In a world of short attention spans and instant updates it’s remarkable when you come across something on the internet that stays with you, sitting in your brain, waiting to be digested. But that’s the specialty of FSG Originals author Robin Sloan.
“The Counselor” is a piece of fiction he wrote for the “Intelligence & Autonomy” project, hosted by “the think/do tank” Data & Society. Initially intended exclusively for the participants of the “I&A” forum, who gathered to (hang on, it’s a mouthful) “identify the core set of challenges that consistently arise in deploying intelligent systems regardless of arena,” it has now been published by Vice’s Motherboard.
At least as we read it, the story does just what Data & Society was after: It grabs onto a fantasy, mixes it with a strong taste of reality, and lets your imagination do the rest. Hungry for more, we tracked Sloan down on the World Wide Web to ask him a few questions about the project…
In celebration of GUTSHOT’s first week on bookshelves everywhere here’s a glimpse of some of the passionate praise it’s already inspired.
Buzzfeed Books editor-at-large Isaac Fitzgerald managed to pack his love for GUTSHOT into six powerful seconds (which you’ve at least partially experienced by now—unmute at your own risk), while NPR Books wrote one beautiful literary love letter…
The following essay is included in John Freeman’s How to Read a Novelist and reproduced here, in its entirety, in honor of the late Günter Grass, who died in the German city of Lübeck on April 13, 2015.
“Calm down,” [Dale] said. “Nobody has to go if they’d rather not. To be clear, the labyrinth is known to possess magic. Some say in the center you discover the one thing you most desire in the world. Others claim that God sits beyond the last bend. Individuals must find out for themselves. Go check out the jam contest if you’re not feeling up to it.”
Are you feeling up to it? Then start the story here and keep going.
Accompanying the piece is an interview with Gray by John McElwee, where the two cover everything from the “natural mix of horror and humor” to the power of brevity.