Book Review – The A.I. Chronicles

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aiThere’s just something about science fiction that causes the reader to look, not just towards the future, but also to our past and our present. I found myself thinking about a lot while I read the latest Future Chronicles installment – The A.I. Chronicles.

Throughout humanity’s existence on earth, we’ve continuously defined what it means to be a person. Men (especially white men in the Western hemisphere in the past 2,000 years) have long since had the power over everyone else, determining a person’s humanity by their gender, their skin color, their age, even the amount of property they owned.

Along with the growth of science and technology, mankind has evolved to the point where nearly all of those disputes are in our past. The next wave of humanity may deal with a similar issue, but it will be of our own making. What is intelligence? Does intelligence equal humanity? Do those with “artificial” intelligence deserve the same rights as those born naturally?

Those are tough questions for sure, and many of the stories in The A.I. Chronicles tackle those issues head-on. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the thirteen stories put together in this collection and know I will go back in the future and re-read them again and again.

There were more than a few that caught my attention, starting first and foremost with “Vendetta” by Chrystalla Thoma. The story tells about a future war between humanity and the A.I., long since fought and nearly forgotten about. Humanity has moved on, keeping technology in their lives, but not at the center. As a reader, I really enjoyed this story which kept me asking questions about who the protagonists were and their place in this futuristic society.

I also loved Patrice Fitzgerald’s “Piece of Cake.” As someone who is overweight, and struggles with those issues, I see stories in the news about the government taxing additional calories, prohibiting super-size drinks and snacks, and imposing restrictions on meals for kids in school. It is troubling to see the government legislate those things, and Fitzgerald takes that and advances the idea to include a 1984-type society complete with the food police around every turn, thanks to an A.I. who monitors food intake and weight. Fascinating and scary, with the trademark Fitzgerald humor attached.

I could talk about each and every story and some reviews may do so, but I’ll leave it at this — you won’t regret buying this collection.

The short story is a wonderful form, especially in science fiction where so much unmined ground can be found. I am constantly amazed by each and every story I find in the Future Chronicles anthologies and eagerly anticipate each to come.


 

(Reviewer Note: I received an Advance Reviewer Copy in exchange for an honest review. In the interest of full disclosure, my story “Uncle Allen” was previously published in The Alien Chronicles and I am slated to appear in the upcoming anthology The Z Chronicles.)

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