REVIEW: "Guns Don’t Kill" by Richard A. Lovett

Review of Richard A. Lovett, “Guns Don’t Kill”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact January/February (2020): 159–163 (print) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Contains spoilers.

This piece contains three separate stories about “smartguns” — i.e. guns controlled by AI. In each case, the guns prevent their respective owners from doing something bad or stupid, like committing murder or killing deer when it’s not hunting season. Some terrible tragedies are successfully prevented.

There are a few things to like in Lovett’s story. Using AI as a solution to senseless gun violence is an clever idea — perhaps unrealistic for a real world implementation, but clever nevertheless. On the other hand, the plotting and characterization leave a lot to be desired. The first two vignettes were dull and forgetful, grossly overshadowed by the author’s obvious attempt at a message. The third vignette works a little better. The alternating points of view between Ethan and the cops went a long way into keeping the tensions high. I only wish the final twist (AI conversing with itself) was not there, as it accomplishes nothing but enforce an already heavy-handed message.

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