A planetary collective intelligence attempts to invade Earth.

I must admit I love this story, one of several in Nightfall and Other Stories which features a non-human intelligence. I loved this story the first time I read it, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. The concept of the collective intelligence was clever and well-handled and its reaction to the poor singletons from the planet Earth seems more than natural under the circumstances. (Indeed, very human—how many of us automatically feel that different is worse?)

And, of course, the story has gained additional significance with the publication of Foundation’s Edge, wherein Gaia, another planetary collective intelligence is introduced, but this time treated sympathetically and, indeed, as the ultimate destiny of mankind.

Controversy has raged over the inconsistency, but one must always remember that Asimov was trying to tell a story first and foremost—in “Green Patches,” the story he was telling needed the collective intelligence to lose, and in Foundation’s Edge, the story he was telling needed the collective intelligence to win. That’s all.

And as for whether or not the loss of individuality is acceptable, remember, too, that the ultimate goal for individual humans in religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism is precisely that. But I'm getting off the mark here….

This is a top-notch story, among my favorites included in Nightfall and Other Stories, which is, in turn, one of my favorite anthologies by Asimov.

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