Argo

Rated 4.38/5 based on 13 reviews
Searching for the answers to true artificial intelligence, Mira McAllister comes across a strange android named Eo who proves to hold more questions than answers. More

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Words: 13,130
Language: English
ISBN: 9781466083301
About Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a writer and artist, winner of the 2009 and 2010 Ursa Major awards for best anthropomorphic comic strip (http://www.housepetscomic.com), and has won 2008-2010 NaNoWriMo. He owns six hundred and eleven cats and has trained each one to say "Simon Says" at inopportune times in order to confuse small children.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Voice Spider on Jan. 27, 2014 :
This was a wonderful read with a nice blend of science fiction and the furry fandom.

Griffin has composed a story that, if you read the other reviews, seems to have surprised a lot of readers into thinking they were going to read another story when they picked this story up. He has done a masterful job of composing a story where you don't know what's going to happen around the corner and where the build of suspense is going to lead.

But man, what an ending!

I have to say the only reason I had any kind of inkling about what was going to happen was from all the reviews saying that this wasn't the story they thought it was. It got me looking deeper into the storyline than perhaps I should have and thus when the big twists hit I was prepared and already suspecting them. (that said, I only suspected one of the twists, not the others)

This is a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in science fiction or furry fiction. Wonderfully done, the perfect length and a very smooth Twilight Zone feel to the story. Well worth the price.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Chaos B. on June 04, 2013 :
As others have mentioned, the story starts out with a nice sci-fi feel to it, but ends on a very 'Twilight Zone' footing, leaving the reader to look back on the the events and characters in the story in an entirely different light.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Dennis Falk on Jan. 15, 2012 :
While no single element is all that new (much of what has been tackled over the years, from Lang & von Harbou's "Metropolis" to Asimov's "Bicentennial Man" (and other "I, Robot" stories), to Kubrik & Spielberg's "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" and Dick's "Do Robots Dream of Electronic Sheep" (on film as "Blade Runner"), to even an episode of the 1950s radio series "Dimension X"), this short tale indeed is well-written (well above the majority of SF written particularly in the furry community), with likable characters. Without giving away the ending, it is indeed "Twilight Zone"-ish, with a hint of "The Matrix", in a way that's typical in literary hard-SF.

....And I think I'm in love with the mouse ani-droid, Eo... :)

Worth the buck twentynine. :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth McCoy on Oct. 14, 2011 :
I'll be honest; this wasn't the story I was expecting and it may well be suffering by half a star to a star because of it. The protagonist, Mira, isn't allowed to find out things that the readers get to find out and isn't allowed to change the world she's in. So as the fluffy short story I was wanting... It disappointed.

As a Twilight Zone experience? It's perfect. It sets up a world, it sets up some spooky contradictions, and then it rips the rug out from under everything, leaving the *reader* viewing everything differently. Read it in that mindset, of not-quite-horror-but-disquieting, and you'll probably find it pretty darn enjoyable.

Typos/Grammar issues: Minimal. I think I found one or two awkward bits that stood out, but I find those in everything because I'm a pedant. Fellow pedants should breathe relatively easy on that front.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth McCoy on Oct. 14, 2011 :
I'll be honest; this wasn't the story I was expecting and it may well be suffering by half a star to a star because of it. The protagonist, Mira, isn't allowed to find out things that the readers are and isn't allowed to change the world she's in. So as the fluffy short story I was wanting... It disappointed.

As a Twilight Zone experience? It's perfect. It sets up a world, it sets up some spooky contradictions, and then it rips the rug out from under everything, leaving the *reader* viewing everything differently. Read it in that mindset, of not-quite-horror-but-disquieting, and you'll probably find it pretty darn enjoyable.

Typos/Grammar issues: Minimal. I think I found one or two awkward bits that stood out, but I find those in everything because I'm a pedant. Fellow pedants should breathe relatively easy on that front.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: David Goldie on July 30, 2011 :
What we have here is a great little short story by writer/artist Rick Griffin. While the stories plot is perhaps a bit Cliche, its still well written and quite enjoyable.

The world it's self is very interesting (as usual for Rick) and I would like to see more of it if Rick wishes to write more. The main characters are very likeable (again as usual for Rick, see his Webcomic Housepets! for a much longer example.), especially the two Ani-droids. For the price you pay for it its well worth your time to grab and read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Gary Shi on July 26, 2011 :
I love both of Rick Griffin's art and writing. I am a HUGE fan of his work. His comic strips make me smile.

I was rather amazed how most/all of the Ani-droids were female. I was further amazed and surprised to find out that the human was actually.....you'll have to read it to find out.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jeffrey Taylor on July 21, 2011 :
When I bought this I was expecting pictures; I love Rick Griffin's art. Fortunately, I also love his writing. This story is as good as some of my favorite similar length science fiction, and would have taken long enough to draw that we couldn't have gotten it for $2. I'm very, very happy to have supported this creative mind a bit.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Chris Pascal on July 01, 2011 :
Great little story here. Don't let the cutesy cover art fool you, this story gets dark and philosophical by the end. It targets a number of big concepts: what does it mean to be human? What constitutes consciousness? Would we know it when we see it? The world may be saturated in cute, innocent-looking "ani-droid" robots with cuddly animal features, but what's really hiding under the adorable façade? You may be surprised by the answers, and equally frustrated by the questions that are left to linger.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: chipuni on June 30, 2011 :
Argo is a meditation on consciousness and creativity.

Lily, an engineer, creates and updates ani-droids: anthropomorphic machines that serve humanity. By accident, Lily meets Eo, who is both an ani-droid... and a creative engineer.

