Jan 27th, 2018, The Final Commandment: Trey’s Story by James Gunn, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2018

James Gunn continues and finishes his series of back stories for characters in his Transcendental space opera series with this story. Instead of a story, however, this strikes me as a fictional history. The whole thing is told in summary–there are no scenes–and since Trey is a machine, it spans hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The piece is about a planet in which intelligent life formed both on land and water simultaneously resulting in a planet-wide war. While the land civilization created machine weapons, the sea civilization created bioweapons. When both civilizations wipe each other out, the machines that land civilization left behind, reach up to the stars to explore the solar system only to find there is a galactic federation they can become a part of.

Unlike the last installment by Gunn, which had some interesting ideas in terms of alien life, the whole A.I., nonorganic sentience, is so tried and true I found little of interest here. The summary wasn’t immersive and the doomed civilizations weren’t particularly sympathetic in their striving for power. Hate to say it, but rather forgettable for me. Gunn has written things I’ve enjoyed, but I wouldn’t put him in the same league as some of the other writers that have been featured this month. (D)

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