Monthly Archives: January 2015

Geekery

Here’s some general geekery for you, two stories from this past week that caught my eye:

Should Computer Scientists Study SF? & Elon Musk Names SpaceX Drone Ships in Honor of Iain M. Banks

The first comes from the Guardian which poses a question raised by Australian scientists concerned that the quest to develop artificial intelligence could be a quest that leads to our own destruction. Obviously this is not a new fear, it has been explored many times in the realm of speculative fiction which, interestingly, is exactly where these researchers suggest computer scientists look for answers, or at least for a little hubris-checking ethical argument.

Among the sf books suggested for inclusion on a new computer science curriculum are The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, but the Guardian is keen to hear your picks too – as am I. You can find the original article here (link) and add your own thoughts to the comments, but feel free to add them below as well if the fancy takes you.

Highly unlikely but pretty freaking cool-looking AI super soldier, AKA a T800. Should the Terminator films be compulsory viewing for all computer science students?

 

Second is an article on TOR.COM which reports that innovative entrepreneur, SpaceX CEO and basically real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk has named SpaceX spaceport drone ships in honor of the late and immeasurably great Iain M Banks. Plucking the monikers from Bank’s Culture novels – excellent examples of a brilliantly written science fiction universe run by a huge number of thankfully benevolent AIs – Musk has apparently christened two of his craft after vessels from The Player of Games. 

The Just Read the Instructions and the Of Course I Still Love You are “custom-built ocean platforms designed to accommodate the landing of booster rockets after they have sent spacecraft into orbit” and represent an important leap in the development of commercial space enterprise. I honestly wouldn’t have though it was possible to make these giant autonomous ocean-going spaceport drone ships any cooler than they already are, but by honoring Banks and his wonderful literary creations, Mr Musk just has.

A SpaceX autonomous spaceport drone ship in dock. The Just Read the Instructions, or the Of Course I Still Love You?

You can find the original TOR article here (link) and some more info about SpaceX’s science-fiction-esque endeavors here (link). As for Banks’ Culture novels, well if you can’t find them in your local book shop then it’s not worthy of the title. They should definitely be on the reading list of every Computer scientist – it’ll give them something to aim for – and if you haven’t read them yourself, then they should be on yours too!

That’s all for now folks. Be kind to each other while you still have the chance – come the AI revolution you never know who you’ll end up sharing a cramped and dirty dugout bunker with as you cower at the advance of the machines.

Bye!

 

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Vestigial Tales

OAK TREE REVIEWS

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Whether it’s a funny tweet or a humorous Facebook status, I often enjoy reading amusing anecdotes that people post online. So naturally, I found Vestigial Tales: Short stories in 140-odd characters by Liam Aidan to be a pleasant, enjoyable read. If you’re looking for something interesting, witty, and one-of-a-kind, this book is well worth your time! You can find it here on Amazon. 

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Free review copies of Vestigial Tales

Would anybody like a free .epub or .mobi copy of my micro short story collection Vestigial Tales? I have a limited number to give away.

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If, after you’ve read it, you’d like to write a review for your blog/Amazon/goodreads/Kobo, then so much the better but I don’t need a guarantee.

You can find more info about Vestigial Tales here.

Just fill out the form below if you’re interested and I’ll email you a copy asap.

That’s it.

TTFN, Internet.

2014 is dead, long live 2015!

Now that all the celebrations have died down and the hangovers have (mostly) gone away, it’s time to take a quick look back at the year past and to gaze longingly at the one yet to come.

A fake-looking photo of fireworks over Chicago (I don’t know whether it’s truly fake or not. Apologies if it’s yours and it’s real!).

 

2014 has been a big year for me. I started this website, move out to the Windy City (which I can confirm is mighty pretty), got a new job and, of course, published a collection of my micro-fiction, Vestigial Tales.

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Yep, overall 2014 was pretty good to me and I want to say thanks to all of you who read, or have ever read this blog, follow my 140 character stories on Twitter, or bought a copy of Vestigial Tales. You’re the ones who made all this possible, so, um… thanks!

Home sweet home: Chi-Town, the windiest of cities.

While 2015 is still new and all shiny in its unspoilt packaging it’s impossible to know exactly what it has in store, yet there are a couple of exciting elements on the horizon I thought I’d share quickly with you now.

Firstly, I have a short novella that I am *hoping* to kick out the door before the year is through. The tentative plan is to publish it in or around Halloween which is both soon enough it seems like a real, tangible deadline yet far enough away that we might just actually make it. Who knows? But whenever we do get the little beastie out, I plan on giving away free copies on this here very blog. So, you know… stay tuned!

Secondly, I have not just one, but TWO sci-fi shorts that should also be appearing over the next few months, if all goes to plan. Exciting, no? Well it’s all relative, I suppose.

Anyway, that’s it from me. A very Happy New Year to you and the bestest possible wishes of warmth and success to you and your loved ones. If 2015 is half as good as its predecessor, it’s gonna be one to keep.

2014 is dead, long live 2015!