How to tell your boyfriend you are in love with a robot
–A Merc Rustad - How to become a robot in 12 easy steps - c.2014
via LadyBusiness where I seem to be getting all my short story recs recently
Tesla is in love with a robot. Tesla would also like to be a robot. This is problematical as that technology is still at least 20 years away, if it is possible at all, also, Tesla’s father can’t even cope with the idea of gay people, how would he cope with someone who wanted to be a robot.
Tesla is in a relationship with Jonathan, but Jonathan is gay, the relationship is to seem like they are a straight company for family reasons. But they are friends, and totally enjoy cuddling on the couch and hanging out together. They just aren’t romantically involved.
I often don’t like gimmicky sort of short stories, you know, like ones made of lists and where the narrator talks to the reader. But that’s because a gimmick can be an attempt to hide bad writing and a poor story. That’s what makes it a gimmick instead of the more hi-falutin’ sounding Literary Device. Here, in How to become a robot in 12 easy steps it is a literary device, used for a purpose. And it works.
The story is a sad one in many ways. Tesla, who probably appears female but identifies more as non-binary, doesn’t feel part of the world. They see themselves as different, isolated and lonely. Sure they have Jonathan, but then Jonathan has a boyfriend and Tesla has to find out where they fit all over again. And all the time they want to be a robot. How can people understand that? Tesla sometimes can’t.
It is a beautiful story. Simple and evocative. Go read it, its online for free on SciGentasy and then come back and tell me how much you loved it.
It is also such a smart story. It is set out in a number of lists and how-tos, simple, easy, but the themes and topics covered are anything but simple. They are hard and complicated and deserve to be thought about. Suicide and depression and fighting your way out of them.
In her tweet about it Jodie said it was “perfect if you like robots and crying” if that doesn’t make you want to read it then what on earth could I say to persuade you?