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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 ratings  ·  137 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,348 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A good collection of short stories.
"The Plagiarist", in particular, is genius.

Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Maas
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, short, scifi
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Harry Seitz
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jessica Bronder
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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.
Edward B.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kenneth Buff
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a smart move ending this collection with Peace in Amber, as it's Hugh's most powerful work. I cried the first time I read it, and did again upon my second reading of it in this collection. I even went out and read Slaughterhouse Five after reading Peace in Amber (I enjoyed Slaughterhouse, but feel Howey took the best of Vonnegut and made something more of it with Peace in Amber). It's that good of a story. That being said, I originally clicked the 5 Star button on my Kindle after finishin ...more
Linda Bendiksen
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

So, I will always be grateful for my reader friend, Tyler, who introduced me to Hugh's work. On my own, I would not have read his writing since most of it is not "my favorite genre." This collection of short stories proves, once again, that good writing, regardless of genre, is good; the exploration of themes and feelings is deep and rich.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joe Crowe
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hugh Howey makes you feel smarter.

His stories explore the most scientific science fiction, but in such a way that you feel like you totally know and understand the most esoteric ideas, without having the author explain them to you.

This anthology of a bunch of Howey stories includes stories from his Silo books, and a bunch of standalone stories ranging from dark fantasy to crazy alien stuff. My favorite is "Peace in Amber," which takes place in the continuity of the Kurt Vonnegut book Slaughter
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really liked The Plagiarist, and Peace in Amber (although it was hard to read, due to the subject matter, and I don't understand the alien aspect of it). Almost all of the rest I didn't enjoy though.
Kerry Nietz
“Machine Learning” is a solid collection of short stories. Like any anthology, there are some you will like more than others, and a variety of different tones and themes represented. Some gems and some duds.

Personally, I thought the stories that the anthology was named after—those that dealt with artificial intelligent and robotics—were the weakest. I’m sure some of that is due to my background in computer science, or possibly due to a different worldview.

Regardless, many of the machine stories
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up reading science fiction as a staple. Some of my favorite movies such as Blade Runner, Contact and Avatar create worlds of make believe that stimulate the moral and ethical issues involved in both artificial intelligence and the fantasy of our finding other intelligent life in the universe.

Hugh Howey has a nice short story format where he spins a yarn and then gives a cogent summary of how he came to write the piece, his reflection on what is the content and personal notes on what it i
Lewis Szymanski
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
By his own admission (278), Hugh Howey is a hack, but he is a pretty good hack. His writing is very immersive if you like that sort of thing. I get impatient with detailed descriptions of making coffee or walking from one place to another, especially in short genre fiction. He occasionally comes up with new ideas, and some of them are good. Of the 21 short stories, I genuinely liked about three of them.

Select Character (279) Is the standout story of this collection. I first read it in the Press
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to HMH Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

I don't always read science fiction books, so a collection of short stories seemed to be more fitting for me. Sometimes the topics just go over my head (because I'm not all too familiar with them), so a more condensed story works better. MACHINE LEARNING by Hugh Howey was a collection of over 15 short stories that vary in topics from A.I. to parallel universes and so much more.

I haven't read any of Howey's previous wor
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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
“But what if we are more indomitable than we realize? What if we’re not so fragile after all? There are colonies of ants that most humans are wise enough to steer around.” 1 likes
“What we keep doing is moving the goalposts. Once we understand how AI does something, it’s no longer as magical as our own consciousness, and so we dismiss it as progress.” 0 likes
More quotes…