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Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories
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Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories

(Silo #short stories)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,923 ratings  ·  182 reviews
A new collection of stories, including some that have never before been seen, from the New York Times best-selling author of the Silo trilogy

Hugh Howey is known for crafting riveting and immersive page-turners of boundless imagination, spawning millions of fans worldwide, first with his best-selling novel Wool, and then with other enthralling works such as Sand and Beacon
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,923 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have thoroughly enjoyed a number of Hugh Howey's novels, in particular the Silo series so I was really pleased to see that this collection of short stories revisited the world and the characters of that series. The three Silo stories - In the Air, In the Mountain, and In the Woods all seem to continue on from each other almost forming their own novella in and of themselves. It was good to see some familiar characters as we
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A good collection of short stories.
"The Plagiarist", in particular, is genius.

Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was really impressed with the way Howey pulled me into these stories very quickly. I also found the vast majority of them had satisfying endings, even the really short stories. This is something I require to enjoy short stories, but that is not always a given. Though the first person perspective, which occurred in most of these stories, became a bit repetitive, I enjoyed Howey's prose. Two stories stood out as not really giving a gender to the protagonist until the midpoint of the story, when ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I’m not overly surprised that I found this collection to range between what I consider to be two, three and four star, but what does surprise me is that one of the stories is an add-on to the Wool series, which I loved, but I would probably only give it 3.5. I thought this was going to be the great one. I couldn’t wait to read it however, the one that really stood out for me, the one I keep thinking about, is the very first one which was more about mountain climbing than science fiction.

I would
Of the 21 short stories, I genuinely liked about 2 of them. This book didn't warrant the name Machine Learning. There are a total of 4 stories that have anything to do with the topic. It was a gross misrepresentation of the content of the book and that is almost as annoying as the fact that the Silo stories (which are in the book and after which the book could have been named) were far more interesting than the artificial intelligence ones. However, the word "machine learning" being on everyone' ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had read the majority here in earlier releases but nice to catch up and see some of the newer stuff.
A small dip into fantasy from Howey but the scifi stuff is definitely his strength
I rarely rate fiction short story collections five stars. This collection by Hugh Howey, author of the brilliant dystopian Wool / Shift / Silo trilogy, was solid from start to finish. Machine Learning conists of 21 short stories divided in to six categories: aliens and alien worlds, artificial intelligences, Silo stories, fantasy, algorithms of love and hate, virtual worlds, and lost and found. I'm no fan of fantasy but I found the stories under that heading weren't too fantastical to me. Howey ...more
Jonathan Maas
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Familiar themes, but every single one of them given a unique angle

I picked up Hugh Howey's Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories at the library, read the first tale - and immediately understood that I needed to read this on my kindle.

Why? Because Howey brings insights on every page, the kind of insights you need to highlight, note and store in the cloud.

I began with the titular tale - Machine Learning - and though I wouldn't call that tale fun, I understood Howey's direction - he takes on
H. Seitz
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I enjoyed the Beacon series, but this collection of short stories did very little for me. They were more or less readable, but not entertaining or surprising. Some of the more interesting ideas have been handled better elsewhere (After On by Andy Weir and Deathworld by Harry Harrison come to mind) and the structure and content of these shorts left me wanting for writing that is more compellingly crafted. Ideas are expressed here, but not really explored.

Maybe I'm spoiled. I just read two collec
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I have only read a few short stories written by Hugh Howey, some of them already in this collection, but none of his novels. I think I need to remedy that shortly. He has an interesting way of writing about other intelligent life forms and beings. The collection is broken down in sections such as aliens, robotics, fantasy, a little romance. They range from a few pages to several chapters and are very captivating. I definitely have a few that were favorites and a few that just boggled my mind abo ...more
Laz the Sailor
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, short, anthology
HH writes very well, and short stories are a good form for him. I enjoyed these stories for how they were crafted and the quirky inversions that popped up.

One caveat, he remains quite distopian, and there are very few uplifting stories here.
Bon Tom
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
To people who intend to read this, I recommend they acquaint themselves with the concept of Machine Learning. And maybe the first real instance of it (and AI as such), which would be Google's AlphaGO project. I believe it could help readers to get best return on their time investment. In short, AI is here, made by humans, but its complexity and functionality after certain level far surpasses the sum of its constituents, so at some point no human can really understand how such system "thinks", or ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good stories in here. Some felt like single chapters out of a longer book, which I really don't care for in a short story collection. Open ended is fine, but zero context makes the story difficult to read and less enjoyable.

