Story #3: Corbin Knapp

Human
By Corbin Knapp

 

“It’s not human enough'

 

A voice rang through the halls of the building. Situated in the heart of America, Sentech Industries was the fastest growing robotics company in the world. The voice that had rung through its halls belonged to the esteemed robotics engineer Dr. Martha S. Sentech, CEO of the company and head engineer of their latest project. The people of the year 2150 didn’t have enough time to take care of their children anymore and there was a place in the robotics market for care-taking robots. The company had been working on designing such a robot, but they had come across a problem on how to make the robot more “human.'

 

“It will scare the children if it doesn’t have a realistic personality.' Martha said, as she watched the robot stack some alphabet blocks in the test room through the viewing screen.

 

“It’s programmed with over a thousand different reactions for all possible scenarios,' her assistant Burt Milhouse droned as he stroked his bald head with one hand while typing code into the computer. “It should be as human as the average parent.'

 

“Yes, but it lacks a certain something, Burt.'Martha smiled, sighed, and sat back down in her chair. They both sat in silence for a moment, watching the robot going through it’s program. When the company had designed the robot they had tried to make it’s design appear as least threatening as possible. With thin limbs and a photoelectric screen for a face that could make different cartoon expressions. They had figured that they had accomplished their goal.

 

Usually it was a simple smiley face, painted across the screen with blue pixels. When Burt designed the facial programs, he said that the simplicity of the facial expressions made the robot less intimidating to children. It’s body was cylindrical in design, and its limbs were thin and stick-like. It also was short, around the same size as a child. Martha thought it was better that the robot was small, because she said that, “A bigger robot would terrify any kid.' After several months of testing how the robot behaved in different scenarios and how children reacted to it, Martha and Burt were getting closer to finding the perfect design for the robot’s personality.

 

“I think we can come up with the solution to our problem if we give it a night’s thought,' Martha said as she rubbed her bleary eyes. “What do you say to working on this tomorrow Burt?'

 

“Sounds good to me!' Burt stated, spinning his chair around and shutting down the program. With a juddering halt the robot stopped stacking the blocks in the viewing room and the screen on his head went blank. Nodding good night to each other, Burt and Martha locked up the lab and headed to their homes. As the light from their cars disappeared down the road, a bluish glow suddenly lit up the lab as the robot’s screen lit up once more. Setting down the blocks, it approached the viewing screen and placed a metal hand on the glass. It’s bluish eyes settling on the desk where Burt’s computer still lay in anticipation of his arrival the next day. Almost sadly it went back to the blocks and sat down , it’s gaze fixed on the door where it’s only friends came in every day.

 

The next morning Martha walked into the lab and was surprised to see Burt was already there, frantically scrolling through his computer and checking the sensors. “Whats wrong Burt?, you haven’t looked this excited since you and Darla got your first house together!'

 

“Look at these readings Martha!' Burt exclaimed as he rushed over. “Last night there was a bug in our program, but instead of hurting our robot’s software it seems to have fixed our problem!' Excitedly they both looked at the robot who waved at them through the viewing screen and smiled happily, finally it was getting some attention from it’s friends!

 

Wanting to please them even more he decided that he wanted to express his gratitude by expressing himself. “I am glad that you are pleased, I hope I do not fail you!' To his surprise, his friends let out ear splitting shrieks of terror and ran out of the room slamming the door behind them. “I hope that does not mean I have let them down,' he said to himself as he looked at the space where moments before his friends had been laughing and celebrating.

 

Outside the lab Burt and Martha were gasping for breath, their hearts thumping in their chests as they remembered the horrible voice that had come from the robot in the lab. “It talked, it’s not supposed to TALK!' Martha gulped as Burt wiped his sweating head with one arm. “I thought you said that the bug fixed our problem, instead it’s created a completely different one!'

 

“I thought it did make it better,' Burt panted as he checked the instrument readings he still had clutched in his hands. “Late last night the program glitched and the code was changed slightly, I knew that the program had been changed, but we designed that robot so it could only make indistinct noises, it’s definitely not supposed to be talking!'

