 to the editor, and none of those got published.” Read More