17 February 2018

Should we design ant-monkeys to do our dirty work?

Science fiction | Orussian Quarantine | Rob J Meijer

This is a story we are told, not shown, a bit in the fashion of Doris Lessing's sci fi (unfortunately, I don't like that style, so this is not a compliment). There are a lot of clever acronyms, but the technology and planet are finally given short shrift. Characters are introduced in detail about their looks and position, but then they don't seem to do anything. The Orus star system is covered in bewildering detail, lots of planets with names and alternative names, but then nothing else, really.

And when a 'water world' turns out to be nothing more or less than a giant fish tank, I just gave up. That's not how water worlds are. There are other physical impossibilities, too. Sometimes, you forgive them if the rest of the story carries you with it, say, emotionally or with a moral question. There is a moral question or two, but it's skirted and never tackled.

Should we design ant-monkeys to do our dirty work? How should we ensure safety for the ant-monkeys, their handlers, and the rest of the world?

Sorry, Rob J Meijer, it's a lot of detail, as if a bigger story is about to jump out at you, but it never does. There isn't any character whom I can remember, just two days later. A potentially nice concept, but it didn't get a good treatment.

You can read it here if you like Doris Lessing style writing.

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