Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson
Penguin Random House; 3/6/18
eBook review copy; 304 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 9781101972014

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson is a very highly recommended collection of fourteen short stories that examine how artificial intelligence both saves and destroys humanity. The writing is excellent and the stories are well-paced, thoughtful, and emotional. This compilation starts out and ends strong. Guardian Angels and Other Monsters is an outstanding selection for science fiction and short story fans. I was captivated by the majority of the stories with the exception of one story that I liked less than the others, which is a stunning recommendation for any short story collection.

Contents include:
Miss Gloria: Chiron is a robot whose life's work is to teach and protect Miss Gloria until she can take care of herself. Miss Gloria knows that Chiron is an excellent playmate and she loves him. In his own way, the machine also loves the girl.
The Blue Afternoon that Lasted Forever: After seeing images on the television that only a few people understand the implications of, an astrophysicists rushes home to his 3-year-old daughter.
Jack, the Determined: Jack, a most loyal and obedient student, is accompanying the Professor while he delivers a report on his most important scientific work.
The Executor: In order to protect his daughter, a man visits the Executor’s office in an attempt to get control of a family inheritance.
Helmet: The wordless huge, robotic Helmets appear and show the strength of the controlling Triumvirate by violently stopping uprisings.
Blood Memory: A mother is determination to do anything to help her daughter, the first and only human being born to teleportation.
Foul Weather: A meteorologist discovers the truth behind the adage: "Foul weather breeds foul deeds."
The Nostalgist: An old man tries to live in the past the only way he knows how.
Parasite: a Robopocalypse Story: A horrific war story of a battle against a thinking machine that calls itself Archos. (This is a Lark Iron Cloud story.)
God Mode: "In all of this forgetting, there is this one constant thing. Her name is Sarah. I will always remember that. She is holding my right hand with her left. Our fingers are interlaced, familiar. The two of us have held hands this way before. The memory of it is there, in our grasp. Her hand in mine. This is all that matters to me now. Here in the aftermath of the great forgetting."
Garden of Life: A taxonomist collects samples when he stumbles across something that he has never seen before.
All Kinds of Proof: A drunk is hired to train a mail-carrying robot that he names the Shine and considers him a friend. "[H]e doesn’t judge, doesn’t interrupt, and he goes with me everywhere. When he walks, it makes this nice wheezing sound. His narrow little feet are coated in a layer of tacky rubber and each step lands quiet and smooth. And he always keeps up. The two of us walk together..."
One for Sorrow: A Clockwork Dynasty Story set in England, 1756, and starring the childlike avtomat Elena Petrova.
Special Automatic: James is an abused and bullied teen who has a neurostimulator sunk into his brain behind his ear to prevent seizures. Although everyone thinks he is stupid, James is much more intelligent than they realize. The proof is found in the robot he built and named Special Automatic.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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