Eric’s last lover departed a year ago, and he’s decided that relationships are too much trouble. It’s a good thing it’s 2069 and companion AI are available. Eric didn’t actually want a robot lover, but his bestie Sabrina purchased “Sloot,” an XP30 sexbot, to keep Eric company. Eric’s repulsed by the idea of having sex with Sloot, because he knows that Sloot doesn’t actually have the ability to consent, but he’s touched by Sloot’s deep desire to never return to the sales floor. Eric has a deep sense of fairness within him, and doesn’t want to see anyone harmed, even an AI android. This compassion is a balm to Sloot, who’s had many callous owners over the years. It seems Sloot’s creator instilled “something extra” into his specific unit, something that gives Sloot the ability to love. Sloot really wants to please Eric, and he convinces Eric that he’ll help with the household chores, if nothing else. This is a perfect position for Eric to experience all the love Sloot contains, if only Eric would choose to accept it.
This sci-fi novella features a reluctant lover in possession of a sentient sexbot, and the confusion of emotions they develop as they cohabitate. I really enjoyed the story, which has good pacing and pauses only for the most poignant of moments. While Eric doesn’t want sex initially, he’s unable to stop the feelings of partnership and camaraderie that develop the more time they spend together and the more Sloot takes care of his day-to-day physical needs. Eric also takes care of Sloot, preventing him from abuse by prejudiced neighbors and friends who want Sloot to service them. Sloot really wants to have a physical relationship with Eric, but he’s patient. Meanwhile, Eric’s begun to fall for the man he sees within Sloot’s compassionate programming.
It’s a sweet and tender read with just a touch of heat and enough heart to fill an android twice-over. I definitely won’t soon forget this creative sci-fi romance novella.