New York: August 1988; Dell Publishing Co.
Untitled 4 - (Sports Robots)
... I just want to add that my father, who was a science-fiction writer,
once wrote a novel about a man whom everybody laughed at because he was
building sports robots. He created a golf robot who could make a hole in one every time, and
a tennis robot who served an ace every time, and so on.
At first, people couldn't see any use for robots like that, and the inventor's wife walked out
on him, the way Father's wife, incidentally, had walked out on him--and his
children tried to put him into a nuthouse. But then he let advertisers know that his robots would also
endorse automobiles or beer or razors or wristwatches or perfume or whatever. He made a fortune,
according to my father, because so many sports enthusiasts wanted to be exactly like those
Don't ask me why.
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The Era of Hopeful Monsters
It was about a planet where the humanoids ignored their most serious survival problems until
the last possible moment. And then, with all the forests being killed and all the lakes being
poisoned by acid rain, and all the groundwater made unpotable by industrial wastes and so on,
the humanoids found themselves the parents of children with wings or antlers or fins, with a
hundred eyes, with no eyes, with huge brains, with no brains, and on and on. These were Nature's
experiments with creatures which might, as a matter of luck, be better planetary citizens
than the humanoids. Most died, or had to be shot, or whatever, but a few were really quite
promising, and they intermarried and had young like themselves.
Last modified: May 29, 1997
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