More Human Than Human: Stories of Androids, Robots, and Manufactured Humanity

Start Publishing LLC
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The idea of creating an artificial human is an old one. One of the earliest science-fictional novels, Frankenstein, concerned itself primarily with the hubris of creation, and one’s relationship to one’s creator. Later versions of this “artificial human” story (and indeed later adaptations of Frankenstein) changed the focus to more modernist questions… What is the nature of humanity? What does it mean to be human? These stories continued through the golden age of science fiction with Isaac Asimov’s I Robot story cycle, and then through post-modern iterations from new wave writers like Philip K. Dick. Today, this compelling science fiction trope persists in mass media narratives like Westworld and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, as well as twenty-first century science fiction novels like Charles Stross’s Saturn's Children and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. The short stories in More Human than Human demonstrate the depth and breadth of artificial humanity in contemporary science fiction. Issues of passing . . . of what it is to be human . . . of autonomy and slavery and oppression, and yes, the hubris of creation; these ideas have fascinated us for at least two hundred years, and this selection of stories demonstrates why it is such an alluring and recurring conceit.
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Publisher
Start Publishing LLC
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Published on
Nov 7, 2017
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Pages
672
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ISBN
9781597806183
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Desperate, lost, the machine men of Zor took off on the most perilous mission they had ever faced-against a foe that could not die!ExcerptSince reaching Zor, this new expedition had embarked upon a roundabout direction, which Professor Jameson expected would ultimately lead him back in the direction of his own world and the nearby system of Sirius, where the strangely evolutionized descendants of humanity had fled millions of years ago when Earth had become chill and the sun had grown subdued. As the present narrative opens, however, we find them upon the third world of a system comprised of five planets.Orange sunlight streamed down upon the hull of the spaceship, moored upon a plain of waving, yellow grasses. The sun was not far above the horizon, and was slowly sinking. Fantastic animals and birds uttered strange cries and noises, but showed little curiosity in regards to the machine men.Professor Jameson and 744U-21 stood and watched machine men flying in from different directions on their metal wings. They were about to leave this third world of the orange sun. There were two outer planets in opposition at their present orbital phases, and it had been the agreed design of the machine men to explore these nearer worlds before proceeding to those closer the sun."I have a strange curiosity, developed since we came to this third world, to see what the second planet is like," said the professor. "Now that we are about to leave here for the fourth and fifth planets, this curiosity seems to have grown stronger.""A coincidence," 744U-21 observed, "for I feel the same way, but it is more logical to visit the outer worlds first."The professor was inclined to agree with him. It was strange that they should both become so unreasonably obsessed with the same idea, 6W-438 and 8L-404 approached."I think we are making a mistake going to those outer worlds before we have explored the worlds closest the sun," said 6W-438."What makes you think that?" 744U-21 asked."I don't know. But SL-404 thinks the same, and so do others with whom I have talked."
As Earth dies, an architect is commissioned to remote build a monument on Mars from the remains of a failed colony; a man who has transferred his consciousness into a humanoid robot discovers he’s missing thirty percent of his memories, and tries to discover why; bored with life in the underground colony of an alien world, a few risk life inside one of the “whales” floating in the planet’s atmosphere; an apprentice librarian searching through centuries of SETI messages from alien civilizations makes an ominous discovery; a ship in crisis pulls a veteran multibot out from storage with an unusual assignment: pest control; the dead are given a second shot at life, in exchange for a five-year term in a zombie military program. For decades, science fiction has compelled us to imagine futures both inspiring and cautionary. Whether it’s a warning message from a survey ship, a harrowing journey to a new world, or the adventures of well-meaning AI, science fiction inspires the imagination and delivers a lens through which we can view ourselves and the world around us. With The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three, award-winning editor Neil Clarke provides a year-in-review and twenty-seven of the best stories published by both new and established authors in 2017.


Table of Contents

Introduction: The State of Short SF Field in 2017

A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

Holdfast by Alastair Reynolds

Every Hour of Light and Dark by Nancy Kress

The Last Novelist, or a Dead Lizard in the Yard by Matthew Kressel

Shikasta by Vandana Singh

Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker

Focus by Gord Sellar

The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata

Shadows of Eternity by Gregory Benford

The Worldless by Indrapramit Das

Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship by Rachel Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Belly Up by Maggie Clark

Uncanny Valley by Greg Egan

We Who Live in the Heart by Kelly Robson

A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World by A.C. Wise

Meridian by Karin Lowachee

The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse by Kathleen Ann Goonan

Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee

In Everlasting Wisdom by Aliette de Bodard

The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon by Finbarr O’Reilly

The Speed of Belief by Robert Reed

Death on Mars by Madeline Ashby

An Evening with Severyn Grimes by Rich Larson

ZeroS by Peter Watts

The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell

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