I'm looking for a science fiction short story I read in a magazine about 20 years ago, with a very similar premise to Dark Star. The story was narrated by a nuclear bomb that was either sentient or an artificial intelligence and described the war they had fought with humanity. Unfortunately, I can't remember many details, but I remember a few things about it:

  1. The story started with the description of a memorial statue of someone.
  2. At some point in the story, the bombs had to take refuge on the Moon.
  3. They needed hydrogen to recharge their batteries.
  4. They were digging the surface of the Moon with their "telescopes".
  5. They considered detonation as their ultimate purpose, but were not too keen for it.

I know that these details are vague, but I'm hoping it might ring a bell with someone.

  • 8
    This is a very well asked story ID question. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 21:59
  • 4
    When I read this all I could think of was ST:VOY "Warhead"....
    – Arammil
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 2:12
  • @Arammil I was about reading to say the same thing after reading the title. Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 6:04
  • I think this came out much more recently, and it's not a short story, but this sounds an awful lot like Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt. Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 21:23
  • 1
    This reminds me of Lungfish by David Brin. But that's about ancient A.I. war machines on a planetoid at the far edge of the solar system contemplating the approach of human explorers, some of the details are weirdly similar though.
    – Ash
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


The story could be "Bagatelle" by John Varley. It is in his Barbie Murders collection of short stories and novelettes (also called "picnic on near side"). But I am not sure it is the one you are after because I do not remember details. It does take place on the moon. In "Bagatelle", the bomb is sentient with an organic brain. Also it was published in 1976 which is a bit early for the date you give. But it might have been republished.

I highly recommend anything by John Varley. An excellent author, with some style, and a very original and realistic world. With a very personal sense of humor as I recall. I did not realize it, but he seems very under-read for his quality of work. Has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

The full text of Bagatelle is available on Internet Archive. Even if it is not what you look for, it is worth reading.

Buy the books too, hopefully he will write more.

  • I found that book online, but it wasn't on the Internet Archive, and it wasn't the same as the original question. Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 20:47
  • Good that you found it. It may have been on the Internet Archive when I answered. Too long ago for me to remember. I was not sure it was the answer, and said so. But it often happens that we modify or mix stories in our memory, so that there is always a chance of being useful with an answer that does not fully fit. Glad you found the text. I hope you enjoyed it.
    – babou
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 21:55
  • @BrianMinton It's in the Internet Archive now.
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:05
  • 1
    No war with humanity in that story. Just a terrorist who is his own bomb. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:10

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.