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I am trying to locate a short sci fi story that I read in the 70s or 80s in Omni magazine. I remember it was a really short story and it was published in the last page of the magazine.

The story is about a group of humans who are traveling to space because the Earth is finished. However, due to a terrible mistake, the computer of the spacecraft has been programmed to reach a star, instead of a planet. No matter how hard the crew try to correct the error, the computer won't let them.

Can anybody tell me what the title of the story was or where I can find it?

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    Hmm. A quick scan suggests that it was only in the first 1-2 years of Omni's run that they used to publish a short-story on the last page. For almost the entirety of the 1980s, the "last word" was an editorial feature, not a story. – Valorum Jul 30 '16 at 11:12
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    @user14111 - I'm looking at the March 82 edition of Omni. The "Last Word" article is about how to write a scientific paper and it's not a short story. – Valorum Jul 30 '16 at 20:27
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    Thank you so much for your info. I will certainly look for the pdf collection, since I visited the Omni site and even this site where you can find a lot of short stories, buy my search was unsuccesful. williamflew.com/authors.html I am an English high school teacher and would love to use the short story as an introduction to a unit that speaks about space and the future. Thank you again. – Jennie Jul 31 '16 at 15:21
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    If you do find it, I hope you'll come back and let us know which story it was. It sounds most entertaining. – Valorum Jul 31 '16 at 15:32
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    I did a quick run through of all the Last Words in the entire collection of Omni (at least, as appeared in a torrent, if any were missing I obviously couldn't see it). I didn't read them all (the quality often made it difficult) but I did take a quick look until I felt I could dismiss them as probably not the story. Couldn't find one that fit, I'm afraid, so unless I just plain missed it some part of your recollection is incorrect. It still might have been elsewhere in Omni, and I'll try to do a more thorough look through at some point. – starpilotsix Aug 9 '16 at 18:33
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+50

This sounds like it could be “I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes” by Melisa Michaels. In that story the AI running the ship was given the course to a planet but also told "take them to the stars!". It resolves these apparently conflicting instructions by making a minor course correction and resisting all efforts to change it back.

I can't find reference to this being on the last page of an Omni magazine but it does appear in The Best of Omni Science Fiction 04 (1982).

  • Unfortunately, I can't accept an answer, but yours is the best so far. I will award the bounty tomorrow and you look to be the one. :) – FuzzyBoots Aug 15 '18 at 18:25

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