I remember reading this story 7 to 13 years ago in a thin book, that judging by its a bit worn-out state, could've been released many years earlier. I'm not sure if it was an anthology or just included that story. The cover of the book had an orange shape of a man on a black backdrop and the title contained the number 3000.

The story follows a space ship captain, who is travelling a mission in solitude, aside from his ship's on-board AI who keeps him company, even though the captain internally comments on how "stupid" it is. Something happens and they arrive in a new, unexplored zone. They discover a ship that was previously considered lost. The captain realises that the ship AI has become sapient, now conversing with him like another human being. The AI also comments that the zone is very bright, full of light, which the captain didn't realise at first, because the ship's outside view screens had an auto-dimming feature.

Eventually, something compels them to return back home. The captain realises that going back will degrade the ship AI back to its initial level of sapience. The story concludes as he listens to the ship AI's parting messages.

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    I've added the [short-stories] because of your description of a "thin book". If you don't think this is appropriate feel free to remove the tag again.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 8, 2018 at 14:05
  • Could you give us some idea of when you read this, and how old you think the story might be? Jun 8, 2018 at 14:42
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    Sapient as in "The ship AI appears more intelligent than it previously was" or sentient as in "the AI appears to be free thinking and newly capable of independent thought"? Basically, how dumb was the AI initially?
    – AAlig
    Jun 8, 2018 at 16:00
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    Flowers for A.I.gernon :-)
    – RDFozz
    Jun 8, 2018 at 17:51
  • @AAlig I think I covered that in the original question text. Jun 8, 2018 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


Going solely by the clues "The cover of the book had an orange shape of a man on a black backdrop and the title contained the number 3000", could it be this?

Cover of "The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln XL-3000 and Other Stories". The cover shows a gray-skinned figure, with an orange torso, with cybernetic implants visible on their face and neck. A hand with circuitry visible is resting on their shoulder. The background is blue and black.

The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln XL-3000 and Other Stories

No clue about the content. It's 300 pages though which is not a match.

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    The Amazon summary lists a few of the stories in the book. While none of them appear to match the OP it does say there are more. Maybe one of the others will sound familiar?
    – Xantec
    Jun 8, 2018 at 19:00
  • Nope, definitely not the same cover. I don't remember there being much other than the ORANGE MAN(not just text), rather in full length than portrait and the text. Jun 8, 2018 at 23:36
  • Aw bummer. Is it like an orange silhouette of a man or more like a regular picture? Jun 9, 2018 at 0:32

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