11

I would like to know the title of the short story that I believe takes place on the moon. The setting is a mall or some other very public location and the main character is a police officer. She needs to talk a sentient bomb out of exploding. I know there was the John Carpenter film "Dark Star" with a similar plot line but I'm trying to identify the short story and the author.

  • 1
    A nitpick: The sentience was a human mind that was built into the bomb, the bomb was a perfectly ordinary uranium gun design otherwise. It was just a future-tech version of a suicide bomber, I wouldn't really call the bomb sentient. – Loren Pechtel Jan 11 '12 at 23:53
  • There's also a Philip K. Dick story with a similar plot (not happening on the moon or near a mall). And then there's The Centauri Device. – user56 Jan 11 '12 at 23:59
  • @Loren - now that I've reread the story-it's probably been 15-20 years-I see that you are correct. – Strangeland Jan 12 '12 at 15:13
  • @Gilles - I'd love to know the name of the PKD story if you can recall. – Strangeland Jan 12 '12 at 15:17
15

John Varley's short story Bagatelle has this plot.

Original publication appears to have been 1976. My copy is in the 1980 anthology The Barbie Murders (named after a short story in the volume, for anyone who's starting to get confused).

It opens

There was a bomb on the Leystrasse, level forty-five, right outside the Bagatelle Flower and Gift Shoppe, about a hundred meters down the promenade from the Prosperity Plaza.

"I am a bomb," the bomb said to passersby. ...

  • 3
    Aside: I've often felt that Varley is particularly good at setting the hook in a few words. The opening to Steel Beach is a classic that way, and this story is a fine example as well. – dmckee Jan 11 '12 at 23:53
  • 3
    That is absolutely it. Thanks! Available online at web.archive.org/web/20070212114356/www.scifi.com/scifiction/… – Strangeland Jan 11 '12 at 23:53
  • @stangeland +1 for link, will give it a read :) – AidanO Jan 12 '12 at 10:23

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.