First appearances[ edit ] The first story, "Without a Thought" originally published as "Fortress Ship" [1] , was basically a puzzle story, whose protagonist must find a way to simulate intelligence to fool an enemy trying to determine whether there was any conscious being present in a spaceship. Saberhagen came up with the Berserker as the rationale for the story on the spur of the moment, but the basic concept was so fruitful, with so many possible ramifications, that he used it as the basis of many stories. The second story, "Goodlife" , introduces human traitors or collaborators who cooperate with the Berserker machines to stay alive for a little longer. The Builders failed to ensure their own immunity from Berserker attack, or they lost those safeguards through an unknown malfunction that changed the Berserker programming, and they were exterminated by their own creation very shortly after the demise of the Red Race. The Berserkers then set out across the galaxy to fulfill their core programmed imperative, which is now, simply, to destroy all life wherever they can find it.

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Recommends it for: Fans of SF, especially military SF and "space opera" Recommended to Werner by: It was required reading for a course Shelves: science-fiction , short-stories This short story collection, originally published in , is the first book in the long-running Berserker science-fiction series by American speculative fiction author Fred Saberhagen I discovered it through a graduate-level Univ.

Having re-interpreted their programming, the Berserkers decided their mission was to wipe out all organic life, starting with the warring races that made them, and are now sweeping through the galaxy on the same crusade. The stories here are well-written, gripping good examples of that tradition. There are only particles, energy and space, and the laws of the machines.

In other words as Saberhagen was of course well aware! Like many of their real-life human counterparts, they find the existence of other beliefs a dangerous affront, and want to exterminate them; but being machines themselves, they can carry it to the logical next step of wanting to exterminate the "life-disease," whose "units" are capable of the "illusion" of free will, altogether.

The best factor the humans and other living races have going for them in the struggle is precisely what the Berserkers deny exists: "The behavior of these leading units often resisted analysis, as if some quality of the life-disease in them was forever beyond the reach of machines. These individuals used logic, but sometimes it seemed they were not bound by logic. The most dangerous life-units of all sometimes acted in ways that seemed to contradict the known supremacy of the laws of physics and chance, as if they could be minds possessed of true free will, instead of its illusion.

Despite my high rating of this book, I never pursued the series much subsequently though I did read and like the tenth installment, Berserker Fury , which I happened to read because it was a Science Fiction Book Club selection --it can be read out of order as a stand-alone, and my impression is that this is true of all or most of these books.

But I consider this collection a major work in 20th-century American SF, and highly recommend it.


Order of Fred Saberhagen Books

Beschreibung bei Amazon Fred Saberhagen was a noteworthy American author, who was famous for writing fantasy and science fiction novels. He was particularly well known for developing the Berserker series. The other popular novel series of author Fred include Book of Swords and Dracula series. He has served at the time of the Korean War. Fred has even worked for the Motorola company as a technician.


Fred Saberhagen


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