“Robot Pony” by Madeline Claire Franklin

This short story by independent author Madeline Claire Franklin (The Poppet and the Lune, A Lover and its Ghosts) covers ground that is well-trodden for most sci-fi readers.  A human child (Jenn) receives a robot pet/playmate (Po), bonds with it, and it in turn develops a relationship with her, urging the reader to consider whether robots can have “real” feelings or not.  “Robot Pony” doesn’t bring much new fodder to this trope, but I liked the story anyway, for two reasons.

First, Jenn’s sister Amanda is originally meant to be Po’s owner.  She longs for a real pony, and violently rejects the “fake” animal, leaving her sister to care for it.  Throughout the story Amanda is portrayed as callous and selfish, which I found somewhat refreshing.  Usually a character who values the “real” over the mechanical is perceived as warmer than one who loves technology.

The second reason I loved this story was for its ending, which I will leave you to discover for yourself; but I promise it will tug on your heartstrings enough to make this a worthwhile read.

Title:  “Robot Pony”

Author:  Madeline Claire Franklin

Genre:  Science Fiction, Young Adult

Publication:  2011, Smashwords.com (e-book, Kindle, Nook)

Price:  Free/PWYW

Author’s Website:  http://www.madelineclairefranklin.com

“Robot Pony” at Smashwords.com

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