Sibling Rivalry: A Short Story by Anthony Francis

Sibling Rivalry: A Short Story by Anthony Francis
Publisher: Thinking Ink Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (46 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Confronted with a newer, better sibling designed to replace her, the Nicole AI system has decided that instead of becoming an obsolete brain in a box, she’d rather become an unstoppable killer. Written by award-winning author and AI researcher Anthony Francis, “Sibling Rivalry” does not rely on clichéd fictional limitations of AIs. Instead, Nicole’s designer must find a realistic way to defeat Nicole, if he can.

It’s nearly impossible to beat an entity that is far more intelligent than you’ll ever be, but that doesn’t mean Nicholas is going to give up anytime soon.

The relationship between Nicholas, the main character, and Nicole was complex. They both knew each other better than any other person or machine on earth. This made Nicole’s attempts to kill Nicholas far more deadly and detailed than they might have otherwise been.

I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to Nicholas’ biggest flaw. How it affected him varied from one scene to the next. Sometimes it was written as something minor, while at other times it seemed like it could be the reason why he might not succeed in his mission even if he managed to avoid being murdered by Nicole. Every other part of the storyline was wonderful, so this book would have easily earned a perfect rating from me if I’d known exactly how dangerous this flaw was supposed to be.

There’s something to be said for an ending that leaves a reader wanting more. While all of the major plot points were wrapped up nicely, I found myself returning to the final scene over and over again while I wondered what would happen next. To me, this is a sign of a great book! While I don’t know if Mr. Francis will be writing the sequel that could so easily flow from how he ended things, I’d sure like to read it if he does.

Sibling Rivalry: A Short Story is a great choice for anyone who loves science fiction that asks hard questions about sentience and what it really means to make ethical choices.

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