Thursday, November 7, 2019

Sojourner, by Craig DeLancey

★★★★☆ Explores a Problem Likely to Become Real

(SF Thriller) A woman protects an illegal AI from a government team that’s trying to erase it. (6,567 words; Time: 21m)

"Sojourner," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 11-12|19, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.609 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Eve’s struggle to protect Sojourner involves plenty of cloak and dagger, and there’s plenty of tension just from the fact that we’re not really sure how safe and harmless Sojourner really is.

It gradually becomes clear that Eve isn’t a reliable narrator. She’s a true believer, and she distorts reality to make it fit her narrative. It also gradually becomes clear that Sojourner doesn’t ever seem to do anything but beg for help. “Please don’t let them kill me.”

At WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, I sat on an AI panel, and I mentioned that although I didn’t think we’d see “real” artificial intelligence anytime soon, I did think we might see computer viruses that begged for their lives to keep people from erasing them. This is the first story I’ve ever seen that actually explores that idea.

Con: The story doesn’t seem to be set very far in the future, but the computer terminology is unfamiliar. And why would someone put a server farm in a skyscraper when it’s so much cheaper to put them out of town?

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Craig DeLancey Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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