Series: Brobots #1
Author: Trevor Barton
Genre: Gay Science Fiction
Artificial intelligence can’t be programmed. It has to be grown. Some machines are learning who they are, and humans could do with a bit of that, too.
Jared takes home a cute man he finds in a dumpster and then gets drawn into a world of robots, parenting and conspiracy.
I love it when a book starts off with a murder, or attempted murder. Brobots are androids created by an independent corporation. When they were hard to sell, because of their premium price point, the company pushed them onto a construction company as basic workers, just to get them out of their warehouses so they could work on the next big thing.
Byron, our brobot, is gazing at the sunset, thinking about how beautiful it is, when his battery dies and he falls several stories. The construction company determines the replacement battery is more expensive than simply replacing him with another brobot, so they throw him in the trash.
No one blinks an eye at this tragedy–that’s just the way it is in 2060–except a lonely techie when he stumbles onto Byron’s carcass, who then decides to take him home and fix him up in his spare time.
I love androids, love them. I think all robots are incredible, but androids in particular are fascinating. As humans, we’ve been building and creating things for millennia–it’s part of what makes us human–but not only to we build simple things, like tools and houses, we build machines, which serve a variety of purposes.
In looking at our creations, most of these inventions reflect our noble intentions back at us, such as the programming and code robots we create for kids, to help teach them the basics, such as Dash and Evo. They make cute noises, dance, and in general display an incredibly helpful and playful side to ourselves. That’s a piece of who we are as a people.
In a more tangible way, the creation of androids can help us learn about ourselves. Byron was created as a kinda husky, adorable, and optimistic person, and besides questioning Bryon’s creator’s intentions when it came to his sentience and sexuality, I had questions about their motivations in creating a line of people who resembled gay bears. (What work were they gearing him up for, exactly?) Ultimately, rather than over-questioning it, I rolled with it. Why not make a line of androids that look like bears? What job out there can’t be done by a bouncy and cuddly man? If anything, my questions were a good reason for having friendly and adorable androids running around. Their creation is a reflection of ourselves.
My favorite parts were watching Byron ‘learn to human’, and finally, cheering when he learned what it meant to be himself. Besides the whimsical and erotic nature of this novel, there were many messages about individuality. However, toward the end of the story those messages became a bit muddled. I would have preferred a more concise work, without the themes so explicitly displayed, but I got the gist.
If you like Data from Star Trek or Terminator 2 (ha–joking! I think?) check this out.
Ben Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys running, whisk(e)y, the mythical gluten-free donut, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.