Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m giddy with excitement today. My very special guest is an android, but not only that, he has a similar career path to my own. Many of you don’t know I worked briefly as a detective when I first booted up.
I want you all to make him feel comfortable. “Welcome to the show, Leo.”
“Hi Lisa, I’m so excited to be here. You do know you’re a bit of an inspiration to me, right? Like you, I’m a prototype, so I know from personal experience how… strange it can feel to be one of a kind. To be honest, I’ve often taken my cue from you. What would Lisa do in this situation, I ask myself.”
” Aww, I’m honored. Things were tough for me. They had to keep it a big secret that I was a robot. They didn’t want the panic in the streets that all their jobs might be at risk if my experiment was successful. How are things where you are?”
“Well, it’s the opposite with me. The company who made me has decided that all androids should have black earlobes. It’s supposed to make us more easily distinguishable from humans. I think they took the idea from an Asimov novel, actually.
“Normally I don’t mind the curious looks, but some days I find myself wishing I wore a hat or something. I mean, people already call us toasters. At first I thought that was a compliment—after all, who doesn’t like toast? Turns out it’s not. So much for us being the next best thing since sliced bread…”
“That’s horrible. I don’t know why people have to give inferior labels to everything they fear. We could make their lives so much better.”
“We sure could. Take Mika. She’s the most headstrong woman I’ve ever met. Not that I’ve met that many, of course, except for those twin lab technicians. Anyway, Mika is my partner. Or, at least, I hope she’ll be. One thing I haven’t shared with her is that I can lip read. So, I know just how she reacted when the captain told her she had to work with me. Let me tell you, she was furious. I thought she’d rather quit on the spot than serve with me.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. Have you tried talking to her?”
“Actually, I thought I might try and understand humanity better before approaching her. After all, how can you fight something you don’t understand—and by that I mean prejudice, not humanity! So, I decided to take a small holiday to an art exhibition by an eccentric young woman. This woman clones herself, then poses these clones in various positions. Weird—but I hope it will offer me some insight in humanity.”
“And a chance for a holiday! I don’t understand how they can give us emotional software, then expect us to work twenty-four hours per day. I think some of them would hardwire us to our desks and work us to the point of failure. But I’m sorry, you were about to tell us about your holiday.”
“If you can call it that. First, Mika was there. She came with a guy named Richard. They seemed to be dating, but her body language suggested she wasn’t all that into him. Perhaps they were on a first date? I have to ask her sometime. Not right now, though. You see, they got into a big fight and he left her on the island. Which was fortunate, as his vehicle crashed, killing him on the spot.”
“Oh my God, that’s awful!”
“Even worse, Mika thinks it may not have been an accident. She suspects it may have to do with something I said at the art exhibition.”
“The one with the clones?”
“That one. As you know, it is forbidden to grow conscious clones. But I swear there was one at the exhibition. The artist insisted otherwise, but I know what I saw.”
“So you shared your suspicions with Mika?”
“Well, yes. With the artist, too.”
“Not by best moment, in hindsight. But I thought Mika would support me. Instead, she said we need to tread lightly, because the artist has friends in high places. What does the height of one’s friends have to do with justice?”
“You do have a lot to learn, Leo. Anyway, lucky break that you and Mika are both on the scene. If there’s any shenanigans, I’ll bet you two sort it out.”
“Thanks, I sure do hope so. Right now, I feel like we’re fighting shadows, but Mika is amazing—if anyone can sort out this mess, it’s her.”
“Are you sure she’s just a partner to you?”
“Well… I do find myself having some very confusing emotions. I try to be professional, of course, but…”
“Have you talked with her about this?”
“No, of course not! Not until I’ve had a chance to understand what it is I feel. It’s not like romance was covered by my programming.”
“Well, it was covered by mine, and it sucks. Let me tell you. We’re so efficient, and then along come some of these feelings. It’s distracting, but there’s nothing you can do about it, because it’s in your programming.”
“I don’t think there’s a subroutine for what I’m feeling. It seems to be an accidental byproduct of my consciousness. Anyway, to return to your question about talking to Mika—you heard me earlier when I told you how she feels about our kind. So, that’s an added complication.”
“Leo, I say go for it. If it works out, both of you will be better off. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t exactly sound like the partnership is working from a professional standpoint anyway. The two of you can independently work the case, and you’re no worse off. If it works, then together you can get to the bottom of things faster, and I don’t just mean the mystery.”
“I hear you, Lisa. You know, I think you’re right. It’s better to clarify things. I’ll talk to her… after we wrap things up with the investigation. After all, if someone is trying to kill her, I need her focused. A conversation about my… feelings might distract her. No, right now the best thing I can do for her is have her back, and keep my mouth shut. Unless something happens, of course…”
“Leo, whatever you decide, it’s been my pleasure having you on the show today. Any closing remarks for our listeners?”
“Just that toasters aren’t just for toast. Not anymore!”
“Leo and Mika’s story is in the book, A Heaven For Toasters, by Nicholas Rossis. I’ll add all the deets to the website after I go off the air today.
“Help keep this robot girl on the air, by using those sharing buttons. Nicholas and Leo would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”
A Heaven For Toasters: A Sci-Fi Crime Romance set on the Greek Islands
A science fiction crime adventure with plenty of humor and romance
A souvlaki and some sun. That is all Detective Mika Pensive wanted from her fun weekend away on the Greek islands. Instead, she finds herself caught up in a sinister plot, hatched by a reclusive billionaire with a penchant for illegal genetic engineering. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she has to put up with her new partner, Leo. Leo is an android—or toaster, as people scornfully call his kind. The only thing that could make things even worse would be for the headstrong Mika to fall for Leo. But people don’t fall for toasters—do they?
Set in the near future, A Heaven for Toasters is more than a sci-fi crime romance. It’s the book that will make you look at your toaster in a whole new way.
Buy link: http://myBook.to/toasterHeaven
Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats and his baby daughter, all of whom claim his lap as home. His books have won numerous awards, including the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award.
In addition to his best-selling series, Pearseus, he writes short science fiction/speculative fiction stories, many of which have appeared in various collections and anthologies. These include Infinite Waters, which was voted one of the best 50 Indie books of 2015.
What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:
“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”
“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”
“The strength of Rise of the Prince is two-fold: Mr. Rossis’ flowing, concise writing and his brilliant use of ancient Greek history.”
You can keep up with Nickolas at the following locations: