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

Infinite Matrix

Romanian translation (SCI-FI Magazin, September 2007)

Yo, robot, Spanish fantrans by Fernando Orbis, December 2009

Hugo Award nominee, 2005 (Novelette)

Locus Award for Best Novelette, 2005

Finalist, 2005 British Science Fiction Awards

Podcast: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V

Hebrew translation by Haggay Averbuch in Bli Panika magazine, October 2006

In spring 2004, in the wake of Ray Bradbury pitching a tantrum over Michael Moore appropriating the title of Fahrenheit 451 to make Fahrenheit 9/11, I conceived of a plan to write a series of stories with the same titles as famous sf shorts, which would pick apart the totalitarian assumptions underpinning some of sf’s classic narratives.

Infinite Matrix magazine published one of these, a story called “I, Robot,” which describes the police state that would have to obtain if you were going to have a world where there was only one kind of robot allowed and only one company was allowed to make it.

Arturo Icaza de Arana-Goldberg, Police Detective Third Grade, United North American Trading Sphere, Third District, Fourth Prefecture, Second Division (Parkdale) had had many adventures in his distinguished career, running crooks to ground with an unbeatable combination of instinct and unstinting devotion to duty.

He’d been decorated on three separate occasions by his commander and by the Regional Manager for Social Harmony, and his mother kept a small shrine dedicated to his press clippings and commendations that occupied most of the cramped sitting-room of her flat off Steeles Avenue.

No amount of policeman’s devotion and skill availed him when it came to making his twelve-year-old get ready for school, though.

“Haul ass, young lady — out of bed, on your feet, shit-shower-shave, or I swear to God, I will beat you purple and shove you out the door jaybird naked. Capeesh?”

The mound beneath the covers groaned and hissed. “You are a terrible father,” it said. “And I never loved you.” The voice was indistinct and muffled by the pillow.

“Boo hoo,” Arturo said, examining his nails. “You’ll regret that when I’m dead of cancer.”

The mound — whose name was Ada Trouble Icaza de Arana-Goldberg — threw her covers off and sat bolt upright. “You’re dying of cancer? is it testicle cancer?” Ada clapped her hands and squealed. “Can I have your stuff?”