Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Offending Eye, by Robert R. Chase

★★★☆☆ Nice Setup

(Space Opera) Dr. Chaz is assigned to investigate an AI unit that’s suspected of having become intelligent—even though that’s supposed to be impossible. (11,796 words; Time: 39m)

"The Offending Eye," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 07-08|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.330 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a good setup for a longer work. My guess is that there will be a series of these, but it’s possible the author plans to turn this into a novel.

The setting is very rich. There’s a plausible faster-than-light drive, and human space is divided among the Stability, which tries to provide the best environment for baseline humans, the Eternals, were the elite get immortality, and the transhumans, who augment human abilities arbitrarily. The three groups are in the middle of an uneasy ceasefire that’s not war but not quite peace either.

It does a decent job of introducing the key characters and letting us know a bit about them. I’d definitely like to read more.

Normally I’m very negative on stories where a computer built with anything resembling modern technology becomes intelligent or “overrides its own programming,” but, in this case, a conventional system was modified with very different technology, so the usual objections to an “emergent AI” don’t apply here.

Con: It’s not complete. It ends with Dr. Chaz having figured out what’s going on but without having taken any action to deal with it.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. I believe this is a sequel to "Vault" from Analog July/August 2019.