Robots Beyond was published on April 30, 2009. It was edited by Lane Adamson. Cover art by Erik Holmen.
Back cover synopsis:
"Robots. Intelligent machines, usually bearing at least some resemblance to humans, performing the routine drudgeries of life and freeing mankind for the pursuit of nobler goals. Karel Čapek conceived the term. Isaac Asimov codified their behavior, then spent the next fifty-plus years figuring out ways to get around his rules. Phillip K. Dick humanized them, chillingly. George Lucas and James Cameron, for good or ill, made them pop culture icons. Within these pages, you'll meet robots both familiar and fantastic, from the submicroscopic to large, carnivorous machines. Robots discovering their own humanity... and Man's inhumanity. Subversive inversions of genre that will leave the reader pondering the metaphysics of robotics. What if? There's a lot to answer for in those two little words. Look inside, and see what you discover."
Contents and Story SynopsisEdit
(Synopsis by the editor)
- "Electric Crown" by Thom Brannan
In a seedy inversion of Asimov's Caves of Steel universe, a couple of second-rate career criminals make an unhappy discovery that could change the way humans interact with robots all-too permanently.
- "The Last Protector" by Billy Wong
Full-tilt boogie sword and sorcery action/adventure mayhem, as a warrior/mage princess throws down with an army of enchanted robots to decide the fate of her kingdom.
- "Franchise Hell" by Ren Holton
A loving couple gets trapped in the sex-bot business, much to their dismay--one of the oddest, yet most touching romances you're likely to read any time soon.
- "Burning Down the House" by Paula R. Stiles
A grim story of an alien fungus with a mind of its own that wants to have a mind of your own—sort of a cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Night of the Living Dead.
- "Tinman" by J.A. Lynn
Simply amazing first-person account of the horrors of combat in WWI, and the heroic robot who made a difference--I told the author a little facetiously we should call this one "Saving Private Robot," but it's really that moving.
- "Crocus" by William D. Carl
Saturday night at the drive-in movies, if any of you are old enough to remember such aniquated concepts—think Old Yeller plus Cujo, only the dog is a malfunctioning robot...
- "Narrative Device" by Alastair Bishop
What happens if you program a computer to write creatively? Outright hilarity, that's what!
- "Other Dreams" by David Dunwoody
A bleak, Lovecraftian-influenced tale with plenty of gore—the final images will give you dreams, and they won't be nice ones. Tie-in with The Harvest Cycle.
- "The Strange Affair of the Artisan's Heart" by Joshua Reynolds
Steampunk alternate history mystery featuring a dashing Aztec ambassador to England, with just a soupçon of A. Conan Doyle.
- "Surveillance" by R. Thomas Riley
A gritty police story, featuring a robot who would be man—a thoughtful allegory about racism in our society, very well-disguised.
- "Primero" by R.W. Mosses
Simply delightful James Bond-inspired (or perhaps it's the other way around?) romp through the 15th century, full of marvelous steampunk anachronisms.
- "The Cure" by Christopher Donahue
You've heard the old saying about the cure being worse than the disease? You have no idea. The first appearance of zombies in the book—and well worth the wait! This story is a screaming hoot—and there's a chainsaw!
- "Hothead" by Mark Patrick Lynch
A police officer on zombie patrol (yes, more zombies!) with her robot partner starts the day by arguing with her husband; the day gets worse from there—much worse. An outstanding character study.
- "How Coyote Made Robot" by John W. Oliver
Deliciously snide update of a classic Native American myth.
- "Again, Iabrochium" by Joel A. Sutherland
A down-on-his luck wizard and his apprentice investigate what seems to be a dragon attack—but dragons are extinct...or are they?
- "Be Swift, My Soul" by Lane Adamson
Revisionist Americana from your humble editor—a band of out-of-work robots trek from California to Oklahoma in search of a better life; along the way, they learn more than expected about their own humanity—and Man's inhumanity.
- "A Robot Names J35U5" by Matt R. Jones
Is this simple woodworking robot the new savior? Dr Lucia Ferro may have something to say about that, as history repeats itself.
- "Nano-Domini" by Matthew Baugh
Possibly the most lovingly spiritual science fiction story you're ever going to read—the interaction between a nanobot and its creator is fascinating in its depth, without being at all overtly religious—yet the Biblical implications are unmistakable, and brilliantly executed.
- "Are You Lonely Tonight?" by Douglas Wojtowicz
A singing robot named Elvis wanders the post-apocalyptic wastelands alone—until he meets a little girl named Lisa. Their bond is tender, loving, and will leave you misty-eyed. (There's beaucoup action and gore, too, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.)