I’m sure some science fiction purists may be offended by the analogy, but D.B. Story’s work puts me in mind of Isaac Asimov . . . with a shot of Viagra. Yes, Sylvia’s Secret is one of his many stories about robots having sex (which is out of the world, if you’ll pardon the pun), but it also has a lot to say about questions of self-awareness, free will, and humanity.
Sylvia is a fembot, currently on her third owner, with one secret feature, and two crucial malfunctions. Designed almost solely for sex appeal, she has the perfect hair, face, skin, height, and figure to maximize her appeal to both sexes. Dressed entire in pink – fur fringed baby doll, silk panties, and pink fur high-heeled sandals – she serves as both a domestic and sexual servant for Stan, her current owner.
Her one secret feature is a beautiful, perfectly formed, perfectly lubricated, fully functioning penis that can emerge from hiding if she is touched in just the right spot.
Her first malfunction is that she has begun to develop self-awareness about her body, and how it pleases her. Her second malfunction is that she has begun to develop free will, overcoming her programming to initiate that pleasure.
When her owner asks a carefully worded question, intentionally designed to explore her malfunctions, she finds herself free to express her secret feature, and to exploit those malfunctions.
What follows from there is a series of sexual encounters that are sensual, creative, and immensely arousing – not the simple robot porn some readers might expect. Intertwined within the erotic embrace of human and machine are some deep thoughts, philosophical musings, and very human conversations. Make no mistake, this isn’t a story about robots falling in love, but it is one about the possibilities of friendship between humans and robots.
As one of his shorter stories, this is a fantastic entry-point into the works of D.B. Story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and anxious to dive into one of his longer works next.