My story recommendation of the week is for "Eros, Philia, Agape" by Rachel Swirsky, (illustration by Sam Weber) published on-line at Tor.com.
In our world, it is usually futile for women to try to change the basic nature of the men in their lives. But what if they could? In "Eros, Philia, Agape," Adriana purchases a male robot whose consciousness is programmed to shift to create a personality that best meets Adriana's desires. The program works very well. Despite her emotional scars from an abusive childhood, Adriana soon falls in love with, emancipates, marries, and begins a family with her ideal man.
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.
I first encountered Rachel Swirsky with her powerful story "The Debt of the Innocent" in Glorifying Terrorism. She has only been publishing fiction for some three years, but in that time has appeared in Weird Tales, Interzone, Subterranean and Fantasy among other publications, and has already built up a solid body of work. Check her out!
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