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The Turing Test [Kindle Edition]

Chris Beckett
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Kindle Edition $3.99  
Paperback --  
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Book Description

Winner of the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award 2009, this a collection of 14 short stories by the author of Dark Eden and The Holy Machine.

Comments from James Walton, Chair of Edge Hill panel of judges:

‘I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand. Yet, once the judging process started, it soon became clear that The Turing Test was the book that we’d all been impressed by, and enjoyed, the most – and one by one we admitted it.

‘This was a very strong shortlist, including one Booker Prize winner in Anne Enright, and two authors who’ve been Booker shortlisted in Ali Smith and Shena Mackay. Even so, it was Beckett who seemed to us to have written the most imaginative and endlessly inventive stories, fizzing with ideas and complete with strong characters and big contemporary themes. We also appreciated the sheer zest of his story-telling and the obvious pleasure he had taken in creating his fiction.’

Product Details

  • File Size: 625 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Elastic Press (March 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MG0ODS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,121 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book I've read in quite a while.
I ordered his other two books from Amazon before I finished it.

These aren't Hard SF techno stories. They deal with identity, reality, and paranoia. Philip K Dick like themes.
The difference is these stories are wonderfully written (no one ever accused Dick of being a prose stylist) and focus more on the human reaction artificial or alien context than on paradox and illusion.
They're just plain fun stories to read too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like probably every American who's read this book, I picked it up because I heard something vague about it winning a prize. I exploited Amazon's Super-Saver Shipping policy to get it essentially for free with a case of hot cereal. It took three frickin' weeks to arrive from England, but I'm glad I got it.

I'm glad, because Chris Beckett has a talent you almost never see in science fiction: he knows exactly when to end a story. If you read SF to be entertained, to forget your day-to-day life, and to forget the story itself once your cat needs feeding, then Chris Beckett is not the writer for you. But if you crave thoughtful, smart and subtle - something that involves you in the complexity of life rather than distracting you from it - then you will find The Turing Test very much to your liking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It won the Edge Hill Prize for a reason July 15, 2009
It's too bad this isn't available from a US publisher, because it's a very nice collection of short stories. I don't agree with the "feels like first chapters" comment above. These seem pretty well self contained to me. They are faintly Gaiman-ish, but they are all science fiction, not fantasy. What I like best is Beckett doesn't generally feel much need to explain how things work; he concentrates more on the effects of technology on people than on how it works.

I find it interesting that judges who awarded this collection the prestigious Edge Hill Prize were so apologetic about liking science fiction stories. Maybe if they read more of them, they would realize Beckett is good but by no means unique within the genre.

I assume the $120+ price means these are collectors' editions, but I don't collect books, I just read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lucky buy February 24, 2009
By Robert
I was sold this book at a publishers stall at a convention. I was a bit wary, after buying a book once direct from a famous author at a similar stand and found it unreadable. However, I was recommended this on the basis I like Ken Macleod and Banks. It was a good choice by the publisher and I enjoyed this short story collection. ome of the tales felt like the first chapters of books (perhaps they were) and that left me wanting more.
The feel is a bit like Neil Gaiman. Small tales of personal importance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars captivating stories April 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Such variety and complexity of the stories, yet each one is carefully thought out and touches on big themes. Every one of these stories could easily be a book.
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More About the Author

Chris Beckett was born in Oxford, England in 1955, and now lives in Cambridge, England. He has published three novels - Dark Eden, The Holy Machine and Marcher - and two short story collections: The Turing Test and The Peacock Cloak. He has been publishing short stories in the UK and the US, since 1990.

The Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009, the UK's only national prize for single-author short-story collections. Dark Eden won the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2013.

More information about his writing can be found at

Chris Beckett's background is in social work and he has also written several text books on social work.

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