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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bless Your Mechanical Heart

This was a decent compilation. However, the editor definitely doesn't deserve the Hugo win. Why? Well, the stories were fine individually, but collectively, a theme emerged: Robot flavored fiction. Science Fiction? Some of it did indeed explore scientific ideas, maybe. I can't remember an example off the top of my head. I'm going to say that what it really explored was FEELZ.

Yes, that is an annoying word. But aside from the Progressive / liberal / pop-culture PC talking points used as minor plot devices, flavor commentary and social commentary, there were ample FEELZ included.

Robot gets bullied. Robot falls in love, writes romantic poetry, and then dies for no reason. Robot is programmed with religion and begins judgmentally killing sinners. Robot kitty social worker helps addict, and sticks it to her greedy corporate employers. Robot rescued from dumpster obeys original programming. Robot... sleeps for a long time, and then I don't remember what happens. Not that memorable. There were a couple of Robot Soldiers, but no fighting. And let's not forget the robot who tried to find her mistress a boyfriend. That one was one of the weaker stories, especially since 1) the woman was married to a husband, and they never overcame their trauma or repaired their relationship, and 2) the science-flavored aaspects of the story were by far the worst in the collection. It literally used her husbands Hollywood-level hacking abilities as a Deus ex Machina... twice. Someone that ignorant about computers should not be allowed to write science fiction publicly.

So, read it if it sounds appealing to you, because it's a decent anthology. Maybe the editor(s) did a good job, but I couldn't really tell. All I could discern from the collection as a whole was that they picked a bunch of Pink SF stories with Robot FEELZ. There was none of the clever logic or real scientific speculation one might associate with robot stories in the vein of Asimov, Clarke, or even those mediocre 90s post-cyberpunk things.


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