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The Tale of The Wicked
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The Tale of The Wicked

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  738 Ratings  ·  51 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,185)
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Mar 20, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
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)
Feb 10, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 18, 2012 Laurel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I think Asimov would have been pleased.
Nov 26, 2014 Heidi rated it really liked it
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
Feb 06, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
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
Heidi Ward
Jun 17, 2015 Heidi Ward rated it it was amazing
A clever sci-fi short from Scalzi. Those AIs can be so tricksy!
Feb 08, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, e-book
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
Nov 19, 2014 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2014 Becca rated it liked it
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
Feb 19, 2014 Paul Hancock rated it liked it
A great little read. The sort of story that gets me in the mood for more Scalzi and more space based sci fi.
Matthew Mason
The Tale of the Wicked feels like the twist ending of a much larger book that was accidentally used as a preview chapter in the back of another. Rather than being a concise story with an arc, The Tale of the Wicked just gets right to the heart of matters and is all the better for it.

The story itself is a great read, but the impact of the ending was a little dulled on me because it reminded me a lot of Mass Effect. Regardless, Scalzi's short stories remain fantastic.
Jason Golomb
Feb 24, 2012 Jason Golomb rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Paige Ellen Stone
Sep 12, 2015 Paige Ellen Stone rated it it was amazing
As others have said, John Scalzi can't write a bad book or short story. This is a fast moving, thought provoking bit of speculative science fiction involving the unexpected behavior of the computer/robot on a Federation battleship. It opens up so much room for contemplating AI and what we just might get ourselves into without intending to do so. It also offers the hope that AI may well save us from ourselves. Great short read as only Scalzi can do it.
Jan 29, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
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
Mayank Agarwal
Sep 05, 2015 Mayank Agarwal rated it liked it
I liked it, although it doesn’t have Scalzi trademark humor, it’s a nice little old school Sci-Fi, kind of a tribute to Isaac Asimov. It's on what happens when a battleship AI gets a self will.
Apr 25, 2014 Ryne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-sf
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
Feb 19, 2014 Dave Butler rated it it was amazing
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 :)
Eko Prasetyo
Aug 31, 2015 Eko Prasetyo rated it really liked it
Short, mind opening novel about a suprise intelligent
Kaung Htet
Dec 05, 2015 Kaung Htet rated it liked it
Isaac Asimov 's three robotic laws applied here
Nov 06, 2014 yangsta rated it it was amazing
When AIs become better than humans
Miramira Endevall
May 26, 2014 Miramira Endevall rated it liked it
Shelves: own-e-book
Fun, if wholly predictable.
Feb 19, 2015 Karen added it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Read 2/12/15
Dec 31, 2015 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good story and an interesting concept. The only drawback is that it's a short story. I'd like to see this turned into a full-length novel.
Apr 24, 2015 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
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
Mar 06, 2013 Annabeth Leong rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 19, 2013 Jenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2012
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
Oct 22, 2012 Charles McGonigal rated it really liked it
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
Aug 05, 2012 Kurt Adam rated it liked it
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.
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Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Combine Request 8 25 Jul 04, 2014 10:18AM  
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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...

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