My novella (half-novel) Claudius Rex is the third story in ALEMBICAL 3, a novella anthology published by Paper Golem Press.
<<Turn left here,>> said my new Jeeves 5 artificial intelligence. I’d have happily done it, too–with a spring in my step, even–except there was a manhole open with a robot working in it, and I didn’t care to dirty my interview clothes.
I crossed the street instead.
<<Confound you, turn left!>>
Now, if I’d been creamed by that car while standing slack-jawed surprised in the street, this would be a very different story. As it was, it was a near thing. I now cherish the memory as only the first time Claudius Rex nearly got me killed.
<<Or keep going and then turn left, I don’t care. Just move.>> I hied over to the curb and set myself to figuring out what the heck was going on. One expects a certain standard of behavior from a program called Jeeves: more “Very good, sir” than “Confound you,” if you take my meaning. On the other hand, I’d been out of things for a year. I thought maybe this was the new fashion in artificial intelligence. A few years before, it’d been Australian accents. Maybe now it was rudeness.
“Jeeves,” I subvocalized, “Confirm that you are operating within normal parameters.”
<<Of course I am. Your destination is north and west of here, approximately six hundred meters. Go there.>>
Like I said, I’d been out of it for a while, so that was good enough for me. Let nobody say that Andy Baldwin is unsophisticated. But I’d like some credit for having been suspicious.
Murderers, thieves, kidnappers, spies, and recalcitrant computers. Claudius Rex is my homage to the Nero Wolfe mysteries and one of my favorite cities, Boston.
ALEMBICAL 3 contains two other very fine science fiction and fantasy novellas, and is available in trade paperback and hardcover at the following venues:
If you’ve already read and enjoyed Claudius Rex, may I recommend these other works:
Caves of Steel, by Isaac Asimov (SF detective novel, one of the first to feature an artificial detective)
Kiss Me Twice, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Hard SF police procedural, a different take on AIs and detectives)
The Rubber Bend, by Gene Wolfe (Humorous SF; Robot Dr. Watson meets Robot Nero Wolfe)
Up Against It, by MJ Locke (Hard SF thriller/mystery with a very different AI problem)
Fer de Lance, by Rex Stout (the first Nero Wolfe novel, of course)