Zed by Joanna Kavenna


Joanna Kavenna

I really liked this satire on our AI and algorithm ridden world. All your worst dystopian nightmares combined in a disturbing, funny, insurgent but ultimately hopeful tale of a possible near future.


At 2.23 a.m. the BeetleInsight alarm system went off. This indicated a threat to national security. Various people were instantly informed and among them was Douglas Varley, who was woken up by his BeetleBand saying ‘Scrace Dickens’.

Still mired in sleep, Varley heard this as ‘Disgrace’ and leapt out of bed, hoping thereby to avert this calamity, but then Scrace Dickens said: ‘Varley, it’s one of yours.’
‘What’s one of mine?’
‘You didn’t hear yet?’
‘No, I was asleep until five seconds ago.’
Scrace Dickens, a Very Intelligent Personal Assistant who never slept, paused for a moment to process or discard this irrelevant information.
‘So, it seems you have not read the initial reports?’ he said, eventually.
‘It seems so,’ said Varley

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