“Old Hundreth,” Brian Aldiss, 1960 – A story of far earth and the human calvacade that marched through time to reach it, now transcended (uploaded) to a static plane of mingled personality. This long-forgotten human civilization has left behind its artifacts for the modified, intelligent animals who now populate the earth. Dandi, an intelligent sloth, resists her mentor, who wants her to kill the sentient bear that invades her home for tools of war. She is excommunicated and decides to transmogrify into music, as is their custom upon end of this form.
Comments: Themes: Far earth, forms, animals, music, violence, post-humans, genetic engineering, culture and its artifacts. Read in Adventures in Otherness and SF: 4 Author’s Choice, with an intro by Aldiss, who calls this a slow, “autumnal” tale of far earth. The title is from Old 100th, or the 100th Psalm, amended from “All people…” to “All creatures that on Earth do dwell…”
Author: Wikipedia: “Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE (born 18 August 1925) is an English author of both general fiction and science fiction. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss. Greatly influenced by science fiction pioneer H. G. Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society. He is also (with Harry Harrison) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. Aldiss was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2000, and has received two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, and one John W. Campbell Memorial Award. His influential works include the short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long”, the basis for the Stanley Kubrick-developed Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” For an overview of Aldiss’s themes, see Joseph Milicia’s introduction to Starswarm. Gardner Dozois summarizes Aldis’s “old earth” stories in his introduction to The Furthest Horizon.