And we’re off! My first review for the Indie Fiction Challenge — and I stole Cassie’s idea for the title format, since I liked it so much. Anyhow, here’s the first letter of the alphabet:
Middle-aged widower Mike Smith teaches by day and vegetates in front of the TV by night. His life is dull, uneventful. But the humdrum routine is broken when he sees an ad for a Daffodil robot and, on impulse, he splurges on a sexy female robot that can be anything and everything he wants it to be. Mike’s life will never be the same again.
His Robot Girlfriend is set in a not-too-distant future where androids are commonplace, working as waiters, cleaners, gardeners, and more besides. The world is interesting and realistic; the author has put careful thought into the small details, which makes it all the more believable. While I found a few of those details niggling — such as TVs being called vueTees — for the most part the setting of the novel is very immersive.
It certainly helps that the characters are likable: it isn’t so difficult to empathize with Mike’s life as a middle school teacher, and Patience (the android) has an endearing, quirky personality — although I must admit a large part of her charm comes from the fact that she’s not human.
But perhaps the characters are too likeable. Far from being an exploration of the moral issues behind androids and human/robot love, His Robot Girlfriend is a light-hearted romance about two nice individuals whose only wish is to please the other. Of course, given the differences between them (and Mike’s stereotypical maleness), making each other happy is no easy task.
I have to confess that I wasn’t expecting a romance, which somewhat coloured my impression of the book. I was a little disappointed that the novel did not cover any of the expected android themes in any depth, besides in small scenes such as Patience being offended when a waiter calls her an ‘it’, and her not being allowed to gamble in Las Vegas. The concept of the story is interesting, but there is so much more it could offer.
I suppose the main critique I would have of His Robot Girlfriend is that there wasn’t much substance to the plot. While I enjoyed Allison’s vision of a possible future, the story lacks conflict; the two potential challenges Mike would have had to overcome were quickly resolved, and my expectations that the story would develop into something fuller were not met.
Allison’s writing style is perhaps a little choppy, and takes some getting used to, but overall I was impressed by the quality of this ebook. For something free, Wesley Allison has produced a respectable book, and I would be curious to check out his future releases.
In sum, I enjoyed reading His Robot Girlfriend for its unusual vision of the future, although the plot itself is a little thin on the ground. It’s a light-hearted, quick read (I raced through it in one sitting), and I’d recommend it to fans of fluffy HEA science fiction romance.
This book is part of my ABC Indie Fiction Challenge!