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Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Mistake" by Larry Niven

First appeared in Stellar #2.  Reprinted by Joseph D. Olander, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Isaac Asimov.  It was up for a Nebula.  Caveat:  Plot revealed.

While Commander Elroy Barnes is tripping on a drug, a mind-reading Martian visits and demands military secrets.  Barnes refuses.  Alien uses force and Barnes demands a little blue pill.  The alien relents because Barnes's mind is clouded by the drug.  When Barnes's mind clears, so does the alien.

Interesting POV piece.  It seems to be playing with a dual POV, but maybe there's really only one.  However, what would the mistake be if the alien is just a figment?  This may refer to Vishnu's dream where humans are just a figment of his dream and we are just his players without true free will.

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