This series focuses on stories that are both well-written and do something that I find interesting from a technical perspective. This week, we’re hitting the bottle.
A Hundred and Seventy Storms, by Aliette de Bodard and published in Uncanny Magazine, is essentially a bottle episode about a bottle life. If the pessimists are right about the difficulty of Strong AI, intelligent minds are a valuable commodity. Commodities are used, though, no matter how valuable, and this story looks at the sort of galaxy that might develop when chaining a mind to a computer system is possible.
I don’t want to make this story sound relentlessly depressing, because it’s not. Life goes on, sometimes by sheer force of will. And, while all of the destruction and family drama are occurring, the author weaves in world-building so well you don’t even notice it until you’ve finished the paragraph. I see a lot of questions about world-building on the Absolute Write Forum (and elsewhere), and this story is a great example of how to do it right.