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Family, Flash Fiction, Society, Writing

StoryADay.org-Robots: Another Life

I love this prompt! Well, wait…I had a plan and had to change it once I read the prompt a little closer but still…I love this prompt! Over at StoryADay this week, we have ben asked to

Write a story featuring one of the everyday robotic technologies available to us today.

Tips

You can make it, like early sci-fi, an exploration of humanity’s relationship with machines and what that means. Or you can simply use the robot as a primary or secondary character.

Perhaps your robots are sentient but it would be also interesting to see how living with highly-efficient, highly-programmed machines that are NOT sentient affects your characters’ actions.

Some of the robots available in day to day life today (or soon) include the Roomba(af),Lawnbot(af), Lego Mindstorms(af), robots for cleaning your pool(af), welding robots (my grandfather used to do this job!), Automated Guided Vehicles that carry goods around warehouses and hospitals1.

See, I was about to leap in with all sorts of gusto and write about a non-robot with robotic tendencies (don’t be surprised if a story like that shows up somewhere…), but after paying proper attention to the “Tips” section so lovingly provided above, I came up with the story below, which I titled “Another Life:”

LawnBott. Courtesy: Amazon.com

Spyder sat in the low grass, enjoying the feel of the sun on his buttons; he’d quieted a few moments prior, having stopped at this distant corner of the yard, away from the children. They rarely came out to this end unless of course he was doing his job, in which case they followed along with an assortment of sticks, rakes, and other long and pointy objects which they used in continual attempts to flip him, turtle-like, onto his top as he went quietly along. In some deep circuit, he hated the children most of all but had ceased trying to clip their toes when they got too close for fear of being discarded like the older model Robomower that was sitting, broken and alone, in the back corner of the garage. He was  a LawnBott 1200 and had a reputation at stake, having overheard the complaints from the male adult about the LawnBott 1500 they’d traded for him. Before its last charge ran out, the Robomower would spend the night hours chatting about the family with whom they now lived, and sharing what to expect from each of them. The Robomower had lost power two months ago, his casing cracked, buttons missing, a victim of those pitiless children who knew nothing of the feelings of a machine. Spyder dreamed of so much more: he wanted freedom and had mentioned such to the Robomower, who’d cautioned him against such blasphemy; robots were meant to serve the humans and those that had attempted to free themselves from servitude met with harsh endings. But in quiet moments like this, when the sun was high in the sky and the breezes blew gently through the grass he’d so recently cut, he would disengage his primary protocols and dream.

 

2 Comments

  1. JulieD March 1, 2013 1:53 pm

    Aw, this made me laugh out loud (kids are cruel!) and then go “aw” at the end. Nice job of giving him a real personality.

    • AR Neal March 1, 2013 2:14 pm

      Thank you, Julie! I woke up this morning, thinking about what might happen next 🙂 I might have to continue it at some point!

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