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i-ROBOT Poetry by Jason Christie by Jason Christie
Review by Ernest Lilley
EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 1894063244
Date: 30 April, 2007 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Christie's short bits of poetry are anything but robotic, though the life of machines is what they're all about. Whimsical, wailing, weird and generally wonderful, they're exactly the sort of thought provoking stuff SF is supposed to be We don't review a lot of poetry, but if there were more books like this, we would.

On Reading i-ROBOT Poetry by Jason Christie

Be afraid.
Be afraid of your toaster.
And your smart phone.
And your programmable coffeemaker.
Not to mention the automated traffic light on the corner.
Be afraid of all huddled mechano-masses yearning to breathe free.
To pretend to breathe. To pretend that free is a state of being.
Why (oh why) did we make metal men in our own image?
Why did we download ourselves into these shells,
only to deny that we were kin?
I'm afraid. Very afraid.
But even more, I'm sad.
Would you like to hear a song?
Would you like to play a game?
My mind is going. I can feel it.

(That's what reading this book will do to you.)

I think I like poetry, but never read much. On a whim I memorized "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (which the author does a wonderful robotic ode to) but can't seem to recall much beyond the first few lines. Poetry without rhyme always seems cool…but forget remembering it. Or understanding it. Let it wash over you to generate postmodern frisson, a sense of almost getting it, and just let it happen. That can be as mind bending an experience as reading the best SF. As racing down the star-tunnel in 2001. As anything.

And this collection of poems manages a perfect fusion of robotic rumination and all those questions about existence that we're no better at solving in our wet little brains. The thoughtful toasters in this terrific collection have all the angst you can pack in a can and at the same time must deal with the awareness that it's all borrowed grief. It's not theirs anymore than flesh could ever be.

And in the end, the pain we take is equal to the pain we make.

Here's one of my favorites:

Scary Robot Lullaby

Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep little
robot and dream rotten dreams of rotten flesh
that will never, ever be yours. Close your eyes
close your eyes, imagine you have closed
Your eyes. There's an end to the sentence
Power down. Softly, power down. Of being
a robot. Of being a robot no more can be said
than sleep is a natural state. Pretend sleep is
a natural state. Shhhhh. Now go to sleep

Our Readers Respond

From: Jason Christie:
    Thank you for this kind and thoughtful review!

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