This Week in Cats: October 2, 2016

Welcome to a new feature here at Doux Reviews: a weekly (more or less) post about all things cat-related. The nature of what “related” means in this context will be determined by Sam T. Cat and his plucky sidekick, Josie Kafka. The nature of what “cat” means is unknowable to human brains; all we can do is read, hope for enlightenment, and provide more boxes for them to play with.

This Week’s Recommendation: Naomi Kritzer’s short story “Cat Pictures Please,” which won Best Short Story for the 2016 Locus Awards and 2016 Hugo Awards. It was a nominee for the 2015 Nebulas, too.

In this short story, a sentient AI who lives in/on the internet wants to help people, even those who don’t want to be helped. And all it asks for in return are more cat pictures. It is sweet without being treacly, and I may have cried a bit towards the end.

Jo Walton (an excellent author who doesn’t write about cats) describes the short story’s place in the literary tradition: “[The story] could have been written at no other time and place and by no other person: it’s an original story by a terrific writer…We’ve had a lot of stories about secretly emergent AI, all written with the technology and expectations of their times. This is one written now, with our technology, a new angle, a wider perspective, and a definite consciousness of what it’s adding to.”

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

That story is adorable. It made me feel a lot better about whoever is behind the fact that ads for things that seem to apply to me keep popping up wherever I go. Even things that I only thought about, which creeps me out.

Plus I have many, many cat pictures to pay the AI.