Monday, September 14, 2015

Guns Don't Kill People, by Jacob A. Boyd

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2015; ~3,100 words
Rating: 2, Not recommended

On a remote planet, an AI rifle aims to help her owner deal with real threats to his well-being.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

The gun as protagonist is an interesting twist. The revived wife wanting to make peace with the creatures that killed the original is an unexpected twist--we had expected her to have something seriously wrong with her.

This is an extreme example of "cartoon AI," where the different AIs have personalities and feelings. They threaten each other and even hack into each other's systems. The author keeps using technical terms like "femtosecond" and "nanosecond" with no real idea of what they mean. (Light travels less than a foot in a nanosecond, yet two of the AIs have an argument in that span of time.) Another unscientific bit is that data cannot be sent back to the homeworld more than once in 20 years due to the need for the planets to align. More mundanely, the whole idea that the man wants to murder his wife because she's talking to the local aliens doesn't make sense either.  

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