REVIEW: Intelligence, Artificial and Human: Eight Science Fiction Tales by Japanese Authors edited by Hirotaka Osawa

Review of Hirotaka Osawa, ed., Intelligence, Artificial and Human: Eight Science Fiction Tales by Japanese Authors, (AI x SF Project, [2019]) — More information here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I received a copy of this anthology at WorldCon 2019, after a very interesting, and too brief, post-panel conversation with the editor about academics who also write fiction. This collection is eight stories all originally published in Artificial Intelligence, the academic magazine of the Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence, and translated into English here for the first time. They are written by authors with a wide variety of scientific and non-scientific backgrounds, from software development to electrical engineering to sociology and the arts and more, some of whom are well-known and highly-renowned Japanese SF authors, such as Motoko Arai and Kei Zushi.

The shorts were all quite short — 5 pages a piece — and with only eight stories in the collection it felt like a little gossamer bite. But the stories themselves had plenty to chew on, and I really enjoyed the playfulness that many of the authors adopted towards their hard science: none of the stories took themselves too seriously, while at the same time indulging in some of our deepest fantasies and desires. So many stories I read and came away feeling, “Oh, yes, this, I want this.”

I was also delighted that so many of the stories were written by women.

As is our usual practice, each story will be reviewed individually, with the review linked back here when it is published: