Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Short Story: "The Turing Test"


Today my short story, "The Turing Test," is available for free from Lightspeed Magazine. Before I get into the story, I just want to say how awesome Lightspeed is. They're really very innovative, offering the magazine for a remarkably cheap price (only $3.99 for an individual issue; subscriptions cheaper), and yet they consistently provide amazing short stories in fantasy and sci fi, and they make them free to the public after the magazine launches. If you like to read fantasy or sci fi, do yourself a favor and check Lightspeed out.

(Also, my fellow nerds, can I just point out that I'm in issue #42? Wheee!)

Right! So, my story, "The Turing Test" is now available for free here. I really quite like this story, inspired by a conversation with my husband at Subway. Who knew Italian subs were so story-sparking?!

Here's the first little bit of the story:
“Do you know why you’re here?” Dr. Philip asks.
I laugh. “I would be rather stupid if I didn’t.”
Dr. Philip’s smile is indulgent, which frustrates me. I uncross my legs at the ankle and re-cross them at my knees, not bothering to readjust my skirt. Dr. Philip blushes and looks down at his clipboard.
“I need you to state your reasoning,” he says. “For the record.”
He might be a professor, but he isn’t much older than me. Not more than a decade. Just about right.
“My name is Elektra Shepherd,” I say. “I’m eighteen years old. A freshman in university, majoring in artificial intelligence. Today I am a participant in a Turing test. For the record,” I add in a lower voice, just so I can see Dr. Philip blush.
“Thank you, Ms. Shepherd,” Dr. Philip says.
I smile at him, relishing the feel of my heavy lipstick on my lips.
“And could you state what you think a Turing test is?” he adds.
I raise my eyebrow at him.
“For the record.”
“A Turing test is a test developed to determine whether or not artificial intelligence has, well, intelligence. Essentially, a person—me, in this case—is separated in one room. Across that wall,” I point to the wall directly opposite me, “is another room. Inside the room is one person and one A.I.. All three of us are going to have a little conversation, and then I’m going to tell you which one the person is.”
“Which one you think is the person,” Dr. Philip says, making a note on the paper in his clipboard.
I roll my eyes. “Come on, Richard.”
“Dr. Philip, please.”
“Come on, Dr. Philip. I know I’m just a freshman, but I think I’ll be able to figure out the difference between a computer and a person.”
Dr. Philip laughs, and something in the harsh sound makes me uncross my legs and readjust my skirt. “Oh, you’d be surprised,” he says. “A.I. has come quite a long way in the last five or so years.”

Keep reading here! And if you're curious about my inspiration--which includes Blade Runner, Doctor Who, and more--you can read this wonderful interview here. Seriously--it's quite a good interview, one of the best I've ever done. Jude Griffin, the interviewer, asked wonderfully in-depth questions and it was simply wonderful working with her on this.

I do hope you check them out and enjoy the story! It was a blast to write!
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