Robots, androids and cyborgs are staples of science fiction and often serve as a reflection of humanity. From Asimov’s Bicentennial Man to Star Trek’s Data, fiction involving mechanical and artificial beings can tell us unspoken truths about our very nature.
Nowhere is that more true than in the diverse collection of stories, ranging from poignant to tragic, thought-provoking to joyous contained in Bless Your Mechanical Heart.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Robots? Cyborgs? Androids? Mechanicals? Artificial Intelligence? Of course this is a great short story collection to feature on GeekyLibrary!
We first discovered it during Norwescon 37 where we had the pleasure of hearing Mae Empson read from her short story “Ever You” from Bless Your Mechanical Heart.
Rating (5 stars)
Once of the hardest things about rating a short story collections is seeing great stories mixed in with mediocre stories that bring the whole star rating down. This was not a problem, because this collection was phenomenal.
All the stories were at least 4 to 5 stars with perhaps a single 3 star rating that was most likely due to reader preference. The stories are varied and although you sense influences from other science fiction, none of the stories seem inherently derivative. Themes range from self-identity, bullying, freedom, mercy, philosophy, family, love, loss, and more.
Although it’s nearly impossible to pick favorites, here are four stories that stood out to me:
- “The Body as a Ship” by Mark Andre Edwards— Way beyond knee replacements, an aging man slowly replaces or upgrades pieces of himself. I loved the philosophical question at the end.
- “Just Another Day in the Butterfly War” by M. Todd Gallowglas— Time travel tends to create lost connections. This story just stuck with me.
- “The King’s Own” by Fiona Patton— I love the idea that stories hold truth and the secret to humanity and the references to Pinocchio are absolutely perfect.
These are only three out of seventeen stories that are all amazing. I missed mentioning plenty, like the great story by Seanan McGuire, but its hard to pick when almost every single one is worth mentioning.
Read this book:
If a small doses of thoughtful science fiction makes you smile.
Don't Read this book:
If emotional robots make you gag.
Once you're done, do this:
Decide which android, cyborg, robot, etc. you’d like to take home with you.