Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Archive for November, 2015

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories

cover225x225Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of short stories written by some of today’s greatest science fiction authors. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The contributing authors were inspired by inside access to leading-edge work, including in-person visits to Microsoft’s research labs, to craft new works that predict the near-future of technology and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity. – http://news.microsoft.com/futurevisions/

Robert Sawyer is the reason I got this collection. He is one of my favorite authors and he tweeted about the book. His contribution was Looking for Gordo. It is a story about a mock court proceeding that was being televised regarding the debate about searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. It is instigated by receipt of messages from an alien race “similar” to Facebook of our time. I love the short story when well done and Sawyer is on of the masters. I love seeing ideas from another point of view, and this is so engrossing.

Seanan McGuire opens this collection with Hello, Hello. A story about a prototype ASL interface between siblings that gets hijacked by an unknown avatar on the Tasha’s end. This is complicated by the fact that Tasha runs a bird sanctuary in her home, thus has many visitors, and the unknown is talking to her brother’s children Greg and Billie. The story is very engaging as it unfolds and the mystery of the unknown caller is resolved.

The Tell by David Brin follows a magician in an alternate world where he developed a way to reveal hoaxes and scammers. This gets him targeted and a friend must come to his rescue. It is a wonderful approach to take in exploring how we know things. I keep thinking about how I interpret what I see now, then I try to look at it through the eyes of the main character here.

In Another Word for World, Ann Leckie starts when a Ashiban Xidyla comes to with a headache. The Sovereign of Iss, hereditary high priestess of the Gidanta sits across the aisle. They must leave the site of their flier’s crash says the Sovereign through her handheld. Someone wants them dead to start a war. They struggle for survival and to understand each other. The story’s evolution as the characters learned from each other and determined what was really happening was very satisifying. A perfect ending to this book.

The interesting thing that I found is that all of the authors have written engaging short stories. That is what happens when you have a book full of masters of their craft. I love the idea of a company putting together an anthology like this. Microsoft picked the authors well. You should enjoy it too.

Download Future Visions for yourself.

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INFJ and My Writing

I just read Andrea Wegner’s post on how people with my personality type approach writing. It mostly fits me, although in school I had no problems with outlines. Now, I must admit I do not use them when preparing my posts, but that may be a product of the fact that I am trying to be less formal and academic here.

However, I do need to learn to let go of the editor in me while writing first drafts. My NaNoWriMo writing is falling victim to too much editing and not enough new writing. I will have to fix that this weekend. I also am energized by small groups not large.

Overall the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator works to identify my go to preferences. INFJ means that I prefer: Introversion over extroversion, intuition over sensation, feelings over thinking, and judgements over perception. Preference is relative. I can do extroverted things but I get revitalized by doing things alone or in small groups. My though process is abstract. Even my kids know to interpret what I say. “You know what I meant” is my mantra. Trusting my gut is becoming more and more what I do as experience has taught me that my feelings tend to be bang on. Most times when I get in trouble, I have ignored that feeling. Closure is very important to me. I think it is one of the reasons I love knitting so much. I can start a little project and finish it in a day or a weekend. So much of my work and my writing take much more time. I believe I should set smaller writing goals so I can say “Finished!” more often. I might get more productive that way.

Review — The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There was so much buzz about this book I just had to read it. Who has not been on a train and thought about the people in the homes you are passing by? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins starts with our primary narrator Rachel telling us about a couple she passes by daily on her way to work and makes up stories about. It all seemed rather run of the mill to me at first.

The story jumps to a year in the past and Megan. I liked the back and forth but began to distrust what Rachel was telling me. I almost put the book down at this point. Generally, I do not like books with a lying narrator but I gave it a chance and am so glad I did. I do not want to spoil the trill of the ride but suffice to say that the twists and turns are good and all the stories come together in the end.

I love thrillers and like the great thrillers I find this book speaking to me at the oddest moments. Making me wonder if the characters could have done anything to change the outcome. If you like thrillers, wounded characters, and stories that are more gray than black and white. This one will stick with you long after you put it down.