Three Worlds Collide
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Available free online: https://robinhanson.typepad.com/fi…/three-worlds-collide.pdf
This short story is incredible.
Sometimes you read books that are extremely well rounded; beautiful prose, a great plot, interesting characters. Sometimes you’ll read a book where you say “I wish X was better, but I still loved it.”
This short story has exactly one thing going for it: The central conceit is mind-blowingly good. The underlying question is: What do you do if you discover aliens whose values are fundamentally incompatible with your own.
On every other front, it struggles. It is not particularly well written, and like all of Eliezer’s works, it is weird and affected and shoehorns in rationalist concepts. Eliezer’s vision of the future, while cool, is a completely unnecessary part of the story.
But if you are interested in ethics or comparative values at all, I highly recommend it.