 

“Well it is now!' Martha yelled, yanking her hair as she thought of what this could mean for her company. “Calm down Martha' she thought to herself as she started to hyperventilate, “This could be very good for the company! Who doesn’t want a caretaker robot that can talk and think for itself?' I wouldn’t, it’s just not natural for a robot to be so real,' the darker part of her mind whispered. Shuddering she forced herself to calm down, and her breaths came at normal intervals again.

 

“Lets just check back in the room and make sure the robot isn’t dangerous,' she said as she glanced at Burt, “Burt, as your boss I order you to check if the robot is dangerous or not.' Burt gulped and straightened his tie.

 

“If you live through this Burt, remind yourself to find a robotic engineering job at a different company,' Burt thought to himself as he pushed open the door. “One that has a very low chance of me having bodily harm done to me by deranged robots.' As Martha waited outside the door ready to run at the slightest scream from Burt, she heard him gasp in horror. Her curiosity getting the better of her she peeked around the side of the doorway to see what had happened to Burt.

 

“It’s gone' she exclaimed as she ran up to where Burt was standing, his mouth hanging open as he gazed at the smashed remains of the viewing screen and the hole in the wall where the robot had leaped out. “It must have panicked when we left the room,' Martha gasped as she stared at the destruction, “If it can panic.' she said, quickly correcting herself. “ It can’t feel panic can it Burt?' she said staring at him with wide eyes.

 

“Your guess is as good as mine,' Burt said as he accidentally stepped on some of the viewing screen glass with a crunch. “There’s no telling how much his programming has changed, for all I know he can feel as many emotions as you and I can!'

 

Meanwhile the robot was running away from the building. He was puzzled at how his friends had reacted, it had made him feel vulnerable. What if they shut him down and dismantled him? What if they never let him fulfill his destiny and take care of and protect children as his program demanded of him? He ran into the neighborhood beside the company and stumbled into an unfamiliar yard. As he looked up to scan his surroundings, he noticed a little boy staring at him open mouthed from the back porch of the house whose lawn he was standing in.

 

“Whoa, you’re a real robot!' the boy yelled as his eyes grew wider and he surveyed the robot that had just burst unceremoniously into his backyard. “Do you have name?' the boy asked as he hopped down from the porch and warily approached .

 

“I do not have a ‘name’ as you call it,' the robot said, his head tilting to one side as he gazed at the boy.

 

Smiling the boy said, “I’ll call you Sparky, that’s a great name for a robot!' Sparkie’s pixelated face formed a grin as he gazed at the boy, a strange feeling was filling his circuits something amounting to the feeling of joy. Suddenly a man rounded the corner of the house and dropped the keys that he was carrying when he saw Sparky standing next to the kid.

 

“Get away from that thing Liam!' the man yelled as he started to run towards Sparky. Panicking he turned and ran out of the man’s lawn tearing down the street to escape. As he ran down the street, people pointed and yelled, and Sparkie’s sense of fear heightened as they all began to chase after him.

 

Sparky had to make it back to the company, his friends would save him from the mob that was now chasing him. All of them yelling at him to get away from their families. A feeling of fear had seized him, and he wondered what the people would do to him if they caught him.

 

Burt had been sweeping up the glass of the view screen while Martha went to her office to call the police to help them find the robot when to his amazement he saw the robot running back to the company with a mob hot on his heels.

 

Hurriedly dropping his broom he ran down the stairs to open the door for the robot. As he ran by Martha’s office he yelled out to her, “The robot’s come back! I’m going to let him back in, can you keep him safe while I try to calm down the angry mob that is chasing him?'

 

“What?' Martha exclaimed as she stuck her head out of her office, “An angry mob?'

 

As Burt opened the door, Sparky came sprinting through and started running up the stairs leaving him to confront the mob. As Burt shut the door behind him the people began to demand answers to why a robot was wandering through their neighborhood.

 

“It scared my child,' one man yelled. “It‘s a menace to our society, something like that shouldn’t be allowed to exist!'

 

“It was an accidental mistake in it’s programming,' Burt shouted as he tried to make himself heard over the angry buzz of the crowd. “I believe it has developed feelings and should be treated as if it is one of us!' The crowd started forward, their confusion quickly turning into anger. The mob surged forward and pressed against Burt.

