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I, Row-Boat

This story appears in my collection Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present, 2007

Flurb Magazine, August 2006

Podcast: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

This story came to me while I was 20 meters down the reef-wall in the Coral Sea, off the coast of northern Australia. I think a turtle was involved.

The good ship "Spirit of Freedom" is the model for the "Free Spirit," the ship in this tale. As far as I know, neither it nor its ship's boats are sentient.

If I return to this theme, it will be with a story about uplifted cheese sandwiches, called "I, Rarebit."

"I, Row-Boat" is a riff on my Hugo-nominated story I, Robot, and it concerns the theological wars between an Asimov-cultist AI boat and an uplifted coral-reef.



The reef made a tremendous grinding noise. "Yaah!" it said. "Get lost. Sovereign territory!"

"All those fish," the woman said. Robbie had to stop himself from thinking of her as Janet. She was whomever was riding her now.

"Parrotfish," Robbie said. "They eat coral. I don't think they taste very good."

The woman hugged herself. "Are you sentient?" she asked.

"Yes," Robbie said. "And at your service, Asimov be blessed." His cameras spotted her eyes rolling, and that stung. He tried to keep his thoughts pious, though. The point of Asimovism wasn't to inspire gratitude in humans, it was to give purpose to the long, long life.


12 Responses to “I, Row-Boat”

  1. Alex says:

    And here I was, thinking my domain name was unlikely to be used for anything but evil. :)

  2. sputnik says:

    Thanks Cory.
    That story reminded me why I like Science Fiction so much.

  3. True says:

    Cory, great fiction- it reminds me of some of the Snow Crash stuff, with a nice theological/asimov spin. Great writing, and thanks for sharing!

  4. AttackTheSun says:

    “How We Got Here”...

    My dad pointed out this book, How We Got Here, by Andy Kessler. My dad read it and pointed it out to me, sounds like it could be a good read.
    What I foud interesting about it, though, is that the whole book, all 218 pages of it, is available as a free ...

  5. [...] My second short story collection is Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present, from Thunder’s Mouth Press. It contains six of my favorite, net-centric tales: Printcrime, When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth, Anda’s Game, I, Robot, I, Row-Boat, and After the Siege. [...]

  6. [...] I’m also proud to note that two of my stories, I, Row-Boat and When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth made the recommended list and are eligible for your votes! [...]

  7. [...] The finalists for the Locus Award for the best science fiction of 2006 have been announced and I’m proud as anything to announce that two of my novelettes made the shortlist, I, Row-Boat and When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth (both are from my new collection Overclocked). The list is filled with really wonderful fiction. As I mentioned before, 2006 was a banner year for sf. [...]

  8. [...] Cory Doctorow s craphound.com >> Blog Archive I, Row-BoatNews I, Row-Boat. This story appears in my collection Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present , 2007. Flurb Magazine , August 2006. Podcast: part 1 , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 [...]

  9. [...] You can hear a reading of it, complete with author’s notes in this podcast. [...]

  10. Hi Cory, cool story!
    Thought you would like to see my 2010 machinima
    i Robot in Snow Crash

  11. [...] Greg: Cory Doctorow generally; in particular I, Row-Boat [...]

  12. [...] those of you who like Asimov, check out Cory Doctorow’s short long “I, Row-Boat”, about the theological war between a sentient rowboat who worships Asimov and a spontaneously [...]

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