This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.
Published: April, 2016 in Nature
Genre: science fiction
Setting: Earth, 2300s
Summary: An alien xenobiologist has come to Earth and been turned into a snack for scorpion babies. The xenobiologist is rambling to the creature as it prepares the narrator for eating by the scorpion babies. At the same time, the xenobiologist’s suit is running a diagnostic to determine what kind of creature attacked.
Final thoughts: An interesting contrast between the dichotomous key trying to identify the Earth creature and the reminiscing the narrator is doing. They know they are going to die, but are still fascinated by the creature, fully acknowledging that the fascination may be a product of some kind of venom. It takes longer for the suit to realize the Earth creature is dangerous than for the narrator to know that, since they are paralyzed and can tell the suit is damaged.
As an aside, I’m always surprised when I see a science fiction story printed in Nature since it is a big name science publication. But, this is a science-heavy story so I guess it fits.
Title comes from: The action is set against a set of questions designed to identify the Earth creature