I read this in a fairly recent sci-fi anthology (probably from the 2000s-2010s). The story was set in the future, on another planet. A young boy finds an intelligent pistol with the ability to talk and manufacture special bullets by means of an internal nanofactory.

The boy starts using the pistol to defend himself, but gradually, the pistol influences him to start forming a criminal gang (I think? I remember the boy started/assumed control of some sort of powerful organization).

The boy implants "loyalty bullets" into the members of the organization--if they ever betray him, the bullets will explode.

I think the boy was a street urchin at the beginning of the story, but I'm not sure. I also don't know how it ends.

Googling for stories about talking pistols turns up nothing useful, unfortunately.

1 Answer 1


Rocket Boy by Paul J McAuley.

Rocket Boy is given the pistol by a spacer called Arpad:

Arpad began to search through his duffel bag. "I promised to give you something, kid. Here. Take it."

It was a pistol. The poisonous green of potatoes left too long in the sunlight, it wasn't much bigger than Rocket Boy's hand. The power LED set at the rear of the reaction chamber sparkled bright red. There were red inserts in a grip still molded to fit precisely the hand of its previous owner.

The ending is a bit of a morality play:

With the power of the pistol Rocket Boy becomes as much a tyrant as the people he originally fought against

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