As promised earlier this year, Microsoft has now released a free ebook title Future Visions. It's an original sci-fi short story collection, featuring new works from a number of well-known science fiction authors, and all of them are based on some of the projects that are being developed by Microsoft Research.
The goal of the collection was to have each author give their own take on what the research projects at Microsoft might turn into in the future:
"The idea was to bring authors in to expose them to what some people might think is science fiction. In a way, you could say the world of Microsoft Research turns science fiction into science fact," says Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft. "We didn't show them a piece of technology and ask them to please write about that. We showed them technology and introduced them to a group of people, and then asked them, what did it spark in your mind as ideas, where did it inspire you to think the technology may go?"
The stories in the collection include works by Elizabeth Bear, Greg Bear, David Brin, Nancy Kress, Ann Leckie, Jack McDevitt, Seanan McGuire and Robert J. Sawyer, along with a short graphic novel by writer Michele Rosenthal and artist Blue Delliquanti. Microsoft says all of the authors had access to the people and projects in their Research division:
"They chose the areas of research they wanted to explore. Among the many topics they absorbed were quantum computing, prediction analytics, virtual teleportation and computing that relates to emotion. The writers talked to researchers in person, asked questions and had candid conversations during packed, curated visits in the spring, aligned to their interests."
Microsoft adds that a limited number of hardcover print copies of Future Visions will be made, but they won't go on sale to the public.