MENACE OF THE MACHINE / AUTHOR: MIKE ASHLEY / PUBLISHER: BRITISH LIBRARY PUBLISHING / FORMAT: PAPERBACK/ RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The British Library (under the editorial watch of Mike Ashley) has released another collection under its “Science Fiction Classics” banner; this time shining a light on artificial intelligence and its beginnings in science fiction.
Menace of the Machine features fourteen short stories, each with a brief introduction from Ashley. Highlights of the collection start with Moxon’s Masters by Ambrose Bierce, in which an inventor gets more than he bargained for with his chess-playing automaton. Next up is Adeline Knapp’s The Discontented Machine, in which a factory machine develops a conscience and takes industrial action. The Machine Stops, by noted Edwardian writer EM Forster, sees a dystopian world in which the Earth has come under control of machines, and genre legend Isaac Asimov’s The Evitable Conflict finds the Three Laws of Robotics in jeopardy. The collection concludes with Dial F for Frankenstein from British sci-fi alumni Arthur C. Clarke, in which telephones start communicating with one another for nefarious ends.
Menace of the Machine is a very enjoyable collection which is complimented by Ashley’s editorial throughout the collection. Not only do you get a collection of very enjoyable stories from noted authors, you also get (from Ashley) the context in which these stories were created adn the impact that they had, all cemented with an introduction that explores how artificial intelligence is constantly impacting on our lives today. Overall, consider it another success for the British Library’s “Science Fiction Classics” collection.