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About Stephen Oram
Stephen Oram writes near-future science fiction - his collections Eating Robots and Biohacked & Begging have been praised by publications as diverse as The Morning Star and The Financial Times. He works with artists, scientists and technologists to explore possible future outcomes of their research through short stories and is a writer for sci-fi prototypers SciFutures. He is also published in several anthologies and has two published novels - Quantum Confessions and Fluence. He is a founding curator for near-future fiction at Virtual Futures and a member of the Clockhouse London Writers.
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When tomorrow has become a question mark — filled with as much malice as promise — can science fiction be a means of exploring the answer?
Virtual Futures presents eighteen bursts of speculative fiction that explore the landscape of the near future: short stories that depict a world populated by killer voice-controlled speakers, AIs with mental health disorders, narcotic nanobots, and much, much more.
With previous appearances from Pat Cadigan, M. John Harrison, and Alan Moore, discover what this generation of authors think will be awaiting us when we step into the future…
- Foreword: On the Origins of Near Future Fictions
- Helen Marshall Introduction
- Nicola Fawcett There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills, Boys, You Just Need to Know Where to Find It
- Vaughan Stanger Bee Futures
- Allen Ashley Inside, Outside
- Jule Owen Young Blood
- A. Umbra Cries and Bionic Eyes
- L.P Lee Truth and What Comes After
- Jackie Kingon Gourmet Hunger
- Jane Norris The Department of Re-pairing
- Stephen Oram The Never-Ending Nanobot Nectar
- Very Very Far Away ‘Very Very Far Away’: Episode 01 — Dead
- Ian Steadman Looking Glass
- Britta F. Schulte The Secret
- Jamie Watt Sequence
- Daniel Sainty If you know what’s good for you
- C.R Dudley Undefined Variable
- John Houlihan Carers
- Christine Aicardi The Tablet Stroker
- Christopher Butera Independent, Superior
Now, for the first time, we can share some of these tales with you…
1. Introduction – David Gullen
2. The Little People – Una McCormack
3. Lost in the Rewilding – Paul Di Filippo
4. Goblin Autumn – Adrian Tchaikovksy
5. Myths of Sisyphus – Allen Ashley
6. The Land of Grunts and Squeaks – Chris Beckett
7. The Blood Rose – Susan Oke
8. Starfish – Liz Williams
9. The Raveller’s Tale – Neil Williamson
10. The Tiny Traveller – Aliya Whiteley
11. The Tale of Suyenye the Wise, the Ay, and the People of the Shining Land – Gaie Sebold
12. Wanderlust – Kim Lakin-Smith
13. Pale Sister – Jaine Fenn
14. Alpha42 and the Space Hermits – Stephen Oram
15. The Teller and the Starborn – Peter Sutton
16. The Winternet – Ian Whates
17. The Awakening – Bryony Pearce
18. About the Authors
This collection of 'ten-minute' stories are the perfect length for your commute or a thoughtful cup of coffee:
The future is ours and it's up for grabs...
Immerse yourself in the future of biohacking and implants, genetic modification, blockchain micro-transactions and futuristic dating-apps with author of 'Eating Robots', Stephen Oram.
Prodding and poking the possible, Oram starts with another flash fiction foray into the world of Unified Sentience and ends with virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish.
With sharpness and wit, these sci-fi shorts will grab your imagination and refuse to let go."The more we surround ourselves with technology, the more uncanny our lives become. Enter Stephen Oram: with Bradbury's clear-sightedness and Pangborn's wit, he pulls ways to live out from under modernity's 'cacophony of crap.'" (Simon Ings, Arts Editor, New Scientist)
"Can humans remain 'more than digital, more than flesh' with detachable limbs, multiple ears, implants that can be hacked and nanobots that can be ingested? These thoroughly enjoyable and contestable futures explore the personal and political implications of fleshy and messy encounters with contentious technology and the epidemic of algorithms." (Stelarc, Performance Artist)
"There's a distinct flavour of literary Martianism to Biohacked & Begging. With the eye of a visitor from an alien planet, Oram sees what few other SF writers see - the perversity of our everyday relationships with new technologies - and thrusts that vision five minutes into the future." (Dan O'Hara, editor of Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J. G. Ballard, 1967-2008)
"Both Kubrick's exhibition and Oram's collection should set the rest of us thinking about science and its possible repercussions." (Chris Nuttall, Financial Times)
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’
As part of the Bristol Literature Festival, science fiction writers, social scientists and roboticists came together in that magical place where their disciplines overlap to create three fictional stories.
What do you imagine when you hear the word robot? Search and rescue bots? Assisted surgery? Military drones? Probably, and you'd be right. But what about robots that eat and excrete, have rat's whiskers to find their way around and fingertips that are sensitive to touch?
One thing's for sure, reality will be much more interesting and messy than the Hollywood robot apocalypse or the AI that frees us from all of life's drudgery.
The future is waiting. Can we predict it? Can we prepare for it? Can we shape it?
These stories could be the very thing you need to begin to answer those three important questions.
Imagine a world where your influence on social media determines your job, your home and your friends. A world without politicians, where the corporations run the country.
Set in a dystopian London, Fluence is a story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. Amber is young and ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has.
It's the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the algorithms. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating, while those above the strata and those who've opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.
To what extremes, and at what cost to their families, will Amber and Martin go to achieve the Fluence they desire?
Grey is a high performer with attitude. Aled is torn between his morals and his desires. They live in a world where those who believe in absolute truth are on a collision course with those who don’t. Society is becoming dangerously polarised and despite a thread of history that binds Aled and Grey together they take opposite sides in the conflict; Grey is recruited by The Project and Aled is given custody of The Proof of Existence.
Against the backdrop of a failing society and experiments to find the link between quantum physics and a supreme being, the real question that unfolds is...
"Who chooses your reality?”
"'Quantum Confessions' is an original, thought provoking tale."– 'The International Review of Books'
"To set this kind of dystopian exploration in a very near and recognisable future is a stroke of masterwork by Oram." – Katrina Northern
"By any stretch of the imagination, 'Quantum Confessions' is an excellent debut and one that demands your attention. Hopefully the first of many releases from Oram, it is recommended without reservation!" – Book Viral
"'Quantum Confessions' by Stephen Oram is a book that makes one stop in their tracks and think. I love the metaphysical, other-worldly element throughout the book which makes us all ponder the question: Who are we? And what is the truth?" – Gisela Dixon — 'Readers' Favorite'
"Though his fiction debut, Stephen Oram manages with the very first work to bring some great questions and present the dark, but a grandiose picture of dystopian future. Great is the author's idea to put on same side believers, equally those that believe in the divinity and science, opposing them with the mighty group that banned the absolute truth in any form – in that way Oram cleverly achieved that his novel is not only another one in a series of works where the future conflict emerges between religion and science." – Amazon Top 50 Reviewer
"Exciting, dystopian and a heady mix of family, physics and futurism!" – Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand
"Exciting, intelligent and poignant." – C R Dudley, author of 'Fragments of Perception'