Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Moment

Short Story by Lawrence M. Schoen

An imaginative but overly long future history of alien intelligences observing a human footprint on the moon. First a post-singularity feeling "archaeocast", then a civilization of sentient dust-sized clones who fight inter-clone wars, followed by a cannibalistic broccoli prince, a medical gastroforensiology peer review choir, an intelligent library protocol, some cometary auditor particles who have been imbued with animal cunning and accounting skills, and finally a coterie of proto-godlings and their tutor end up tracing back the history of the place and the special significance of humans as compared to all these other aliens.

Everyone has read this "humans are so special because X" kind of story a million times before, and it is no more profound or meaningful or moving this time around, but at least the imagination is better. There is a certain dry humor to many passages that I appreciate, and the aliens are well imagined and different, but it's all imagination and no substance.

The only memorable thing about this piece is the concept of medical journals being reviewed by a group of researchers and choral directors. There are some cool (but irrelevant) concepts, and some chuckle-worthy lines, but overall, there's nothing to see here.

2 cases of fatal cannibal indigestion out of 5.

Available online on the author's website
Podcast by Escape Pod read by Graeme Dunlop
Originally published in Footprints

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