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Trapezium (Short Review)

Trapezium presents a puzzle in the form of three humans, an AI-adjacent being, and a race to discover a weapon capable of controlling him. It’s funny and thought-provoking, showing us interconnected worlds that are getting closer to understanding the mysteries of the universe.

TRAPEZIUM

Tony Ballantyne
Analog Science Fact & Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue

Spoiler
STORY

Trapezium is the story of humans trying to survive a deal they made purely for the money. They know this machine they’ve taken custody of is dangerous, but they agree anyway in order to make a profit. It’s almost the death of them, and were they not able to logic things out, it would have been. The most interesting part of the story is the examination of human societal beliefs in relation to dominance and romantic couplings. The machine doesn’t understand our logic, and juxtaposing our beliefs against his beliefs shows how different cultures can be from each other. It added an anthropological aspect to the story, which worked well with the underlying desire of the characters, and the human race, to learn and adapt.


CHARACTERS

The AI is a fascinating character, exhibiting a predator drive that permeates his surroundings at all times. He is capable of getting in people’s heads, using his impersonal beliefs to pit people against one another. His construction is full of originality, his body made of bits of code formed into a physical presence. It was a great expansion of the AI concept into a species of machines that have their own culture and set of beliefs.


SETTING

Trapezium takes place on a sentient space ship on its way to a planet known for its commitment to expanding human knowledge of the universe. The ship is an interesting character and, though she doesn’t actually speak, it’s implied that she has a mind of her own. She keeps secrets from those she doesn’t trust, and her instant fraternization her AI passenger causes concern among the human crew. I love the concept of a ship with its own mind, able to make decisions on its own behalf. It’s a common enough concept, and the author does a good job adding in those complexities in short space.


CONCEPTS

Alien, Machine, Artificial Intelligence, Space, Space Travel

Interested in more stories like Trapezium? Read our short reviews here.

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