Berserker Kill

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Saberhagen, Fred. Berserker Kill. New York: Tor, 1993. ISBN 0-312-85266-5.

Important book in the berserker series of stories about "bad machines": machines working to sterilize the universe, with Earth-descended Solarian humans as a special target. BK shows us a living member of the species of the Builders (sic) of the beserkers and deals significantly with the themes of recorded personality, storage cases for zygotes, artificial wombs, VR, computer programs functioning as people, seedships, and a literal version of the mind/body problem. For recorded personalities, see W. Gibson's Neuromancer series and F. Pohl's "Day Million," Heechee Rendezvous, and Annals of the Heechee; for seedships, see J. Williamson's Manseed and the works crosslisted there; for "machines" becoming human, see R. Zelazny's "For a Breath I Tarry". (BK is also useful for suggesting ways of discussing human [et al.] zygotes as "protopeople" without closing the contemporary abortion debate by coming down firmly on the "prolife" side.) (RDE, 17/01/94)