 

“It’s not natural, it needs to be destroyed!' someone in the crowd yelled as the mob got closer, “Human being are the only thing on two legs that should be able to have feelings!' and old man yelled from the back of the crowd,

 

“Anything that is made by man should not take on what makes them human!' a woman shouted from the midst of the crowd. As Burt pressed up against the door, a rock came flying over the top of the crowd hitting him in the head as the mob busted through the doors and shoved him aside.

 

Sparky was hiding behind his woman friend when the mob burst into her office. He wondered why they looked so mad, he hadn’t done anything wrong had he? As he watched the mob get closer, his friend put a protective arm across his head telling the mob to leave them alone.

 

Martha realized that she couldn’t stop them as they rushed towards her, knocking her aside and seizing the robot. It was emitting pitiful sounds as the mob started to beat it. Tears running down her face she watched as they threw it on the ground and began viciously smashing it with anything they could get their hands on.

 

It screamed out “Help me friend!' as one of the mob smashed its face screen with a piece of her desk. Sobbing she looked away as the cries from the robot ceased.

 

The mob left shortly afterwards, their evil deed done. Burt and Martha stood quietly in the wreckage of Martha’s office, staring down at the ruined remains that had been more human than all of them.

 

“All things have a right to be alive, no matter how “Human' they seem to be. It is only right to stretch out a hand and give everything a chance. It does not matter if it is made of steel or flesh, everything deserves to live.'

 

13 thoughts on “Story #3: Corbin Knapp

  1. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    Corbin, you made me feel sorry for a robot and those things usually creep me out. I don’t think I have ever read anything like this before and I actually liked it very much. I liked Burt and Martha both completely different but both were fun characters to read about. Martha was definitely my favorite though. I see myself in her. The way she spoke and acted when the robot came to life. That was definitely me in that situation. My favorite part of these two characters is when Burt is yelling at her that the robot is coming back, and she is utterly confused and skeptical sticking her head out of her office. That part made me laugh out loud, and I’m not just saying that.

    When you introduced the robot and the duty it was supposed to perform my brain was screaming red flag. I don’t know about you but robots that are designed to be human-like freak me out. I was especially freaked out when Burt and Martha left for the night and the robot turned on and started speaking. I was expecting your story to take a destructive turn and the robot turning evil. But it did the opposite. The robot acted like a child in a way when Burt and Martha found out that he could speak and had feelings. You did a good job capturing the way the robots emotions were controlling him.

    Your story was very enjoyable but I found that sometimes I felt that the storyline was rushed. When the chase first started I was a bit confused because I felt like the seen changed a little too quickly. There was enough detail or description leading up to the robot running away. In the chase scene when the robot ran into the child I felt that it was a little weird that the child was so chill about the situation. I feel like that part happened way too quickly. I want to know what the child was really feeling. Was he timid to talk to the robot? Did it not scare him at all to have this thing running up to him? That scene definitely needs more added to it. And The kid giving the robot a name was sweet but I feel like it was too quick for that.

    I also feel like the mob was a bit much. It could fit in nicely if the story was longer explaining more of where the robot was running to, what he was running through. Was it stores? Did he go through houses? Did anything get broken? Were people hurt? Any car crashes because he was running through the street? I wanted more while reading the chase and I felt like I wasn’t given very much. I really liked the plot of the story and if you were to add more the quality would be so much better.

    Other than those few things I really enjoyed your story. Your writing style flows very efficiently. I don’t know if you tried to make some parts funny or not but I definitely laughed at the story. I think you did a really good job and I really did like this story. Especially your ending quote. I feel like that will make your readers take a moment and really think about the meaning. I know I did. Overall, you did a very good job.

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  2. Andrew Lange

    Corbin,

    I must say I very much enjoyed your story, first of all! Parts of your story are very precise, and I like how you efficiently switch perspectives, such as the doctor sweeping up broken glass while unbeknownst to him the robot is simultaneously running on a rampage around town.

    I also found the reactions of the general members of the community fairly relatable; I mean most people would be scared witless of this thing, understandably so! Again, you very efficiently switch perspectives as you describe how the robot itself has more “intelligence” than it was previously credited with posessing, even by its developers, but is wondering “Did I do something wrong”? Yet this whole predicament has what most people would consider to be a likely root cause: A bug in its source coding, go figure!

