Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Some Remarks on the Reproductive Strategy of the Common Octopus, by Bogi Takács

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(Far-Future SF) An uplifted octopus finds a mysterious capsule in the water and wonders if one of the long-vanished humans might be inside it. (3,364 words; Time: 11m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 127, published on .

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

Pro: The writing is good. The debate among the octopuses about whether to open the capsule and where was interesting. The notion that octopus intelligence depended on devices humans left behind was also interesting.

Con: Once the pod is opened, the story dies. We never find out what Seaweed was doing there. We don’t find out if the octopus community killed her or if she just died of old age. It’s as though the story had originally been twice this long, but the second half got collapsed into a pair of paragraphs. The result is completely unsatisfying.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Doesn't the end imply that the narrator is addressing a descendent of "those left behind" - i.e. Seaweed and the others from the pods? If so, that means they opened the pods and the humans within formed a community and had children - effectively revenge for the humans having meddled with the lives of the octopus?

    1. I'm not sure. It's an interesting interpretation, though.

  2. The last paragraph says "Seaweed and and the other humans passed on." So I guess they were released but didn't survive for too much longer? I think the person being addressed is a descendant of those who left. Humans have now returned and this octopus is sharing the memories of Manyspikes about finding Seaweed and learning their history with humans.