A CD arrived in the mail the other day — actually, a box containing four CDs. If you’re in the mood to be read to — say, you have a long commute, or you’re having eye surgery — here’s a nice solution: “We, Robots,” an audio anthology edited by Allan Kaster. 270 minutes of excellent fiction about, well, robots, including my story, “The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm.” Mine’s mostly about politics and superheroes, but it’s in there because the main character works in a supervillain’s robot factory. (Hey, we all gotta pay the bills.)
As the box says, you get “seven contemporary robot tales written by some of today’s most acclaimed science fiction authors” read, unabridged.
- A sentient war machine combs a beach for trinkets to create memorials for its fallen comrades in the Hugo Award winning story, “Tideline,” by Elizabeth Bear.
- In “Balancing Accounts,” by James Cambias, a small-time independent robotic space tug is hired by a mysterious client for a voyage between two of Saturn’s moons.
- “The Seventh Expression of the Robot General,” by Jeffrey Ford, involves a robot general coming to grips with his position in a world that no longer requires, or even understands, his role.
- A city awakens its ancient guardian as it is about to be invaded by a mining company in “Shining Armour” by Dominic Green.
- In “The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm,” by Daryl Gregory, a country ruled by a super villain comes under attack by American super heroes.
- In “Sanjeev and Robotwallah,” by Ian McDonald, a young boy becomes enamored with the armed robots that do the fighting in a Civil War and the celebrity boy-soldiers who pilot them.
- A robot acting as a scarecrow could be a desperate young boy’s one chance of staying alive in “The Scarecrow’s Boy” by Michael Swanwick.