Tom Purdom. A response from EST17. (Asimovs, April/May 2011).

A not particularly memorable story. Two exploration vessels have arrived on an alien planet from Earth. Both are controlled by AIs, but they are from different factions on Earth. Co-incidentally, each engages with a different alien faction on the planet.

The story has potential, in terms of the AIs, and the politics, but doesn’t really deliver – it’s routine rather than inspiring. The aliens aren’t particularly alien (humans with feathers rather than fur, duh), and the final conflict is delivered with the dramatic impact of someone describing a real-time strategy computer game.

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