**spoiler alert** This Anthology Proves that Nobody Can Make You Fear & Love Robots at the Same Time as Asimov Can! I bought this anthology, The**spoiler alert** This Anthology Proves that Nobody Can Make You Fear & Love Robots at the Same Time as Asimov Can! I bought this anthology, The Bicentennial Man & Other Stories, from Kitabain. This online bookstore never disappoints when I want something that is different, rare, exotic, or all that and more! The books are amazingly priced and always in good condition. Since I have the beautiful hardcover edition, it was featured in my Library Languishers series, even if its stay wasn’t a long one!
This edition compiles 12 short stories by Asimov, centering around robots and other machines. Preceding each story is an anecdote by the author that tells the reader of its origins. The anecdotes are written in an amusing style and make the reader look forward to reading the story. An example:
“How is it,” she asked dangerously, “that you wrote a story for that anthology, yet when I ask you for one you’re always too busy?” “Well,” I said apologetically, for Judy-Lynn is a frightening creature when she is moved, “the idea of the anthology interested me.” “How about my suggestions about a robot that has to choose between buying its own liberty and improving its body? I thought you said that was interesting.” At that point, I must have turned approximately as white as talcum powder. A long time before, she had mentioned such things and I had forgotten. I said, “Oh, my goodness, I included something of the sort in the story.” “Again?” she shrieked. “Again you’re using my ideas for other people? Let me see that story. Let me see it!”
The Prime of Life A poem that talks about how most people who met the author exclaimed surprise at his still being alive! Fun to read.
Feminine Intuition A dying robotics firm tries to turn public opinion positive towards robots by building a “female” robot. Susan Calvin was my favorite character, of course!
Waterclap Competing for funding isn’t a laughing matter, whether it is a pioneering experiment on the moon or on the ocean floor. The ending was expected and completely unneeded.
That Thou Art Mindful of Him
“I understand, Mr. Harriman. Enough differences remain to show me that there are here many different forms of plant life.” “Undoubtedly. Dozens.” “And each coequal with man, biologically.” “Each is a separate species, yes. There are millions of species of living creatures.” “Of which the human being forms but one.” “By far the most important to human beings, however.” “And to me, Mr. Harriman. But I speak in the biological sense.” “I understand.”
Just as God is said to have designed humans in a form that resembles him, human beings design robots in their image. Things could undoubtedly get problematic! For instance, look at this conversation between two George robots:
Of the reasoning individuals you have met, who possesses the mind, character, and knowledge that you find superior to the rest, disregarding shape and form since that is irrelevant?” “You,” whispered George Nine. “But I am a robot. There is in your brain paths a criterion for distinguishing between a robot of metal and a human being of flesh. How then can you classify me as a human being?” “Because there is in my brain paths an urgent need to disregard shape and form in judging human beings and it rises superior to the distinction between metal and flesh. You are a human being, George Ten, and more fit than the others.” “And I find that of you,” whispered George Ten.
Stranger in Paradise In a time when being related by blood is an embarrassment, two brothers try working together for the betterment of humanity.
The Life and Times of Multivac A supercomputer, Multivac, has taken over the world and tries to protect humanity from itself. A man thinks his fellow humans want to be free of its influence. Or do they? Loved the ending:
He was gasping, but forced himself steady, and said solemnly, “I have given us our freedom.” And he paused, aware at last of the gathering weight of the silence. Fourteen images stared at him, without any of them offering a word in response. Bakst said sharply, “You have talked of freedom. You have it!” Then, uncertainly, he said, “Isn’t that what you want?”
The Winnowing A global food crisis is starving people of the world slowly when a scientist comes up with a revolutionary lipoprotein. The government, on the other hand, decides to use it as a sort of chemical weapon! Probably my favorite out of the whole bunch! The ending was expected but still well done:
There’s no cure or antidote, but don’t worry. It’s a quite painless death, and it will be the finger of God, as one of you told me. It’s a good lesson, as another of you said. For those of you who survive, there may be new views on triage.” Affare said, “This is a bluff. You’ve eaten the sandwiches yourself.” Rodman said, “I know. I matched the LP to my own biochemistry, so I will go fast.” His eyes closed. “You’ll have to carry on without me—those of you who survive.”
The Bicentennial Man A robot like no other adopted by a family like no other. The story follows Andrew on its journey from the Sesquicentennial Robot to the Bicentennial Man. The movie based on this short story remains a favorite of mine. Here are some scenes from it:
Marching In A musician helps reaffirm the belief of neurologists in the healing powers of music. Short but sweet!
