This is a wonderful short story that combines a variety of elements - human nature, science fiction, philosophy, and even some humor. It makes good use of dialog to paint the picture, but I did get lost a few times with the quickly changing characters and keeping up with who was speaking. Still, it was easy to follow the story. Also, I might suggest using fewer exclamation points. But these small items don't keep me from enjoying the story and the outcome. It is typical of the human race to be selfish when it came to the end and no solution could be found. The "test" aspect of the story was a nice twist in addition to the alien component.
The story was entertaining as well as thought-provoking, which is an added bonus while being entertained. The story was very well written and used imagery to a good advantage. I especially could relate to Mitchell's description of his boring daily life. And speaking of imagery, I liked the original artwork for the cover image.
In conclusion, I liked the story and give it a rating of 4.5 stars.
This story would seem to come from a professional author. Very polished and well written. I love the take on the theme, to use a wizard and magic. Very clever how "the wizard" is never named, but Horatio as the assistant's name brings to mind another great magical assistant.
The imagery is excellent, you can feel the wizard's rage and see him smashing things in his lair. The explanation of the situation is easy to follow in spite of the technical issues. I also really liked the visual effects of the "grid of glittering fields" in the body of the story.
All during the story Horatio remains unconvinced of the wizard's plan and continues to advocate for further negotiations with the Bosums and the council. However, the wizard's mind is made up and he solves the problem for humanity himself by marching off with his fire wand.
In conclusion, the mix of science fiction and fantasy was a success. I am giving it a rating of 5.0 stars.
This story has an excellent take on the parameters that were presented as the basis. I loved the fact that we actually got to see the aftermath of the decision that was made. It was a clever move to send Dave, the AI, out into the universe to ensure that future civilizations could hear about our species and our sacrifice.
The research and technological aspects of the story made it very believable and realistic. You can see that a lot of thought and background went into the writing. The only criticism that I have is that the sentences are very long. I often had to go back and reread them to get their full value and meaning. But the fact remains that the story and the writing are good enough that I WANTED to go back and reread to make sure I got the full value!
It surprised me after the way the World Council debate seemed to go that the decision was indeed to sacrifice our exsistence. And it was saddening to learn that the decision was in vain, that the sacrifice had already been made by other civilizations and was therefore unnecessary for Earth to die. It gave the story a variety of emotions for the reader to experience.
In conclusion, this story was also a success and a good read. I am giving it a rating of 4.8 stars.
These three stories were all excellent and a pleasure to review, while being a nightmare to pick a winner! Good luck to all three authors, and to the person in charge of making this decision - I don't envy you!
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