The Robots of Sodom

Tom Kalin

2002 | 00:02:45 | United States | English | Color | Stereo |

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: LGBTQ, Literature

"Sodom — for those of you who haven’t been there — is an island about ten miles in length by about two miles in width. There is no depth to it at all. It was built by men as a memorial to God, much the same reasons that I am writing this…  to praise and fulfill Him because they had heard He was dead and because His work had apparently come to nothing. The great buildings of Sodom are shaped like tombstones, and the island is populated almost entirely by robots. Man created the robots in his own image, and he created the island in the image of a cemetery. Like Man and God, the robots are omnipotent and omniscient — except in four ways. They cannot be anything but robots. They cannot love. They cannot know they are robots, and they cannot know they cannot love.

Where the robots can eat food, they eat chemicals instead, as one would expect. Where they can live and act, they sit in dark rooms and watch others do it for them. Where they can have faith, they mistrust the honest. Where they can have suspicions, they believe the treacherous. Where they can suffer, they prefer to be tranquil. Where they can laugh, they snicker. Where they can praise, they scorn. Where they can scorn, they worship. Where they can do almost anything but love, they do nearly nothing but hate. And where they can hate, they imagine that they love."

— Alfred Chester, “In Praise of Vespasian” in Head of a Sad Angel: Stories, 1953-1966, ed. Edward Field (Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1990)

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