What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, October 1984
SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. scifi short story(?): human decadent interstellar empire: AI, FTL [s]

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message 1: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Nov 20, 2014 12:28PM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1767 comments SOLVED: "Herbig-Haro" (info) by Eric G. Iverson (aka Harry Turtledove)

I'm almost positive this is a short story, as I almost always finish books I start, and I didn't get to finish this one.

Most likely culprits are Analog or Asimov's. Roughly, mid-70s up until 1998 (at latest, and more likely '92). At one point I'd bought a rather large stack of these, but I've been looking thru my stuff and I can't find them...

The premise was that humanity had spread out to the stars, with FTL drive, and had conquered (economically and/or militarily) every other alien race met (and there were a lot). But, the sociological problem was that the FTL was too good, and thus every human with an iota of ambition/drive went out to be in charge of something, or conquer. Thus, all the people with get-up-and-go/self-motivation left, and humanity started a slow decline. Initially all that inner-drive had led to a bunch of advancements/a golden age, like AI which has been put in charge of ships, etc. But when all the movers spread too thin, education, and people who wanted to be educated declined (I think a subtext was that smart people weren't making (enough) babies together anymore). Now, 200+ years after the initial push to empire/spread, humanity has old ships, cranky AI, and no ability/means to fix them/make new things. Humans are just tired old administrators of aliens who work in human bureaucracies, and humans who aren't super-competent, and no competent technicians.

Protag has an old (200yr?) AI running his ship/helping him, and is one of the few competents (sorta) and has been assigned to the frontier as a troubleshooter. He has to deal with loser humans who can barely hold their bureaucratic fiefdoms together.

And then he hears troubling rumors of (most likely, memory fails here) another expansionist alien empire (ie: like humans were back in the day) - which is thus an impending threat to humanity...

Cue cliffhanger, and where I left off reading. :P

message 2: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2095 comments "Herbig-Haro" by Harry Turtledove (http://turtledove.wikia.com/wiki/Herb...)?

message 3: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Dec 23, 2012 08:48AM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1767 comments That's awesome. I'd found the "Road Not Taken" in 3xT under Turtledove's name after many years of searching (which I'd also been looking for) and assumed that I'd put these two (different-ish) stories together.

Nice to know that I wasn't crazy :D

Btw, 9hrs and 6 views. Great job. :)

message 4: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2095 comments Glad to help.

Justanotherbiblophile | 1767 comments organizing, nothing to see here.

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