    Like someone else mentioned, I did feel as though your storyline was indeed a bit rushed at times. With that being said, though, I also think that complements the sense of urgency the story seems to convey, i.e the robot develops “a mind of its own” and breaks loose terrorizing the neighborhood, as the story simultaneously tries to subliminally address that human fear of “When will our own technology creations surpass us ourselves?”

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  3. Aundrea Pierce

    Corbin,

    The opening really drew me in; I had a place, a time, a name, and an interesting issue! I also enjoyed the emphasis on creating a robot that wouldn’t scare the kids. Have you seen the Netflix show “Humans”? In the show the robots look and act just like a human; it’s too creepy for adults even! At the beginning of the story, I got a good visual of the robot and the engineering goal the Doctor had in mind, but I wanted to know more about the status of the robot in its current state here. I guess I wanted to know more in detail what was disappointing about him? For example, could he speak, what kind of tasks could he do? Or did his limb movements lag in response time?

    “After several months of testing how the robot behaved in different scenarios and how children reacted to it, Martha and Burt were getting closer to finding the perfect design for the robot’s personality.”
    After this sentence, you could include a description about one of these scenarios that stood out. This would give the reader more insight into the robot’s current state (as I mentioned earlier) and a look at what children/parent’s reactions were to the robot. Just a suggestion if you’re looking for an opportunity to expand more.

    “As the light from their cars disappeared down the road, a bluish glow suddenly lit up the lab as the robot’s screen lit up once more.”
    I enjoyed this visual in my head. I could picture it like a movie scene. Also, you made me start to feel sympathy towards the robot “he feels sad?” I thought to myself.

    The twist of a bug working in the program’s favor is a good one; I like it. Shortly after this, I discovered the robot couldn’t talk, so I would try to include this more, in the beginning, I assumed the robot could speak because of its cartoon faces and digital screen. The whole drama of figuring out if the bug was a good thing or a bad thing created suspense and made me want to read further to find out.

    The interaction with the boy and the robot was a good scenario to include. Here I wanted to know a little more about how the robot sees the world. Is the boy covered in black and white tones? Did the robot feel an urge to protect the boy?

    The ending made me so sad! Not all stories have a happy ending, and it’s a surprising twist in your story. It’s funny how you can make someone emotionally attached so quickly. The action with the mob was thrilling towards the end, but I would try and slow it down a bit because I felt rushed as I was reading through at times. For instance, the conversation could start out peaceful with Burt trying to convince the group of people to leave the robot alone, and then the mob gets enraged and barges in to smash the robot. Overall, great theme and interesting story! Hope this helps you!

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  4. Leah Rego

    Corbin, I really enjoyed the premise of your story. I do think however that the emotional reactions are somewhat out of proportion to their causes. I really can’t see anyone working in robotics shrieking and running away if a robot that wasn’t supposed to talk, did. I can see them reacting in shock, amazement, horror, and even excitement though. Engineers are die hard problem solvers so I would think that they would rush to figure out the cause of the unexplained behavior, perhaps even rushing to their computers in a panicked frenzy to discover what the bug had done to their programming.

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  5. Monica Gallagher

    Human

    This is a very well written sci-fi short, I really enjoyed reading it! The irony of the theme of the story is huge and extremely significant to what could be in our immediate future. It had a fantastic morality element that rang true as the main point of the entire story. It was not far-fetched at all, it was very realistic and possible, yet still contained the sci-fi element, which I appreciated. It had a great climactic event and a pronounced and effective ending.

    The character development of the robot was very cool to see, especially after he got his new upgrade. The robots internal dialogue was smart, the development hop and the confusion in comprehension of the events that ensued, were very well written. The scientists’ that developed the robot were portrayed well and the female boss was an efficient use of side antagonist. The ending was brutal and horrifying, but unfortunately, probably realistic to what would happen. When people are in fear of their lives they will do whatever is necessary to protect themselves and their families. Even though the robot is harmless and is depicted as very kind, it is unknown to the people in the community, so they assume the worse and lash out. Understandable.

