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Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,015 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of new short work from some of the greatest science fiction writers in the field. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The authors used inside access to leading-edge work from Microsoft Research as
ebook, 224 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by Microsoft & Melcher Media
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Althea Ann
This volume is an interesting conceit - Microsoft gave a number of the top SF authors a 'behind-the-scenes' tour of tech they're working on, in return for stories. I was afraid the book in general would be more of an advertisement than it is - as a matter of fact, at least a couple of the stories are more cautionary than celebratory - but still, the majority did not feel genuinely inspired. The 'big names' drew me in, but with the exception of Ann Leckie's story, the pieces here aren't among ...more
I saw a story about this on io9 (original story and Microsoft link page) and even though I had several anthologies to read already, the premise sounded right up my alley and it had some authors I never pass up (Seanan McGuire) so I grabbed it because it was free. And I'm glad I did. I started it because I had the kindle out after finishing another book, thinking I'd just check out Seanan's story and maybe one or two others quickly and finish it later, but once I started it I didn't want to put ...more
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If I could take out every story written by a dude and replace it with a story written by one of the ladies this book would probably be five stars. As it is, the dudes are bringing it down with their shitty, boring stories. Funny how that works.
Didn't like all the stories, unsurprisingly. But Greg Bear's The Machine Starts; The Tell by David Brin; Another Word for World by Ann Leckie were FANTASTIC.

Also this book is completely free on kindle.
Renee Babcock
Anthology of stories inspired by research currently happening at Microsoft. There was only one story I didn't bother with but on the whole a very good anthology by some big names in SF. The standout story by far was Ann Leckie's Another Word for World.
Sumit Gouthaman
The book is a collection of sci-fi short stories inspired by technology currently in development. While some of the stories in the book are really good and thought worth, many of them are not so compelling.

My favorite stories from the book are:
- Looking For Gordo
- A Cop's Eye
- Hello, Hello
Skylar Primm
The Anne Leckie story was far and away my favorite, with the rest ranging from "Ugh" to "Okay." It's free, though, so there can't be much to complain about!
Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat)
In Future Visions, a variety of authors explore technology inspired by research being done by Microsoft in short story format.

The premise here is one that I find intriguing and reminds me of Black Mirror. While the concept is somewhat similar to the show in that it extrapolates a potential future based on existing or potential technology, the tone is not. Some of the stories in this anthology are a bit cautionary but most have a brighter or more hopeful tone.

As with any short story collection,
Greg Hullender
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are all hard-SF tales, and the science in them is pretty good, but the writing is also above average.

I have written a detailed review of Future Visions on Rocket Stack Rank, but there are two stories worth recommending in particular (rot-13 used to hide spoilers):

"The Machine Starts," by Greg Bear, which tells what happens when a big quantum computer starts to work following some unorthodox modifications.

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Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests, this is a set of stories that were inspired by Microsoft... as I understand it, several authors were invited to tour the facilities and see stuff the company was developing, and write stories if they were inspired.

Now, "inspired" covers a lot of ground. Some of the stories involve ideas that you could see happening even relatively soon... others are stuff you could probably never expect to happen (even if they're based around tech that's reasonably plausible). But, even
Microsoft managed to get a nice group of A-list SF authors to sign on for this anthology of stories inspired by an inside look at the leading edge of Microsoft research. Of course I thought some stories were better than others but I didn't think any were total duds. My favorites were "Hello, Hello" by Seanan McGuire and "Another Word for World" by Ann Leckie. Interestingly, both were about communication. A better than average collection and offered free. Definitely worth a read.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ricky Kimsey
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Future Technology

This anthology commissioned by Microsoft gathers the top science fiction to weave stories that involve technology in the near future. If you want sf that stimulates your mind and fires up your imagination look no further.
Joanna Chaplin
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun anthology with a lot of big names. Lots of tech heavy stories. This was exactly the sort of futurist trying out ideas near-future sci-fi that I have been craving.
Tony Alleven
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice short stories on near-term future options.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, anthology
Overall Impression

I enjoyed this anthology a lot. I often find my experience very uneven -- that is, some stories that I love, some I hate, and a big range in between. This anthology surprised me by being very even in quality. There weren't any stories that I particularly disliked, which was nice. (There weren't any that I thought particularly amazing, either, but there you are). I could maybe have made some more graded distinctions between some of the three-star stories...but I'm too lazy.

