Robots, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois (Ace, 2005)

This is the latest in an ongoing series of theme reprint collections edited by Dann and Dozois, and as always, the title is self-explanatory. With nothing older than twenty years, and most of the stories published within the last ten, it’s a nice compilation of some of the more intriguing robot-themed stories to be found out there. Of particular interest are Mike Resnick’s “Robots Don’t Cry,” Chris Beckett’s “La Macchina,” Geoff Ryman’s “Warmth,” Michael Swan wick’s “Ancient Engines” and Howard Waldrop’s “Heirs of the Perisphere.” Undoubtedly, short fiction readers will have stumbled across some, if not most, of the stories reprinted here, but there are a few that may have gone overlooked. They do a lovely job of covering a wide variety of tones and themes, with something of an emphasis on how mankind and robots interact, and what they mean to one another. From the robot that would not leave the girl he was charged to care for, to the young man seeking out the robot caregiver of his youth, to the bizarre journey of a trio of animatronics, there’s something for everyone here.

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