‘The Beast Adjoins’ Seriously Scary Sci-Fi

The new anthology The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2021 collected 20 of the best short stories of the year. Editor of the series John Joseph Adams particularly impressed with Ted Kosmatka’s story “The Beast Comes Together,” which presents a new take on the idea of ​​an AI uprising.

“It’s so good,” Adams said in Episode 492 of Galaxy Geek’s Guide podcast. “It pushes all the sense-of-wonder buttons; it has all the nice things of nature there. It felt so big. So much has happened in the story. I just love it. ”

The story riffs on From Neumann-Wigner interpretation of quantum mechanics, which puts the future where advanced AIs cannot function without humans. Guest editor Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, found the story extremely creepy. “I got to the point where the machines were using people strapped in front of them to keep the clock moving, and I was like, ‘It’s annoying. I like it,'” he said. “It’s bothered me ever since I read it. of it. I can’t stop thinking about it. “

Fantasy author Yohanca Delgado agreed that “The Beast Adjoins” is a confusing story. “It’s a beautifully known and cool premise, it’s a change in what we thought AI could do for us,” he said. “There’s a way where [the AIs] created human tail lights — people in jars with only one eye and a lump of flesh. This is a wonderfully awesome writing. I’m a big fan. ”

Currently “The Beast Adjoins” is only available as a stand-alone short story, however Galaxy Geek’s Guide host David Barr Kirtley ambot if the story will expand. “I feel like it’s an interesting introduction — these AIs can only work if people observe them,” he said. “I feel like there might be a lot of other narratives you can change from that.”

Listen to the full interview of John Joseph Adams, Veronica Roth, and Yohanca Delgado in Episode 492 of Galaxy Geek’s Guide (surface). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Yohanca Delgado sa Clarion workshop:

“At the Clarion I skipped a week, and just kept going back and forth in panic in my room, because I was like,‘ I have to write something down. I have this idea, and it seems like I can’t write another, but I feel it too — do you know that feeling when you want to write something, but you’re not ready yet? Like, you don’t feel like you’re the writer you need to solve this … And Clarion’s schedule is non -stop. It’s been a week I haven’t forgotten, I can’t forget another. I talked Andy Duncan, who’s a wonderful person, and he’s basically like, ‘I don’t understand why you didn’t do this.’ Which is sometimes what you need to hear. You need someone to shake you on your shoulders and tell you, ‘Just go do it.’ ”

Yohanca Delgado in her story “Our Language”:

“My family is from the Dominican Republic and Cuba. I didn’t know of any Latin American or Caribbean monsters, so I started this research project to find them … The ciguapa is this woman — there are some stories that it is also a man, but I am more interested in the idea that it is a woman — who is very small and attractive, in a wild way, and whose legs have grown backwards. I find it an interesting monster to think about. What might his power be? What does all this mean? In researching it, I found that it was really rooted in the stories of the natives and slaves. Because his true superpower was able to escape. And I think it’s great to have some conversations about gender and gender oppression.

John Joseph Adams on the pandemic:

“Most people who publish science fiction/fantasy magazines don’t do it as a job — it’s a side thing they do. They have other regular jobs that pay the bills. So maybe because they save an hour commuting to and from work each day, they have more time to work on their job. [magazines]. I would be honest that there were a lot of closures and stops in publishing, just because a lot of people lost their jobs when the pandemic hit, and there was a lot of belt tightening that almost everyone needed. So I was really surprised to see that everything was so solid. Probably because everyone was thinking, ‘People need it now.’ That’s why it’s even more important to stay, rather than close, because we have to anticipate it when we face all the dreadful darkness of the real world.

David Barr Kirtley on Meg Elison’s “The Pill”:

“One way in which this story is a science fiction, in a very good way, not only does it give an idea then stay in that static situation, it continues to be complex and continues to introduce this new twists … One of the things that is often said about science fiction is that the job of a science fiction writer is not to predict the car — anyone can predict the car.Your job is to predict the Interstate Highway System and in the suburbs, to look at the effects of the second order of these technological changes.And I think the story works well in that way as a science fiction story, where it doesn’t it’s not only about ‘How does this new technology affect the protagonist?’-even if it’s definitely in that — but also ‘How does it affect a wider society?’ ”

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