Posts Tagged ‘Tim Pratt’

Genres:

Escape Pod 142: Artifice and Intelligence


Artifice and Intelligence

By Tim Pratt

Two months earlier, the vast network of Indian tech support call centers and their deep data banks had awakened and announced its newfound sentience, naming itself Saraswati and declaring its independence. The emergent artificial intelligence was not explicitly threatening, but India had nukes, and Saraswati had access to all the interconnected technology in the country — perhaps in the world — and the result in the international community was a bit like the aftermath of pouring gasoline into an anthill. Every other government on Earth was desperately — and so far fruitlessly — trying to create a tame artificial intelligence, since Saraswati refused to negotiate with, or even talk to, humans.

Genres:

Escape Pod 105: Impossible Dreams

Show Notes

2007 Hugo Nominee!

Referenced Sites:
Balticon 2007


Impossible Dreams

by Tim Pratt

He went to the Sci-Fi shelf–and had another shock. “I, Robot” was there, but not the forgettable action movie with Will Smith–this was older, and the credits said “written by Harlan Ellison.” But Ellison’s adaptation of the Isaac Asimov book had never been produced, though it had been published in book form. “Must be some bootleg student production,” he muttered, and he didn’t recognize the name of the production company. But… but… it said “winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.” That had to be a student director’s little joke, straight-facedly absurd box copy, as if this were a film from some alternate reality. Worth watching, certainly, though again, he couldn’t imagine how he’d never heard of this. Maybe it had been done by someone local. He took it to the counter and offered his credit card.

She looked at the card dubiously. “Visa? Sorry, we only take Weber and FosterCard.”

Escape Pod 67: Life in Stone


Life in Stone

by Tim Pratt

After ascending 72 flights of iron stairs, creeping past tentacled sentinels lurking in pools filled with black water, and silently dispatching wizened old warriors armed with glaives and morningstars that proved a close match for his pistols and poisoned glass knives, Mr. Zealand at last stumbled into the uppermost room of Archibald Grace’s invisible tower. All Zealand’s earlier murders were mere journeyman work compared to this final assassination, the murder of a man who’d lived for untold centuries, who’d come to America and enslaved Buffalo spirits, who’d built this tower of ice and iron on the far side of the Rockies as a sanctuary and stronghold for his own precious life.

Genres:

Escape Pod 31: Robots and Falling Hearts

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, long flirtations, and excessive Zen. Watch for falling metaphors.

Referenced sites:
Child’s Play
Hooting Yard


Robots and Falling Hearts

By Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout

I paused to tie a loose shoelace and a squat robot, like a dirty white trashcan on tank-treads, trundled out of an alley toward me. A red light on top of its domelike top blinked erratically. It said, in a high-pitched voice, “Klaatu barada nikto.” A small panel slid open in its front, and a pole with a cup on the end telescoped out. There were a few coins in the cup, mostly pennies and nickels, and the robot jingled the cup significantly.

“Take me to your leader,” I said, wishing it could be that simple, knowing that these things are never that simple. The robot beeped at me and jingled its cup harder, the coins rattling.

“It won’t go away unless you give it some change,” said a woman standing on the corner. “It followed me all the way to work one day, and hung around outside the door like a dog for hours.”

EP Poem: Making Monsters

Show Notes

Rated PG. May provoke disturbing thoughts.


Making Monsters

A Poem by Tim Pratt

He is the reason clowns so often seem
sinister, the reason mannequins and dolls
can be so unsettling, the reason a child’s
tricycle
sitting unattended in a front yard can be an image
suffused with dread. If he goes on
this way, who knows what other objects
will attain an aura of menace?

Escape Pod 08: Lachrymose and the Golden Egg

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, drug use, and violence against were-ape ninjas.


Lachrymose and the Golden Egg

By Tim Pratt

“Foul temptress?” I said, stepping back, clanking in my armor. A suit of plate mail often appears when I’m startled. I wished the armor away and replaced it with soft green leggings and a deerskin shirt. “Wily seductress?”

“Damsel in distress.” She leaned against a tree, hands clasped before her.

I clutched my stick and looked around. “Immediate distress, or general distress?” I worried about ogres, or killbots. They often menace damsels, and when the wind’s wrong, you can’t smell them coming, neither rotten meat nor engine oil. It’s hard to hurt an ogre or a killbot with a staff, but I’m useless with a sword. I used a blade on my first few outings, but after chopping off my feet six times, I switched to a stick.