Today’s review is a little different. Ann Christy wrote a series of short stories, which all take place in the same world, though not at exactly the same time. There’s a reason it’s named “Robot Evolution.” This short story collection has the first 5 stories included.
Synopsis: Step into the world of sentient androids. Humans no longer have to woo a human mate or wait for that perfect match…they simply order their heart’s desire and live life to the fullest. Called PePrs – say it like pepper, the spice – they have become indispensable to humanity. They do the jobs we don’t want to do, act as our windows to the wider world, fill all our social needs, and have become the expressions of our collective will. From the battlefield to the dog pound, from our perfect mate to the nanny that cares for our children…almost every task can now be done by a PePr, leaving humans to explore a life free of drudgery.
It sounds perfect. Then again, things that start perfect don’t usually stay that way.
Each of the novellas in this volume is a stand alone work. There are no cliff-hangers, but there might be tears, gasps, and smiles. Who will you root for? Human or PePr…choose your side!
Corrections – Deirdre is a SUPer, a government owned robot in the time before Perfect Partners were released. Originally designed to be a battlefield intelligence unit, politics demanded she work in a less controversial profession. Now, she’s a parole agent for recently released criminals in need of supervision, and this time she’s got herself a doozy for a client. Greg, a petty thief with a 40 year long rap sheet is almost more than she can handle. Between arthritis and illegal card games, they forge a new relationship even as the world around them shifts and alters in startling ways.
Imperfect – Sandra was built with everything; a perfect body, perfect face, and every upgrade that can be bought. Yet somehow she finds herself on the reject table next to a half-disassembled robot with an erratic personality. And now, on top of everything else, she’s just experienced her first emotion. Too bad for her it turned out to be fear.
The Dogcatcher – As a civil service PePr, Ace has a job that keeps him in the public eye and under constant scrutiny. Designed and built to relate well with animals, he’s the perfect Animal Control worker. He’s also got a secret and it’s not just that he has emotions. Deep within the abandoned relics of humanity’s industrial past, he has a secret home for himself and all the unadoptable dogs that he rescues. When Ace does something that will demand his termination, he discovers he has more friends than he imagined in the most surprising places.
PePr, Inc. – Hazel has a busy life with a great career and friends she loves. She also has Henry, and that’s not working out quite like she expected. A PePr is meant to complement their human, filling in all the gaps to create the ideal couple. They are meant to be something no human could ever hope to find in another human. It’s just not turning out that way for Hazel. When Henry finally goes too far, Hazel finds that getting free of him might not be as easy as going back to PePr to void the contract.
Posthumous – Love is eternal in a silicon heart.
Edna writes, but isn’t allowed to publish. She lives on her own, but can’t legally own her home. She has a beagle she loves, but is still considered property herself. Life can be complicated for a PePr – even one who has received manumission, the coveted right to remain functional without a human owner. That’s especially true when that PePr falls in love.
Review: Each story was special in it’s own way. Each section of “Robot Evolution” followed a PePr (Perfect Partner) at a different phase and job. It was amazing to see where this fictional world began and how PePrs began to find out that emotions are not just for human beings. It made me wonder that if we keep delving more into humanoid robotics, will this type of evolution take place?
My favorite story was probably “The Dogcatcher.” A love for animals creates emotions in all of us and the same goes for a PePr whose job is to help dogs. He ends of helping more than he should. It’s a beautiful story!
Please check out “Robot Evolution.” You won’t be disappointed!
Check out my interview with Author Ann Christy here.