Friday, January 10, 2020

GO. NOW. FIX., by Timons Esaias

★★★★☆ Thrilling and Touching

(SF Disaster Thriller) An obsolete “Panda Pillow” finds itself in the middle of an airplane disaster, where its programming to comfort and defend doesn’t really work. Or does it? (3,805 words; Time: 12m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"GO. NOW. FIX.," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 01-02|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.023 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Like any good disaster story, this is full of thrills and excitement. The pillow isn’t designed for this at all—the only time it really performs its design function is when it comforts the little girl—and yet its infrastructure comes through. Above all else, it’s programmed to protect lives, and ultimately it does that very well.

I liked the way there’s a cooperation between the AIs and the human beings. The customer support people aren’t the source of problems (other than that pesky software upgrade); they direct it to a power source, for example, and they connect to the authorities expeditiously. Likewise, a passenger does the initial work to block the broken window, and the little girl delivers the pillow to it. This is a tale of humans and AI each working to their strengths.

Although the AIs are all made very humanlike in the story, each one actually operates according to its programming. They make a network as needed for the problem and then dissolve it when it’s not needed again. No hint of “taking over the world” here.

Con: The ending is a little weird. Why would you take a valuable museum piece to local hospitals?

Also, we never found out the cause of the accident.

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Timons Esaias Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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