Does anyone know the title or author of a story where a lone spaceman is walking across lunar surface in a suit that has sentience. The story skilfully teases the reader into believing the spaceman is still alive, but when it is found the suit contains a skeleton.


This is Iain M Banks' short story Descendant, published in his collection The State of the Art.

  • A nice yarn, and one that illuminates some details of the way the Culture deals with the moral questions concerning borderline sentient AIs; a topic not discussed in other stories that I am aware of. Dec 3 '13 at 18:37
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    @dhof, if this is the correct answer, can you click the check mark to mark the answer as accepted? Dec 4 '13 at 11:22
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    I hurt. Good read.
    – user16696
    Jul 5 '15 at 6:11

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