Fairy Tales for Robots • SF novelette by Sofia Samatar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

First sentence: 1. Sleeping Beauty. Dear Child, I would like to tell you a story.

Synopsis: The human narrator addresses her robotic creation as a child in the night just before it will wake up. She spends the entire night telling it fairy tales adapted for robots, interpreting them and telling part of her own story. 

The first story is Sleeping Beauty, and robots don’t have a problem shutting down. “But it is momentous for you to awake.”

Several other stories follow, from Russian folks tales, Tempest from Shakespeare, Tin Soldier, Pinocchio, Oz, Nutcracker, and several other lesser known tales, each one with a robotic insight.

Review: So far, I’ve read only one or two short stories from this author, and her novel “A Stranger in Olondria” is waiting on my tbr since forever. 

This novelette is less a story rather than a fictionalized essay. It has no plot whatsoever, so don’t look for it. The characterization is also weak, we don’t know if the narrator is reliable at all. 

The fairy tales are not thorough retellings but summarize the contents only. They can’t be counted as retellings at all. Still, they are interesting in their interpretative method. Those changes in their point of view are highly engaging and will stay with me for a while. 

Meta: isfdb. Not available online; published in the anthology Made to Order. Finalist for the Locus Award.

This entry was posted in Science Fiction, Story. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fairy Tales for Robots • SF novelette by Sofia Samatar

  1. Ola G says:

    Sounds more like a thought experiment than a narrative 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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