Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Good Home, by Karin Lowachee

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(SF) A disabled human veteran takes in a disabled AI veteran. The AI doesn't talk anymore due to trauma, but Tawn tries to get through to it, even though his mother thinks it's dangerous. (6,718 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Strong, but needs polish
Recommended By: NClarke

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 73, published on .

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

Pro: This is the story of how Tawn tried to reach Mark and how they came to depend on each other. Although Mark is only a robot, Tawn views him as a fellow veteran and wants to help him--without thinking about the fact that he resents it when other people try to "fix" him.

Tawn starts to make progress as soon as he accepts Mark's help, starting when he allows Mark to push his wheelchair. To be whole, each of them needs a purpose, and since each one needs help, they can help themselves by helping each other. Their struggle to make each other whole without trying to "fix" each other is uplifting.

The story offers a plausible reason why the robots had emotions--that the unemotional ones were dangerous--but, in general, Mark seems to be a metaphor for a broken human being, not a malfunctioning machine. "I am people too," as he says.

Con: There is some narration of emotions. Not enough to spoil the story, but enough to be annoying. On the technical side, it's very hard to see why you'd design a war robot that was capable of appreciating literature.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 73)
Karin Lowachee Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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