The Turing Test by Chris Beckett

March 28, 2009

The Turing Test is written by one of my favourite authors, Chris Beckett, and is a collection 14 short stories that originally appeared in Asimov’s and Interzone.

Now, as it says in Al Reynold’s introduction to the book, in a perfect world you wouldn’t need me to tell you why you need to read this collection, but, sadly, this is not yet a perfect world. 

So why read it?

Well, Chris Beckett writes a form of literary SF that is under-represented in the shoot ’em first and then torture ’em later sort of Sci Fi that makes up the bulk of stuff published today.  He has a facility for taking a straightforward idea and then drawing out the story for the reader to see.  What emerges can leave you with the feeling I should have thought of that, accompanied by a growing sense of unease at where the story is going to take you, a little like being trapped on a genteel roller coaster that you know is going to take you, despite its leisurely pace, on an extremely uncomfortable ride.  All this written in a economical but descriptive style that is easy to read to but deceptively hard to master.

Now, as I’ve said before, this blog doesn’t do reviews, (In case you’ve forgotten, it does Robots and Accordions), so if you want to know more you’ll have to search elsewhere (and I suggest that you do), but think on this:

Chris Beckett’s reputation is growing all the time, but there’s still time to get in on the ground floor and have the great pleasure in later years of saying “I told you so”.