Future Science Fiction Digest Issue 10 (magazine review).

March 24, 2021 | By | Reply More

Future Science Fiction Digest’ is a magazine focusing on international Science Fiction. This issue features stories from Mexico, China, Croatia and the United States.

‘The Second Celeste’ by Alberto Chimal of Mexico, translated by Patrick Weill, is about Celeste, a lady dying of cancer who joins an experimental project that can upload her memories and identity into a computer. The process is long and complicated, involving many exercises, tasks and experiments performed with electrodes on her skull to measure and record her brain’s performance. She will still die of cancer, but a copy of her will live on as software and, to all intents and purposes, it will be her.

Celeste is supported by her loving husband Mariano and scientist Sandra, a close friend who works on the project and brought her into it. More about emotions than science but a good story that makes some salient political points about the world today.

‘The Two Festivals That Cannot Coexist’ by Liu Cixin (China), translated by Nathan Faries, pits two well-beloved SF concepts against each other. On April 12, 1961, at Baikonur Cosmodrome, a low-level worker dares to approach Chief Designer Sergei Korolev and offer him a drink from a hip flask. He’s an alien called G who studied Earth festivals, he says and concludes they celebrate meaningless occurrences. However, today’s event, humanity going into space, is a great day. In part two of the story, G appears to Chinese scientists making another giant leap in the near future. A neat idea, well handled.

‘The Office Drone’ by Nic Lipitz (USA) is next. The office drone is a low-level AI that delivers boxes. It’s looked down on by the rest of the staff though it has a voice and interacts with them. Debating machine learning with them, it states: ‘I am a machine, learning.’ Here’s a heart-warming tale of self-improvement.

‘The Final Test’ by Ti Sha (China), translated by Judith Huang, put me off initially with second-person narration but is so good I liked it anyway. An AI is taking its final exam for citizenship and wakes up in a mechanical humanoid body in a room with a naked ape wearing a white coat who gives it the test question: prove that you have free will. The AI knows that this is a VR simulation as the Naked Ape Era is over. After that, things get complicated in terms of linguistics, computer technology and philosophy.

Deep stuff and there’s an interesting note by the translator at the end about how she tried to make it work in English. In Science Fiction and many other fields, not least science, China is a massive presence in the 21st century and will loom even larger in years to come.

The other story in this issue is ‘Perfect Date’ by Jelena Dunato (Croatia), an amusing snippet. All in all, another excellent issue of this fine magazine that should be required reading for Science Fiction fans. Highly recommended.

Eamonn Murphy

March 2021

(pub: UFO Publishing, 2021. 107 page e-magazine. Price: £ 2.99 (UK), $ 3.99 (US). ASIN: 1-23000462-437-0)

check out website: https://future-sf.com/


Category: Magazines, Scifi

About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel reviewer who writes a bit too. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bigfootmurf

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