We probably all have experiences with having something broken but it seems impossible or at least economical pointless to repair, and it is just easier and cheaper to buy a new one. So it is not unreasonable to imagine a future where planned obsolescence is applied to humanoid robots.

The story follows Hahn who is trying to repair her already old robot James. Everyone tells her it will easier to replace but she is clearly emotional attached to this very specific unit. There may be workarounds in their programming giving them the option of being functional just a bit longer.

It is very clear that the author wants to write a story criticizing planned obsolescence and she basically succeeds with this touching simple story. I just wish it had a little bit more than that, because while it has a couple of charming moments it never goes anywhere unexpected.

Read in Clarkesworld July 2023
Rating: 2+