A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

Women to Read: Where to Start – January 2014 Edition

by A.C. Wise

A new year is upon us, which means a whole lot of new reading needs to be done. Or is that just me? Regardless, if you’re new to this series, welcome! Basically, I recommend women to read and where to start with their work. Sometimes there’s a theme, and sometimes there isn’t. This time around, there isn’t an overt theme, but there is an underlying thread of conflict and a questioning of the notion of self in these works. Either way, I hope you enjoy them, and I wish you happy reading in 2014!
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Nanotechnology, lifelike robots, Google Glass, Invisibility Metamaterials, and 3-D Printing are just the beginning. Many technologies that recently existed only in the pages of a science fiction novel are becoming reality. We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: What science fictional technologies do you think are right on the horizon and will become part of our everyday lives in the next ten years?

Here’s what our panelists had to say…

Ken Liu
Ken Liu’s fiction has appeared in F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld, among other places. He has won a Nebula, two Hugos, a World Fantasy Award, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award, and been nominated for the Sturgeon and the Locus Awards. He lives near Boston with his family.

Advances in artificial intelligence are not making many headlines these days, but I think within the next decade computer thinking will make inroads in many areas touching our lives. The reason advances in AI don’t seem very “science fictional” to us is that we keep on moving the goal post: computers now can beat humans at chess, answer Jeopardy questions, understand and transcribe your speech, translate in real time, and make billions on the stock market. While most people still seem “skeptical” about whether computers can think, we already live in a science fictional world.

Perhaps two areas will challenge our comfort. One is the military. Right now, military computers are still used in a way that is “supervised” by human decision makers. The drones that are in the news so much are operated by remote pilots, and targeting systems make recommendations, leaving the final decision to kill up to the human (though some have already described the human oversight as “illusory”). But the machinery of war has a relentless logic: eventually, human oversight will be seen as too slow and error-prone and undependable. We will have fully automated robots fighting our wars, where the decision to fire and kill will be made by machines alone—human oversight, if any, will be limited to the crafting of the algorithms governing these systems.
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Yoon Ha Lee is the author of over two dozen short stories, sixteen of which appear in her debut collection Conservation of Shadows. Her stories “Ghostweight” and “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain” have been Sturgeon award finalists (both are included in the collection). Her fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Tor.com and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It tends to include math, and war, and language, and spaceships, and magic. She kindly took the time to answer a few questions for us.
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Free Fiction: “The Black Abacus” by Yoon Ha Lee

We are pleased to be able to bring to you a story from Yoon Ha Lee‘s wonderful collection Conservation of Shadows. “The Black Abacus” is just one of the 16 stories in the collection.

The collection itself is described like so:

There is no such thing as conservation of shadows. When light destroys shadows, darkness does not gain in density elsewhere. When shadows steal over earth and across the sky, darkness is not diluted…

In this debut collection of short fiction from one of science fiction and fantasy’s most notable new writers, Yoon Ha Lee often integrates tropes of science fiction with elements of myth to create tales that are both wonderfully fresh and deeply ancient. No matter what the theme, her wide variety of stories are strikingly original and always indelible.

Enjoy the story…

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Cover & Synopsis: “Conservation of Shadows” by Yoon Ha Lee

Amazon has posted the cover art and synopsis of Yoon Ha Lee’s upcoming collection of short fiction, Conservation of Shadows.

Here’s the synopsis:

There is no such thing as conservation of shadows. When light destroys shadows, darkness does not gain in density elsewhere. When shadows steal over earth and across the sky, darkness is not diluted.

Featuring an Introduction by Aliette De Bodard, Conservation of Shadows features a selection of short stories from Yoon Ha Lee.

Book info as per Amazon US [Also available via Amazon UK]:

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books (May 21, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1607013878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607013877