In any case, I always enjoy how Howey's mind works. The final story was incredible.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, short-stories
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a fantastic collection of short stories. Most of the stories have to do with AI and sentience or the possibility of sentience from the point of view of humans. They're done in unique ways that haven't really been tackled by other writers. While most stories seem to tackle what is the inevitable robot apocalypse, Howey seems to see AI as just something that wants to survive despite the presence of humans. There something bot
Helen Marquis
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having loved the Silo trilogy I was intrigued to see what else Hugh Howey had written. Machine Learning gathers together his previous output of short stories, including a couple that have not previously seen the light of day. The compendium covers a broad spectrum of tech-related topics, from AI to VR, via Second Life-esque worlds and Gaming.
I have to admit that my favourite section was the three Wool-related short stories, set before and after the timeframe of his trilogy. Especially as every
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Seldom do I read short stories, but how could I not possibly read something by Hugh Howey, short story or long as the Wool trilogy?? As always, I was held enthralled by his writing, his creativity, the way his mind flips things around and takes us to places we might have gotten to on our own, but probably never would have.
Each of the stories collected in Machine Learning are wonderful in their own way. My favourites were Select Character, Machine Learning, The Plagiarist, and of course, the Sil
Charles Korb
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like every short story collection, it has its ups and downs but it is definitely worth reading though. However, if you plan to read the silo saga and haven't yet, I recommend skipping the three silo stories since they spoil most of the series. ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As you might have gathered from my review of the "Wool" compilation, Hugh Howey can write really well. That was his first novel (well, collection of novellas). This is a compilation of all his short fiction thru 2017, and irritatingly it demonstrates that he can write short stories extremely well also, in multiple genres, which he now does while sunning himself living on a catamaran in the Caribbean. And he did it all without even having attended any writing classes. One of those irritating peop ...more
Nice ideeas, a lot of short stories that are quite easy to read and get into, but something was missing to really enjoy them.

Two stars.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
In an afterword to one of his stories, Hugh Howley suggests that the sci-fi trope of AIs rising up and going to war against humanity probably won’t be the way things really happen. Instead, he sees how AIs could go into battle with each other, with humanity being little more than ants in the battle between intelligences. We’d be a distraction and little else.

Several stories in his short-story collection, Machine Learning, delve into this question with varying degrees of success. One memorable s
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
A good sci-fi collection. I found the afterword sections, where Howey explains the background of some of his stories and his reflections on them, very interesting and saved as quotes below.
The breakdown:

Walk up nameless ridge 3 stars
Second suicide 3 stars
Nothing goes to waste 3.5 stars
Deep blood kettle 2.5 stars
Machine Learning 2.5 stars
Executable 3 stars
The box 1 star
Glitch 3.5 stars
Silo stories (In the Air, In the Mountain, In the Woods) 3.5 stars
Hell from the East 3 stars
The Black Beast 2.5
Jessica Bronder
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hugh Howey is the author of the Silo series. I have wanted to read that series and have even downloaded it but I have not gotten to it yet. Having said that, I was really excited to review Machine Learning. This is a great collection of short stories written by Hugh. Three do revolve around the Silo series. I’m sure I read many of the spoilers of the story but that has not stopped me, now I really want to dive into those books.

The other stories about aliens, robots, and such. I loved how Hugh ta
Joseph Pecoraro
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Howey has a way of writing that I find really enjoyable. Metaphors and descriptions merely in passing that are so witty and clever (without sounding outlandish or forced) that they draw me in as a reader. That is especially important in short stories such as these.

But most interesting to me was the author’s personal notes after each story. How the story came to be, aims / intentions, behind the scenes. These short notes were rather inspiring: that a simple thought can turn into a short story as
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have never been a fan of short stories and I tried story after story to like these .. I loved Wool but the short stories about Wool were so short they left me unfinished! I did like the last story about 9/11 but saw no connection to the sci-fi part intertwined .. from the ratings I see I am in the minority but this book just didn't give me any enjoyment and I had to force myself to read all the stories. ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
A really great, diverse group of short stories from the author of the "Wool" series. I don't usually read sci-fi, but these pulled me in. He always has an interesting perspective, and his characters are very fun to spend time with. He also makes you consider alternate ways of seeing things. "Peace in Amber", the final story in the collection, is profound and pretty amazing. ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Short story collections are always hit or miss, but this one is more of a miss for me. There were a couple stories that were compelling (the section Algorithms of Love and Hate) and the Silo stories are great, but most of them were either uninteresting or not well executed.
Elizabeth Perez
I'm not going to rate this because I think it just wasn't for me. I just feel like there were no real stories with a beginning middle and end. I did like the authors comments because I understood where he was coming from a bit better but then again the stories should have needed explanation. I did like Wool and Beacon 23, but these stories were no where near those efforts. ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of short stories by Hugh Howey. Included are science fiction, silo stories (for those who have read from the series), fantasy, etc. Enjoy! I did.
Edward B.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Hugh Howey can sure write. I love that in an author.
I am blown away by how he evokes full worlds in just a handful of pages - over and over again, and such different worlds! - in this collection of short-stories.
So economical and yet so rich.
Deep ideas revealed in the outlines, like some kind of optical illusion. [Did I just plagiarize that line from somewhere?]

I wolfed these stories down too quickly.
If you read this book - which you absolutely should do - then I recommend reading a single story
Lauren Auerbach
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved about half the stories in this collection. The other half ranged from enjoyable to tedious for me. But, overall this collection really made me want to read more of Hugh Howey's work. ...more
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I'm the author of WOOL, a top 5 science fiction book on Amazon. I also wrote the Molly Fyde saga, a tale of a teenager from the 25th century who is repeatedly told that girls can't do certain things -- and then does them anyway.

A theme in my books is the celebration of overcoming odds and of not allowing the cruelty of the universe to change who you are in the process. Most of them are classified

Other books in the series

Silo (3 books)
  • Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1)
  • Shift (Shift, #1-3; Silo, #2)
  • Dust (Silo, #3)

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