Berserker Q2 - The Stories

1

"And so I have truly set down the acts and words of Earth Descended men great and small and ordinary..."

The eleven stories are:
1. Without a thought
2. Goodlife
3. Patron of the Arts
4. The Peacemaker
5. Stone Place
6. What T and I Did
7. Mr Jester
8. Masque of the Red Shift
9. Sign of the Wolf
10. In the Temple of Mars
11. The Face of the Deep

The first story sets up the situation between Earth and the Berserkers. The rest build on this.
Goodlife, Patron of the Arts, The Peacemaker, Stone Place, Mr. Jester, and Sign of the Wolf all feature different kinds of people and how the Berserkers shape their lives

Stone Place, What T and I Did, Masque of the Red shift, In the Temple of Mars, and The Face of the Deep all follow one another and share characters – principally Johann Karlsen, Mitchell Spain, and Filipe Nogara. These, more than the other batch, explore how humanity shapes the conflict with the Berserkers.

Did you prefer one type of story over another? Which stories did you like best? Which ones not so much?

Comments

  • 0

    Broadly speaking I preferred the longer stories to the shorter ones (hence Stone Place in particular) but that's largely because of a preference for more development than can possibly happen within a short story. Of the others, I particularly liked The Face of the Deep which IMHO was a very strong concept and well written. I don't think that the particular division of stories you suggest especially affected my enjoyment, though now you have pointed it out it is a very sensible separation of ideas.

  • 1

    Without A Thought was interesting because it obviously came about from Saberhagen reading about MENACE, a matchbox-based machine learning system (and, if you're interested, a description of a recent rebuild ). I spent a few minutes working out how "simple" the checkers game would have to be for a MENACE instance to be feasible.

    I liked the stories where we looked at the people held within the Berserker machines. That wasn't something I was expecting, and I thought it was handled well. Sign of the Wolf was a fun aside and did a lot to show the range of the setting. Generally, the hints at world-building were intriguing, but I think that's for a different question.

    As with Richard, I think I preferred the longer stories. I didn't much care for the recurring characters, though. They weren't strong enough for me to look forward to seeing them again.

  • 0
    > @NeilNjae said:
    > Without A Thought was interesting because it obviously came about from Saberhagen reading about MENACE, a matchbox-based machine learning system (and, if you're interested, a description of a recent rebuild ). I spent a few minutes working out how "simple" the checkers game would have to be for a MENACE instance to be feasible.
    >

    Thanks for that link! I hadn't come across this before despite liking Martin Gardner's musings in the past (esp Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions)
  • 2

    Patron of the Arts and Mr Jester were the weak elements for me. I thought The Stone Place and that sequence through to The Face of the Deep were quite good. In some of the stories, I think Saberhagen made the punchline a little too plain. I don't think it was really necessary, for example, in the last story, to first reject the mock humans by their lack of awe, only then to have real humans show up and display proper awe. I would have chopped the last few lines out.

    I quite liked Without and Thought and Goodlife, too. Actually, overall, I thought it was a decent collection of stories. Most collections have more 'misses', in my opinion.

  • 1

    Conversely I didn't care for the series of stories that start with Stone Place. I didn't care for those characters. I also didn't like Goodlife much either. The others I liked better.

  • 1

    @clash_bowley said:
    Conversely I didn't care for the series of stories that start with Stone Place. I didn't care for those characters. I also didn't like Goodlife much either. The others I liked better.

    Stone Place wasn't too bad, but I got the feeling that the other stories with these characters were related to some other stories (novels?) that we didn't see. They seemed to be written for people who'd read those other stories.

  • 1

    I also thought that, but the one dimensional characters bothered me more.

Sign In or Register to comment.