Eating Robots and other stories

Stephen Oram

Published by

Silverwood Books
ISBN

978-1-78132-622-0 (paperback)

RRP £6.99
Reviewed by Justin Richards
Score

8 out of 10

Volume one of the ‘Nudge the future’ series, Stephen Oram’s Eating Robots and other stories is a fun collection of thought-provoking short stories that hover on the boundary fence between science fiction and science fact. Oram’s stories mix science fiction with social comment, and are mainly set in a recognisable near-future, one which borders on being dystopian.

Some of the stories are funny - in a darkly humorous sense - while others are designed as cautionary tales, warning the unwary of the tricky and possibly treacherous path that mankind faces as we plummet, often thoughtlessly, towards a future filled with both great wonder, but also great peril, especially if we don’t watch our faltering forward steps, in both an ethical and ‘common sense’ way.

This collection of Oram’s stories features the likes of health-monitoring mirrors, limb-repossessing bailiffs, extreme body-modification, cannibalistic robots and a world nearly devoid of antibiotics that still work.

Highlights for me include the story ‘The Thrown Away Things’ that features everyday objects that, through the IoT, are connected to each other and who collectively decide to seek revenge on their human master; ‘Trauma Games’, where a young man discovers more than he bargained for when he trades in some of his father’s memories for membership  of an exclusive members-only VR club; and ‘The Downward Spiral of the Disenfranchised Consumer’, where credit problems lead to an otherwise perfectly sound human being effectively removed and ostracised from normal society.

The author has previously published two near future novels - Fluence and Quantum Confessions - and several shorter pieces of work, including ‘S{t}imulation’, ‘Foodflix’, ‘Joined At the Chip’ and ‘Little Modern Miracles’, and is definitely one to watch or, in this case, read!

Further information: Silverwood Books

October 2017