Jon Michael Galindo

~ writing, programming, art ~

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18 September 2015


I once read a 1971 book by Kin Platt titled "The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear". I would not necessarily recommend the book, but I was impressed by the idea of a disconnect between a person's inner and outer worlds.

"Malfunction" is a little piece of flash fiction about an unloved robot who eventually stops working. It was born out of my thoughts on "Gnome": mainly that sentience, in so far as we understand humanity, cannot really be made to serve in the manner that gnomes require. It would die of loneliness.

Of course, sentient service animals are not common to science fiction. Instead, in this story, a small robot who is unable to die of loneliness simply stops working, to the befuddlement of owner and technician alike. As was the inner disconnect of the disappearing boy, the story is told from the perspective of the robot, which does not really understand its own behavior. The lovable machine is not so different from a person in that regard.

© Jon Michael Galindo 2015