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Mama: and Other Robot Stories
by Brent Knowles
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This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.Quite creative! The short stories are engaging, the characters are interesting (if not fully developed), and overall it will be an interesting read for lovers of short stories and sci-fi. I encourage the writer to work on scene transitions - I got a bit lost during the location/situation/time frame switches.... I would read him again though.
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.In just over 100 pages Brent Knowles gave me much to think about. Six stories with robots but not one story like any other in the anthology. Well written, fast paced and interesting each story had a message or made me think. Mama, the first story in the book, is about caretaker robots that start killing their charges and the woman who sets out to rectify things. Nikki 2.3 is the story of a sexbot left idle to long and what she does to change her situation. The Mogul’s Wife tells of a society taken over by The Machine and how one family works to try to exist in a world so very different and rather terrifying. From the Front Lines tells the story of Leo, a gladiator type robot used for entertainment purposes and how his life and the lives of other robots change in a very dramatic way. Test and Tweak, Repeat and Deploy tells the story of a discontented brilliant stay at home mother who creates a robot…a robot I would like to have in my home…and one with a heart…if a robot can have a heart. Fleshsmith – well – it is just creepy but entertaining creepy. I didn’t see the ending coming but it was one I could definitely understand. Great stories by an author I have never read before. Thank you LibraryThing and Brent Knowles for sending me this book to read and review.
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I've always said that writing a good short story is much harder than writing a good novel. In a novel you can "waste" several pages padding out characters' backstories/motivations, but in a short story you have to do this much more smartly. Brent Knowles has, in the main, mastered this in these six short stories.
Some of the stories end rather abruptly - "Nikki 2.3" for example - leaving the reader wondering what's going on. It ends immediately after the revelation that the "real" world shows no sign of human life and that a fire has swept through the city. What has happened to cause this? What happens next?
Other stories though - "Mama" and "The Mogul's Wife" - are close to perfect in the way they provide enough detail so you understand the world of the story, and why the characters act as they do. Both these stories and "Fleshsmith" also describe intriguing possible future/alternative worlds.
Brent Knowles is an author with some intriguing ideas, and it will be very interesting to see how he develops over the years ahead. ( )