A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
At this distance from the blast site of the bomb that took out San Jose, I figure I received a medium-sized dose of radiation. Not enough for instant death, but too much for survival. I have only a few days left, and I’ve decided to spend this time constructing the future. Someone must do it.
This is the hook of a solid but predictable SF plot: an engineer at a robotics firm has just a few days to remake the world after a nuclear apocalypse. Sure, I’d totally read a stale fifties-ish version of that story and enjoy it. In fact, I’m easily writing it in my head as I type. But Pat Murphy has something else in mind entirely, something more timeless, more relevant, and way more imaginative than you might expect.
Murphy’s roboticist is thinking about sex, and love, and reproduction. She’s building bots with working anatomical parts, first as a lark, but then quite seriously. Her narrative—made a little unreliable by the radiation sickness—takes on sex in her own life as well as on the grand biological scale. In the end we get a kind of techno-reproduction that’s new and mysterious, but familiar too.
It’s a thought provoking, clever ten pages, and it’s in an awesome new anthology of feminist SF with 28 other brilliant shorts.
Review by Matthew