The Royal Society of Literature Workshops

The RSL & CogX Online Book Club: Ted Chiang’s ‘The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Date: Tuesday 9th June 2020
Time: 20:00 – 21:00
Location: Virtual CogX

CogX’s first online book club will bring together The Royal Society of Literature Members and CogX attendees to discuss the short story, ‘The Lifecycle of Software Objects’, taken from award-winning science fiction author Ted Chiang’s latest collection Exhalation. The club will be led by science fiction writer, and CogX speaker, Temi Oh. The club will feature a guest appearance from Ted Chiang himself, plus responses to selected questions.

Once attendees have registered for the club, they will be provided with a free e-copy of the short story to read ahead of the discussion, courtesy of Picador. We recommend registering as early as possible to allow time to read beforehand – but if you are alwso welcome to join if you havne’t finished it.

‘The Lifecycle of Software Objects’ follows a zookeeper over two decades as she raises an AI housepet, which develops in intelligence. It is a brilliant example of how fiction can grapple with major questions of technology, AI and consciousness.

Ted Chiang won the Nebula Award for his first published story, ‘Tower of Babylon’. Following this triumph, his stories have won him numerous other awards, making him one of the most honoured writers in contemporary science fiction The title story from his first collection of short stories, Stories of Your Life and Others, was the basis for the Academy Award nominated film Arrival, starring Amy Adams.

Temi Oh is the author of Do You Dream of Terra-Two, and was the founder of a neuroscience-fiction book club at KCL. She will be speaking alongside Martha Jane Fox and Dr. Charlotte Webb on the CogX ‘Living Through Fiction’ panel at 6pm, Monday 8 June, on the Createch programme.

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Founded in 1820, the RSL is the UK’s charity for the advancement of literature. We act as a voice for the value of literature, engage people in appreciating literature, and encourage and honour writers.


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