    The writing in the depiction of the robot’s death was really good. It was gritty and real. The imagery jumped off the page and into the heart of the reader. It produced a sharp sting of emotion for this metal robot that we didn’t even fully get to know. I think that’s what impressed me the most with this story, it was short, but it was very efficient. It had all the main elements of a storyline and not only that, but it captivated the reader, it produced emotion and it left you with a moral lesson.
    The very last portion of the story is sort of unnecessary in my opinion. I feel like everything you said in those last two sentences had already been said clearly within the story. Stating it at the end, sort of discounts the work of the story. I like the way that it ended without those last two sentences. It sort of leaves the reader more hollow and makes them think about the moral of the story in a deeper way. The quotes wake up the reader to much and leave the moral relatively superficial.

    The “Help me friend” line almost got me, I rarely tear up in stories, especially short stories, but it really almost got me. And that is what I want to reiterate again, that you did a really fantastic job at pulling in a deep emotional morale in a short period of time. I don’t have much experience with short stories, but from the ones that I have read, I have not experienced that sense of deep emotional pull in that short of time. So, bravo to that. The title was a good choice as well, simple and foreshadowing.

    Fantastic!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Cordova

    Corbin,

    This was a very interesting short story with a universal theme. You definitely grabbed my attention and had my emotions all over the place!

    I enjoyed your opening paragraph- it gave me all of the information I needed, up front, so that I had a clear understanding of what the story was going to be about and who the characters were. I thought this was a creative and important way to start off.

    I also like how you kept the story short and to the point, yet kept in interesting and meaningful. You had a clear vision and followed through on that from beginning to end on it, which helped this piece flow very well.

    I enjoyed how you gave the robot speaking parts, which was fun as I couldn’t help but read his lines in a robotic tone. This proves that you understand the importance of giving your characters different personalities, which can be a difficult thing to accomplish. As far as emotions go, again, mine were all over the place- from feeling nervous about the robot breaking out, to not knowing if he was going to harm anyone, to finally feeling sorry for him. You really did a great job keeping me entertained.

    The only thing that I can suggest that might make the story better would be to slow the pace down a little bit. Personally, I am not a great story teller, especially on paper, so this is something I struggle with as well. I feel that you sort of rushed through each scene, though, so adding in a little extra detail would slow it down a little and make it feel more put together.

    Overall, I enjoyed the theme and thought you did a great job at keeping things interesting. You clearly proofread your work as there weren’t any grammatical or punctuation errors that jumped out at me. Great job!

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  7. Caitlyn Williams

    Corbin,

    I found your story to be really interesting! It’s different, and the title really makes me feel for Sparky. The ending shocked me, I thought there was going to be a happy ending. I’d wished somehow that Martha could have saved the remarkable robot. I liked the way you switched the POV throughout your story; I also liked reading about how the robot felt. I think that was a really important perspective to include. Having the robot’s thoughts and words in the story really shows how human he really was.

    I liked the format of your story, the different length paragraphs and dialogue blocks make the story flow. The ending of your short story was also so good! I liked that you ended it with a quote, it made it have a finesse, which was a great detail to have.

    I really enjoyed reading about your characters personality through the dialogue in your story. They way Martha and Burt talk to each other shows their personality in depth. The way someone talks really shows who they are as a character. For example, in the story’s opening, Martha says, “Yes, but it lacks a certain something, Burt.” She then smiles, sighs, and sits back in her chair. This dialogue and action shows that she’s easy going, and the fact that Burt is her assistant, and not the other way around shows that she’s a hard worker.

    The way you included Sparky’s perspective in this has to be one of the strengths in your story. Your story’s rising action, shocking events, and quirky characters made the story interesting! I liked that there were few characters, and I liked how the focus was on Sparky’s new friends, (Martha and Burt) rather than the angry mob.

    I would love to have seen them react a bit different to the robots consciousness. I thought that they would put him in some storage container and try to make sense of him, ask him questions, build his character a bit more. Although I wished you focused a bit more on Sparky’s character, Martha and Burt’s reaction was totally understandable! I liked that you included to have them have a discussion while panicking about him.

    Overall, I really like your story, and I just have to say I haven’t read anything like this, it was refreshing!

