REVIEW: “On the Changing Roles of Dockworkers” by Marie Vibbert

Review of Marie Vibbert, “On the Changing Roles of Dockworkers”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact July/August (2020): 90–93 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Contains spoilers.

Mary is a dock supervisor in charge of maintaining the dock’s robot workers. One day, while investigating a malfunctioning robot she discovers that the damage was self-inflicted. Digging deeper, Mary finds out that the robot is trying to prevent a new update that will take away its recently obtained sentience. Now, Mary faces a dilemma: should she help the robot, or wipe its consciousness away?

An enjoyable story, on the short and sweet side. Vibbert manages to give her robot a “motivation,” so to speak, without making it unrealistically emotional. The scenario is plausible, even if a tad unlikely. Some of Vibbert’s metaphors err on the side of silly, like “These logs record every time an electron farts.” However, they rarely detract from the story.

All in all, an excellent short story.