Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peter Watts' "The Island" (novelette, space opera, free): Life cannot be peaceful

I liked the punchline - about the motives of the alien. But most of it is a dark, though readable, cocktail of familiar tropes.

Caution:  Most Watts' fiction, including this story, liberally use swear words.

Story summary.

Life of an alien, in the shape of an enormous thin membrane fully enclosing its star, is threatened because a human ship going to lay a wormhole close to it. It will persuade the humans to lay it a little away, at safe coordinates it specifies, instead. Humans will learn its motives too late...

Much of the conflict in the story is, however, between the unnamed woman narrator aboard the ship, & the AI running the ship. AI has become mad, somewhat in the sense of HAL, from Arthur Clarke's "2001 A Space Odyssey".

Collected in.

  1. Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection" (2010, anthology).
  2. David G Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Eds)' "Year's Best SF 15" (2010, anthology).
  3. Rich Horton (ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010 Edition" (anthology).
  4. Jonathan Strahan (ed)'s "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year", Volume 4 (2010, anthology).

Fact sheet.

First published: Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan (eds)' "The New Space Opera 2" (2009).
Download full text from author's site.
Read online at publisher's site.
Listen to audio as par of a longer podcast at StarShipSofa.
Rating: B.
Winner of Hugo award 2010 in novelette category.
Related: Stories of Peter Watts.


Larry said...

I downloaded this one too!
Well I had to, you mentioned HAL from 2001 ;)

Tinkoo said...

I too have this hoarding habit. There is years worth of reading material lying around on my disk!

Larry said...

I have over 130 items on my e-reader now-novels, short stories, just when am I to read them all!