18 March 2010

"Brief Candle" : Suggested Reading

READ IT HERE: "Brief Candle"
BY:Jason K Chapman
IN: Clarkesworld
Genre: Science Fiction

This is not a flawless story, but it is interesting enough. It takes a little sani-robot on a journey through knowledge, consciousness, life and death and even the idea of self-sacrifice. The difficulties with the story-telling come near the start where one has to accept that teaching a sanitation robot how to play chess will expand its mind. However, once that hurdle is accepted, the rest follows reasonably enough.  It only remains to accept that the robot is also experiencing something like adulation for the human who programmed it with the chess game.

One of the interesting things about the story is that we only get the robot's point of view, and so we can never know for sure if the aliens are a threat to humanity or if Dunham is simply as mad as he seems to be. Even if the aliens were known to be a threat of some kind, what would the right reaction be?

Would you nominate this one for a Hugo? See what you think.

Morva Shepley

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