“A revival hymn?” Dr. Cray stared at him, wide-eyed. “Sure. What I used in this case was the best of them all. I gave her ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’” He sang it softly, finger-snapping the beat, and by the third bar, Dr. Cray’s toes were tapping.
Old-fashioned Two astrominers get stuck orbiting a black hole and have to come up with a solution to get help sent to them. Nothing unique but fun nonetheless.
The Tercentenary Incident The president is a robot. The president killed a robot. The robot killed the president. A robot is the president. Any of these might be true when it comes to what’s going on this story. Weakest out of the whole bunch.
Birth of a Notion
That the first inventor of a workable time machine was a science fiction enthusiast is by no means a coincidence. It was inevitable. Why else should an otherwise sane physicist even dare track down the various out-of-the-way theories that seemed to point toward maneuverability in time in the very teeth of General Relativity?
A scientist tries out his invention in this story.
Last Thoughts The science in a couple of the stories took me by surprise. I used to think that making my stories too sciency might be a bad idea but I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoy writing them! Save...more
My first reaction as I started Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was:
It is an epistolary novel. Nobody told me that! Wait, when has that e**spoiler alert**
My first reaction as I started Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was:
It is an epistolary novel. Nobody told me that! Wait, when has that ever come up in a conversation anyway?
So, the book started off with one of the characters writing letters to his sister while he's on a sea voyage.
The second thing that I noticed was boy, this guy can talk! So far, his chatter has not diminished my enjoyment of the book.
Mr. Monster has already made his first appearance although we only get to admire him from a distance. Now, I am listening to the good doctor's narrative.
A quote that stuck with me:
(On the subject of friends) "we are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves -- such a friend ought to be -- do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures."
Some thoughts that formed while reading:
The author uses a clever device to keep from providing her readers the recipe to making their own monsters:
"But this discovery was so great and overwhelming, that all the steps by which I had been progressively led to it were obliterated, and I beheld only the result."
Making a behemoth who could crush him easily had not been Frankenstein's first choice. However:
"As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature."
The monster spoke French! I may be coming off as a goofball with this observation but since this is the first time I am reading the book, I didn't already know this.
That the monster had no concept of right and wrong. We are taught about morality as kids and we retain those teaching as grown ups. He did not receive any such lessons. Is it fair to expect him to not steal when hungry? To not enter someone's home unbidden? That got me thinking about something entirely different. If a creature is put together like a jigsaw from parts belonging to other people, would the brain retain the teachings imparted to the donor?
Another thing that I noticed was that Frankenstein is a wimp. He is also a drama queen and very very selfish! Evidence:
"The poor victim, who on the morrow was to pass the awful boundary between life and death, felt not as I did, such deep and bitter agony."
That for the girl who is innocent and yet being tried for murder because of him!
I guessed the meaning of verdure because Botany! Verdant means green and I already knew that, so it wasn't that big a jump.
That Asians are supposed to be slothful and Mahometans forbid their women to...well, do anything other than simply exist, I guess.
Since there is nothing in this novel, if not foreshadowing, it got me thinking. Did I enjoy the book a little less because I knew about the murderous rampage that the monster would be going on? I don't think so. Maybe, that is why spoilers for most books, do not mean the end of the world for me either.
Words that stayed with me:
"It was a lovely sight, even to me, poor wretch! who had never beheld aught beautiful before." Made me feel sad for the poor monster. The illustration above is about the first time he saw his reflection.
"I collected bones from charnel-houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers,the tremendous secrets of the human frame." So perfectly graphic and shudder-inducing!
"I will gut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends." Now, that's a threat!
"...extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed." This, from the jackass.
Allusions and a useful resource to help identify them:
"I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead, and found a passage to life, aided only by one glimmering, and seemingly, ineffectual light."
The Arabian is Sinbad and the lines allude to the practice of burying a surviving spouse with the dead one! Find it and the rest of the allusions here.
A quote that stayed with me:
“If I have no ties and no affections, hatred and vice must be my portion; the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes, and I shall become a thing, of whose existence everyone will be ignorant.”
It made me think if it is our relationships and loved ones that make us human.
A new word that I learned:
Siroc is probably a variation of sirocco, which is a “hot dust-laden wind from the Libyan deserts.
After reading the following lines:
“eradicating the remains of my melancholy, which every now and then would return by fits, and with a devouring blackness overcast the approaching sunshine.”
I felt the similarity between Frankenstein and the monster he created even more clearly. I can’t really explain why they seem like the same person.
I am really glad that I did read this book. More than anything, I came from it feeling sorry for the poor creature that Frankenstein created and then abandoned. It gave me a new appreciation for the rules of society, ethics, morality that we take for granted. Without it, we might all turn into monsters.
