by J P Koenig
What do you do when you find yourself the sole survivor of the complete destruction of Earth? Nikola winds up in that position, disembodied in a half-built asteroid outpost, the last remnant and only hope of the human race. Nikola exists now only in digital form, controlling drones and cameras to interact with the world. But Nikola's memories are fractured, and there are endless obstacles between awakening as a glorified computer program and saving the species. Is Nikola even human anymore? Is it even possible to resurrect humanity?
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That's what this story promises to be. It has Asimov's love of viewing humanity through the lens of our machines, framed by Crichton's love of technical detail and suspense.
It sets high stakes, with the earth destroyed by the most banal of alien world-killers that I've seen outside of parodies, and only a mining AI to try to save the genetic remnants of humanity as a seed-ship. An AI that's had portions of its mind erased, edited, and possibly broken by the very humanity that it's trying to restore from scratch.
Snippets and memories of the human being that was converted into this machine are featured in regular intervals, creating a connection to humanity that feels both poignant and disjointed, in the best ways.
While excessively wordy at times, it kept me hooked the entire story while I absorbed the information, considered the implications, and found myself agreeing that even the most absurd aspects of the science fiction felt natural and a logical extension of our current development path.
In short, I found not a single flaw in the premise. The execution, too, was nigh unto perfection, with the closest thing to a flaw being that it was a little slow in chapters 2 and 3, as we absorbed quite the info-dump alongside the main character. Still, it managed to be an interesting info dump, so this story gets perfect marks on the overall score and an eager declaration that it will appeal to every reader of hard science fiction.
For now, at any rate. The danger of this story is that it's still ongoing, and the text is promising a ride that it might not be able to deliver. If it does maintain this quality, and gets a decent editor to clean up the minor flaws and help streamline the text and pacing, then this story could find itself in the literary archives with the best of them.
I don't give unearned praise, ask anyone. This story deserves its 5-star rating.
I'd like to start by saying that I love stories from the perspective of an Artificial Intelligence. They're extremely rare, and nearly always good. This one is off to a great start, with an asteroid-based AI finding itself the sole survivor of the human race.
To date, I've only read a single other story about a human turned AI. It was called Chrysalis, and it was brilliant. I'm very glad I could find another take on that plot, and I'm interested in where the author takes this story.
I like the fact that the aliens aren't some incredible god-like beings with wacky superscience. The fact of the matter is, nuclear weapons are powerful things.
The alien design seems a bit odd, and I'm not certain why that is, but it could certainly be intriguing. Strange root-tentacles and tree-shaped ships suggest a more biotech-focused race, but their hulls contradict this.
I agree with some of the other reviews in that there are some areas of lengthy technical descriptions, but I didn't notice it too strongly until it was pointed out.
The main character's gender is somewhat confusing, at first I read it as a man because of the name Nikolai, but some of the memory flashes made me think otherwise.
All in all, I believe this to be a brilliant start to an excellent novel, and I eagerly await its continuation. Its flaws are minimal, and it's far better written than most things you'd find out on the internet. I wouldn't be surprised to find it in a bookstore.
To the author, I plead with you: Keep this work alive. Don't let it suffer the fate of so many other promising stories. Keep it coming, and finish strong. I'll be with you all the way.
People calling this hard SF don't quite grasp the concept. It's mid-range on the scale at best with a few Big Lie bits of pseudoscience. That's no knock on the story, really crunchy hard SF is damned difficult to write and even harder to write well.
The flashbacks weren't handled poorly, but they weren't fantastic either. The worldbuilding was (intentionally, I suspect) more than a little vague, but that's no sin for a short piece. On the whole it felt largely coherent. Most importantly, the author understands that stories must at some point end. Too many amateur writers just drag on and fucking on with filler until the end of eternity.
The premise is a bit fucky and seems to have some deliberately concealed holes. One of the big ones being: if Sol's resources were so damned important that immediate xenocide was the favorable approach, why was the subsequent exploitation thereof so limited in scope?
I spotted a few mistakes usage errors and typos, but not big or consistent enough to go back and pick any of them out.
The characters were a bit flat, with a lot of predictable "twists" and an overly heavy moral theme for the protagonist that distracted from the plot.
