The story was either in Analog or Asimov's probably. There's a slight chance it could have been Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy but I don't think so.

Father invents a teleportation device in the nick of time to send his son away before soulless absorptive Borg/Berserker-like alien machines descend and take over in their relentless march across the galaxy. There may have been a pod-people like aspect to the takeover, so more Borg (personality-subsuming/destroying) than Berserker (eg, total physical destruction).

Son survives to fight for humanity's survival or maybe he's the last human? I think he works on trying to recapitulate the technology of the transport mechanism? Something like that, but that's not the important part.

I can't put my finger on it, might have just been where I was in my life at the time, but I found the passages around the father urgency and despair sending the son away particularly, hauntingly affective and would love to read it again.

The dates 1999-2007 are extremes, I think it was closer to the center of that time span, probably 2003-2005.

I tried looking through back issues that I had on hand, a couple of years later, but no luck. "Transporter" or anything like it is such a common thing that I have had no luck with search engines.

2 Answers 2


The story was published as "The Little White Nerves Went Last" which is identified as part of the "Thousand Cultures" series in ISFDB . As I recall, the rest of The Armies of Memory was not in Analog - but this story is easily separable from the rest of the book (being a flashback by Shan) and so was published as a standalone short piece. This review confirms that Shan and Giraut are in the story:

The thought conversations between Shan and Girault are handled in a way I’ve never seen before, and the technique works. While it uses the common—and possibly clichéd—themes of prejudice and hate, the nature of humanity, and the interactions of humans and robots; Barnes delivers it in a fresh way that’s entertaining, fun, and emotionally moving.

"The Little White Nerves Went Last" is the name of a section in Armies of Memory and the title page notes that "portions of this novel appeared in somewhat different form in Analog."


This sounds like a part of the story The Armies of Memory by John Barnes (2006). From Wikipedia:

As Rielis questions Shan, Giraut and Rielis rapidly come to know what happened on Addams to cause it to lose contact with Earth. An aggressive alien aintellect-run invasion overwhelmed their defenses and killed everyone not in hiding—their goal being to destructively holograph brains, deconstruct aintellects and send back those memories and experiences to their home planet to be consumed as entertainment for their dependent organic creators who had isolated themselves in virtual reality. Only by advanced planning by Shan's father and help from his personal aintellect was a very young Shan able to escape via springer [instantaneous interstellar teleporter] to Earth.

The story was originally published in either Analog SF&F or Asimov's as a multi-part story, possibly a year or two before the paperback edition.

  • The ISFDB page for that story doesn't show any serializations, nor does the Wikipedia page.
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 23:04
  • Looking at the Wikipedia page, the element of the father sending the son away certainly matches. I don't recall this being part of a series, but it could have been. I certainly don't recall the broader context, but if in fact it had been serialized and then edited into novel form that might be sufficient to explain it. I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy of the novel or possible the reviews listed in ISFDB and see if I can sort this out further. Not a slam dunk, but at least a promising lead. Also will look for other Barnes short work around that time in case it's a companion piece.
    – deejoe
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 20:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.