Hot Best Seller

Arbitrium

Availability: Ready to download

Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. I Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. If Vashti is successful, she and Arena will reach a diplomatic agreement; if not, the Arenavirus infection will continue to spread, and humans will have to race to try to find a vaccine or treatment. As she navigates the diplomatic discussions, Vashti is also trying to connect with her daughter Alma, who lives on the other side of the country in a technology-averse commune. By the time the negotiation ends, Vashti discovers that Arenavirus have learned some impressive and deadly tricks from their interactions with humans. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


Compare

Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. I Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. If Vashti is successful, she and Arena will reach a diplomatic agreement; if not, the Arenavirus infection will continue to spread, and humans will have to race to try to find a vaccine or treatment. As she navigates the diplomatic discussions, Vashti is also trying to connect with her daughter Alma, who lives on the other side of the country in a technology-averse commune. By the time the negotiation ends, Vashti discovers that Arenavirus have learned some impressive and deadly tricks from their interactions with humans. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for Arbitrium

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    For Vashti, the first impressions are always of color, though she knows other ambassadors whose exchanges begin with sounds, or smells, or particular physical sensations. It is an idiosyncratic experience. Today, the opening salvo is a cloud of iridescent gray, pearled like a thousand raindrops congregating around her, warm and gentle. Soon, the cloud is scented with the toasted cardamom of her grandmother’s best cake, and then it begins to coalesce into shapes: a cashmere sweater; a sun-flecked For Vashti, the first impressions are always of color, though she knows other ambassadors whose exchanges begin with sounds, or smells, or particular physical sensations. It is an idiosyncratic experience. Today, the opening salvo is a cloud of iridescent gray, pearled like a thousand raindrops congregating around her, warm and gentle. Soon, the cloud is scented with the toasted cardamom of her grandmother’s best cake, and then it begins to coalesce into shapes: a cashmere sweater; a sun-flecked plate of buttered toast; Killian, the wire-haired mutt she owned as a child. Comfort, the Arenavirus ambassadors are obviously saying, in their own, strange ways, nestled within the host body of the rat. Reassurance. Calm. 3.5 rounded up - this was a really interesting idea of negotiation between familiar aliens and humanity. A lot of information to take in, but I found it fell on the side of interesting over data-dump, but I felt the ending was missing something. Free from Tor: https://www.tor.com/2022/05/25/arbitr...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    In the age before pathogenic diplomacy, most of human history, viruses were always looking for that bridge to the next organism—trying to cause the sneeze that projected infected droplets of sputum across a room, the hemorrhaging that left the victim’s body coated in tainted blood. If they ran out of bridges, they died on the island of the last poor soul they had infected. How much better for everyone, human and virus alike, if they multiplied in a milder form, without causing all that death an In the age before pathogenic diplomacy, most of human history, viruses were always looking for that bridge to the next organism—trying to cause the sneeze that projected infected droplets of sputum across a room, the hemorrhaging that left the victim’s body coated in tainted blood. If they ran out of bridges, they died on the island of the last poor soul they had infected. How much better for everyone, human and virus alike, if they multiplied in a milder form, without causing all that death and alarm. If no one was very upset by their spread, or even took much notice. Someday in the future, do you think we’ll be able to communicate, to negotiate with lesser life forms like, say, a virus? Is it fair to call them “lesser?” So, they have desires, and in this way, the negotiation is like any other. Figure out what they want, figure out what you’re willing to give, try to get as much as you can while conceding as little as possible. Vashti remembers her high school drama class, lying in darkness on the dusty planks of the stage while Ms. Saetang stepped carefully around her and her classmates, whispering, “What does a rock feel? What does it think? What does it want? Be the rock.” It had been as good a preparation as any for her job. An interesting short story from a writer I hadn’t read before. Great teaser from Tor.com and it worked. I will look for more from this author. https://www.tor.com/2022/05/25/arbitr...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I had both a hard time with the believability of the premise, as well as the execution. It just didn't work well for me. I had both a hard time with the believability of the premise, as well as the execution. It just didn't work well for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews

    This tale takes the idea of having a bad day at work to an entirely new level. Humanity may go extinct if Vashti fails. It’s rare for me to find science fiction about viruses that can communicate with humans, so I was thrilled when I discovered this short story. Intelligence in other species doesn’t have to look anything like human intelligence in order to be valid or, in some cases, dangerous. I was intrigued by the thought of how the world would look through the eyes of a creature so different This tale takes the idea of having a bad day at work to an entirely new level. Humanity may go extinct if Vashti fails. It’s rare for me to find science fiction about viruses that can communicate with humans, so I was thrilled when I discovered this short story. Intelligence in other species doesn’t have to look anything like human intelligence in order to be valid or, in some cases, dangerous. I was intrigued by the thought of how the world would look through the eyes of a creature so different from us, and Ms. Sachdeva certainly gave me a lot to think about there. Her decision to frame everything through the perspective of a person trying to communicate with the enemy was a smart one, too. There was plenty of room for character and plot development in the interactions between two such wildly different species alone, much less everything else that was happening in the storyline simultaneously. I found myself wishing the ending had been given as much time to develop as the beginning and middle had to work with. The plot twist near the last scene was such a game changer that I was surprised to see how quickly the ending appeared from there. I’m not the sort of reader who expects everything to be wrapped up neatly, especially in a genre like science fiction that often thrives on unanswered questions, but I did find myself wondering if I’d missed something after I finished this piece. It would have been truly helpful to have a bit more information about what was happening there. Vashti was a well-developed protagonist who had a sympathetic backstory and a likeable personality. Of course, it’s not strictly necessary for me to like a character in order to empathize with them or to be curious about what will happen to them next by any means, but it’s always delightful to get to know someone in fiction who I think I’d get along with quite well if she were a real person. She was a logical, calm individual who thought through everything carefully and had a contingency plan for all sorts of possible outcomes. I wanted to sit down with her and ask her at least a dozen questions about her work. That is a sign of memorable writing in my opinion. Arbitrium was full of surprises.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    The idea of a human diplomat who negotiates with viruses would have been arresting even before the 2020s, but I feel like this maybe wasn't the best length for the notion. Mention them in passing amongst other strangenesses and you establish an evocative and not wholly implausible background detail for a future; give them a novella and, like Ted Chiang's Story Of Your Life, there's a tale of translation and the interaction of wholly alien conceptual worlds to be told. But here, in between, the m The idea of a human diplomat who negotiates with viruses would have been arresting even before the 2020s, but I feel like this maybe wasn't the best length for the notion. Mention them in passing amongst other strangenesses and you establish an evocative and not wholly implausible background detail for a future; give them a novella and, like Ted Chiang's Story Of Your Life, there's a tale of translation and the interaction of wholly alien conceptual worlds to be told. But here, in between, the minor communication difficulties feel more like one of those slightly too pat first contact stories from the heyday of the SF mags.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great premise. Just kind of ended...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Per

    https://www.tor.com/2022/05/25/arbitr... https://www.tor.com/2022/05/25/arbitr...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    Interesting gimmick

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alian

    Really cool idea, but the actual story was somewhat too abrupt.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joss

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick Miller

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gianna ⚴

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathanial Sydenham

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toni

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jasen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica (Niki) Fox Elenbaas

  20. 5 out of 5

    Urgewyrm

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mer

  22. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  23. 4 out of 5

    Atris

  24. 5 out of 5

    pr0xy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scissor Stockings

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anny Barros

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chanpheng

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  30. 4 out of 5

    cara

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.