Friday, December 18, 2015

Iron Pegasus, by Brenda Cooper

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(Hard SF) Cynthia mines the asteroids alone except for her robot companion, Harry. They respond to a distress call, although something seems wrong about it. (2,851 words; Time: 09m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆, Not Recommended

"Iron Pegasus," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in Mission: Tomorrow (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: The setup is very good, and the mystery is interesting. As we realize something is wrong with Audrey, the tension builds. Harry is a very realistic AI; up to the end, he shows no signs of emotion or any behavior that wasn't programmed in. Likewise, Audrey's behavior is consistent with bad programming rather than bad character.

Con: The ending destroys disbelief. Harry flies off with the Belle Amis, even though we've been told that fully automated systems are illegal. He's not flying it back for salvage; he's going off on his own with Audrey. In other words we're led to believe that Cynthia is giving him his freedom.

But his only makes sense if we think Harry has feelings, which, up to that point, it was clear that he did not. Cynthia is giving up the value of two robots and a ship she could have salvaged. Her behavior makes no sense.

Minor point: Belle Amie would be "Good (female) Friend" and Beaux Amis would be "good friends," but Belle Amis is not French.

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