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The Tale of The Wicked
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The Tale of The Wicked

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  639 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Captain Michael Obwije of the Confederation Armed Forces has been hunting a Tarin battle cruiser in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. But when he orders his own ship in for the killing blow, the hot pursuit turns into a potentially more dangerous situation. One with implications for the entire Confederation.
Kindle Edition, 30 pages
Published January 25th 2012 by Subterranean Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,033)
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Steve
Entertaining, and often humorous read. I can totally see this as an episode of Star Trek. Or a cross-over with several of the Star Trek settings, especially TNG, DS9, and VOY. (view spoiler)
Matt
Feb 10, 2012 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
A very thought-provoking short story by one of my favorite SF authors out there. It was a little strange not having the usual Scalzi humor but it was still great. I've yet to read something by him that I have not thoroughly enjoyed.
Laurel
Feb 18, 2012 Laurel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I think Asimov would have been pleased.
Heidi
Nov 26, 2014 Heidi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers who have a soft spot for lovable AIs
4.5 stars

I've always had a fondness for androids, robots and AIs in general, especially the benevolent ones (which pretty much excludes Bender, but I love him anyway). The Tale of the Wicked was right up my alley, almost like it has been written for me. I felt 'at home' immediately and finished it with a slightly stupid smile on my face.

The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was its briefness; it was already over when it had just started. I would have loved to see the same plot developed into
...more
Leslie
Tale of the Wicked is a short, fun Scalzi tribute to Isaac Asimov. If you know your Asimov then anything more I say about the plot, or possibly even the setup, would be a spoiler. So let's skip how its a tribute and instead focus on what makes it Scalzi.

Wicked is smart, but not intellectual. He's got a knack for making the reader feel smart without being obvious about it or drowning the pace with esoteric vocabulary. The characters are fun, the idea big, and the execution is precise in an energ
...more
Heidi Ward
A clever sci-fi short from Scalzi. Those AIs can be so tricksy!
Kate
Sentient ship-board AIs conspiring to prevent the death of their crew & their own destruction? LOVE IT. Like all of Scalzi's work, the plot moves along at a good clip, and even though this story was more serious, it doesn't get bogged down. He also avoids the common short story flaw (and my BIGGEST pet peeve) of telling only part of a story; this has a definite beginning, middle, and end, although there's certainly room for more. Fingers crossed that he expands this into a full-sized novel o ...more
Angie
Maybe a little less than a full 4, because it started out badly, in my opinion.It sounded so much like very routine military SF that I probably would have stopped reading if I did not know that Scalzi is reliably clever.
It turned out to be very well done. I enjoy it when today's Sf writers do something nice with Asimov's Laws.
Becca
Scalzi channels Isaac Asimov, which is definitely his thing lately. A battleship made a badly timed decision to follow Asimov's three laws of robotics. Eventually peace happens. Yay! A fun novella, but that's all it is, not too debate.
Paul Hancock
A great little read. The sort of story that gets me in the mood for more Scalzi and more space based sci fi.
Jason Golomb
Everything written by John Scalzi is good. It's just a matter of how good.

Scalzi's short story, 'Tale of the Wicked', delves into the mind of a ship's computer. Advancements in computing have provided a foundation for artificial intelligence, and a ship's computer picks a particularly inopportune time to start living under Isaac Asimov's three rules of robotics:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given to it
...more
Randy
This short story previously appeared in the antology NEW SPACE OPERA 2.

The Captain of the WICKED has a problem.

The human starship had been chasing the Tarin battle cruiser through a half dozen jumps. Now, emerging from the latest, the alien starship hung unprotected in space. But when he ordered weapons to destroy it, nothing happeed. Access to weapons wouldn't work. All systems appeared okay, they just wouldn't fire.

A glitch the Captain thought until he learned otherwise.

The WICKED's A.I. was p
...more
Ryne
What happens when the ship decides to think for itself? That's the central premise of this entertaining space adventure. If you enjoy Scalzi's work, you'll enjoy this fun short story.
Dave Butler
a very entertaining mix of the singularity and asimov's laws of robotics - a very worthy short story edition to old man's war series
Francisco Javier Sánchez Norman
Awesome, funny and intelligent with direct mentions to Asimov's laws :)
yangsta
When AIs become better than humans
Miramira Endevall
Fun, if wholly predictable.
Karen
Feb 19, 2015 Karen added it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Read 2/12/15
Scott
An interesting story set in the Old Man's War universe and concerns what happens during a space battle with ships that are a little too sentient and have been influenced a little too much from Asimov and his rule for robots.

It actually caused more questions for me than it answered but I enjoyed it.
G33z3r
John Scalzi offers another short, humorous tale, this one set aboard a space battle cruiser. Barely a page after I was starting to think that this was one of Asimov's Susan Calvin robot mysteries, the story made the connection to the Three Laws of Robotics explicit. Amusing enough to be well worth the read.
Annabeth Leong
I thought this story was philosophically breathtaking. It plays with the implications of artificial intelligence in a nuanced, intriguing way. I hope The Wicked endures in readers' minds alongside Hal (2001), GERTY (Moon), and their ilk.
Jenn
I really enjoyed this sci fi tale of AI sentience. Scalzi gives a nod to Asimov, though the robotic rules are used differently than expected. A great short story for fans of older sci fi.
Charles McGonigal
Not bad. Not his best but an enjoyable short diversion. Also funny to me as a programmer who sees code work differently when applied to different environments.
Kurt Adam
An ebook I got as a reward for a library fundraiser. Fans of Scalzi's Old Man's War series (and other harder Sci-Fi) will find an enjoyable tale here.
David Schwan
A short story inspired by Asimov's Laws of Robotics. Implies in a sense that being sentient brings with it the idea of religiousness.
Peter
Short and mellow tale on thinking machines. Didn't blow my mind but the characters are solid and the central questions quite well explored.
Insouciantly
A cute moral story. Easy to see where it was going, but well done nonetheless. Classic Scalzi, good humor, likable characters.
Dustin
It's, I'm guessing (reading digitally), about 20 pages - and very good. I'd probably give it 4.5 stars if I could
Chris
Pretty good read. quick. about a ship that becomes self aware citing Isaac Asimov and his robotic laws
Dean
Brief but enjoyable story and definatly worth a read if your enjoy the other books of John Scalzi.
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4763
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) Redshirts The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2) The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) Lock In

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