Super-Toys Last All Summer Long

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Super-Toys Last All Summer Long
Brian Aldiss

Super-Toys Last All Summer Long is a short story by Brian Aldiss. The text unfolds by telling the story of what would seem to be an ordinary family at first. We then start to realize that the story is about a rich couple in an overcrowded world, who have a three year old robot for a child. The plot deepens as we, as a reader, discover that this robot has in fact human-like feelings, which could pose as a moral problem. It demonstrates as a main theme the role that artificial robots could have in a futuristic society. As technology is advancing, can we distinguish between what is real, and what is not?

The Swinton's are a prosperous family that live in an overcrowded world set in the near future. The story is told by an omniscient third person narrator describing the beautiful setting in which Monica Swinton and her three year old son, David, live in. At first glance it appears as if to be a completely ordinary household in summer, with an energetic child leading his mother around to play. The narrator then reveals that they in fact live in an overcrowded world, and that the garden was in fact a hologram; an image created by future technology. This demonstrates that people in this world aren't always aware of what their actual surroundings are, hence why they are lonely. They put themselves in the enclosed artificial world they want to, far from reality.

The narrator then cuts to a secondary Swinton family member, the father. Henry Swinton is the Managing Director of Synthank, a company that fabricates artificial life such as humanoids. He is hosting a luncheon as a celebration of the launching of a new product; their first intelligent synthetic life-form. This humanoid has a computer that communicates with synthetic flesh to act as a companion. Synthank propose this humanoid as a solution to loneliness in a world with an increasing overpopulation, which is fairly ironic. This shows that not...
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