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Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Exhalation

Categories: [ Books ]

ISBN: 9781529014495

© Amazon.fr

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate

In an Arabian Nights universe, an Alchemist has built a gate that allows a person to visit his past or future and come back. The narrator re-tells stories he heard from the alchemist about failed attempts to change one's future. He then continues with his own story where he tries to save his wife in the past, but he arrives too late.

Exhalation

An intelligent mechanical man powered by pressured air analyses his own brain to discover how memory works. It learns that there it is stored as air pressure differentials, and therefore gets reset when the pressure drops and the man dies. Unexpected slowness in mechanical clocks also indicates that the (closed) world's air pressure is increasing all the time and will eventually be balanced with the pressure of the source of pressured air, causing the death of all inhabitants.

What's Expected of Us

A gadget that can predict when you are going to press its unique button cause a third of the population to realize free will does not exist and fall into deep depression.

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

A company makes digients, virtual pets that can grow and evolve like animals, but with speech. Their care takes commitment, and many are just suspended, but a small group still treat them like living beings and see them grow. When the virtual universe for which they were developed is shut down, they search for a company willing to fund the porting of the digients' code to another virtual universe. They eventually accept the offer of an adult entertainment company who proposes to develop sexuality in the digients.

Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny

In Victorian times, Dacey develops a device meant to raise infants. When one explodes, Dacey's company goes bankrupt. His son Lionel adopts an infant in 1932 and raises him with such a device for the first two years, but the child, Edmund, was later diagnosed as feeble-minded and suffering of social dwarfism, attributed to the use of the device. But when put back in presence of the device, he started to grow and reach a normal size.

The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling

A journalist is set to write an article criticizing devices that can record a person's life continuously and allow to consult the recording instantly, partly replacing human memory. He discovers that memories of his daughter being a terrible teenager were wrong and that he had in fact been a bad father to her.

The Great Silence

Parrots in Arecibo talk about their culture and mythology, hoping humans will learn to understand them before they get extinct.

Omphalos

In a universe where Earth has really been created only a few millennia earlier, an archaeologist discovers that the daughter of an astronomer has stolen fossils showing evidence of the Creation and put them to sale at a very low price. When asked for her motives, she explained that her father as peer reviewed an article showing that there is another Earth-like planet in the sky, that is not moving relatively to the Ether, indicating that this Earth is only an experiment and that the other one is really God's Earth. She wanted people to be able to experience themselves the evidence of the Creation before learning that God probably cares only for the other Earth.

Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom

The Prism is a device that uses a quantum phenomenon to create two branches of reality and exchange information (text, audio, video) between the two branches. People use Prisms to know how their lives could have been, and some become addicts. Nat's boss asks her to convince Lyle, the member of a support group for such addicts to sell his Prism so that she can resell it to a celebrity whose husband died in this universe, but who died in the parallel reality of Lyle's Prism. Nat also learns that Dana, the therapist who organises the meetings, had drifted apart from her best friend who had became a petty criminal, and that she blames herself for that. As Nat's boss is murdered, Nat is remorseful and uses the money to buy evidence from several parallel realities that Dana's friend would have become a criminal whatever choice Dana would have made.

[ Posted on January 24th, 2023 at 20:23 | no comment | ]

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