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Our wars were behind us. Mankind was moving out from the planet of
its birth. New worlds were settled and with the wealth of the galaxy
at hand, poverty was eliminated. Then out of a clear summer sky came
the first berserker attack.
The final battles began -- the battles between life and non-life,
between the great killing machines we came to call berserkers and
humanity, all that it was or had ever held dear.
Some of those battles would be waged with lies . . .
by Fred Saberhagen
NEW YORK TIMES
The berserkers -- in single-minded pursuit of their preprogrammed
course of destruction, they attain a kind of perverse stature that
makes them worthy stand-ins for the dark side of human nature.
SCIENCE FICTION REVIEWS
I love the berserker stories.
Truth and lies, denieal and proof, creation and evolution, flesh
and metal -- all have roles to play in the spinning and weaving of
the threads of life. And in which element does the greatest power
---Third Historian of the Carmpan race
Taken from: THE MACHINERY OF LIES
Tanya Serafeddin, peering through the forward windows of the
ground-crawling shuttle in which she was the only passenger, scanned
the flat kilometers of concrete ramp under the endless curve of blue
sky striped with bars of varicolored cloud. Within the cloud-bars
turbulence made many shapes, suggesting and animating one form after
another, some familiar, some fantastic. But Tanya, long accustomed to
the show, ignored it. She was trying to see or at least to guess
successfully which of the parked interstellar spaceships dotting the
broad expanse was the Lady Blanqui's yacht. The problem was
complicated by the tendency of starships of any kind to have
basically the same shape. The generic resemblance did not extend to
color schemes, but Tanya had no idea of what to look for there. Ahead
and on both sides of the shuttle she observed a collection of
spheres, or near-spheres, ranging in size from launches and personal
craft even smaller than a small house to liners and military ships
the size of office buildings.
Now passing on the right was a freighter which had probably been a
month in subspace, voyaging with exotic cargo from some remote world
far outside the Tallart Cluster. And there on the left, in the
opposite row, a hundred meters from the freighter, squatted a
white-hulled Templar warship, bristling with weapons. The fighter
would be poised to leap into space, Tanya supposed, as soon as the
next rumor reached Malawi of a berserker's presence anywhere within
range of a two- or three-day patrol.
When at last the automated shuttle stopped and opened its
right-side door for its only passenger, Tanya felt vaguely
disappointed. The Lady's yacht, called the GOLDEN HIND, was
remarkably ordinary in appearance, and definitely in the small house
range of size rather than that of office buildings. Though Tanya did
not consider herself expert on space armaments, drives, or
detection/astrogation systems, she was able to deduce something in
each of those categories from the outward appearance of the craft.
And nothing she deduced about the yacht particularly impressed her