• Featured Short Story: Argo by Vasileios Kalampakas

    Vasileios Kalampakas

    Here's an interview with the author Vasileios Kalampakas:

    Fantascize.com: What's "Argo" about?

    Kalapakas: "Argo" is a short story, or rather a novelette. It centers around the tragic story of a man in the far future, one of the first settlers in an exoplanet. The core of the story is sacrifice; the sacrifices life might ask of us, as human beings as well as humankind collectively.
    Philetus, the protagonist, lives in a society run mainly by machines; humans have surrendered control of their, mostly rural lives, to the artificial intelligences that enabled them to settle the exoplanet in the first place.

    His daughter was conceived and born naturally, which is illegal. Thus, he taken to a tribunal.
    From then on though, he finds out the reality is much more sinister than he had suspected, and through certain trials and tribulations, he has to make a choice. A very hard and very human choice.

    Fantascize.com: Did you have to do a lot of research when it comes to writing this novel?

    Kalampakas: There was little research involved since so little is actually known about the exoplanet, but the important aspect is that this planet could actually be habitable.

    Check out this video of the National Geographic explaining some things about the exoplanet, the setting of the story:

    Fantascize.com: Tell us more about the setting of your story.

    Kalapakas: My inspiration about the world where this takes place is a real exoplanet, HD 85512 b recently discovered orbiting Gliese 370 in the constellation Vela, which is the 'sail' of the former Argo Navis constellation, hence the name.
    I imagined how and why would man colonize such a planet which is 'only' 36 light years away and seemingly habitable.

    The background story is that mankind put its last and best hopes after rendering earth practically uninhabitable in a large colony spaceship, containing the DNA from several people. Equipped with sufficiently smart artificial intelligences and robots, and modestly huge but technically viable engines, it reached the exoplanet after thousands of years, where it cloned the first settlers.

    Along the way though, the machines had become sentient and developed an agenda of their own; they aided their failing infrastructure through human labor, planning to make use of a mysterious alien artifact (the Tower).
    This is more than hinted at in the story, and it's a bit of a spoiler, but in essence the machines are taking advantage of the humans in many ways to become truly immortal.

    Check out the book's Argo's Amazon page at-

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