Tideline (short story)
|Genre(s)||Science fiction short story|
|Published in||Asimov's Science Fiction|
|Publication date||March 2007|
"Tideline" is a science fiction short story published in 2007 by Elizabeth Bear. It won the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and the 2008 Theodore Sturgeon Award (tied with "Finisterra" by David R. Moles). "Tideline" appears in the twenty-fifth volume of Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction anthology.
The story follows a sentient war machine which is the lone survivor of a previous and highly apocalyptic war that has reduced the human population virtually to cavemen and hunter gatherers. As the war machine combs the beach looking for trinkets it can make into memorials for its fallen comrades, it develops a friendship with an orphaned boy.
When the batteries for its positronic brain have completely worn down, the machine hands the trinkets to its now matured companion, telling him to spread the memory of those who fought.