The Gremlin’s Library: “Female Computer Wanted: Apply Within” by Innocent Chizaram Ilo


Chybuz Cyber Café (3C) is currently in need of a female computer for urgent administrative duties.


1— 100% recycled plastic (Metal junks need not apply. Although exceptions will be made for applicants with metalloid circu boards and minor metal fittings)

2— Full 360° flexibility.

3— Attractive features (Pimped ride kinda attractive but still looks professional.)

Payment: 1500 Buzas per daily gig.

-“FEMALE COMPUTER WANTED: APPLY WITHIN” by Innocent Chizaram Ilo, Fireside Fiction 2019.

Every time, I think I’m tired of robots-as-oppression metaphors. They’ve been done to death, and so often, they’re clumsy with their analogies, usually just as offensive as they are interesting. (Detroit: Become Human comes to mind.) In this short story, however, Ilo doesn’t use robots as a substitute for anything; the main character, Dell, is black and lesbian and a robot, struggling to get money together to fix her girlfriend’s charging issues.

TW for sexual harassment, which plays a fairly large role in the story. It’s short but powerful, a completely avoidable tragedy that underlines the cruelty of poverty and marginalization, even – or especially – in a futuristic setting. I particularly like the final sentences, the most powerful rejection of “robots don’t have feelings” you could possible imagine.


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