Thursday, May 14, 2020

What Happens in Solarium Square 21, by Ashleigh Shears


(Robot SF) A team of robots keeps up the illusion that their master is still alive so they won’t be sold off, but it gets harder and harder, and the neighbors are getting suspicious. (5,044 words; Time: 16m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 164, published on .

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

Review: 2020.267 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The banter between the different bots does an excellent job of showing the character of each one. There are lots of hints as to what Xohan really is, so in the confrontation with the Hector bot, the outcome is consistent with the rest of the story.

The story is reminiscent of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury, except in that story there don’t seem to be any human beings left.

On the robots-being-robots front, I was pleased that the Hector bot had a rational reason for entering their apartment.

Con: If I wanted to illustrate to someone just why it would make no sense for anyone to build emotional AIs, I’d refer them to this story. Why would you design systems that bickered with each other and made bad decisions out of pique? Who would want to buy such things?

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