Thursday, July 29, 2010


Annnnd . . .  I'm on the road again.  Got an appointment outside of Pittsburgh for 2:30 p.m.  So I got up far too early this morning in order to write the following.

Merrick is five years old, and he just became a big brother.  Congratulations, Merrick!  I'm sure you'll be a great one.

Michael Swanwick

The three laws of robotics are:

1.  All robots must be very, very cool.

2.  Robots must be able to go places and do things that human beings cannot.

3.  But they must always be Merrick Hanna’s friends and do whatever he tells them to do.

Merrick Hanna made up those rules, and very good rules they were too.  Especially the third one.   Robots all liked him anyway, which was why they let him invent rules for them.

One night after Merrick went to bed but before he fell asleep, a robot dragon lifted the roof off of the house and stuck its head in his bedroom.  “Wanna go flying?” it asked.  There was a saddle on the robot’s back and Merrick climbed up onto it.  Together they flew all the way to the Moon.  It was an interesting place and there were lots of robots there.

But when he got home his parents were waiting for him.  “You know you’re not supposed to leave the house without asking permission first,” his mother said.

“Especially after your bedtime,” his father agreed.  “No dessert for you tomorrow.”

Merrick was sad, of course.  But the very next day he heard a tapping at the window and when he opened it, there was a gigantic robot squid in his back yard.  “Let’s go play,” the robot squid said.  It picked him up with one of its metal tentacles and put him down in the control room inside its head.

They went galumphing across the countryside.  Then they came to the ocean and plunged right in.  Deep, deep they went into the darkest part of the ocean.  There were lots of robots there of course, but also strange crabs and fish that lit up like a passenger train whooshing by in the night.  Merrick liked them a lot.

But when he got home, his parents were waiting.  “What did we tell you about leaving the house without asking first?” his father said.

“We’re very disappointed in you,” his mother said.

So Merrick was sent to bed early that night. 

The next day there was a knock on the back door.  When Merrick went to answer it, he saw an enormous robot army standing there.  There were robot soldiers and robot cowboys on robot horses and robot dinosaurs and robot elephants and giant robots shaped like giant robots – they were the best.  A robot ninja said, “We’re going to fight a war against the monsters.  Do you want to come along?”

Almost Merrick said yes.  But then he shook his head.  “I have to ask my parents,” he said.  Then, “Hey, Mom.  Hey, Dad.  Can I go along with the robot army to fight a war against the monsters?”

“Well . . .” his father said.

“Since you asked nicely,” his mother said, “you may.”



Unknown said...

Today's story is just charming.

Shawn said...

Great! Merrick: "I am waiting for another knock on the door for robots tonight."

Unknown said...

You captured a five-year-old's fantasy perfectly. The paragraph after the three robot rules was especially charming. Thank you!