by Bill Holbrook
CHRISTMAS ON MARS Baby Maria won’t remember it, but her first Christmas will always be the initial one that humans celebrated on another planet. (Not to dismiss the crew of Apollo 8, but they didn’t land.) Samantha now has full control of the robot, as long as its original owner doesn’t find the new radio setting we’ve tuned it to. What this means is that she has a menu of drum sequences that she uses in various combinations. She’s become so adept that she’s like a puppet master pulling on strings. This is different than a language, of course, but it might provide the basis of one. If we’d known we’d encounter this we’d have brought a linguist.

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