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The Pamphlets Say

Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). In addition to Daily Science Fiction, he's also been published by Analog and Flametree Press, among others. He helps host Liars' League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at /happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk.
The pamphlets say you are not human.
That you are a care robot, designed to look after me while I go through chemotherapy, alone.
The pamphlets warn you have no emotions, that you are merely a good mimic.
They say I should be clear in my instructions. That if I don't like something, I should tell you.
I find you, writing the pamphlets.
I pick one up and your motion stops, as you are programmed to do when I get too close, for fear that I might hurt myself against your hard exterior.
The pamphlets say that you love me.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 18th, 2020


A drabble brings its own challenge, the need to hit exactly 100 words can leave the author playing a literary form of tetris, or those puzzles with only one free square. But when you can't see anything else to change, then I guess you're done. This piece was inspired by the very real possibility that in the future care will be given by robots. But how lonely that might be, and what attachments might develop as a result?

- Liam Hogan
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