His Robot Girlfriend by Allison, Wesley, 2009

His Robot Girlfriend by Allison, Wesley

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In the grand world of wish fulfillment vehicles, I believe that Wesley Allison's His Robot Girlfriend simply must be the equivalent of a Bugatti. This book is about the acquisition of an intelligent, gorgeous, perfectly proportioned, boobsy woman who has the cooking skills of Julia Childs, the sexual inclination of Xaviera Hollander, the enthusiasm of Elle Woods, the obedience of a golden retriever, and a hard wired inclination to clean and make money on eBay by a fat, lonely, middle aged, balding public school teacher and widower from the American southwest. The teacher, Mike, bought his new Daffodil companion robot, Patience, through his interactive television, then they fell in love and got married; that's pretty much all that happened in this book. Other than that the reader is treated to blessedly brief passages where Patience cleaned Mike's messy house, took care of his finances, charmed his family, titillated the neighbors and laid Mike righteously. There were a few subplots, one involving a plan by programmers at Daffodil to program the Amontes models - Patience's model - to steal private information from clients and give it to them for identity theft purposes, but it lasted all of ten pages, and really went nowhere. Honestly, it was just a daft idea, somewhat akin to the idea that a bunch of Microsoft millionaires would use Windows to do the same thing.

From my brief glance at Allison's web-presence, it seems that he is acutely dialed into the self-publishing world. He has several books to his name - unfortunately none I have ever heard of before - and a publishing house that derives its name from one of his earlier books. His Robot Girlfriend is a later book. It does not seem to me however that Allison learned much from his earlier efforts, and may have missed a class or two on science fiction. This book is a card-board thin character sketch that misses on all attempts at scientific or futuristic speculation. This is a near-future world that is easily recognizable, which is kind of a problem; Allison took no real leaps in describing the world his characters inhabit. Politically there are female presidents and viable Green Party candidates, and a few new states including Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and something called "Pacifica." Climate change has made things just about unbearable, and the U.S. is at war with Russia down in Antarctica. There is a diversion about the right of robots to be present in certain places such as ear-piercing studios and casinos, and the right of a man to marry a robot. Since this was a love story, and Mike in fact wanted to marry Patience, you would have thought that Allison would have delved into the nature of the robot's existence, its capacity for wisdom and independent thought, and its own desires for individual rights. In a story where a man wants to marry a robot, and the robot wants the same, those are the questions I would want to have answered before allowing such a thing. Instead all that happened was that Patience and Mike tried to get married in Las Vegas and were denied a permit, so they waited it out until Massachusetts decided to change the law and give them the right. In the intervening months Patience displayed some independent thought when she decided on her own to refuse the criminal programmer's orders to report to Daffodil so that they could download Mike's financial and biographical information, but Allison completely failed to explore her motivation. The characters just kind of accepted that Patience did the right thing, then thought "Gee, I hope the police figure this all out and catch the bad guys!" Given that Patience's reply to virtually every question about her motives was "I will be anything and everything that Mike wants me to be," I still have big questions about whether Mike married a toaster or not.

Technologically Allison missed the boat too. There was very little about the robots, save that they were "artificial," and gave off a lot of warmth, but otherwise felt and looked human. Actually most outsiders knew Patience was a robot only because she was so beautiful. There was nothing about her experiences, desires, prejudices or emotions. Everything was told from Mike's point of view, and quite frankly he was too busy being shocked that such a beautiful device would blow him. Other than that there was nothing new; in fact the only other devices in the entire story were Kindles and interactive TVs.

I would say that this is a YA story, but there is too much sex for that. None of it is organically described - it's all pretty vanilla, actually. Think "they had sex," rather than "he plunged his calloused hand between her heaving globes, missing his target, yet striking a nerve." - but there is enough public sex and fellatio for me to say that this was not intended for a young audience. I also had the idea that this was a 'tween book, since Allison spent inordinate amounts of time describing patience's wardrobe down to the smallest button, but again, there's the fellatio thing, so maybe not. Allison is pretty decent at setting different situations up, but absolutely miserable at exploring or resolving them. His mission here was to show love blossoming between two unusual and unexpected lovers. Patience was so human that he probably failed at that, and in other regards he approached his idea with blinders on, allowing no room for anything else but minor diversions. This book is available on-line for free, which is almost asking too much for it.

Reviewed by GTT · Rating Rating of 1.5 star(s)


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