EP126: The Sweet, Sad Love Song of Fred and Wilma

By Nick Dichario and Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Science Fiction Age, November 1994.
All stories by Nick Dichario and Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

So there you have him, Frederick Bannister, tripping across the highways and byways of of life, stubbing a toe here, bruising an elbow there, spilling this, dropping that, and managing to make it to the halfway point without too many major accomplishments or disasters.

And what of Wilma?

She possessed massive storage capacity, and no fourth-level equation, no matter how complex, was beyond her, but whether she was bright or merely well programmed is a moot point. Or at least it was in the beginning.

Rated X. Contains explicit sex of several kinds. Not recommended for younger audiences.

Referenced Books:
A Small and Remarkable Life by Nick DiChario
Magic Feathers: The Mike and Nick Show, by Nick DiChario and Mike Resnick

Comments (19)

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  1. Mark says:

    I have hit that little Update Podcasts button so many times on iTunes today… I start to get twitchy if it’s gone midnight and there’s no new EP, so you must be doing something right!

    Many thanks, Steve, and to everyone else at Escape artists!

  2. Me says:

    (and I thought I was the only one.)
    There was the possiblity of…..of…NO episode at all this week.

    Please don’t do that again, Steve

  3. Two things, I really hope those two work it out and how oddly affecting it was to hear love poetry being read aloud in a metallic robot voice.

    It actually worked for me.

  4. Phronk says:

    That was awesome in a disturbing-yet-touching sort of way. I’m gonna go build me a new girlfriend out of tin cans now.

  5. Don says:

    Interesting story. I was expecting something more lascivious but delighted with the story none-the-less. The intro, however, intrigued me most. Seems like 1) the intro was directed to an individual rather than the usual general statement about the state of the world that we can relate to; and 2) something happened at PNME to spark the nebulous remarks about the drama at PNME. Intriguing to those who follow the SF podcast crowd on twitter and weren’t at PNME, but confusing to the general public. The intros to the stories almost always make my day. This time, I was left confused.


  6. BELA AD says:

    I loved it. I am glad it didn’t end in some sort of robot/human massacre like an outer limits episode on this theme. Thank You!

  7. DrFloyd5 says:

    This was a very cute story. I liked the way it ended at one ending, and not at an other. Nice symmetry with the which beginning do I begin with idea.

    The Flinstone tie-in gave it a nice out-of-left-field surrealist touch. More stories should do that.

    My wife noticed that her “new sexy voice box voice” sounded just like her old voice box.

  8. Jkitiara says:

    Apparently, all it takes to turn a loser into a successful man is a good woman at home to iron his shirts and cook his dinner. Oh, and it helps if she can do all his work for him too.
    Then all he has to do is avoid the evil office slut to keep her.
    Sorry, but this was very much not to my taste.

  9. B.Ruhsam says:

    @Jkitiara: Apparently you and I heard two different stories. I did not hear your “all it takes to turn a loser into a successful man is a good woman at home to iron his shirts and cook his dinner”. Instead I heard the “if a loser turns into an apparently successful man because of a woman who takes care of his every need, plus providing uncredited behind-the-scenes support at this workplace, he’s still a loser inside” story, until he loses his life partner due to his I-haven’t-learned-my-lesson-yetedness and thus goes on a life quest to regain said partner.

    I thought this was more of a love story with a sci-fi element, than a sci-fi story. This could easily have been done without the robot character. I think this is a great story!

  10. Elias Gant says:


    What, was there a thin slush pile this week?

    This is the first Escape Pod story that I turned off before it ended, and I stopped at about the 5 minutes mark (when Fred gets to the convention). Please, give me SOMETHING to get me interested instead of describing in extreme detail how boring Fred’s life is. I really did not care about Fred, who Wilma is (or was or will be), and certainly don’t care about their sweet, sad love song.

  11. fuffy_frog says:

    I liked the narration better than the story. The story… it was ok. Just ok.

    I think a Flinstones convention is a wierd idea, but then again, my friends think that I’m insane to be doing Nanowrimo. hmm… that sentance worked alot better before I forgot what it was actually supposed to be.

    hey Phronk, when you’re done building yourself a girlfriend out of tin cans, can you build me a boyfriend out of random computer parts? It would be shiny. unless they ran away from us with each other.

  12. J.Sharp says:

    I didn’t like this story.

    I found the sex scenes to be pretty creepy and not terribly necessary to the story. And like Jkitiara, I didn’t care for the overall message.

  13. Shane says:

    I’ll agree with fluffy_frog that I enjoyed the narration and production better than the story, not that the story wasn’t good. Over all I enjoyed the story very much.

  14. Dan the Man says:

    Jkitiara: I don’t think it’s that uncommon for a girl to find a diamond in the rough and polish him up a bit, particulary in “geek” circles. I’ve had a number of “geek” friends who appeared to turn around after meeting someone. The simple presence of a significant other tends to improve one’s self-confidence and self-awareness, which combined with improved grooming and a change of fashion sense (often side-affects of new relationships) can really improve one’s chances of success. I believe my wife enhances me and I like to think it works both ways. Though this story is more unilateral, I still found it familiar.

  15. Hot Ape 6 says:

    I’m trying to figure out why a guy like Fred, who has no social skills or experience in social settings, would even start drinking alcohol.

    I know I know, it’s a nitpick. But I only nitpick stories I like.

  16. Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) says:

    The robot thing kind of came out of left field, but ok.

    This story is set in a future with robots that can do all this stuff, but there are no women on the Board of Directors for the company? The hell?

    The robot poetry made me want to kill myself.

    That all said, I do kind of want to find out if Fred gets her back. But I’m a sucker for continuity of any sort, so take that with a grain of salt.

  17. enknot says:

    I loved this story. It had a lot of things in it that I have often lamented on my journey from spry youth enamored by the opposite sex to jaded home owner and father confused by weather he really loves the person he’s been telling he loves. I understand if some people didn’t really groc this one. It’s hard to side with love songs until you can picture your self as the singer…love stories too I guess.

    I love what you’re doing over here Steve Eley. You break up my musical day quite well.

  18. Enjoyable.
    Saw the ending coming early but still enjoyable.

  19. Hypeiron says:

    This was a nice story, but I have to admit I picked it because of the “X” rating, hoping for a little late night entertainment. I swear, you could find more sexually explicit material on QVC.