I am searching for the title of short story I have read several years ago. I think it was included in one of the Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories (or maybe some Nebula or Hugo short stories collections) but I have searched for it in any possible manner and didn't find it, so I'm probably wrong. I remember anyway that I was immensely surprised by this story as it didn't seem to fit in the period it was written: it was just too advanced.

What I recall of the story:

  1. It was a about a super powerful sentient weapon built by aliens eons ago.
  2. This machine required a sentient being to operate even if it was fully capable of independent thinking. It was extremely powerful.
  3. The machine was extremely evil but needed to be connected to a lifeform to operate. Regardless every race that used the machine ended up fighting for it and being destroyed.
  4. During the eons of its existence the machine destroyed several different races (one for each chapter), one of them similar to the usual arachnid style races with different queens and eggs.
  5. The POV of the story alternated between the machine and an impartial narrator with some memories of the machines about its previous masters.
  6. Humans had just found the machine. I think one of the squad members, a member of the military, was the protagonist of another sci-fi cycle.
  7. The machine had to adapt to the humans to be operated and one of the first things she taught was that humans were just too inferior to control her, claiming that "they were just apes"

This story is a jewel!

Thanks for any help!


"The Artifact" by W. Michael Gear. Set in the same universe as the 'Way of Spider' trilogy. Oh, you forgot one twist: #8 The artifact is indestructible.

  • Ohh thank you!!!! It is it!!!! I searched for it (obviously in the wrong places) for almost 5 years! Cannot say how grateful I am! Thanks thanks thanks!!!! – eldar May 26 '13 at 11:07
  • @eldar if this answered your question, mark it accepted. – ApproachingDarknessFish Dec 27 '13 at 2:30

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