Toby Litt. The Melancholy. (Interzone #229, Jul-Aug 2010)

Originally broadcast on BCC Radio 4, the story is in the form of an audio report. The person making the report is addressing his concerns with the behaviour of an AI, now lost to his research agency.

The AI has spent many, many years on on Europa, embedded in a deep-sea exploration vessel. Periodically the AI is returned to base – beamed back to Earth – and incorporated back into its mechanised housing for debriefing and analysis.

The senior engineer reporting his suspicions of the loss has insight due to his own personal situation – but will he be seen as projecting his issues, inappropriately, and unscientifically, onto the AI. He has suffered loss and pain over the years, and he believes that the AI is suffering from its mechanised housing back on Earth having been modified between tours of duty to something not recognisable as home.

It’s a short story, a simple conceit, and works well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *