Description: When the Earth begins cooling unexpectedly, humanity is left with only a few degrees of habitable latitude along the planet’s equator. After establishing themselves as the three remaining powers in the world, the Americans, Chinese, and Russians eventually turn on each other in hopes of securing the last of the Earth’s resources for themselves.
In an attempt to break the decades-long stalemate, the American military turns to Miguel dos Santos — a brilliant Brazilian roboticist — for help in creating the ASRA, or Autonomous Self Replicating Asset. The secret to the ASRAs is their neurological processors, also known as the brainbox, which enables the machines to “combine the logic and reasoning of a computer with the desperation and hate of the human soul.” But as Miguel reluctantly carries out his orders, it becomes clear that he has other plans for what remains of humanity.
This short story (about 7,500 words) is both a technological and psychological thriller which unfolds across a landscape as exotic and unpredictable as it is dystopian and barren.
Review 3.5 of 5 Stars
Brainbox is a short story that I had actually picked up quite a while back. Life has been crazy, but I had a few free moments and decided to plunge on in. The author’s description of the story gives a pretty good basic overview. In the end it was a story that took a really intense set of circumstances to try to teach us that we should all play nice together as humans. It was interesting, but I think it could have been fleshed out in some places. Anyway, keep in mind that it is a short story so if you have a few minutes and enjoy Mr. Cantrell’s work you might want to give it a read. As for me I’m giving it 3.5 stars because though it was interesting in places, it was somewhat predictable and I didn’t really feel I was surprised by any of it. I read and loved Containment, but to me this just wasn’t the same caliber of story.