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How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps (Short Review)

How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps is a plea from a woman who doesn’t feel like she fits into the world. She’s a well-drawn character, struggling with depression and a body she doesn’t belong in. I felt deeply for her and waited anxiously for the reunion with her beloved robot barista.


A. Merc Rustad
Lightspeed Magazine, September 2018 Issue
(Originally Published in Scigentasy, 2014)


At its heart, How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps is the story of a robot suffering in the body of a woman. She doesn’t want to be a person and has always known that she should have been a robot. It’s hard to see her struggle so intensely as we read through her lists that devolve from love of another robot to thoughts of suicide. She’s saved by friends who accept her for her, and by the love she has for a robot that she brings back to life.


Tesla is a multi-faceted character, struggling with the body she was born into and the identity she knows she should inhabit. Society turns a cold, unfeeling eye on those who don’t conform, and she tragically takes it to heart. She doesn’t know how to interact with the world or with people – she simply wants to be the robot she knows she is, and to love the robot barista who was taken from her. Thankfully, she has great friends who give her a support system. They stand by her, not judging her and giving her a safe space to be herself in. It’s inspiring and makes for a feel-good ending.


The story is set in a nondescript city in the future, where robots are commonplace and have been around for awhile. Not much has changed. The same hatred of otherness and people outside of gender norms still remains among people like her bigoted father. While it’s exciting to see a world with robots, it’s heartbreaking to realize the same hate remains alive after so long.


Robots, Future, Identity

Interested in more stories like How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps? Read our short reviews here.

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