Everybody wants to date a robot. They're hot and sexy, and they're programmed to protect human life above all other priorities — even seeing humans harming each other can cause robots' brains to melt. What could be better? But it turns out that dating between robots and humans is a social minefield — especially when a robot has a young three-day-old son, who needs to be taught what types of pornography are okay for a young robot.
We've been excited to read Madeline Ashby's robot novel vN for ages now, and she just posted a short story based in the same universe. And it's dark and intense and amazing — it reminds me of Sue Lange's We Robots. Here's how "The Education of Junior Number 12" begins:
"You're a self-replicating humanoid. vN."
Javier always spoke Spanish the first few days. It was his clade's default setting. "You have polymer-doped memristors in your skin, transmitting signal to the aerogel in your muscles from the graphene coral inside your skeleton. That part's titanium. You with me, so far?"
Junior nodded. He plucked curiously at the clothes Javier had stolen from the balcony of a nearby condo. It took Javier three jumps, but eventually his fingers and toes learned how to grip the grey water piping. He'd take Junior there for practise, after the kid ate more and grew into the clothes. He was only toddler-sized, today. They'd holed up in a swank bamboo tree house positioned over an infinity pool outside La Jolla, and its floor was now littered with the remnants of an old GPS device that Javier had stripped off its plastic. His son sucked on the chipset.
"Your name is Junior," Javier said. "When you grow up, you can call yourself whatever you want. You can name your own iterations however you want."
"Babies. It happens if we eat too much. Buggy self-repair cycle – like cancer."
Not for the first time, Javier felt grateful that his children were all born with an extensive vocabulary.
"You're gonna spend the next couple of weeks with me, and I'll show you how to get what you need. I've done this with all your brothers."
Read the rest over at Angry Robot Books.
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