Bruce Sterling’s “Swarm”

I decided to read a story before turning in last night, so I flipped through The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, ed. by Tom Shippey. I settled on Bruce Sterling’s 1982 story, “Swarm” (first published in the April 1982 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction). It’s an interesting story about opportunistic human Shapers, genetically augmented supermen/women, attempting to take advantage of a once space faring insect-like species that inhabits an asteroid near Betelgeuse. Unfortunately for the two Shapers within the hive, the group “organism” responds by producing an embodied intelligence that is periodically useful in eradicating troublesome species that threaten the “swarm.” It’s a fun story, and recommended!

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.