by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Digital Coyote, by Kris Schnee.
Seattle WA, CreateSpace, July 2016, trade paperback $8.49 (238 pages), Kindle $3.99.
This is Schnee’s third Thousand Tales book, following the novel Thousand Tales: How We Won the Game, and the novella 2040: Reconnection. There is also the short story “Wings of Faith”, in the anthology Gods with Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions, June 2016). To quote from my review of 2040: Reconnection: “Ludo is the advanced Artificial Intelligence who can scan anyone’s brain and recreate it in ‘her’ fantasy world, in the setting and body of their choice. Handsome men and beautiful women, noble warriors, flying griffins, anthropomorphic animals; anything, living in an ancient Greek or medieval European or sci-fi futuristic paradise. Of course, their original body in 2040 A.D. Earth is dead, and the consequences of this back on Earth may be unknown, but who in Ludo’s world cares?”
Pete Timaeus is a Washington, D.C. senator’s aide; great at data analysis but otherwise with massive psychological problems about dealing with the real world. He wants Ludo to “fix” him. “She” demurs:
“‘You can fix me!’
The AI shook her head. ‘That’s not what uploading is for. People already argue that converting a human brain into software destroys the soul, that my residents are false copies made for suicidal customers. If I deliberately get your mind wrong, what’s the point?’” (p. 3)
What Ludo does is to take Pete into the computer world of Talespace as he is, with his inferiority complex and hypochondria and inability to make choices and acrophobia and insecurities about dealing with other personalities, and lead him into fixing himself. Mostly as a coyote.