Saturday, January 2, 2016

Robot from the Future, by Terry Bisson

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(SF) About 100 years from now, eleven-year-old Theodore meets a robot from "the far future" which demands he find gasoline for it, but Theo isn't even sure what that is. (4,427 words; Time: 14m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: RHorton:5

"Robot From the Future," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|16, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Theodore's voice is pitch-perfect, and the way he casually describes the technologies in his life (e.g. "The sidewalks are off, so we have to walk") is very well done.

Con: There's no real logic here. We never learn why the robot wanted gasoline, nor really why even small quantities of gasoline are so tightly regulated. More seriously, in the second half of the story, Grandpa R is the hero and Theo is just along for the ride.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I agree that the kid's perspective is done really well. I suppose much of the seeming illogic is part of that. However, I don't like that we really get no hint of what's actually going on here. Or if we do, I completely missed it.

    1. I think it was ok that we didn't really get a hint of what was going on because it was pretty much set up in the first sentence that we are dealing with a (deliberately) unusual kind of story structure.

      Also I had trouble not picturing the robot as Bender from Futurama for whatever reason.

    2. Now that you mention it, so did I!

    3. Sometimes I'm fine with nonsensical stories. In this case, I felt like I should be able to make sense of it and was frustrated that I couldn't. This writer is probably just not for me. I wasn't a fan of "Bears Discover Fire" either.