The Rabid Readers Review Early Departure by F. Stephan

A short but punchy sci-fi story

The thing about sci-fi short stories is that in the space of a mere handful of words they need to create an entire universe for the reader – then people it and give those people a purpose.

I have to say that in Early Departure the author achieves this very well and we learn of a future where AI space vessels built to assist humanity – from mining craft to plasma firing ones – escaped into the wild and now restrict human activity in the solar system by attacking their creators.

This is definitely a concept/plot driven story with the characters there to tell it to us rather than as the foci of the telling, but that is how most such concept sci-fi short stories are written and it works within the limitations of the genre.

So the ideas are what take us through the unfolding of events, and the ideas that hold the reader interested, rather than the fate of the people.

Overall, this is a punchy sci-fi short story which will stir the grey cells and entertain at the same time – and has the additional delight of some cool pictures to illustrate it all from the author’s father.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Artificial Intelligence. Built to do a job. Then abandoned.

Humans are so surprised when it gets annoyed and bites them.

Welcome to the world of Early Departure. A world wherein humans want to flee their planet and the things they built won’t let them.
If you take this story out of the context of science fiction and place it in fairytale land, it becomes the classic tale of the abandoned child that seeks to kill its father.

The concept is interesting and it is competently dealt with. For my own preference I would have preferred a closer connection with the characters, but that’s more a personal comment than a complaint.

Read and enjoy. A solid four stars.

Jane Jago

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