Reading at the Sidney Cooper Gallery

I had a won­der­ful time last Wednesday night read­ing from the Unsung Stories edi­tion of Déjà Vu. The event formed part of the Writing Comes Alive pro­gramme, which is sponsored by Canterbury Christ Church University.

It’s always a bit tricky mak­ing these occa­sions inter­est­ing. My golden rules were to read short extracts (two, totalling about twenty minutes) and be as friendly as pos­sible dur­ing the ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion.

Many thanks to the Sidney Cooper Gallery, Andrew Palmer for com­per­ing, and Craig Dadds for all his sup­port.

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A Solitude of Space

On Saturday morn­ing I received a second story rejec­tion from a big-name sci­ence fic­tion magazine, and thought, screw it, I’ll just pub­lish the thing as a Kindle ebook. I present ‘A Solitude of Space’. It’s a hard SF short story of the kind I like to read. I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out.

In it, Commander Harald Sternberg of the space­craft ‘Beautiful Not’ is thirty-thou­sand light years from Earth when his life is threatened by a burst of mat­ter from a nearby star. Soon enough, it becomes clear that the threat is to human­ity itself.

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Judging the Loebner Prize

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be attend­ing the Loebner Prize in Bletchley Park (home of WWII cryp­to­graph­ic efforts) as a judge. The prize is based on the fam­ous ‘Imitation Game’ sug­ges­ted by Alan Turing as an object­ive test of machine intel­li­gence. The idea is that a com­puter pro­gram com­mu­nic­ates with human judges via a text inter­face. The job of the pro­gram is to make its responses dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish from those of a human. I’ll let you know how I get on.