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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon The first group mind I can remember seeing referenced in fiction was the horrifying Fendahl Gestalt, back in the Tom Baker years of Doctor Who. Collective intelligences were, in those days, almost uniformly evil, malign, or otherwise bad for children and other living things.

The attitude of science fiction authors towards group minds hasn't gotten much better over the decades since that broadcast. The big villains in the recent series of Star Trek are the Borg, a menacing race of cybernetically enhanced beings who attempt to conquer and assimilate entire species into their collective mind. One of the threats mentioned in Ian Banks' "Culture" novels is the "hegemonizing swarm," a kind of Borg-like collective. In contrast to these are the rare positive portrayals such as the Tines in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, a friendly (or, at least, vaguely human-like in psychology) species whose "individuals" are each usually made up of four to six less-intelligent beings. I'm sure you can think of other examples in the literature, as my college English teachers were wont to say.

Caprice's Mars is a collective intelligence. Being one mind, it needs no government. Being composed of so many individuals, it is immensely intelligent. Being enigmatic, it is unclear if it is benign or malign or somewhere in between.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs What he said!