From spending time with Eo, Lily starts asking herself difficult questions: Can a machine be creative? Can a machine have personal desires? Can a machine be more than the sum of her programming?

Rick Griffin has thought hard about the world that could set up his situation. Every part of the story fits together perfectly, creating a perfect jewel of a story.

The story has two weaknesses. Since they both give away major plot points, I have encoded them under ROT-13:

Guvf fgbel vf qrrcyl fvzvyne gb Qb Naqebvqf Qernz bs Ryrpgevp Furrc ol Cuvyvc X. Qvpx

Gur svefg jrnxarff vf gung Yvyl'f orunivbe vf abg zhpu qvssrerag sebz Rb'f orunivbe (rkprcg sbe gur uvture fgnghf gung Yvyl unf nf n uhzna, naq gur qrrcre xabjyrqtr gung Rb unf.) Vs gurl unq orra zber qvfgvapg, gur erirny jbhyq unir orra zber fhecevfvat.

Gur frpbaq jrnxarff vf gur punenpgre bs Zbgure, jub perngrq Rb. Nf fbzrbar jub jnagf gb xabj jung unccrarq, V nccerpvngr Zbgure'f vasbezngvba. Ohg Zbgure unf ab fgebat ernfba gb tvir ure ybat fcrrpu naq qrzbafgengvba ng gur raq bs gur abiry -- rfcrpvnyyl fvapr Zbgure unf gur novyvgl gb vzcynag zrzbevrf. Vs fbzrbar oernxf vagb n ubhfr, ohg bayl trgf nf sne nf gur svefg ebbz orsber orvat fgbccrq, gura gurer'f ab ernfba gb thvqr gur vagehqre guebhtu nyy bs gur ubhfr'f frpergf orsber gur vagehqre'f zvaq vf jvcrq.

Gur fgbel jbhyq unir orra zber rssrpgvir unq gur znva punenpgref arire zrg Zbgure qverpgyl, naq unq fubja gur erirny yrff qverpgyl -- creuncf ol svaqvat n ivqrb qvnel.

Nonetheless, this story is excellent, and it's very worth reading. I hope that Rick Griffin continues to write and to grow as a writer.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Dione Basseri on June 30, 2011 :
About a year ago, I discovered Rick Griffin's amazing "Housepets" comic and a page-per-task reward system allowed me to finish my college classes on time, which attests to the draw of his stories. Though I am extremely excited for his NaNoWriMo Housepets writing project, and almost piddled myself thinking this was it, finding something completely different was in no way disappointing.

Despite the inclusion of "furry" characters, this is some strict sci-fi. Behind the main story, Griffin gives the readers a peek into a future world that has enormous potential. A world where androids (or ani-droids, as he styles them) are not only commonplace, but vastly outnumber humans, while not rebelling, a la Asimov. Ani-droids have been surrounded by their own maker community, with simple garage mods and more complex artworks created by professionals, such as the narrator. Readers will find themselves fantasizing about their own ani-droids and the world they populate.

While you probably wont see this among the Nebula or Hugo nominees, Argo would fit in well among the Starshipsofa or EscapePod podcasts. And, for $1.29, it would make a great evening read for any fan of androids, furries, and last-minute twists. Highly recommended.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Shawn on June 30, 2011 :
I know this isn't the longest review of a book ever, though, I had to take a break to put one up for this book. I have read enough to tell you that the book is worth way more than the $1.29 price tag. I'm not going to go into detail about the plot and characters, because of the simple fact I haven't read the whole thing yet, and I don't want to spoil it! I read to page 23, and I'm glued to it. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Ty Coyote on June 29, 2011 :
Argo is a short story by the artists/author Rick Griffin, and by any means it is a thinking story. It raises important, if not interesting, questions about consciousness, artificial intelligence, and dreaming. Does it answer them all? Hardly. In fact, I daresay Argo raises more questions than it answers. I suppose in a longer work, the questions raised about 'living' and self-purpose could be answered, but only somewhat. In a broader sense, any answer would only come off as half contrived and merely plot relevant. But because this is a short story, much of it is left ambiguous.

But this is okay. This is a thinking story, and you don't do much thinking if the all the answers are in the back of the book.

I want to give a small synopsis, I really do. But beyond merely giving you the names of all the characters and descriptions, I fear that I can’t, in good humor, say much more. In the short amount of time, Rick Griffin has a quick, yet meticulous sense of pacing that makes it difficult to talk about without revealing a key plot element, or a spoiler, if you will.

I can say with some certainty that it has been much too long since the last time I've truly been floored by a piece of writing. Not in the mere sense of being a well written work, which Argo certainly is, but in the sense of a true, honest plot twist. And at that, Argo has a plot twist that is very well thought out and created, and neither a "Dues ex machina" nor an egotistical manipulation of the plot. The answers are nearly there from the beginning and is revealed in a single, defining moment.

I can also say this much about the characters. They’re well versed and seem to resonate separate parts of us. The main character, Mira, is the deep thinker of all of us, staying up way past our bedtime to ponder the things that seem just out of our grasp. Lily, Mira’s ani-droid (distinct difference), is the meekness inside of us that wants to understand, but knows that such questioning is a bit arbitrary, and perhaps pointless from day to day living. And on the other hand, there’s the ani-droid Eo, who ceaseless questions and eagerness is the child inside of us all.

The final character, however, is truly one to behold. Again, I can't say much. I can only say that this character is awesome in the true awe-inspiring sense. She is a character to be feared, if not for her characterization, but for what she represents, which is the Truth.

And that’s what gives this story that magical touch. It will make you think and question, which is something rare even in commercial writing, and something that I wish to emulate in my own writing.

In fact, it will have you checking your wrist for a bit.


~cc
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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