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Robot by Helena Bell

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"Robot" is a 2012 science fiction short story by Helena Bell. It is about an old, diseased woman who gets a flesh-eating robot to take care of her.

Just Like Futurama?

I know, I know – the robot described in this story is probably a “female” robot (if there can be such a thing) but I kept picturing it like Bender from the animated series Futurama. I think it made it more fun that way, and besides – it’s my imagination and I’ll picture it that way if I want to! Give it a try – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Philippines Old Woman by moyerphotos, CC 2.0 license

This story is one long monologue consisting of detailed instructions a diseased woman is giving to her newly acquired robotic helper. Sounds boring huh? Well, it is a little bit different, but through these instructions we are able to glean a lot of information about the woman herself. Yep, we get to learn all kinds of things – like why she doesn’t like people looking at her during private moments, how she feels about her favorite grand-daughter and how her illness has made her into a different woman than she thought she would be. A sad and interesting story. To be, or not to be, a Nebula winning story – that is the question!

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 1,778 (3 pages)
  • Did you know that Helena Bell has an MFA in poetry? Yep. You can learn more about this talented author on her web site.
  • "Robot" has been nominated for the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

Where To Find Robot

  • This short story first appeared in the September 2012 edition of the online magazine Clarkesworld.
  • You can read (or listen to) "Robot" for free online at Clarkesworld’s web site.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed "Robot" then you might like some of the other robot stories I’ve read. Check out my post about 18 Fantastic Robot Stories!