On April 9th, 2018, Voices published a story about Swarthmore's very first "Sci-Fi for Social Change" event, organized by faculty with the help of the Andrew W. Mellon grant for the arts and humanities. This event included a short story contest with four student winners. The following story won third place. The other winning pieces will be published in Voices later this week.
jam them into their sockets: accurate because if they’re not attached properly customers will complain, not too meticulous because that takes too long. move fast. ignore the dusty air. it’s better than the smoke outside on the corner. move fast. jam the limbs into their sockets. make sure they open properly. that’s their design.
two four six eight… don’t let your hands linger. don’t touch this machine the way they used to touch you. the bodies come in different colors: most are ivory. some are chocolate, caramel, ebony. perfect for any user with specific tastes, the special packaging will say. ten twelve fourteen… the number is infinite because male desire is infinite. insatiable.
almost done. this is what makes her a woman. this is what makes her a product. quickly get it done. the factory lights flicker but they could be the streetlights. get the machine-woman down the line. put in the parts again. this is why men use her. this is why men used you. finish this one. you could be her.
by design her voice is low, seductive and her face is beautiful, expressionless. her eyes are glassy when they stare at you. her brown plastic matches your skin color.
here is their perfect woman: the one whose voice can be controlled. when they implant her consciousness, she will not understand herself. her user will feel no guilt because he believes she’s only a machine. the users won’t comprehend the machine-women’s sentience because they don’t understand yours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Name: Abigail Young Year: 2021
Gender Pronoun: She/her
Other: I am from Georgia, and I intend on majoring in English with minors in French and educational studies. I am a fan of sci-fi and fantasy stories, both written fiction and movies, and I appreciate the ability of those genres to blend social commentaries and imaginative ideas. Besides creative writing, I love playing with my dogs and enjoying nature.