Patrick DiJusto
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the great science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke used to invite himself (and later, used to be invited) to places like Bell Labs and Monsanto's research center. He did this to keep an eye on what was being invented in these "labs of the future", and incorporate them into his science fiction stories. It was at Bell Labs that he heard the first "talking computer", an IBM 709 that had been programmed to sing "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..." A few years ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, sci-fi
Corporate sponsorship has some upsides. When Microsoft wants to do a sci-fi anthology, it gets some of the most brilliant writers in the field. I think everyone here has at least one Hugo, Nebula, or Campbell award.

The stories lean towards hard sci-fi, and while they're generally optimistic about technology, Microsoft didn't buy loyalty. The company doesn't appear by name at all, and when a similar entity does show up (big Pacific NW tech company) its is usually as suits threatening to cut
Leah Nicolich-henkin
I'll admit: I'm a sucker for science fiction involving linguistics. So opening this up to a story with a protagonist who's a computational linguist working on multi-modal machine translation pretty much had me sold. I read a lot of science fiction, but it's rare for the "science" in books to have anything to do with the "science" I do. It was really exciting to read science fiction where the science is machine learning and natural language processing.

That being said, some of the writing wasn't
Andy Coleman

I didn't look into how this book came to be, but since it was free, I was quick to jump on it. This is the way I imagine it happening: Someone at Microsoft took a handful of technologies that are currently be worked on and asked a variety of authors to come up with a story that involved one of the technologies, but set in the future when the technology is either mature or just about there. So what you end up with is several short stories, each showcasing a different future
Hard to give a single rating to a book of short stories, especially when they are by different writers. I generally agree with Althea Ann's review but think overall this is a two-star book - which is not an altogether bad thing, "it was okay" on average. The stories I liked: The Machine Starts - Greg Bear, A Cop's Eye (graphic, i.e. comic strip) - Blue Delliquanti and Michele Rosenthal, illustrations by Joey Camacho; Looking for Gordo - Robert J. Sawyer, The Tell - David Brin, Another Word for ...more
Matt Fimbulwinter
A nice collection of science fiction short stories sponsored by Microsoft. So, it's a free collection that serves somewhat as free advertising.

The stories, however, are still worth reading. Seanan McGuire's story about translation software is especially lovely.

It also made me realize how much my standards for quality characters has gone up in recent years. Some of the stories in this collection are of the older tradition of SF where characters exist solely to prop up the Big Idea. I apparently
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly good for a free book (only three stinkers out of nine stories). All follow the same template: take existing (Microsoft...) technology and use it as the core of a story. All are well written, but some are dry due to the tech involved and the amount of explanations required to help readers understand the tech. That's probably why the best stories are the ones built around tech that's easy to grasp :)
Highlights: Seanan McGuire, Nancy Kress, Ann Leckie.
I downloaded this collection of short stories. It was sponsored by Microsoft. They offered tours and meetings with their scientists to some of the top SF authors today. All of the stories are fairly firmly rooted in familiar technology but they do take it another step. There were two stories about mechanical translators and they were completely different. There's even a graphic novel. My favorites were Seanan Maquire's "Hello, hello" and David Brin's "The Tell."
Jason Bleckly
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A patchy anthology. I expected better of some of the authors in here. The Nancy Kress is the best story. Seanan McGuire was a good story, though a little obvious. Jack McDevitt and Robert J Sawyer were okay. The rest pretty much ended up 2 to in room explaining the science to each other and lacked a decent story.
Richard Hurst
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great set of stories based on it's premise.
Outdoors Nerd
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near future tech based stories; some to short and some way too long but a great mix from great writers.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this!

Check out my review on my blog:
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.25 of 5

The conceit for this book is that Microsoft gave a few prominent sci-fi and fantasy authors a look at their technology in progress in exchange for some stories. Given the rather strange circumstances for the anthology, this collection features some remarkable short fiction.

This is a short collection, but I found all the works to be engaging on some level, even if it wasn't something I'd want to really read again. The
Laura Martin
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible anthology.

I think most of the time I'm wary of anthologies - I don't like the idea of reading a book from cover to cover but being jolted from one character to another, one world to another. I've always liked longer narratives and sagas, TV shows to movies.

However the threads in this Microsoft-inspired science fiction are really excellent and twine together magnificently. Like all anthologies, there are some stories I like more than others - my fantasy loving sensibilities
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