On the whole, this is well worth a read if you're a fan of science fiction that isn't unredeemable trash like Ready Player One, any Dune novel not written by Frank Herbert himself, or any of the sequels to Rendezvous with Rama. That said, it's also well behind other similar works like The Last Angel and Chrysalis (the r/HFY one) in quality and consistency.
Sadly it seems my Internet cut out as I was attempting to post my original review as such and this one is unfortunately shorter than I originally wanted. Sorry about that LOL.
As I was saying before the Internet so rudely interrupted, this is, of your two novels that you have posted,my favorite.
This seems to fit your style much more as the emotionless or if not emotionless than the less than an emotional way you write dialogue. It fits the character very well and allows you to show how he is traumatized while also being somewhat mechanical.
I love how his memories interrupt the flow of the chapters in the best sort of way showing us the reader how disjointed and fragmented he really is.
Honestly this novel reminds me a little of infinity by Jeremy Robinson in the fact that you don’t know how sane the MC actually is, which allows for a sort of unreliable narration.
I love it
I will be following this novel so keep up the good work and I hope to read a lot more!
This is one of the greatest Sci-Fi i have read on this site, and it stays close to the roots of what Sci-Fi should be, while also expanding on it in a unique way.
The main character is the Human AI Nikola who boots up on a unfinished asteroid outpost, after getting it started, she finds out humanity has been wiped out and she is the last hope of them having any chance of further existence.
Considering all the other characters so far have been AI's, the author has done a great job at making them have some kind of personality, this does really show in the early part of the story.
The plot describes the aftereffects of the end of humanity. How the AI Nikola goes to rebuild and expand while finding out what has ended humanity and how to prevent that from ever happening again. There are just so many parts to the story, from the beginning, discovering what happened, the reasons for the fall, the start of the revenge, the war. An important point to the overall plot as a whole is the beginning of each chapter that describes a event of the past, this helps up to unvravel the mystery of what happened even further.
The story has some of the best constructed science-fiction technology i have read so far. This only shows just how much effort the author spent into researching so the technology makes sense, without going tooo much in it works because it is Science-Fiction. The technology is well described, atleast when the story focuses on it.
The author is essentially writing multiple storylines at once, the main storyline with the AI's, the background information dumps about the fall, and the memories of Nikola, this is normally very difficult to pull off, but the author has done it extremely well.
Grammar is near flawless, there are next to no typo's or mistakes to be found at all.
By all accords, Post Human is a great Sci-Fi story, written by a author thats very talented at writing Science Fiction. I do highly recommend any fans of Sci-fi to read this, this also does count for anyone who is just interested in a good story to read.
J.P. Koemig is a fantastic writer. This story is amazing and a nail biter. The style is very good along with no grammar problems. The Author explains the Scince and Mathematics well enough for even a dummy like me can grasp. The characters and flow of the story are detailed and enjoyable.
:D CHEERS (c)
Compared to the universe, humanity is worth less than a particle of dust. This novel takes that concept to paper.
This novel perfectly illustrate what will happen if humanity makes contact with a alien civilization a few hundred years from now. The answer: We loss the war and are wiped out EASILY
But humanity is a resourceful race that are harder to kill than cockroaches. With a single AI, a large collection of supplies, the majority of humanity’s knowledge, and a cold storage of the last remnant of humanity’s genes. We might be revived.
So far, I’m loving this novel because it doesn’t pull its punches when addressing a potential apocalypse. I’m just waiting till they meet up with another Ai civilization, because I refuse to believe a race like the Cybertronian doesn’t exist.
This is a true gem on Royal Road. I have always been on the look out for stories on the caliber of this one. I have nothing but the greatest hope that this story continues for a very long time.
TL;DR: Great plot. Excellent use of suspense. Masterful attention to detail and believability. Likeable, 3 dimensional protagonist. This is top shelf, commercial grade stuff. Among the best on RR. Read it.
Full review forthcoming.
"nuclear weapons were used, and the alien ships were destroyed"
You know what?I love stories where aliens follow the laws of physics.A nuke, with the force it has would destroy a large portion of a small ship made of our finest, strongest, metals.Of course, these ships would be small, or the nukes would be gigantic, but it makes you think that humans had some engineering feats comparable to them, which is something that many sci-fi stories don't bring up, and that is the fact that all species would realistically have different types of technology researched, and aim for different things to suit their species.
I think the chapters seem to have some Info-Dump, but besides that the story is pretty good.Now I will go play stellaris, and re-write my review in the near-future.