Saturday, March 2, 2019

Tea Time with Aliens, by Jack McDevitt

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(First Contact) Clyde and Margo’s mission gets a last-minute change when something looking like an unknown type of rocket is seen in low Earth orbit. (5,666 words; Time: 18m)

"Tea Time with Aliens," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 03-04|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.117 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The idea that humans might simply wither away in the face of AI that met all our needs has been around at least since “With Folded Hands,” but I liked the idea that the AIs, still trying to protect intelligent life, decided to leave us alone for now.

Con: This story is a horror of contradictions. It’s decades in the future, since BFR is already obsolete and there have been Mars Landings, but somehow Angela Merkel is still German chancellor. The robots don’t want to contact humanity, yet they land for no purpose whatsoever after knowing they’ve been detected.

The orbital mechanics don’t make much sense either. From orbit, you don’t just look down, see an island, and then land on it. Nor do you get half-way down and contemplate returning to orbit.

The conclusion, that the only civilizations that survive are the ones run by women, is pretty ridiculous since it assumes that the whole notion of women is the same across all alien species.

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