Sunday, June 5, 2016

.identity, by E. Catherine Tobler

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(SF) As the Peragro approaches Kepler-726, the AI and the engineer investigate an attempted infection by a software virus. (5,290 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 117, published on .

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

The science and technology in this story are terrible.

At every step, computer software is described as if it were magical.The description of how the ship howls in pain when two of the secondary AIs are deactivated (with the speculation that maybe the ship has acquired intelligence too) is just painful to read.

The non-software bits are bad too. The ship has solar panels, even though those would be useless for nearly the entire journey. For some reason the ship is accompanied by a comet, which has a tail even in interstellar space. When the rogue AI interferes with the ship's power, it starts to fall into the star.

The general idea that a piece of software would resent being upgraded is extremely hard to take seriously, as is the idea that the engineer responsible would have emotional feelings about the AI. Or that he'd need to put her physical robot body into an escape pod rather than simply making a backup copy.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 117)
E. Catherine Tobler Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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