"Farewell to the Master" is a 1940 science fiction novella by Harry Bates. It is about a powerful robot whose master is killed while visiting Earth.
Scary Robots Rule
I’ll admit it – I love a good robot story! From Asimov to Clarke I just can’t get enough of them. Here is another great one to add to my list.
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
Cliff Sutherland is a photographer who has been covering the strange events in Washington D.C. You see, recently a UFO landed there and a humanoid and robot emerged. Most of the onlookers were amazed and excited, but there was one nut-job who decided to take matters into his own hands and assassinated the humanoid. Since that time the robot and space ship have not moved an inch – in fact the Smithsonian built around them and now they are part of the permanent collection. But when Cliff spends the night in the exhibit he sees something amazing – and once the rest of the world finds out what is happening all pandemonium breaks loose!
My Two Cents…
- This was a fun and easy story to read! Cliff’s descriptions of the happenings inside the museum were a blast to read about.
- The strange relationship that Cliff builds with the robot is pretty cool – especially given what happens at the end.
- A few times during this story I had to take a deep breath and just remember that it was written in 1940. You really have to stretch your suspension of disbelief in some places, but overall the story is worth it.
- Page Count: 33
- Word Count: 15,779
- Did you know that Harry Bates was originally NOT a fan of science fiction? Yep. You can learn more about this multi-tasking author at Wikipedia.
- "Farewell to the Master" was the basis for the 1951 and 2008 films "The Day the Earth Stood Still" – here is the trailer for the more recent one, which will hopefully wet your whistle for reading the story!
Where You Can Find Farewell to the Master:
- This novella first appeared in the October 1940 edition of Astounding Stories of Science Fiction.
- You can read "Farewell to the Master" for free by downloading it (in a variety of formats) from ManyBooks.net.
- This story is also part of the 2008 collection The Day the Earth Stood Still & Other Sf Classics.
Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?
If you liked "Farewell to the Master" then you might also enjoy "Scanners Live in Vain" by Cordwainer Smith – about a sensory deprived man who tries to stop his Scanner brothers from killing a human who has just made a great scientific breakthrough.