Month of Joy: “The Cardboard Robot” by Polenth Blake

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After sending my critique partner a story about people living on the clouds, he commented that all my stories had robots. I denied everything. It was about cloud people! But there it was, the main character reminiscing on making a robot out of cardboard boxes as a child. Robots had made it in there.

It wasn’t based on life. I never made a robot from cardboard, because I dreamt of functional
robots. Such things weren’t easily available when I was younger, so I contented myself with Asimov’s robot stories and Short Circuit (Number Five reminded me of me).

Eventually, I did get a robot for Christmas (which was expensive enough to also be my birthday present). It could be preprogramed to make noises and move on a set route. State-of-the-art toy material. And obsolete by the time I hit my teenaged years, when toys like Furby were all the rage. Robots could now react in a pseudo-animal way (within limits, as the original Furby couldn’t really learn language, or remember phrases,
contrary to security fears).

I haven’t been disappointed as an adult. Robot toys are increasingly lifelike. Movie robots now include one with a pet cockroach (it was like the people at Pixar knew all my interests when they made Wall-E).  Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot, has made it into space. There are robots everywhere, so perhaps I shouldn’t feel bad if they’re everywhere in my stories too.

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Polenth Blake lives with cockroaches and an Aloe vera called Mister Fingers. Her first collection, Rainbow Lights, is out in the ocean somewhere. Her website lurks at her website.

P.S.:  During my Week of Joy, I mini-interviewed Polenth about her collection.  You can read that here.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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