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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

How to identify a robot

Carla is a scientist by day and a sci-fi writer by night. She is a Brazilian cosmologist (of the quantum kind), mathematician, and historian of science. With her secret identity, she likes to speculate on humanity using fantastical, science-based themes. This is her first published story in English. You can learn more about her at her webpage, autthorcarlara.com.

I've heard it's easy to identify a furtive robot. It's supposed to be obvious if you stare deep into its eyes. I have to make sure you're not a hazard, so please open yours as widely as you can. Even if you say you're not one, I have to check. The information may be concealed in your encoding.
Your globes are stunningly black, like the silky robe of lady death. Reflecting mirrors capturing my soul. I can see myself in it, lost in the cosmic void of your iris. In it, my surroundings gloss like stardust, warped around the close up of my face. The image of my eyes twitch. They have a glitch in shades of yellow. The color is synthetic, threadbare. I gasp with the realization it is me. I am the robot. I'm the hazard.
I flee to save you, stranger. I flee to save myself.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Author Comments

In Brazil, we have the saying, "The eyes are the mirror to the soul," meaning that looking into another's eyes, one catches a glimpse of their soul. For this story, I asked myself which soul do the eyes reflect? I wanted to subvert the saying. The trope of identifying a robot through the eyes seemed the best one to apply this idea.

- Carla Ra
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