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We often read reports of how AI (Artificial Intelligence) is fast replacing humans in the workplace. In fact, many companies are increasingly having to grapple with decisions as to when or if even at all human contact is necessary or required with customers.
In journalism autogenerated narrative is becoming the norm —with companies such as Narrative Science generating news reports covering anything from finance to sports. The company Automated Insights, for example, has made their platforms publicly available, allowing anyone to have the potential to have their own team of robotic writers—with little or no programming knowledge.
Every November for the past three years, programmers are invited to take part in the “National Novel Generation Month” (NaNo GenMo) inspired by the popular National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoGenMo came about from a post tweeted on a whim by its developer and artist Darius Kazemi.
The stories gathered in this issue are very much the creation of humans. Our cover art this month is titled the “Amna, Student” by American—Muslim Artist Saba Taj from her “Technicolor Muslimah” series from 2011. Saba says of her work: “Even though it’s just art, it’s contributing to a dialogue that is happening on a lot of different levels. Connecting Islamophobia, and battling against that, to self-identifying as a feminist to becoming more involved in activism across the board, and the process of really getting deep into consciousness building dialogue has really informed my work and taken it to new places. It’s something that is specific to Islam and always has been because that’s where I’m coming from. How do we go to those difficult places? And I think art is a wonderful vehicle for doing that.”
We open the issue with Torrie White’s Cassia County Fair, as Caroline Understands it, a story about that very human experience of love and rejection. A young girl’s attempts to impress a boy lead to unwanted attentions from another and her first experience of the affects of alcohol abuse.
In Home Coming, Cathy Thomas gives a tale of guilt and the consequences of infidelity, as a wife struggles to discipline her teenage daughter (whose party gets out of hand) on returning home to a wrecked house from a weekend with another man.
Regi Claire’s Resurrecting Mr Jingles, shows how a Berlin art curator finds and keeps a house mouse as a pet, only to be accused of animal cruelty by an animal rights activist.
Why I Hate Selkie Stories, by Singapore-based writer Sarah Ang, is the winning story from our 2016 young writiner’s competition. At 16 Sarah Ang’s handling of themes of loss and abandonment is done with great sensitivity while exploiting the ancient legend in a highly original and engrossing manner.
Maria Terrone’s Beauty, Truth and Gloves is the first of two personal essays, about a young woman’s obsession with gloves—leading her to discover like-minded souls in the Worshipful Company of Gloves of London, which traces its origins to the Royal Charter of King James I.
Vikram Kapur gives us our second personal essay in Dead Fathers, an essay about a young Indian student in America, who grapples with keeping his traditional father happy whilst try ing to fit into his new western surroundings.
We end with an interview from writer Niyati Keni—who sits down with winning multi-award-winning author Jane Rogers to discuss nerves, the writing process and more. Jane Rogers’ awards include the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Samuel Beckett Award. She has also been nominated for the IMPAC and BAFTA and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.