Top 10


The hosts of SciFiMonth have gathered cool prompts and top ten lists. Today, I’m going to list my favorite AI characters. This turned out to be very difficult.

Many, many SF franchises and various films, tv-show, games, books, and comics have AI characters. Some are good, some are evil. Many of them have some sort of bodies, either machines or fully human. Others are ship intelligences.

One of the things I find fascinating with AI characters is our tendency to give them genders and often they seem to have the biological parts, as well. After all, except for sex bots (which tend to be almost always female) they don’t require a gender to function. Most of them don’t have story lines that require a specific gender, either. It seems that we humans are most comfortable when a human looking machine has an identifiable gender, even when it doesn’t have the parts.

Here are my favorites over the years:

1, Lieutenant Commander Data
My favorite Star Trek series has one of my favorite AI character, so of course he had to be first. In many ways Data is physically superior to humans, and other organic lifeforms. He’s saved the Enterprise many times. But it’s his exploration of what is it to be human that really set him apart. Yes, some of them are cringe worthy, especially in the first two season but most bring some insight not just to Data himself but to humanity.

Star Trek has other AI characters as well, such as Data’s “evil brother” Lore and ST: Voyager has the Doctor who is hologram.

2, Cameron
The second choice was much harder but I just had to go with Cameron from the too-brief Sarah Connor Chronicles. Cameron is a Terminator sent from the future to keep the Connors safe. She poses as John Connor’s sister. Like many of the other Terminators, she pretty emotionless but she seems to have been learning the value of life from Sarah and John.

3, The Oracle
The Matrix series has many AI characters, most notable Agent Smith and the Merovingian. But I really like Oracle. She’s integral to not just the story line but to Neo’s development.

4, C3PO/R2D2
Of course the list wouldn’t be complete without the two lovable droids from Star Wars. They complement each other so well the I can’t just choose one of them.

5, KITT
Knight Industries Two Thousand is the second main character in the Knight Rider tv-series. It’s very independent and often tries to advice it’s rider, Michael Knight. It’s also programmed to protect Michael. It’s been many, many years since I watched the show but I remember it having sarcastic lines and a sense of humor.

6, The Vision
Marvel cinematic universe had three prominent AIs: Jarvis, Ultron, and the Vision. The last two had very brief appearances, although the Vision is in Disney+ -channel’s WandaVision. I’m patiently waiting for the channel to expand outside just one country.

But I’m talking about the comics version. When I started reading the Avengers in the 80s, the Scarlet Witch and her husband the Vision were an integral part of the team. Unfortunately, that didn’t last. As is usual for Marvel (and to a bit lesser extend DC), they were separated. Wanda’s powers made her crazy and the US government dismantled the Vision. The current Vision has been rebuilt many times but my favorite versin is still the original.

7, Gideon
The AI piloting the Waverider is just as much a Legend and the rest of the team in Legends of Tomorrow. It has a female voice and a female appearance. It functions as the navigator and the doctor. It’s also sometimes the voice of reason for the team.

8, Marvin the paranoid android
Still one of the more memorable characters in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin had “the brain the size of a planet” and is depressed and bored because he’s not given much to do. He’s also immortal and lives through all of time (IIRC).

9, Athena
In the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica, Sharon Valerii, or Boomer, thought she was a human. But as the season progressed, she found out that she was actually a Cylon. But she sided with the humans and became a trusted and valued member of the battlestar.

10, Murderbot
My newest favorite AI character is the delightful protagonist of Martha Wells’ novels. All Systems Red has been a hit and with a reason. Written in first person is brings out Murderbot’s sarcasm and introverted nature. It just wants to be left alone and view it’s shows. But as a security unit, instead it must protect humans from all the stupid things they get up to. (Technically, I think Murderbot is a cyborg but so are the terminators.)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Fall 2019 TBR.

Ever since I got sucked into playing Star Trek Timelines and Marvel’s Contest of Champions, I haven’t read much print books. But I’ve listened a lot of audiobooks. So, while I have a lot of print books I’d like to read, my TBR currently has mostly comic books.

1, John Vornholt: Troll Treasure
Currently I’m reading this third book in the children’s fantasy trilogy about young troll Rollo.

2, Nick Thacker: The Depths
I’m also reading this thriller where a married, but estranged, couple is looking for their kidnapped child. They end up in an underwater research station.

3, Shawn McGuire: Family Secrets
This is a first book in a mystery series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I’ve read an excerpt and really liked it, so now I’m finally going to dive into it.

4, Lady Mechanika vol. 2
This is the second volume set in a steampunk world which follows the adventures of a young woman who has a lot of mechanical parts. She’s trying to figure out her own past.

