Tag Archives: near future

Genetic Changelings by Keyan Bowes

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: 2016 in Science Fiction Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy)

Genre: science fiction

Length: 8 pages

Setting: a generic city, near future

Summary: Short version: Are genetic enhancements and designer babies really that bad? Continue reading

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White Dust by Nathan Hillstrom

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: January, 2016 in Asimov’s Science Fiction (read it for free at that link)

Genre: science fiction

Length: 10 pages

Setting: Earth, nearish future

Summary: Margery is in charge of a secret operation – she supervises a soldier who is copied to an alien ship where he is responsible for setting up shielding material against some hard radiation. The operation has been going well, but suddenly the clone isn’t focusing and using his time most effectively. Margery decides to clone herself into the ship to see if that will give her any insight into the operation. Her clone forces Margery to acknowledge why she enjoys running the operation so much (because she enjoys the power and control over someone else) and then replaces Margery with a copy of herself. She decides to just copy the clone of the soldier back home to improve results.

Final thoughts: This one got surprisingly dark. There’s just enough backstory to know the government is involved in researching some alien ship that currently has lethal doses of radiation onboard. The real story is with the cloning. Margery is working with alien technology that allows anyone to get cloned from one table to another. There’s a failsafe built into the table so only one copy can exist in each location at a time. When Margery decides to clone herself, she also discovers the cloning tables work in both directions. The original Margery is replaced by a clone of the clone. That clone decides it would be much more efficient to keep sending the soldier clones back and forth from the alien ship. Talk about an existential mindtrip – which version of yourself should have the right to exist? What happens when the original is replaced with an exact copy – is it really the same? If you keep making copies of copies, is there degradation of the signal? Not that Margery cares. She’s just figured out how to get more power and control.

Title comes from: When a clone is sent to the other table, the previous clone is destroyed and turned into a white dust that covers everything in the immediate area.

 

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Artemis by Andy Weir

As soon as I found out Andy Weir had a new book out, I requested it from the library. It wasn’t even in the holdings yet, but I wanted to be high on the hold list. Mr. Curiosity and I were all in after loving The Martian.

Published: 2017

Genre: science fiction

Length: 305 pages

Setting: the lunar colony of Artemis, near future Continue reading

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fallenangel.dll by Brandon O’Brien

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean

Genre: science fiction

Length: 23 pages

Setting: Trinidad, near future Continue reading

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is a classic science fiction story that is referenced on a regular basis. I had never read it and decided to rectify that hole in my reading list.

Published: 1953 originally. My edition had end notes from 1979 and 1982 as well

Genre: science fiction dystopia

Length: 179 pages

Setting: an American city sometime in an alternate future Continue reading

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Reclamation by Ryan Row

This is the first short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: August, 2016 in Clarkesworld Magazine

Genre: science fiction

Setting: the asteroid belt, near future Continue reading

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Short Stories by M. Darusha Wehm

This is the next story included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

The Care and Feeding of Mammalian Bipeds, V. 2.1

Published: November, 2012 in EscapePod (you can either read or listen to the story at that link)

Genre: science fiction

Setting: someone’s home, near future

Summary: The story is told from the viewpoint of a robot that is just entering service into a family’s home. The family thinks it’s getting a house-bot, but the robot sees itself as caring for a herd of humans. It remarks on events happening within the home and thinks all is well with its herd.

Final thoughts: I remember hearing this story when it came out in EscapePod (it’s one of the short story podcasts I listen to regularly) and it enjoyed just as much now as then. It’s fun to try to figure out what the robot is referring to (the evening “chanting sessions” between the husband and wife, for example). The outsider view says everything is well with the family. The human view, which is able to interpret the situations correctly, realizes the parents are working toward a divorce and the kids are suffering as the parents constantly fight.

Title comes from: The robot is continually referring to a manual to interpret the actions of its human herd. The manual is called The Care and Feeding of Mammalian Bipeds, V. 2.1

Modern Love

Published: May 2012 in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (you can find an audio or print version of it here)

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a college town, near future

Summary: Marian is obsessed with Graeme, a barista at the coffee shop. She’s following him home after work, and watching him go to class. It’s totally creepy, until we flip to his point of view and find out he spiked one of her lattes with a custom pheromone and now she’s obsessed with him.

Final thoughts: As the story started, I thought it was just a gender-swapped version of a stalker story. Interesting to see it with the woman creeping on the guy, but not all that interesting. That thought changed when the perspective of the story changed to Graeme’s voice. He created the situation by surreptitiously drugging Marian and is happy to be the focus of an obsession. Now he’s the total creep and she’s the one being used. A totally unexpected twist that will keep me thinking about the story for a while.

Title comes from: Marian is totally in love with Graeme, but only because he got a custom pheromone created to cause the obsession.

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