Published by CCLaP Publishing on August 12, 2013
Genres: LGBT, Science Fiction
Source: Found this online for free!
Robot is one of millions of androids on an Earth that recently saw the extinction of human life. While Robot's mechanical brothers and sisters seem happy, Robot finds himself lost and missing the only friend he had, a human named Mike whose family accepted Robot as a piece of their personal puzzle. Without both the mistakes and the capacity for miracles that define human civilization, is civilization even worth having? Explore this question in the hilarious yet heartbreaking full-length debut of popular Chicago performer Mason Johnson. A Kurt Vonnegut for the 21st century, his answers are simultaneously droll, surprising and touching, and will make you rethink the limits of what a storyteller can accomplish within science fiction. Download it for free, or order a special handmade hardback edition, at [cclapcenter.com/sadrobot].
I’ve heard so much about the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (CCLaP) from my fellow bloggers. When I stopped by the website recently, I found Sad Robot Stories. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi in a novella format? Right up my alley!
Our narrator is Robot, who’d always wanted more for himself than the monotonous tasks typically assigned to his mechanical species. He’s easy to love: He’d become part of a human family, and when human life was extinguished, he appeared to be the only one left grieving. He’s also a little peculiar, having adopted the speech mannerisms of the humans he remembers.
With humans gone, Robot is forced to determine how he’s going to deal with the drastic and tragic changes in his world. Without giving too much away, the novella touches on how a group of robots might evolve over time, creating art, creating religion… or were they? Perhaps they were only mimicking what they had observed? Mason Johnson doesn’t hand readers the answer to these questions, but instead leaves it open to individual interpretation. I don’t think everyone will come to the same conclusions, which makes this a fantastic book for group discussion.
There’s a minor transgender theme in the story that is handled in such a sensitive, thoughtful manner that it has a powerful impact. And the end is a huge, huge surprise.
Thoroughly enjoyed this little book!