5, X-Men Gold vol. 2: Evil Empires
Volume 1 gathered together many of my favorite X-Men: Kitty Pryde, Storm, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, and Colossus. Marvel is probably trying to bring in us older readers by appealing to nostalgia. Well guess what? It’s working!

6, X-Men Gold vol. 3: Mojo Worldwide
Some of my favorite X-Men versus Mojo! What could go wrong? (Don’t answer that…)

7, Mr and Mrs X vol. 2: Gambit and Rogue forever
I loved the first collection! Hoping the second one will be just as entertaining.

8, Cloak and Dagger : Lost and found
The next collection of Cloak and Dagger’s eighties adventures.

9, Kim Newman: Anno Dracula
I finally got this alternate world book where Dracula is married to queen Victoria. I really need to read it.

10, Roderick Thorpe: Nothing Lasts Forever
Did you know that Die Hard is based on a book? This book. I just realized it and immediately borrowed it. Luckily it’s not only in the Finnish library system but translated into Finnish.

On audiobook front, I’ve got five Great courses series of lectures on history and various cultures. I’ve also got METAtropolis short story collection.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Childhood Favorites.

I read lots and was also read to a lot. I also read (and still read) a lot of comics, such as Donald Duck, Asterix, and Tintin. These are the books I remember liking the most:

1, Walter Farley: The Black Stallion
I so much wanted to be Alex and ride the Black Stallion. I loved that first book so much. Actually, I’ve only read the four books which were translated into Finnish. According to Wikipedia those were books 1, 3, 5, and 9. Weird. I still have the first book.

2, Carolyn Keene: Nancy Drew
I loved reading about Nancy (Paula in the Finnish translations) and her friends solving all sorts of mysteries. I still have a handful of them.

3, Enid Blyton: the Famous Five
One of the most popular translated children’s series in Finland. In Finnish, the names of the kids are Leo, Dick, Anne, and Pauli/Paula.

4, Enid Blyton: The Adventure series
Another Blyton series I adored. I loved Jack and his pet parrot Kiki. I also loved Philip’s supernatural ability to bond with animals.

5, Enid Blyton: Secret Seven
I liked this series a lot but not nearly as much as the previous two.

6, Franklin W. Dixon: Hardy boys
I read quite a few of these, too, although I didn’t like them as much as the Blyton series.

7, Robert Arthur Jr.: The Three Investigators
46 books were translated to Finnish, but I preferred the first 10 or so. I liked the eclectic group of friends and the strange mysteries.

Of course I also read books from Finnish and other Skandinavian authors. I don’t think any of them have been translated to English.
8, Merja Jalo
Her series are set in various stables. Some of the plots were about horses but some are mysteries which deal with typical teenager issues.

9, Marvi Jalo
She also writes about horses but mostly stand-alone books rather than series.

10, Merri Vik
She was actually Swedish and wrote in Swedish. The Lotta series tells about a clumsy but otherwise pretty ordinary girl. They’re very funny books.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Summer TBR.

I have so many books I want to read! But I can’t read them all the same time so here’s what I expect to read:

Currently, I’m reading
1, The Mammoth book of Steampunk Adventures
This short story collection has been on my shelves for at least a couple of years so it’s time to read it. Looks fun and first couple of stories have been enjoyable.

2, Thomas K. Carpenter: Trials of Magic
I’m also reading this ebook about sisters with magical powers.

3, John Vornholt: the Troll King
This is apparently the first book in a children’s fantasy trilogy and I don’t even remember when I got it. I’m again behind on my TBR challenge so I need to get the off the shelves.

4, Martha Wells: Rogue Protocol
I got from the library the third book in the highly entering Murderbot series and I can’t wait to read it.

5, Aliette de Bodard: On a Red Station, Drifting
The first in her science fiction series which I’ve been wanting to try for a couple of years.

6, Aliette de Bodard: In the Vanisher’s Palace
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with f/f romance.

7, Rhys Bowen: Her Royal Spyness
This book is from a recent 2 books for 1 credit sale at Audible. It’s humorous spy story set in 1932 Britain.

8, S. A. Chakraborty: The Kingdom of Copper
The second book in a fantasy trilogy. I’m eager to get to it, but it’s over 23 hours long…

9, Theodora Goss: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and I got it from Audible.
10, Kim Newman: Anno Dracula
Another fantasy book I’m really eager to read. It has Dracula as Queen Victoria’s husband!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book.

1, The next book in the series
By far the most common reason for me to pick up and actually read a book is that it’s the next book in a series I enjoy.