    Reply
  8. Ben Knapp

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I especially liked reading your unique twist on the classic Asimov theme, and your own personal touches. Despite choosing a well-used genre, you managed to make the story your own.

    One thing that stood out to me about your story was how there was no definite point at which the robot became aware. This almost makes it seem like the robot was aware all along, and that the scientists did not realize this. If this is intentional, then it adds a whole new layer to your story. This is something you might consider expanding on if you revise your story.

    Something that bothered me about your story was how the little boy didn’t do anything to stand up for the robot when the mob started. It seems like he would at least have tried to stop his parents from destroying it, instead of silently watching. If you could add just a little bit to clear this up your story would be that much better for it.

    I really liked how the robot remained innocent throughout the entire story. Even when the mob was forming, he still was innocently wondering what they would do to him; the thought of violence never even occurred to him. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the robot meant no harm, and further adds to the shock of the crowd’s reaction. There never was anything to fear.

    Another thing that stood out to me was how drastic the crowd’s actions were. It is possible that the crowd could turn into a mob out of fear, but it doesn’t exactly seem likely that they would be so mad as to break into a building and throw rocks at the mere sight of it. It might have been more plausible if, after the robot had escaped into the building, the crowd had tried to force it to be destroyed in some less violent way, such as trying to claim that it was a public hazard and having the police destroy it.

    Another small touch you could make would be to add a couple sympathetic voices in the crowd. No matter how afraid or angry a crowd is, there is always a few people who know what they are doing is wrong. They wouldn’t even have to try and stop the mob, merely lingering behind and looking guilty could suffice. However, it is up to you whether or not you feel that this would suit your story. The scientists were careful to design the robot to be as non-threatening as possible, which does suggest a public that is at best mistrustful of robots.

    Altogether, I really liked your story. Despite a couple minor things that didn’t seem quite right, the story was awesome. The message of understanding, coupled with the sci-fi theme, made for an excellent read. It was well written, with believable characters and dialogues, making the reader really care for the protagonist before the tragic ending. A few small things aside, your story was amazing!

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  9. Cassidy Kramer

    Corbin,
    Wow, this story really got to me. You made me so sad! At first, with your explanations of their plan, I did not think that this story was going to turn out well. I mean, it did not, but at first I thought the robot was going to kill a couple of children and destroy families or something, you know, a typical robot story. While you were explaining that the robot is going to be used for parenting, I chuckled to myself because it does seem like that could possibly happen. I also thought that the description of the parent robot was also very funny. You did such a great job at explaining the details of this robot, that I could picture a super short skinny robot being the parent of the future children of America which made me chuckle.
    Like I said, I was so fixated that I was going to read a story of a robot taking over the town, that I was caught completely off guard when you mentioned that the robot was sad and wanted his “friends” to come back. I let out an “awwee” while reading that section of your story. I also liked how you gave the little robot the name “Sparkie”, and how you added Sparkie’s encounter with the trusting little boy in there.
    Once the angry mob started chasing Sparkie down the streets, I was very sad when you included Sparkie’s innocent little thoughts of the moment. He just wanted to be liked, and he did not understand why others did not want him, and I thought that was the saddest thing.
    I really like how you took that turn in this story, and instead of giving the reader the basic robot story, you twisted it around and focused on the robot’s feelings. This is also a very creative turn on this idea, and you did a very good job of writing it out nicely and helping the reader understand.
    Overall, I think you did a very good job on your story. I think the best part of it was the unexpected turn of robots. I also really liked the detail you put into the story, because if you did not add much detail, the story would not be as good and as easy for the reader to read. Great job on this story! Maybe one day if America ever gets taken over by robots, you can publish this story and Americans will think twice against their actions on the poor robots.

    Reply
  10. Katherine Whelchel

    Corbin,
    Very interesting piece! I definitely caught on to your deeper meaning, which I felt led the entire piece. I think that having such a strong meaning behind the piece actually created some confusion. I noticed some details were left out, or I was surprised by how fast the humans hated the robot. I’m not saying that your message was wrong, or wasn’t communicated, only that your story seemed to be written around the meaning rather than sewing the meaning into the story.

    That might be confusing, but I think that your story was good and would be better if the individual details were focused on more than the overall meaning.

