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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A few rough edges, but generally an excellent collection
The content of the best of the stories in this collection has stayed with me since I read them a couple of weeks ago. In "Dark Eden", an incompatible couple find themselves stranded on a sun-less planet and are forced to consider their own insignificance - and that of humanity - in the context of a vast universe. In "Karel's Prayer", Beckett plays with the idea of "field...
Published on 23 Aug 2009 by purplepadma

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting short stories from a contemporary British SF writer
This is a useful collection of Chris Beckett's short fiction published between 1991 and 2006 in such magazines as Asimov's and Interzone. It includes the story 'Dark Eden', later expanded into the novel of the same name, which won the author the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2013.

Beckett tackles a wide variety of subjects and settings, and avoids most of the more...
Published 3 months ago by Paul Bowes


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A few rough edges, but generally an excellent collection, 23 Aug 2009
By 
purplepadma (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Turing Test (Paperback)
The content of the best of the stories in this collection has stayed with me since I read them a couple of weeks ago. In "Dark Eden", an incompatible couple find themselves stranded on a sun-less planet and are forced to consider their own insignificance - and that of humanity - in the context of a vast universe. In "Karel's Prayer", Beckett plays with the idea of "field induced copies" (created from "the precise imprint of [the] body on the suface of space time"), and whether the copy, who has no rights, has any responsibilities to the original. And in "The Marriage of Sea and Sky" an arrogant author, part anthropologist and part travel writer, sets down on a new planet which he intends to exploit for further fame. In his quest for new material and his desire to make all he encounters fit his theories, he grossly misreads a social situation and finds himself forced to go native...

I saw a positive review of Chris Beckett's collection in one of the broadsheet weekend sections and ordered myself a copy with high expectations, which have on the whole been met. The collection includes a few loosely linked stories set in future Londons with recurring characters, interspersed with standalone works, and fuse the sociological/psychological though-experiment elements of what is sometimes referred to as "speculative fiction" with the harder, cyber elements of specific techologies of the future. Most are generally well-executed, but I had the feeling that a more literary-minded editor might have polished them into truely five star works of fiction. The collection is also slightly let down by some poor proof-reading. But I have no doubt that I will be re-reading it, and will seek out more of Beckett's work.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome collection of Chris Beckett's short fiction, 9 Jan 2009
By 
Sarah A. Brown (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Paperback)
I read some of Chris Beckett's excellent stories in Interzone in the 1990s - `The Welfare Man' is particularly memorable. So this new collection is very welcome. These stories are witty, intriguing, absorbing and (unlike much recent sf) consistently readable. One of the things I like about Beckett's fiction is his willingness to return to familiar sf themes - a world (nearly) without men, the impact of AI on humans and their relationships, encounters with alien societies - and give them a new twist. I strongly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys reading sf.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the science fiction that I remember fondly., 5 Sep 2009
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Paperback)
Too many SF books today are bloated and/or weak, I struggle to find modern SF that I enjoy. I recall reading stories years ago that were short, intriguing, atmospheric - and they left you feeling pleasantly surprised at the end. The Turing Test contains stories that bring all that back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A string of little gems, 3 April 2012
By 
Nigel Seel (Wells, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
The city is wrecked; abandoned. As you walk the streets avoiding the potholes, unremitting rain invades the roofless, crumbling houses. And then you turn on your implants: suddenly you are surrounded by lights, traffic, people! The modern, perfect metropolis bustles around you - people stop and stare, murmuring at your insanely high resolution. Sometimes they spit the word `physical'.

You are old and spiteful; you lure a young delinquent to your home in the suburbs. He is raw, uneducated - has no idea that he lives in augmented reality. Your elderly husband objects but he's easy to manipulate. You're going to take this kid's illusions away one by one; wait till he finds out where he really is, and what part of him is all that remains in the real. And there is nothing he can do about it.

Part `The Matrix' and part horror, this is the world of two of Chris Beckett's stories in his collection `The Turing Test`, just released on Amazon Kindle.

We travel with Cardinal-Major Illucian of the 32nd Pristine Guard to a most secure prison island. The warrior Half-and-Half has been imprisoned for one hundred years but the legendary soldier is unchanged. The war is going badly for the Empire and his duplicitous skills are needed again. In vain the immortal explains: `So the Emperor thinks he can make use of me, does he? Doesn't he know how I got my name? I'm Half-and-Half! Whoever I serve, whoever I have dealings with, I do them just as much harm as I do good and just as much good as harm.'

The Emperor thinks he can `channel the warrior in the right direction', just like all his predecessors. To this end, Half-and-Half is fitted with an antimatter bracelet which can be remotely detonated - and sent off to reverse the tides of war. Success and betrayal: this is the scientific age and no-one believes in the offspring of angels and demons - what could possibly go wrong?

Karel Slade is Executive Director of Christians for Human Integrity. His organization is opposed to artificial intelligence, cloning and copying. He is also a secret leader of the Soldiers of the Holy Ghost, CHI's militant wing which bombs and kills its opponents. Perhaps he should not have been surprised when he woke in what seemed to be his hotel room to discover the door led only to an interrogation suite.

Mr. Thomas seems affable enough, but as for Mr. Occam ... Karel is shackled in the interrogation chair and can't quite see what Occam is doing in that cabinet, but he can plainly hear the steely clink of the instruments of torture. Karel looks to his faith to sustain him, but his tormentors convey a terrifying possibility: they have copied the real Karel and he is the copy. So why should he suffer excruciating agonies to save the secrets of his `original', someone who'd care not a fig for him? What a dilemma ... but there again, perhaps his captors lied?

The fourteen stories in this collection first appeared back in 2008 when they received stellar reviews. Beckett writes well, hooks the reader from the very first paragraph and keeps the pages turning. His latest novel, `Dark Eden was released a couple of months ago and is already tipped to win a major award this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 27 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Turing Test (Paperback)
I was never really into SF. I got this book as a Christmas present from my mum (not sure why really) but Im glad she did. I instantly fell in love with it. Each story is exceedingly addictive and different. The majority of the short stories have more than enough mileage in them for a novel so it pained me to see them coming to an end after 20 pages!

So its fair to say that Im now a fan of SF, or at least of Chris Beckett. I immediately bought his two other novels (Marcher and Holy Machine) which so far are exactly what I was hoping for!

So thanks to Chris for helping me discover a whole new genre of fiction!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 8 May 2014
By 
allipally (Cambridgeshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
Stupidly I had forgotten that these were short stories as I normally don't purchase these kinds of books. Imagine my surprise when finishing - what I now know is the first short story - expecting the story to continue. Daaahhh!!! I have really struggled to get into my reading lately, nothing seems to inspire me but these were just long enough to sustain my interest and very readable. An enjoyable book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good collection of short stories., 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
Tried on a whim. Not read author before. But very good quality. Will search out other titles. Would recommend you give it a try!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 14 Jan 2014
By 
C. o'connell "claire b" (ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
I read Dark Eden recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hooked on these short stories and quickly bought The Peacock Cloak when I had finished. These are easy to read stories, I enjoyed his vision of the future and of other worlds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best!, 2 Sep 2013
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Jana (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
Evocative of the (good) sci/fi I read in the 70s. Thought provoking. More told by leaving out than putting in. Philosophical. Chris is a true story teller.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 10 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Turing Test (Kindle Edition)
A mix of stories here. Some are better than others. They Include a prequel story to his novel Dark Eden
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