Author Archives: Stephen Oram

The discussion…

After Paul Simon reviewed Fluence in the Morning Star we talked about how reviews could be more collaborative. In some ways I think Eating Robots and Other Stories lends itself to discussion more than a novel because the stories are short and in most cases deliberately written to provoke debate.

Paul starts his recent review of Eating Robots with “IN FEWER than 150 pages, Stephen Oram combines the sharp edginess of a JG Ballard with the vaulting inventiveness of a modernist Ovid.”  (full review

This post is dedicated to discussions about stories in Eating Robots; to start a new discussion post a comment and to join in a discussion already underway post a reply.

If you want some prompts, some provocations, to get started there’s some here.

Over to you…

BusinessCloud podcast

Being interviewed is an interesting experience and one I enjoy. Why? Because it makes me see my work through someone else’s eyes and I’m always intrigued to hear what it is about my writing that has sparked their interest.

Answering questions live is also fascinating and makes me think. Hard. You can hear my brain whirring in this podcast as I discuss the inspirations behind Eating Robots and Other Stories with Jonathan Symcox, the Deputy editor of BusinessCloud.

http://www.businesscloud.co.uk/podcasts/eating-robots-and-the-potential-dystopias-of-the-future

Collaboration Works

As part of the 2017 Fitzrovia Festival, the people live here festival, neural scientists, social scientists, science writers and science fiction authors all came together to take an audience on their different journeys of collaboration.

Georgina Ferry and Kathrin Jacobsen introduced Neural Architects, the behind-the-scenes account of a unique collaboration between a leading architectural practice, Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd, and a community of scientists seeking to understand how we think, feel, understand and remember. The outcome of this collaboration was the evening’s host building, the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre.

I read from my new collection, Eating Robots and Other Stories, including The Thrown Away Things – a tale of interconnected and dangerously discarded ‘things’ – and the title story Eating Robots about an errant old lady and her errant robot.

Christine Aicardi (Senior Research Fellow, King’s College London) has been a key person in my collaborations with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Human Brain Project. She read her own short fiction, Tablet Stroker, and made many insightful observations about The Thrown Away Things and suggestions on what to look out for as we head off into the future. You can read her thoughts in the back of the collection.

Swimming with the Algorithms was a piece I wrote especially for the evening. The idea came out of a series of conversations with Danbee Kim (Researcher at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre and Scientist-in-Residence at the Brighton Sea Life Centre). The piece was iterated over a series of exhanges between me and Danbee touching on both the believability of the science and the behaviour of the protaganist. On the night I read the story and Danbee gave her thoughts on it and what it was like to collaborate on its creation.

There were questions throughout from the audience ranging from: ‘Do Asimov’s three robot laws help or hinder in the writing of fiction about robots?’; ‘What is the most scary thing about present day technology?’; and ‘What’s the best thing about collaborating?’

The conversations continued for at least an hour and a half after the formal part of the evening; the discussions I was involved in were fascinating, whether about the art of writing or the meaning of intelligence.

A big thank you to the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for being such good hosts.


photo – left to right: Christine Aicardi, Danbee Kim, Kathrin Jacobsen, Georgina Ferry and Stephen Oram