Been looking for this forever, it was part of an anthology I think and used such generic names that it seems impossible for me to find without knowing the book name.

It's about a shape shifting machine wandering the surface of a planet sized space ship. At the end it’s accidentally killed by people trying to mess with it I think.

I think it was wandering the surface at first long before humans were there until one day it found an engine of the ship and realised that there must be an inside when it saw humans going in, then it wandered all the rooms inside the space ship, avoiding people when they looked for it. Eventually the humans trick and contain it.

I think the ship was just referred to as The Ship, and I’m not sure but the robot might have called itself “Alone”?


1 Answer 1


This is almost certainly The Greatship, a short story collection (and likely the story titled "Alone") by Robert Reed

There is a shape-shifting robot called Alone, and it does eventually work its way into the ship to explore, while hiding from the inhabitants.

  • 2
    This has to be it! Thank you!
    – Bwright
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 12:21
  • 2
    Then please accept this answer, to help others who read this question in future. Thanks
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:30
  • @Mawg, I'm not sure if it's the same on Story ID questions, but I know quite often the etiquette is to wait 12 hour to a day or so to allow all time-zones to see the question, and potentially offer better answers Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Bwright, No problem, you basically found it yourself from remembering the robot was called "Alone" :) Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:32

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