I also wanted to point out that while the monster was never taught right from wrong, Frankenstein had been. Yet, the creature seemed kinder than his creator.
I don’t think any other conclusion was possible but I still think that it ended rather abruptly.
**spoiler alert** This is the book to read, if you like a little science in your zombie fiction. The author uses a fungal agent as the cause of zombie**spoiler alert** This is the book to read, if you like a little science in your zombie fiction. The author uses a fungal agent as the cause of zombieism. The fungus, ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is real. It infects and zombifies certain ants.
It even has favorites among the same types of ants! Not only did I love the sciency bits, I remember starting that book cold. I hadn’t read any reviews and as a result, the moment when I realized who the little girl could be was delicious! Read this book, if you don’t read any other zombie fiction!...more
**spoiler alert** I won this book in a giveaway on the Apocalypse Whenever group and the author was kind enough to send the book to Pakistan.
What I l**spoiler alert** I won this book in a giveaway on the Apocalypse Whenever group and the author was kind enough to send the book to Pakistan.
What I liked:
the characters- they were all fun to read about
Jess and her sense of humour made me chuckle a lot
the story kept me interested right up to the end, when it didn't
What I didn't like:
Jess wasn't confident about the abilities & at times, seemed to hate them but whenever the others needed saving, she did that easily...too easily
the queen bee bit was unnecessary and too similar to the prevalent fad of the MC suddenly being in demand, as soon as, the hottest boy starts dating them
the whole religion part needs to be stronger to ring true and sound serious enough to become a rallying cause
Even after, she was found out, Jess was still hiding the mark from her friends & I had no idea why. Another thing that irked me was that I couldn't imagine what the mark looked like, dunno why I kept wanting to see a picture of it!
An interesting book which I read through quite quickly.
**spoiler alert** I won this book through a giveaway & the author was kind enough to send it to Pakistan!
What I liked:
the concept this story was b**spoiler alert** I won this book through a giveaway & the author was kind enough to send it to Pakistan!
What I liked:
the concept this story was based on was really interesting and it didn't disappoint, as I read ahead the cover-suited! all three races, if they can be called that, were as different as day and night but the most advanced ones-I forget what they're called- were the scariest! the author did research and it showed-I loved the part about telomerase and the chloroplasts, as well as the part about Ripening. the ending wasn't impractical-it was quite realistic I sort of threw a tantrum when one of the little girls was taken by the cannibals-I'm pretty sure we'll see her again, if there's going to be a sequel but still!
What I didn't like:
the whole people turning into cannibals part wasn't too well-thought. If plants will grow in one place, surely people will work to grow them elsewhere.
If you want to read about photosynthesizing people, cannibals and an apocalyptic world, give this one a try-it doesn't disappoint!
**spoiler alert** * the brutal world and the artificial trees were all described beautifully. * saw the "twist" from a mile ago! * the ending was disapp**spoiler alert** * the brutal world and the artificial trees were all described beautifully. * saw the "twist" from a mile ago! * the ending was disappointing-if those were the last trees on the planet, was it smart of Banyan to destroy those? And why not end the story right there?...more
**spoiler alert** I got this book for free, from Making Connections,in exchange of an honest review. Get your copy here.
The beginning of this story wi**spoiler alert** I got this book for free, from Making Connections,in exchange of an honest review. Get your copy here.
The beginning of this story will send chills down your spine-imagining a world where the sick aren’t treated but ashed like so much garbage. We all secretly fear such a dystopian future and a heavy metal contamination may very well lead to one. What I really loved was the description about how the disease spread and how it affected the not-so rich countries of the world.
This story is about a boy who loses his father to that disease and then his mom falls ill. He refuses to part with her, going to immense lengths to rescue her . Another thing I liked about this story was how it ended-the hope that things may yet become okay made me want to read the sequel. ...more
**spoiler alert** My rating’s more of a 3.5 because: Everybody loves a good apocalypse and I’m no exception! There was a female lead who, if not exactly**spoiler alert** My rating’s more of a 3.5 because: Everybody loves a good apocalypse and I’m no exception! There was a female lead who, if not exactly capable of kicking ass, was a leading geneticist– brains over brawn any day! The freaky way the vaccine changed them all was amazing-no death causing viruses or flesh eating zombies, yet horrific in its own way. Prison takeovers are the scariest things ever and the author combined it with a post apocalyptic scenario! The ever present threat of the convicts getting to our heroine was sufficient to keep me reading . I loved the fact that the author didn’t even need to show much violence to keep the readers hooked– she just let us imagine what “could” happen, if they got to her. ...more
**spoiler alert** Fixing Hanover by Jeff VanderMeer: ★★ The Empire's Chief Engineer warns the villagers that the Empire might be coming for him but the**spoiler alert** Fixing Hanover by Jeff VanderMeer: ★★ The Empire's Chief Engineer warns the villagers that the Empire might be coming for him but they don't believe it!
