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Escape Pod Flash: My Angel Gabriel

By J. R. Blackwell
Read by Ann Leckie (of PodCastle)

“Becky.” Typed Rachel “I had to ban him. I’m sorry. He was a bot, a spider, a program. He wasn’t human.” Becky’s green words glowed on her screen almost immediately.

“He talked to me! Every day! What do you mean he wasn’t human?”

Rachel exhaled; this was going to be tough. “Didn’t you notice he kept trying to get you to buy games?”

“I like buying games! Who cares? I really liked Gabriel. You two were the only people on this forum I could talk to.”

Rated R. Models internet behavior you wouldn’t want your children to emulate.

Comments (14)

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  1. Schreiber says:

    So few words…but so depressing.

  2. Kit OConnell says:

    I enjoyed this. I am not sure why it was rated R, though.

  3. batosai33 says:

    I like the story, I just can’t decide whether Rachel made a mistake with the code or Becky was a bot (possibly from the police). I am leaning toward the police bot since that is funnier for me.

  4. scatterbrain says:

    Why not one about robot pedophiles or computers that set-up people for sex involuntarily?

  5. Blaine Boy says:

    Dudes, computers can talk to us. By themselves… Call Asimov; he needs to make the Laws of Living Computers.

    Actually, never mind. I’ve got some myself: (1) self-intelligent computers may not tamper with human archives on any database of any sort, personal, historic, economic, or otherwise (2) self-thinking computers may not help a human tamper with another person’s/ community’s/ country’s archives or databases (3) self-intelligent computers may not perform illegal actions for any person or institution (that’s right kids, no porn) (4) self-thinking computers may not create viruses or other soft-ware hacking/destroying materials (5) all self-thinking computers must be programmed with a “switch” to disable sentient capabilities (both electronic and manual). Under this final law, the intelligence is not destroyed but put into a “off” mode basically (like stasis).

    As soon as the self-intelligent computers get the upgrade that put’s them into bodies, Asimov’s Laws take over (already programmed into the robotic bodies.)

    I’ve thought this out. ;)

    Sincerely (but not entirely),
    The Blaine Boy

  6. Divya says:

    Loved the story.

  7. yicheng says:

    I saw the ending “twist” coming from a mile away.

  8. Man, here I thought I was the only person who used the term “meatspace”, heh.

  9. Paul Fischer says:

    This is the quintessential essence of flash fiction. It brings you in to the meat of the story, humanizes the players, and then POW! out of nowhere comes an amazing twist. I absolutely loved it.

    Kudos to J.R. Blackwell! I never saw the end coming and it blew me away.

  10. mark says:

    thanks !! very helpful post!

  11. [...] Leckie reads J. R. Blackwell’s flash piece “My Angel Gabriel.” Online forums (fora?) provide a great way of interacting with other people—though you can [...]

  12. MasterThief says:

    I keep telling myself I’m not a bot… :(

  13. radlilim says:

    awesome flash, cool enough to make me search back though the archives to comment

  14. Urikson says:

    Really liked the ending and the reading. It’s both unpredictable and very clever. Upon contemplation I also found this story quite scary…