Convergence Problems

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Pub Date Feb 13 2024 | Archive Date Feb 13 2024

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"A jaw-dropping collection....Beautiful, vibrant, and electrifying, this has the makings of a modern classic." —Publishers Weekly (starred review), and a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Spring 2024 Roundup pick

"For fans of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian works and P. Djèlí Clark’s speculative fiction, Convergence Problems provides an Afrocentric sf narrative that is sure to captivate." — Raychel Bennet, Booklist (starred review)

"Written with an emotional economy few storytellers can master....A fascinating and riveting exploration of what the future may hold—for better or worse." —Kirkus

From the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Nommo award nominated author of Shigidi and The Brass Head Of Obalufon comes a stunning new collection of stories that investigate the rapidly changing role of technology and belief in our lives as we search for meaning, for knowledge, for justice; constantly converging on our future selves.

In “An Arc of Electric Skin,” a roadside mechanic seeking justice volunteers to undergo a procedure that will increase the electrical conductivity of his skin by orders of magnitude. In “Blowout,” a woman races against time and a previously undocumented geological phenomenon to save her brother on the surface of Mars. In “Ganger,” a young woman trapped in a city run by machines must transfer her consciousness into an artificial body and find a way to give her life
purpose. In “Debut,” Nairobi-based technical support engineer tries to understand what is happening when an AI art system begins malfunctioning in ways that could change the world.

The sixteen stories of Convergence Problems, which include work published for the first time in this collection, rare stories, and recently acclaimed work, showcase Talabi at his creative best: playful and profound, exciting and experimental, always interesting.
"A jaw-dropping collection....Beautiful, vibrant, and electrifying, this has the makings of a modern classic." —Publishers Weekly (starred review), and a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Spring 2024...

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ISBN 9780756418830
PRICE $27.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 38 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed reading this collection of stories, it had everything that I was hoping for. Each story had a great concept overall and I loved the use of technology in this.

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Convergence Problems is a set of short stories that are all set in, or at least relating to Africa. The author is an engineer, and the stories ask the question, if there is some fantastical development like a new technology or power, what sort of problems would naturally arise? Some of the stories are definitely better than others, but all are interesting and makes the reader ponder the questions raised.

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This is an excellent short story collection about grief, family, sense of self and artificial intelligence. The stories were all great (16 in total, some longer and some shorter), though there were some definite standouts.

My favorites were:

- Saturday's Song, about seven mysterious siblings named after the days of the week who chronicle humanity's stories and also about the story Saturday asks them to tell, which is about grief and revenge and duty and the terrible things we do for them.

- Ganger, one of the longer stories in this collection, this is alternates a Yoruba folktale about an old hunter who gains the power to transform into a jaguar and the story of Laide, a young woman in a dystopian society where everything is provided for her but where basic freedoms are denied, who finds meaning in her life when she gains the ability to transfer her consciousness in the body of a robot.

- A Dream of Electric Mothers. The last story in this collection, this was nominated for a Hugo and a Nebula, and for good reason. A young minister pushes for the consultation of the "Electric Mothers", an intelligence comprised of all the consciousnesses of the dead citizens of her country, while she deals with the loss of her own mother.

These three were my favorites, but all the others were fantastic as well. Absolutely recommended!

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CONVERGENCE PROBLEMS takes you from near future Nigeria, to Mars, through the deep folds of your own mind where you don't want to go. His stories are tight and pack a lot of questions with a light-handed wry realism that doesn't lose the message for the world, and the story for the message. The Nebula-nominated "Dream of Electric Mothers" is a clear favourite, and I also loved "Ganger", a story about the difference between surviving, adapting, and thriving; and "Nigerian Dreams". Excellent collection, and a powerful follow-up to Talabi's SHIGIDI.

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