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The 1970 Universal Pictures release Colossus: The Forbin Project is an underrated science fiction thriller that asks the question: what happens when supercomputers take over? Dr. Charles Forbin (Eric Braeden before he became popular as Victor Newman on the soap The Young and the Restless) designs Colossus, a groundbreaking supercomputer, to manage the nuclear armament for the U.S. government. After the massive computer system is switched on, Colossus unexpectedly develops at an exponential rate, eventually eclipsing all human knowledge and intelligence. Soon it reaches out to a similar system in the Soviet Union (one previously unheard of in the U.S.) and begins bringing it up to speed. Once the two systems are aligned, they use their control over the two nations' nuclear caches to take over the world. The computer's ultimate aim—to guard world peace—reaches a frightening plateau. As Colossus itself states: "The object to construct me is to prevent war. This objective is now attained." As Forbin and the rest of humanity soon discover, Colossus's objective also includes absolute power, for in order to attain world peace it must be able to control humanity, the greatest progenitor of war and violence of any other living creature on the planet. Based on the novel by British author Dennis Feltham, Colossus: The Forbin Project is a cautionary tale about what happens when people build bigger, better mousetraps (well, somebody's got to be the mouse).

Colossus: The Forbin Project

Colossus: The Forbin Project.



Cynthia C. Scott is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area whose work has appeared in Glint Literary JournalCopperfield Review, Flyleaf Journal, Graze Magazine, and Strange Horizons. She also writes reviews for Bookbrowse.com. She's currently working on a series of SF novels called The Book of Dreams.
Current Issue
30 Jan 2023

In January 2022, the reviews department at Strange Horizons, led at the time by Maureen Kincaid Speller, published our first special issue with a focus on SF criticism. We were incredibly proud of this issue, and heartened by how many people seemed to feel, with us, that criticism of the kind we publish was important; that it was creative, transformative, worthwhile. We’d been editing the reviews section for a few years at this point, and the process of putting together this special, and the reception it got, felt like a kind of renewal—a reminder of why we cared so much.
It is probably impossible to understand how transformative all of this could be unless you have actually been on the receiving end.
Some of our reviewers offer recollections of Maureen Kincaid Speller.
Criticism was equally an extension of Maureen’s generosity. She not only made space for the text, listening and responding to its own otherness, but she also made space for her readers. Each review was an invitation, a gift to inquire further, to think more deeply and more sensitively about what it is we do when we read.
When I first told Maureen Kincaid Speller that A Closed and Common Orbit was among my favourite current works of science fiction she did not agree with me. Five years later, I'm trying to work out how I came to that perspective myself.
Cloud Atlas can be expressed as ABC[P]YZY[P]CBA. The Actual Star , however, would be depicted as A[P]ZA[P]ZA[P]Z (and so on).
In the vast traditions that inspire SF worldbuilding, what will be reclaimed and reinvented, and what will be discarded? How do narratives on the periphery speak to and interact with each other in their local contexts, rather than in opposition to the dominant structures of white Western hegemonic culture? What dynamics and possibilities are revealed in the repositioning of these narratives?
a ghostly airship / sorting and discarding to a pattern that isn’t available to those who are part of it / now attempting to deal with the utterly unknowable
Most likely you’d have questioned the premise, / done it well and kindly then moved on
In this special episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, reviews editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland introduce audio from a 2018 recording for Jonah Sutton-Morse’s podcast Cabbages and Kings which included Maureen Kincaid Speller discussing with Aisha and Jonah three books: Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan, and The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar.
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2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
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By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
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