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The Turing Test Paperback – 29 Jul 2008
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Astonishing diversity...Like a British Philip K. Dick. -- Strange Horizons
Beckett provides spaceships and robots in abundance, as well as deeply personal stories about the nature of humanity. -- Sci-Fi Online
Beckett should "be on the radar of anyone who professes concern for science fiction as a literary form". -- The Guardian
The Turing Test should satisfy readers interested in well-plotted stories centered around interesting characters. -- The Fix Online
The collection finishes with 'The Marriage Of Sky And Sea'...one of my favourite stories ever. -- SF Crowsnest
Beckett should "be on the radar of anyone who professes concern for science fiction as a literary form".See all Product description
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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.
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.
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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Added bonus was the origin story for the Dark Eden trilogy.