Ben Manners’ father has been arrested—Multivac has been programmed to analyze every individual human’s psyche and prevent them from committing crimes before they actually do so, and it claims Ben’s father will commit some horrible crime in the near future if not stopped, but nobody says what that crime is. As Ben sets out to clear his father’s name, it turns out that Multivac is manipulating him, since it is contemplating the commission of a horrible crime itself.
One of the numerous strong stories which abound in Nine Tomorrows, this one has also been extracted into a book in its own right (called, naturally enough, All the Troubles of the World). As with a number of Asimov stories, the individual characters are not terribly memorable here, but the world they inhabit and its implications are—particularly, here, the vivid image of a computer saddled with the dark side of every human being to mull over and analyze.
|All the Troubles of the World|
|The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov|
|Complete Stories, The, Vol. 1|
|Computer Crimes and Capers|