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Beta-Life

Stories from an A-Life Future

Edited by Ra Page

Beta-Life
RRP: GBP£ 12.99
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Price: GBP£ 11.69
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 905583 65 2
Categories: 21st Century, Anthologies
Imprint: Comma Press
Published: October 2014
198 x 129 x 8 mm
Publisher: Comma Press
  • Description
  • Editor
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Featuring
    Stuart Evers, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Martyn Bedford, Adam Marek, Margaret Wilkinson, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Adam Roberts, Sarah Schofield, Toby Litt, Sean O'Brien, Zoe Lambert, K.J. Orr, Julian Gough, Dinesh Allirajah, Annie Kirby, Lucy Caldwell, Claire Dean, Andy Hedgecock & Joanna Quinn

    Computers are changing. Soon the silicon chip will seem like a clunky antique amid the bounty of more exotic processes on offer. Robots are changing too; material evolution and swarm intelligence are creating a new generation of devices that will diverge and disperse into a balanced ecosystem of humans and ‘robjects’ (robotic objects). Somewhere in between, we humans will have to change also… in the way we interact with technology, the roles we adopt in an increasingly ‘intelligent’ environment, and how we interface with each other.

    The driving motors behind many of these changes will be artificial life (A-Life) and unconventional computing. How exactly they will impact on our world is still an open question. But in the spirit of collective intelligence, this anthology brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what life (and A-Life) will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from lie-detection glasses to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers, revolution-inciting computer games to synthetically engineered haute cuisine. All artificial life is here.

    Supported by TRUCE (Training and Research in Unconventional Computation in Europe).

    Ra Page is the founder and Editorial Manager of Comma Press. He’s the editor of numerous anthologies, including The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories (Penguin, 1999), co-editor of The New Uncanny (winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, 2008) and Litmus, voted one of 2011’s books of the year ... read more
    Awards won by Ra Page Winner, 2012  Financial Times Book of the Year
    (Shi Cheng)
    Praise for Ra Page 'Read this book.'
    Liz Lochhead
    'An agreeably accomplished collection populated, as promised, by some intriguing characters.'
    City Life
    'Get with the zeitgeist and buy yourself a copy of Bracket.'
    Leeds Guide
    'Fills you with hope for the form.'
    Time Out
    'Short fiction is in good hands.'
    The Independent
    'If we need the uncanny --€“ and I suspect we do --€“ then we also need it updating... laudable.'
    Book of the Week, The Independent
    'A masterclass in understated creepiness... a deliciously macabre collection that the old Austrian might well have enjoyed.'
    Book of the Week, Time Out
    'Delightful and disturbing.'
    The Independent on Sunday
    'It'€™s not too great a stretch to see Comma as the literary equivalent of Factory Records.'
    The Herald
    'An inspiring tribute to inquiring minds.'
    The Guardian
    'A very alive, illuminating and good-natured collection.'
    The Observer
    'The pairings work brilliantly, giving stereoscopic vision... ingenious... unfailingly interesting.'
    The Independent
    'Exquisite... delectable.'
    New Scientist
    'There is something about the defiance of language in this story.'
    China Daily
    'On balance, [the editors] perform a valu­able service in making these rich, varied and rewarding stories known to a western audience, for all that the politics of cultural engagement remain fraught.'
    Financial Times
    'These stories tell us how the lives of these cities and citizens, or peasants-turned-citizens, are being tempered. The stories seem to say that one has to go through the fires of hell to reach some different stage of existence.'
    The Independent
    'Shi Cheng is a sort of mind map of both modern China, and also of what it’s like to be human.'
    Asian Books Blog
    'An exhilarating read.'
    The Short Review 
    'Fascinating reading.'
    Financial Times
    'It might have been of interest to these pre-Mansfield masters to learn that there was a hidden country of prose out there; great short story writers, then and now, create countries of their own.'
    Michael Caines writing about Morphologies in the TLS blog
    'A worthy addition to the immense collection of criticism.'
    The Guardian
    'Works brilliantly... ingenious... unfailingly interesting.'
    The Independent, Book of the Week
    'Exquisite... delectable'
    New Scientist.
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