The Steam Dancer (1896)by Caitlín R. Kiernan: ★★ A woman who had an arm and leg amputated and her mechanic who builds her new ones.
Icebreaker by E. Catherine Tobler: ★★★ A widow sets out to Antarctica to bury her husband.
Tom Edison and His Amazing Telegraphic Harpoon by Jay Lake: ★★★ What's the best way to kill a Nephilim? With a telegraphic harpoon, of course!
The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball by Genevieve Valentine: ★★★★ Some events from the life of a Zeppelin conductor.
Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo: ★★★ A man finds the wife he longs for. I kinda guessed the ending.
The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jala-ud-din Muhammad Akbar by Shweta Narayan: ★★★★ Mechanical birds and stories about love & revenge.
Prayers of Forges and Furnaces by Aliette de Bodard: ★★★ The old gods have all been killed, replaced by the machine gods, except for one.
The Effluent Engine by N. K. Jemisin: ★★★★ Haiti decides to win against France by using dirigibles and a woman finds love. Loved the story but the last sentence sucked.
The Clockwork Goat and the Smokestack Magi by Peter M. Ball ★★ A clockwork Goat who can tell you all the secrets of a powerful magus!
The Armature of Flight by Sharon Mock: ★★★★ Wings.
The Anachronist’s Cookbook by Catherynne M. Valente: ★★ Lunar Industry and the movement that stopped it.
Numismatics in the Reigns of Naranh and Viu by Alex Dally MacFarlane: ★★★★ How Viu defeated a king by minting coins.
Zeppelin City by Eileen Gunn & Michael Swanwick: ★★★★ Naked Brains, Zeppelins, Radios and Revolution!
The People’s Machine by Tobias S. Buckell: ★★★★ Another version of how Holmes came into being with a lot of alternate history thrown in.
The Hands That Feed by Matthew Kressel: ★★★ Two women do what they can to survive.
Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan: ★★★ A wife finds out the secrets her maid's been keeping from her.
To Follow the Waves by Amal El-Mohtar: ★★ A dream maker's dream comes true!
Clockmaker’s Requiem by Barth Anderson: ★★ A clockmaker invents a clock that would make time the same for everyone-blasphemy!
Dr Lash Remembers by Jeffrey Ford: ★★ Spores cause the line between reality and imagination to blur.
Lady Witherspoon’s Solution by James Morrow: ★★★ Drugs that could change the world.
Reluctance by Cherie Priest: ★★ Zombies and dirigibles!
A Serpent in the Gears by Margaret Ronald: ★★★ Cyborgs will take over the world.
The Celebrated Carousel of the Margravine of Blois by Megan Arkenberg: ★★★ Grief can make you stop living.
Biographical Notes to “A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-planes” by Benjamin Rosenbaum: ★★ The world if the East had the power to take colonies.
Clockwork Chickadee by Mary Robinette Kowal: ★★ I wouldn't mess with the Chickadee, if I were you!
Cinderella Suicide by Samantha Henderson: ★ Skipped most of it. A lot of terms thrown around and no explanation!
Arbeitskraft by Nick Mamatas: Skipped!
To Seek Her Fortune by Nicole Kornher-Stace: ★★ A mother tries to do what she thinks is best for her son.
The Ballad of the Last Human by Lavie Tidhar: ★★ A dog and a spider set out treasure hunting. ...more
**spoiler alert** ★ Pickman's Other Model, Tsathoggua, A Colder War
★★ Mr. Gaunt, The Fungal Stain, Take Me To The River, Cold Water Survival,
★★★ Fair**spoiler alert** ★ Pickman's Other Model, Tsathoggua, A Colder War
★★ Mr. Gaunt, The Fungal Stain, Take Me To The River, Cold Water Survival,
★★★ Fair Exchange, The Vicar Of R'lyeh, The Crevasse, Bad Sushi, Old Virginia, The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft, The Oram County Whoosit, Buried In The Sky, Bringing Helena Back, The Essayist In The Wilderness, Shoggoths In Bloom, Lesser Demons, Another Fish Story
★★★★ A Study In Emerald, The Disciple, The Great White Bed, Grinding Rock, Details, Head Music, Mongoose...more