Monday, June 03, 2013

Robot, by Helena Bell

I expected a story about a robot, what I got was so much more.  This is a story about dying.  Robot is about the slow progression towards death.  The main character wonders about what people think, reflects on her youth, but still wonders about the robot.  She wonders what he feels, if he feels.  She speaks to him like he's a thing, but then like he's a child.  She names him Fred.  She instructs him on various tasks, but the most important instructions are the ones she give him about herself.  He needs to know how he supposed to behave when she requires him to help her.  He becomes her support.  

There is one thing about this story that is weird.  I understand that it's likely a metaphor for the deterioration that comes with age, but why does the robot have to eat her?  It is so weird.  It is smoothly woven into the story so that it seems a casual, normal part of the instructions that the main character gives to the robot, that it could almost go unnoticed.  But the last line of the first paragraph keeps it right at the front of your mind as you read.  I think I might try another story by Helena Bell, though we'll see what I decide afterwards.  I can only read so many stories about robots eating dead skin.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John Mutford at The Book Mine Set.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds intriguing. I've bookmarked it for next week. See if I can come up with a theory about that flesh-eating bit.