Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy

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The bombs have fallen, and the world as we know it has ended. In her final days, one robotics engineer works to ensure that life will go on, constructing the creatures that will inherit the earth. New times are coming. The future echoes with the rattle of metal claws. A short story.


This is not science. This has nothing to do with science. Yesterday, when the bombs fell and the world ended, I gave up scientific thinking. At this distance from the blast site of the bomb that took out San Jose, I figure I received a medium-sized dose of radiation. Not enough for instant death, but too much for survival. I have only a few days left, and I’ve decided to spend this time constructing the future. Someone must do it.

It’s what I was trained for, really. My undergraduate studies were in biology—structural anatomy, the construction of body and bone. My graduate studies were in engineering. For the past five years, I have been designing and constructing robots for use in industrial processing. The need for such industrial creations is over now. But it seems a pity to waste the equipment and materials that remain in the lab that my colleagues have abandoned.

I will put robots together and make them work. But I will not try to understand them. I will not take them apart and consider their inner workings and poke and pry and analyze. The time for science is over.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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