beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
I finished reading this issue of F&SF
and then I realised I'd mostly have to read the contents list to remind me what I just read.

The two memorable ones:

In order for computers to develop sentient AI that we would recognise
they need a lot of calculation power, a lot of data to process, complex goals with a lot of variables in, and a reason to interact with humans on the regular.
this story points out driverless cars, especially as networked taxis, are going to have all that
and adds competition.
Nicely done.
I didn't like the point of view guy because you're not supposed to, since he's exactly the kind of guy this story would happen to. you can see why his AI kids would react like that.
So as ever it's also about parenting, our responsibilities to the next generation, and how economic forces shape personality across generations.
But it's not fun, because that guy, blergh.
Well written though.

Who Put the Bomp

... so, all that about rise of AI, except with biotech 'toys'. Dinosaurs that achieve sentience and intelligence vastly disproportionate to their brain size. But they're still... very variable, and to me mostly seemed like a bunch of variously disabled people in a group home, with claws.

I liked the characters, they're varied and fun and interesting, and even the annoying dinos aren't on the whole actually wrong and don't get rejected by their peers. And the human characters kind of made sense, though it seemed more like a mock the young caricature than a logical extrapolation of future reactions to me, but who knows. ... it was the use of a pad of paper as a mindblowing unhackable device. People will continue to use paper. Anywhere it's simpler or cheaper if failure, even without the security edge. And if you can still buy them, why would young people not know they exist? Also, the olders knowing how to play and the young not? ha. everything is gamified dude, play isn't the problem, it's knowing it's a trap meant to cost you something.

But, characters, interesting to read and still who this story would happen to.

But the actual plot? Involved stuff working 'mysteriously' in that way where even foreknowledge wouldn't be enough to set it up so precisely. It just happens. And a bunch of things just happening wasn't especially interesting to me, it unravelled all the interesting the plot would otherwise have.

Also the idea that it would take a human visitor to educate the dinos about rhythm - see title - seems pretty bizarre, given they have radio and tv and so forth, as far as I could tell.

I liked the parts kind of, I liked the idea of sentient toys being all traumatised and having to fight for their rights, that's a logical extrapolation, but I didn't feel this one added up to much.

The book review section that started and ended with the reviewers reaction to the US election was also a bit memorable, though I can't remember what it said about the books.

It also means there's like six months between deadline and me reading stuff. I forget that paper has such a long lead time.

The rest of the magazine:

Ten Half Pennies
I found the protagonist deeply boring, so the story was too.
Also he finds out about someone using magic for rape, which is illegal even in the wizard guild, and all he does is use the knowledge for blackmail.
Also also it's the kind of story where characters are men and objects they do stuff to are women.

so much for that.

The Avenger
The basic problem with this is we're meant to sympathise with the rich guy who doesn't give his half brother a half share of his inheritance. I mean, the story sets up the brother to be a violent thug, but that's part of the problem. Who needs magic to punch down like that? Being rich means they've got all the options and yet chose to hire a magic hitman.
Everyone is extremely unpleasant and boring.

The Toymaker's Daughter
Girl has magic, girl is exploited economically for her magic, girl loses father and stops talking or doing or apparently thinking, until boy comes along to get her attention.
Sod that? How about, girl has thoughts of her own, doesn't need saving by guys?

A Green Silk Dress and a Wedding Death
A nasty corner of economic hardship is escaped by shagging wrong guys until she meets a magic one.
... really?

Miss Cruz
Can't remember this without reading the story again...
oh, it's the one where he discovers he can control minds and does awful things and then decides to stop. that's the whole story.
magic is used from powerless to authority, this time
but a lo of the wrapping seems entirely extraneous and didn't come together in my head to be interesting.

A PI is hired to go look for a pet octopus.
Not bad, but I felt like it didn't have any possibilities other than the one that turned out true, and then spent the whole story telling the thing I guessed up front.
Which guess was cued by the bit in italics above the story. Intro says first contact and non intervention? No more twists left.

So, issue didn't wow me, in whole or in parts.

Maybe next month.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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