Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Robots: The Recent AI

This is another of those thick Prime Books anthologies (just over 400 pages) and has some big names in it - Elizabeth Bear, Ian McDonald, Catherynne M. Valente, etc.

Although the title is "Robots" not all of the stories are about what we would consider robots. For example, you could make a case for the houses in Mark Pantoja's story by the same name, but Metta in "Kiss Me Twice" is a sessile AI who's hands and eyes are the police officers she works with.

All of the stories in this collection were good. "Kiss Me Twice" by Mary Robinette Kowal is probably my favorite - and includes an intriguing answer to the question of "is an artificial intelligence a person" that says as much about today's politics as her future. Ian McDonald knocked it out of the park again with "The Djinn's Wife" - if you are interested in stories that step out of our western mindset and paradigm, take every trip to India this man offers.

My least favorite? Catherynne M. Valente's "Silently and Very Fast." I've never been fond of stories that are told in snippets with sub stories. It's a shame, I normally quite like Valente, but this one didn't do it for me. I also found "Alternate Girl's Expatriate Life" by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz less than satisfying.

Overall, though, this is a good anthology - and the variety of the stories is sufficient to keep one from really noticing how thick it is.

Four stars.

(Another one I picked up at Balticon)