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Eating Robots: And Other Stories Kindle Edition
The future is ours and it’s up for grabs...
Step into a high-tech vision of the future with author of 'Quantum Confessions' and 'Fluence' Stephen Oram. Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, tele-empathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, 'Eating Robots' explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.
Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you've turned the final page.
This collection of short stories is like a pitch meeting for episodes of 'Black Mirror'. Some are quite short, others considerably longer but each one is dizzying fun in its peek into the future. Perhaps my favorite part is at the end where there are responses to some of the stories from experts in related fields. Genuinely fascinating stuff. – 'The International Review of Books'
"Oram is a soothsayer for this century's relationship with technology. His stories will take you on a wild ride through the infinite consequences of advances in IoT, AI and more but be warned: his stories leave a mark.” – Chris Thornett, Editor 'Linux User & Developer' magazine
"'Eating Robots' is a strong collection that melds together coherently into a near-future dystopian vision that extrapolates upon and slyly comments on trends and tendencies today. Like all good Science Fiction should.” – Allen Ashley, British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition judge
"This collection offers an insightful, often worrying, set of thought experiments on the possible unintended consequences of near future AI.” – Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at UWE, Bristol
"Oram combines the sharp edginess of a JG Ballard with the vaulting inventiveness of a modernist Ovid. 'Eating Robots' is a fizzingly inventive collection of nearly three dozen stories from an author rapidly establishing himself as the leading voice on how technology may determine the ways in which societies and individuals are structured in the years to come. […] Oram is the least didactic writer around. He’s a thoughtful entertainer and in 'Eating Robots' he unblinkingly presents possible scenarios without explicitly suggesting the rightness or wrongness of each. – Paul Simon, 'The Morning Star’
"This collection offers an insightful, often worrying, set of thought experiments on the possible unintended consequences of near future AI." -- Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at UWE, Bristol --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B06Y5RM55K
- Publisher : SilverWood Books (May 31, 2017)
- Publication date : May 31, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 2386 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 141 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,983,311 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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While the total count is 30 stories spanning 125 pages, the fact is that there are only a few ‘stories’. Others are ‘situations’ of a future world. These so called stories are just about a few page in which Stephen introduces a futuristic real-world very-believable situation to you. You then pause, close the book and think about it. Think about the implications and the consequences. Think about how could humans end up in a situation like that and what will it lead to in further future. Often asking the questions … “How could we mess up so royally?”
The stories in the book are meant to make you think. They are not entertainment but fodder for the fertile and intellectual mind to question and think. The thought provoking stories are in effect, a social commentary on the pace and direction of technology.
The author has taken up various advances in science & technology and extrapolated them into their future shape. Then he created a situation of amusement, horror and even despair as a result of that technology.
The common theme is technology and how it is invading human beings and taking on more and more tasks that humans were doing. As this encroachment increases, will there be anything for the humans to do other than exist?
Will that be in a way ‘machines overtaking humans’ since everything that needs to be done is being done by machines and there is nothing the humans have to do. Won’t the humans die of lethargy and become suicidal due to inactivity … or replace their real life activities with virtual activities … a la Matrix.
I will easily recommend this collection of stories to anyone interested in future tech and sci-fo genre of books. I would even recommend this book to those interested in philosophy – they are sure to find some interesting angles in there.
Some of the stories have a gruesome subplot and yet the innocence with which the characters are portrayed makes it easy to be drawn into their world where they 'live' their realities and beliefs. As the reader, my reactions were purely based on my own world view, and yet the author did an amazing job of tempering any subjective reactions that someone from our time would have towards the activities that the characters engage in. Science fiction lends itself to a wide base of technological developments in various fields, some of which are more palatable to us than others. By exploring these technologies in the stories portrayed here, our eyes are opened to the practicalities of what these technologies may develop into.
Overall the stories have been written in an exceptional style. Science fiction sometimes makes 'showing, not telling' a difficult thing to accomplish in creative writing, but the author has done so with a high level of skill.
Despite my personal reactions (I grew nauseous while reading Real Meat and Eating Robots, and had to stop reading for a few minutes) the compilation is an excellent example of a collection of stories in the genre.
The stories are brief, some less than a page — perfect bite-size anxieties. Their immediacy makes them compelling, as though they were ripped from tomorrow’s headlines.
“The Downward Spiral of the Disenfranchised Consumer” takes the proposal of a universal basic income to one logical conclusion. The chillingly-titled “Jodie has Been Deleted” taps into our uneasiness about the ubiquity of social media.
The protagonist of “Anxiety Loop” writes “speculative news items”. This is the story of what happens when self-learning AIs are not only granted the same legal rights as humans, but also develop authentic human emotions.
“The Thrown-Away Things” describes the revenge of everyday objects networked by the Internet of Things. “Everyday Stims” portrays a dystopian call centre in which staff are given individually-tailored cocktails of performance enhancing drugs. (I suspect this is already happening.)
Light relief arrives in a playful story, “The Mythical Moss”, about a partially-sentient moss which likes to ride around on the back of a rabbit.
Lest readers think that these stories owe more to fiction than science, Stephen Oram has provided several thoughtful responses from academics. Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics, at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of the West of England, reports that:
“A few research labs, including my own, are already testing robots with ethical governors.”
His colleague, Dr Antonia Tzemanaki, adds:
“… scientists cannot afford to be naïve; we have to always be alert and recognize the warnings, such as those coming from science-fiction stories.”
In case there was any doubt, Eating Robots shows that the future has already arrived.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Top reviews from other countries
Do you like robots? I did, now I'm not so sure.
Eating Robots and Other Stories by Stephen Oram is terrifying.
It's an insight into the darkness of the human condition of the future. A snap shot of a twisted reality of self aware technology and dystopian broken dreams. These 30 short stories are a literary treat for anyone with an interest in technology and it's interaction with mankind. Some of the stories, barely a couple of pages long, will stick with you long after reading.
This book is a clever, inventive collection that I devoured in just a couple of sittings. It's fabulous. Check it out now on Amazon. You won't regret it.