Super-Earth Mother by Guy Immega is the epic hard-scifi recounting of how mankind reached and finally colonized distant exo-planets, through the help of the AI agents and caretakers, the Mother series.
“In the beginning, I created human life—a rare and precarious success”
Mother-Nine has been brain-damaged and faulty ever since the Gamma-Ray Burst nearly fried her artificial brain. But even in her diminished state, she is driven by the need to populate the distant worlds, to care for her children. She hates playing Goddess, but what’s a mother going to do? Not reinvent mankind and let them die out on some Super-Earth halfway accross the Galaxy?
Thus Lifeboat-One begat Attom and Eva, who begat Lois and Clarke, who begat Jack and Jill…
Hard science fiction has always been a hard sale for me. Maybe it’s because I like the products of science but never had a head for its reasoning and process, or maybe because my first experiences with the genre were rambling story-like structures that spent more than half their length explaining the real-world method and limitations behind it all while slapping me in the brain with graphs. It took Greg Egan to change my mind and for Guy Immega to get me interested in the sub-genre again.
The story details (in not too much gruelling detail) an entire planet with a colorful ecosystem of stunning variety. It explains how the modification of humans is necessary to allow survival in alien worlds. It theorizes on the origin of mental illness and its possible link to human civilization. It makes you smarter, even as it keeps you at the edge of your seat. It also makes you care about a brain-damaged, almost impotent AI trapped in the orbit of a world that is slowly killing her.
- 6,000 words-ish
- Valencia could kick Pandora’s ass in sixteen seconds flat.
- Guy Immega is a retired aerospace engineer, therefore knows what the heck he is talking about. Visit his website, here
- You know you’re reading a good hard scifi story when it has conveyed Fermi’s Paradox in two paragraphs.
- This story is included in the Extreme Planets anthology, to be published by Chaosium this month. Find out more about its line up and scheduled release here.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org