2, Familiar author
When I know and (mostly) enjoy the author’s work, I tend to read more from them.

3, Reviews
When I don’t know the author I’ll read some reviews from GoodReads or Amazon or other bloggers. They don’t have to be favorable but the book must have something to interest me.

4, Genre/subgenre
I’m quite picky about the (sub)genres I read.

5, Interesting description
The best way to get me to pick up a unfamiliar author’s book is with a description which tempts me.

6, Part of a tempting bundle
I’ve bought more than a few bundles which are from genres I enjoy, even when they don’t have any familiar authors.

7, Dinosaurs
Not many fiction books have dinosaurs and I’d love to read more of them.

8, Heist
They’re also not very common in SFF books.

9, Tie-in books
I read novels from various franchises, such as Star Trek and Star Wars.

10, The book has a trope I enjoy
Such as enemies forced to work together (e.g. X-Men and Magneto) or an eclectic group of characters become friends/family (X-Men, Firefly, Farscape…).

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top 10 books in my spring TBR.

It was snowing here in Finland just a couple of days ago so talking about spring seems more than a bit premature. But here goes:

1, Q-Strike by Greg Cox
First, I’m going to finish the Q Continuum trilogy.

2, Fahrenheit’s Ghost by Trish Heinrich
The next book in the Vigilantes historical superhero series. It’s also the start of a new series, Pandora Project.

3, The Triangle by Dan Koboldt Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Wrigley
I got an ARC from Serial Box! It’s set in the Bermuda Triangle where a team of shipwrecked experts must find out the secrets of the place.

I’ve got a lot of unread ebooks and I’m not sure which ones I’m going to read next but I do know which of my unread printed books I’ll read.

4,Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The first book in the Lady Astronaut SF series.

5, The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
And the next book in the series.

6, Lady Astronaut of Mars Mary Robinette Kowal
This is a novellette set in the same world and it’s available for free here: https://www.tor.com/2013/09/11/the-lady-astronaut-of-mars/

7, Desperate Hours by David Mack
The first Star Trek: Discovery book which is apparently set on starship Shenzhou so we’ll get more captain Georgiou!

8, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Alternate history where Dracula is Queen Victoria’s husband!

I’ve also got a couple of audio books I haven’t listened yet and currently I’m thinking of listening these next:

9, Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
I’ve loved Huff’s other fantasy books.

10, Einstein’s Secret by Irving Belatche
Another alternate history book which sounds very interesting.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit .

There are a lot of places I’d love to visit, especially those fantasy and SF places which don’t, yet, exist. I’ve only traveled to a few places and these days I don’t really care for the travel itself. I’d love to go someplace and spend couple of months there, at least. But on our Earth I’d like to visit…

1, Venice
For a long time I’ve wanted to visit Venice. Donna Leon’s mystery book are set in Venice but also several fantasy books have been inspired by Venice, such as the Masked City by Genevieve Cogman.

2, Rome
I’ve been to Rome a couple of decades ago and I’d love to visit it again. Many ancient history books are set in Ancient Rome, such as the Roma Sub Rosa series by Steven Saylor.

3, the Valley of Kings
Many places associated with ancient Egyptian history fascinate me. I’d love to travel all over Egypt. I picked the Valley of Kings because it’s probably the easiest today for tourists. Of course, my main inspiration comes from Elizabeth Peters’ great historical mystery series with Amelia Peabody-Emerson as the main character.

4, San Francisco
A lot of fiction is set in San Francisco and I’d love to see it, although I know that none of the fae people from Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series are really there. It’s also close to Sunnydale.

5, New York
I recently had the great pleasure of visiting New York for a week and a half and it was a blast! I’d love to visit again. I know that the Avengers Mansion and Baxter Building aren’t really there but someone is building something that looks a lot like Avengers Tower from the movies.

5, Melbourne
Kerry Greenwood makes Melbourne feel very interesting in her Phryne Fisher series and lots of the places in the books are real.

6, Sherwood
While I’ve visited London a couple of times, I’ve never been to Sherwood forest. Even though I know that is has a lot of Robin Hood related tourist stuff, I still want to visit.

7, London
Another obvious choice. Many books are set in London. Even though the London Below doesn’t exist, like in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, it’s still a great place to visit.

8, Transylvania
Another place which has fascinating fictional history and it seems to be a very beautiful place, too.

9, Alexandria
I couldn’t resist adding another Egyptian city. Founded by Alexander the Great, I’ve always wanted to visit it.

10, Paris
Another favorite place for writers to use as a setting. I’ve actually visited it once, just long enough to visit the Eiffel Tower and Versailles. I’d love to go there again!

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