Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

The Box

A new short story just went live.

Funny how I feel bad charging 99 cents for something that took a little over a week to put together. Is it worth a dollar from the reader for the 10 minutes it takes to get through the story? I don’t know. I can only leave the guitar case open and keep strumming.

There have been a lot of stories about AI coming to life. But once we get past the initial event, and all the political and economic ramifications, what about all the little AIs that come after? How many strange and wonderful scenarios are there?

Asimov did this with robots. He went past the gee-wow creation and looked at the breakdown of the utilitarian machines. Anyway, here it is. Steal it somewhere if you can’t afford the cover price.

The Box CoverAbove is the full cover art for the story. Yeah, it’s simple. But if you read the story, you might appreciate the design. There is nothing outside the box. But there’s a straining inside; the box is overly full; it’s set to explode. I wasn’t sure if it would work on the Amazon store or not, but the effect is pretty cool. You can’t see the edges of the book, just like on my website, directly above. So the cover looks like a small square. And of course there’s no name on it. If you read the story, you’ll understand why. Labels are like colors, and they say just as much.


11 replies to “The Box”

I loved: “Steal it somewhere if you can’t afford the cover price.” It is winging its way from ‘zon to my Kindle as I write this, since I can afford 99 cents.

The story was thought provoking and suspenseful. A reminder that a small word count does not have to limit the quality or effectiveness of a story! Definitely a good bang for your buck:)

Hugh, downloading it somewhere isn’t stealing. It’s borrowing without asking. (Captain Jack Sparrow)

I noticed and appreciated the simplicity and symbolism of the cover. However, I hadn’t noticed the lack of border/outline of the cover itself and that your name is not on it. You tickle my synapses, sir. I haven’t read it yet. I look forward to it. I’m in the middle of a project now, and I don’t want anything hanging over my head as I enjoy your story. “Labels are like colors, and they say just as much.” Love that!

“A keyboard twirling through the air, spinning , hitting the wall. Letters spilling like teeth, rattling on the floor. Henry Ivy looked, but the letters were not there. He could, however, see a faint mark of paint on the far wall..” Hugh, you really make me understand how an aware machine will one day feel as it remembers experiencing violence and pain. (And sad, too, to think that it’s we human beings who are the source of it.)

I enjoyed the story a lot. I might be dense but I couldn’t decide if the AI escaped or was switched off.

I like to think the AI escaped, but the beauty of that ending is that it could have gone both ways and STILL worked!

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