Ambiguity Machines (Preorder)

Vandana Singh

February 13, 2018

A book of stories about the uncertainty with which we move through space and time, by ourselves and with others. 

trade paper · 320 pages · $16 · 9781618731432 | ebook · 9781618731425 · Edelweiss

Read the title story: Ambiguity Machines: An Examination

In her first North American collection, Vandana Singh’s deep humanism interplays with her scientific background in stories that explore and celebrate this world and others and characters who are trying to make sense of the people they meet, what they see, and the challenges they face. An eleventh century poet wakes to find he is as an artificially intelligent companion on a starship. A woman of no account has the ability to look into the past. In “Requiem,” a major new novella, a woman goes to Alaska to try and make sense of her aunt’s disappearance.

Singh’s stories have been performed on BBC radio, been finalists for the British SF Association award, selected for the Tiptree award honor list, and often reprinted in Best of the Year anthologies. Her dives deep into the vast strangeness of the universe without and within and with her unblinking clear vision she explores the ways we move through space and time: together, yet always apart.

Praise for Ambiguity Machines:

“Singh defies expectation with every exquisite turn of phrase. She gives you strange, powerful visions that move the heart and challenge the mind.”
— Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

[Cover not final.]

Table of Contents

With Fate Conspire
A Handful of Rice
Peripateia
Life-pod
Oblivion: A Journey
Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra
Are you Sannata3159?
Indra’s Web
Ruminations in an Alien Tongue
Sailing the Antarsa
Cry of the Kharchal
Wake-Rider
Ambiguity Machines: An Examination
Requiem

Reviews

“A delicate touch and passionately humanist sensibilities sweep through this magnificent collection, which ranges from the near future of our world to eras far away in space and time. Highlights include “With Fate Conspire,” in which Gargi, taken from slum life because of her ability to use a device which lets her look through time, has more power to influence history than the scientists around her suspect; “Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra,” about an 11th-century Indian poet who has become the companion of a spacefaring folklorist; and “Ambiguity Machines: An Examination,” a story in the form of a test that pushes the limits of narrative by trying to define what is not possible rather than what is. The short piece “Indra’s Web” is more interested in depicting its solar-powered utopia than in plot or characterization, but in general this collection is full of risky experiments that turn out beautifully: colorful, emotionally resonant, and consistently entertaining. Refreshingly for this flavor of SF, the protagonists are often bright, passionate women in middle life, driven by some kind of art or science or cause and in no way defined by their relationships with men. Those not familiar with physicist and SF author Singh (Younguncle Comes to Town) will find this a perfect introduction to her work.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews of Vandana Singh’s stories:

“A most promising and original young writer.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin

“Lovely! What a pleasure this book is . . . full of warmth, compassion, affection, high comedy and low.” ― Molly Gloss, author of The Hearts of Horses

“Vandana Singh’s radiant protagonist is a planet unto herself.” ― Village Voice

“Sweeping starscapes and daring cosmology that make Singh a worthy heir to Cordwainer Smith and Arthur C. Clarke.” ― Chris Moriarty, Fantasy & Science Fiction

“I’m looking forward to the collection . . . everything I’ve read has impressed me—the past and future visions in ‘Delhi’, the intensity of ‘Thirst’, the feeling of escape at the end of ‘The Tetrahedron’…” —Niall Harrison, Vector (British Science Fiction Association)

“…the first writer of Indian origin to make a serious mark in the SF world … she writes with such a beguiling touch of the strange.” —Nilanjana Roy, Business Standard

“Echoing Le Guin to some extent, Singh follows Anasuya, who has a visceral ability to understand mathematics, as she helps visitors from a distant planet… It’s a complex setup, hinting at quite a fascinating galactic backstory.”
— Rich Horton, Locus

“Singh writes with a beautiful clarity. Each character is sharply drawn, and the inevitability of the story pulls the reader headlong with it—helped by a compelling sparseness of prose. . . . It is the best short fiction, and possibly the best fiction, I have read this year.”
— Michael Fay, The Fix

Vandana Singh was born and raised mostly in New Delhi, India and currently lives in the United States near Boston, where she professes physics and writes.  Her short stories have appeared in numerous venues, including several Best of Year anthologies, and she is a recipient of the Carl Brandon Parallax award. She is the author of the ALA Notable book Younguncle Comes to Town and a previous short story collection, The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories (Zubaan, Penguin India).

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