“They have continuity of memory, consciousness, but identity is fluid for them. You can divide it forever, or even mix it up. You see it when they debate. There’s no persuasion, no argument. They just ... merge ... and make a decision. But the Gaijin are cautious,” he said slowly. “They are rational; they consider every side of every argument; they sometimes seem paralyzed by indecision.”
“Like Balaam’s ass,” Dorothy said, smiling. “Couldn’t decide between two identical bales of hay.”
“What happened?” Madeleine asked.
“Starved to death.”
(from Manifold Space by Stephen Baxter)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.