Wang Yuan. Painter of Stars. (Clarkesworld Magazine #123, December 2016)

Laid low by a stinky cold I plugged myself into my tablet and for the first time, sickness blanket across my lap, listened to the dulcet tones of Kate Baker, as she read the Andy Dudak translation of a Wang Yuan story which had previously appeared on the World Chinese Science Fiction Association website in 2014. You can read the story on the Clarkeworld website here, or listen to Kate Baker read it out here.

The story is narrated by an AI – one embedded in a domestic cleaning ‘bot. We follow the AI as it goes on a journey, its inspiration the multitude of stars in the skies and the planets, finds a talent, which take it away from it’s family. There’s a touch of Wall-E and The Bicentennial Man (particularly in the ending), but the story works well, as we reach into the ‘soul’ of the ‘bot, and peek into the soul and future of humanity.

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