    Your descriptions were very well put, and I appreciated knowing what the robot was thinking. It gave clarity and made things far more simple to understand. I think with some touch-ups to the transitions, everything would flow perfectly!

    At the beginning of your story, I thought that it was going to be creepy; however, you gave it a lighter touch that I enjoyed.

    Overall, well done!
    -Kassie

    Reply
  11. Aubri Stogsdill

    Corbin,

    Wow! What an interesting story! I really enjoyed reading it. I found it interesting how connected I became to the Robot. Initially, I didn’t like it likely because I felt like it might be an evil human killing machine. But as the story went on it was clear that it was not evil, simply misunderstood. I like what your story is communicating about emotions. Whether you intended to or not, I think it showed just how powerful and confusing emotions can be. Having never understood what it meant to be rejected or afraid, of course, the robot would have responded the way that he did. It’s easy to get used to feeling these negative emotions… so much so that we no longer have any response to them. Still, it is so important to know how to navigate them, otherwise, they’ll destroy our lives.

    I was not expecting the robot to be the good guy and the humans to be the evil ones so that ending was really intriguing. There are so many ‘evil’ robot stories, so a good robot is a refreshing thing! It seems like a lot of people are talking about the morality of having AI and how we ought to wield them. Honestly, I don’t think that it would be good to have this sort of thing in the real world- a robot that can feel would be a dangerous thing… Our genuine feelings are what makes us human… For feelings to simply be ‘programmed’ in, doesn’t make them legitimate.

    Anyways, great story! (:

    Reply
  12. Mekayla

    Corbin,

    The further I got into your store, the faster I felt myself reading as your plot grew with intensity. The pace of events was perfect, and left me completely immersed and invested. I love how with such a short story, you not only managed to convey an exciting series of events, but you also provoked a powerful moral dilemma. This stoy questions humanity at its core, and explores exactly what it means to be human. I loved your final sentence, but I feel like you really guided your reader to the conclusion that you had wanted them to reach. I think this story might have been more powerful if you had left your ending a little more ambitious so that the reader could have had the chance to reach their own, hopefully similar, conclusion based on the story you presented.

    Great story overall. Your plot was well constructed, and you dialogue flowed really nicely. Have you thought about a future in Science-Fiction writing? You might be great at it! Hopefully I’ll get to read more of your work. Great Job!

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  13. Jessica Honebein

    Corbin! Your story was very interesting, I liked that it was unique. I have not read a story that was like this one before! I think that the story had a very clean and clear beginning, middle, and end. I feel that the characters dialogues added a lot of feeling and intensity to the story itself. I also liked that it was easy to follow along with, and I was able to view the story from the sidelines and feel emotions as I read it. I think that it was a good length for the style and the message that you were trying to relay onto the reader. Lastly, I think that it was a strong and important message that you were trying to show and I liked how it was hidden in the beginning but them clearly shined through at the end.

    I think the thing that I liked most about the story is how unique it is. Robots are a discussion in our society and I liked how you used that to help show a possibility when it comes to introducing robots. When I hear about robots in stories they are always the ones that take over or end up harming something/someone. So I think it was interesting to read this twist and the human reaction to change and progression. I also like that the robot was only trying to be nice and show a human side, yet society did not view them that way. I really liked how it showed a different perspective and also brought out a message to the reader.

    I think that it was important that the crowd reacted the way they did so that you could convey the message you wanted to. I would have liked a little more detail on why they felt the robot needed to be harmed and why they were so closed minded and adamant on getting rid of the robot. I feel in the rest of the story you had a good amount of detail, like when describing what the robot looked like or the process of making the robot. I think that with that detail it helped to enhance the story, and with more detail on the robots behalf at the end I feel like it would just complete the story.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading the story. I loved how creative and interesting it was and well as the message that it conveyed. I think that the dialogue added good personal touch and provided a more intimate interaction with the story as it progressed. If there was more writing to it, like what happened when the mob heard Martha say her last line. Or the emotions that they felt after everything was said and done and if they decide to rebuilt the robot/ build another one like that. Also how the mob responds after they hear and learn more about the robot and its intentions.I think that this story really did convey an important message while also keeping the reader attention, great job!

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