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MY LIFE AS A ROBOT by Ed with Jeannie Ralston Fish



Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1984
Publisher: Congdon & Weed--dist. by St. Martin's

Forget about modern robotic manufacturing, old-fashioned automatons, or the eponymous robots of R.U.R.: this guy is a mechanical traveling huckster, performing for hire at schools, shopping centers, trade shows, and conventions. Sometimes the 4' radio-controlled entertainer appears to exchange repartee with the crowd, his lights flashing and his claws waving, in his natural plastic guise. At other times Mr. Robot, as the author calls him, is costumed as a hot-water heater, a bottle of condiment, or Mr. Happy Tooth. The young author, a sometime-actor, is the power behind the plastic rascal--and someone must have idly said, ""Ed, why don't you write a book?"" Fish may or may not shine in the commercial robot game, but his text is a trifle. The simple first-person diction is readers' digestible. ""I knew nothing would compare to what I had seen that night."" ""It was then that I realized that Mr. Robot could be the most important role I'd ever play."" There's even a dream sequence in which Mr. Robot gives the author a lesson in philosophy. Fish does seem to share the world view of his mechanical alter ego: there is a jittery New Orleans bellhop named LeRoy (sounding too much like the late Stepin Fetchit), a loud Long Island rug merchant named Cohen, some sultry beauties and, inevitably, a few terminally ill moppets. It's all very heart-warming as the good folk exchange confidences with a pack of gears, wires, and transistors disguised as the Good Fairy. They never realize, mind you, that it's Fish who's working all the wonders and laying out all the wisdom. Care to guess how this very light entertainment will be promoted?