Okay, so this is a magazine and technically not a book, but since I’m listing it on LibraryThing, I might as well add it here.
The story by Robert Reed this September 2011 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine starts off with is a political parable, and while I can sympathize with its message I’m less than impressed with it as a story. This is mainly due to its ending which serves the reader a “Haha, all of this was just a cunning plan with a mastermind pulling the strings” which is an annoying device in the best of cases, an easy shortcut the author takes to get the narrative where they want it to be. It is even more aggravating in a political story like this one because it is not just lazy but deflates all of the argumentative impetus the story had built up. Quite disappointing, in particular from an author like Reed who can do a lot better.
The second story in this issue is by Australian author Greg Mellor concerns itself with the classical sf-nal question of how to remain human under radically changed conditions. While the answers he comes up with are neither particularly original nor insightful it is a nice and moving little story.
The non-fiction part consists of an informative article by Nancy Fulda on the current state of AI research and an interview with Genevieve Valentine, mainly about her first novel which I’d really like to read (having enjoyed the short stories of hers I’ve read) if it was not about a circus which I have a strong aversion to. Maybe her next one, then…