An epic post-mortem of the relationship between a woman, her robot lover and their daughter, after he abandons the family, in distressingly mortal fashion (and yet not), to “find himself.” One of Swirsky’s finest stories to date, and an excellent contribution to the ‘potential humanity of robots’ canon.
Another mention from the same community here:
As the title suggests, it concerns itself with love in its various forms, and asks those questions musicians have been trying to answer for us for decades – and does it with style, and panache, and heart-wrenchingly wonderful prose. Characters who are all too real and three-dimensional – even when they’re a bird; scenarios that are all too believable. I’ll be watching out for more of Swirsky’s work, even though I know she’ll probably put my heart through the wringer.
Jonathan Strahan says:
The highlight of the day’s reading was “Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky. Swirsky is a terrific writer who’s been making a name for herself with a string of intelligent, perceptive stories that have appeared in Weird Tales, Subterranean and elsewhere.
“Eros, Philia, Agape” is a robot story. A rich, lonely and beautiful young woman, looking for a change in her life after the death of her abusive father decides to have a lover made, a robot to fill the personal void in her life. That decision leads to love, family and a search for awareness that is created beautifully and sensitively be Swirksy.
While Swirksy’s robot tale with a heart and soul runs perhaps a little long and undoubtedly won’t be the best thing she writes – she’s growing too much as a writer for that to be true – it’s definitely a highlight of the year.
It is no surprise that things don’t turn out quite as Adriana intends, yet the flow of the story is subtle. Swirsky is not using her science fictional set-up to hammer home any particular message; rather, she is giving us a new framework to consider universal issues about identity and love and marriage and family and parenting.
This is a story Isaac Asimov might have written, if only he had been an amazing prose stylist. “Eros, Philia, Agape” is beautifully written throughout (once you’re past the slightly pretentious title anyway) and I strongly recommend it.
Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky is a story that’s about as different from Isaac Asimov’s classic Robot stories as any story could be. At the same time, it has some striking thing in common with those stories. The biggest difference is that Eros, Philia, Agape is all about emotions and has the scientific parts of the story as backdrop. Robots in the Eros, Philia, Agape universe don’t have anything like Asimov’s Three Laws built in. At the same time, robots in both stories are not Pinocchio longing to be human. The exploration of what it means to have free robots living alongside free humans with neither dominating is key to the two stories.
I very much enjoyed this story and I hope to read more of the author’s work.
Over to the rest of you!