Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Things, by Peter Watts

SF gets a fair bit of mileage from revisiting a classic and telling it from a different point of view.  Peter Watts does this brilliantly in The Things.  It's a retelling of John W. Campbell's Who Goes There?, told from the point of view of the alien taking over the bodies.  In the story it was easy to believe in the mindless evil of the assimilator, a story told many times over in SF.  But assimilators can have their own point of view--in this case the Things have accumulated the wisdom of the universe, and are wanting to add to the store, improving Man in the process.  We might not want it to happen, but the creature certainly believes it is doing good.  Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series has a similar point of view.  This has to be the short story front runner for Hugo 2011.  4 stars

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