I've read a story once.

So, people have received a signal from space and it turned out that the signal was some kind of scheme or something, and when they built that thing, it captured the Earth and started sending the same signal to space. Looked like something like a self-replicating virus in space.

Does anyone remember who is the author of this novel? I'm not quite sure about details but the main idea was about virus replicating through information transimission.

It may be authored by Isaac Asimov, but I can't find such a story from him.

  • 1
    When did you read it? Any indication of how old it was? Language/nationality? – Moogle Mar 11 '14 at 23:06
  • Probably not what you're looking for, but since you mentioned Asimov: His short story Found! matches at least part of your description. Here's a blurb: "Two astronauts on a repair mission to a navigation satellite discover that it’s been infested by a strange, interstellar virus." – Ubik Mar 11 '14 at 23:25
  • I'm sorry, I can't remember exactly when I read it. I just remember this plot. Probably it was even not Isaac Asimov, since he usually tells the story from peoples' side of view. @Ubik, no, unfortunately, that's not it. – Curious Mar 12 '14 at 7:00
  • Try this SMBC strip: smbc-comics.com/?id=3287#comic – b_jonas Mar 12 '14 at 7:27
  • @b_jonas, no luck. Probably the most important part in the story was that virus began replicating itself in all directions to space, it didn't do anything else. So, it was kind of senseless and that's what made the story so tragic. – Curious Mar 12 '14 at 7:46

This is actually a pretty common trope in sci-fi.

There's a couple of the more obvious books that immediately spring to mind;

1) A for Andromeda by Fred Hoyle.

A new radio telescope picks up from the constellation of Andromeda a complex series of signals which prove to be a programme for a giant computer. After the computer is built it begins to relay information from Andromeda. Scientists find themselves possessing knowledge previously unknown to mankind, knowledge that could threaten the security of human life itself.

2) His Master's Voice by Stanislaw Lem;

Twenty-five hundred scientists have been herded into an isolated site in the Nevada desert. A neutrino message of extraterrestrial origin has been received and the scientists, under the surveillance of the Pentagon, labor on His Master's Voice, the secret program set up to decipher the transmission. Among them is Peter Hogarth. When he discovers that the TX Effect could lead to the construction of a fission bomb, Hogarth decides such knowledge must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the military.

| improve this answer | |
  • Certainly not His Master's Voice. – Kreiri Mar 11 '14 at 23:31
  • 1
    Neither of those stories feature the specific type of plot mentioned in the OP, where the device the signal tells us to build is itself a transmitter for the same signal, making the signal into a sort of self-replicating meme. – Hypnosifl Mar 12 '14 at 0:00
  • @Hypnosifl - Given the vague description I was assuming that either could be the answer. – Valorum Mar 12 '14 at 0:03
  • 2
    Not to mention the signal / plans sent in Contact by Sagan. The signal turned out to be instructions to contact the originators of the signal. It's more common than I realized. – Meat Trademark Mar 12 '14 at 0:29
  • Actually, this story floated up in my head while reading "His Master's Voice". I remember that this story was very short (maybe even it was someone just retelling the plot) – Curious Mar 12 '14 at 7:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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