Four charming and/or dryly humorous SF/F short stories
July 2, 2018 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Marissa Lingen, "My Favourite Sentience" (Nature, 25 April 2018): "Jessa, age 9. Yorknet is my favourite sentience because it is dependable, protective and wise." Premee Mohamed, "More Tomorrow" (Automata Review, 13 March 2018): "Day 5. Anyway, it turns out trilobites aren't very good eating even if you haven't eaten in days." Sarah Hutto, "Modern Tips For Looking After Your Human Husband" (McSweeney's, 1 June 2018): "Get yourself ready. Put on your skin suit." Rachael K. Jones, "Five Functions of Your Bionosaur" (ROBOT DINOSAURS! anthology, May 2018): "Your parents first activate your bionosaur when they bring you home from the hospital."
posted by Wobbuffet (11 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
aaah these are all amazing! I've been in a real reading rut recently (god that looks weird written down) and this has given me loads of stuff to chase up. Cheers!
Amal, age 8. The squid hegemony in the Marianas Trench is a very interesting sentience that doesn’t get enough attention, perhaps because vertebrates tend to be interested in our own kind. They are caretaking other sentiences in the region and also in the seas above them, in a 3D way that is very cool, I think. Also, they have good tentacles that I like. Also, the Marianas Trench covers more area and more volume than any other sentience rules so technically they are the biggest sentience on the planet. Also, the thing they do with the old lights and the plastic we thought was waste is amazing.
Cephalopod sentience is the best sentience.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 3:27 PM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

McSweeney's has been killing it lately, and I loved "More Tomorrow". Definitely going to keep an eye out for that author!
posted by impishoptimist at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Now I want Marissa Lingen to write the story of how Riley's mam accidentally destroyed South Tyneside.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 4:22 PM on July 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

I want a bionasaur
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:49 PM on July 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I love SF short shorts and these are all amazing-thanks so much for sharing!

My Favourite Sentience is probably my favorite among these. It takes talent to write like a child to begin with but she did multiple children each with their own favorite sentience (which the author also had to develop)--crazy good.
posted by beaning at 6:44 PM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bei, age 9. I think you will find that the sentience inside a house still counts. And I think we should count them. They are very small sentiences, but I like my house. My house is very attentive to small needs and never forgets a birthday or what goes on the grocery list. When we run out of apples my house reminds all our devices. I would have lost my science-fair project last year if my house had not reminded me to take it. My house is a lot like Yorknet but more personal, so it is my personal favourite sentience.

Honestly this one made me a bit emotional. Was not expecting that.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:22 AM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I loved these, thanks! As a grant-funded university researcher, More Tomorrow was especially on target (Hap if you get this ... don’t you dare use my funding if I don’t make it. THAT MONEY IS MINE GO BEG FOR YOUR OWN), and My Favorite Sentience was just charming. I don't know that I could deal with the inevitable heartbreak of an obsolete Bionosaur.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Good stuff - thanks for posting. I liked all of them for different reasons, but My Favourite Sentience is definitely the winner, not least because it is at all slightly optimistic.
posted by YAMWAK at 12:51 PM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

the Bionosaur story was a happier-endinged Lifecycle of Software Objects.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:02 PM on July 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

My Favourite Sentience is amazing.
posted by feckless at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh wow! I went to re-read My Favorite Sentience and only now noticed the sidebar linking to Marissa Lingren's other short shorts for Nature. I've only read a few so far but they are all clever.
posted by beaning at 7:13 PM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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