The Colonel • 2014 • SF novelette by Peter Watts

★★

The Colonel (Firefall short story)

Summary

In the first half, we witness Colonel Jim Moore fighting a hive mind in tight action. In the second half, he is tasked to risk assess hive minds who might drive humanity into extinction. One of those approaches him with an offer that involves his uploaded wife and his missing-in-action son Siri Keeton, discussing socio-polictical and ethical topics around hive minds.

Review

The story isn’t standalone but set in Watt’s Firefall series, bridging the novels Blindsight and Echopraxia. I had a hard time getting into the novelette, didn’t understand much – it wasn’t enjoyable and I wouldn’t have read it if I knew the prerequisites. Maybe, I’ll return to it after having read Blindsight. I fear that the story spoilers the novel.

The second half was better, though – that is where the second star comes from.

If you’re into Watts Firefall series, this is probably a must-read. If you are not, like me, there are lots of better stories around, e.g. his Collateral or Firebrand.

 

Meta: ISFDB. First published July 2014 in Tor.com. I’ve read it in The Years Best SF #32. It is available online.

 

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